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  1. #1
    rbs
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    No good Dumbing down the trails at Kelso

    Has anyone else noticed the dumbing down of the trails at Kelso?

    I ride there enough to notice when something has gone missing. Last weekend it was another rock in the Bruce Trail Connector near Rocky Road and the log acting as a water bar in Declined.

    Last year someone sanitized Fire, removing two large rocks. Someone has created quite a ride-around at the rock on Lora's Run. This was after they tried to build up the drop with some rocks.

    Xtreem has been 'updated' constantly. I would like to propose that we rename Xtreem to LCD - Lowest Common Denominator I rode it with my kids - on the tandem - with the trail-a-bike.

    What's the best way to handle this kind of thing? When some guy cut the trail on Xtreem to miss one of the ramps over a log I called out that he should not cut the trail. I mean, hey, I'm on the tandem and I'm riding the feature as built

    So who does it?
    I assume that it has to be people who ride often enough to start to hate a spot, and probably honestly believe they're helping.

    I hope that it's not staff trying to get that Kubota through the trails.

    What can be done about it?
    Does anyone have any example signs that could be placed to remind people that their skill might need to come up to the challenge of the trail rather then the trail come down to their skill level. I was thinking of little coreplast tombstones that could be placed at the removed fetaures. Then we could all stop and have a little ceremony.

    Has anyone else noticed a spot that has been sanitized?

    rob

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    Last Sunday when I saw you on the tandem was my first time at Kelso in a couple of years. Though I would like to think that it was due to my better skills and fitness, the whole place seemed easier. I could have sworn there were a couple of more rocks on two descents on Rough Trade. I just remember the place having a few more rocks. They have built a few more features since I was there and changed a couple of others. I think that a couple of logs have also been moved on Xtreme. I just remember that section being a little more difficult.

    I have a couple of thoughts on why this is happening. First Strava. The same issue has cropped up at Albion and the Don with people that want to have fastest times on a section.

    I don't want to open up an old wound on the topic of clipless shoes. I ride both depending on conditions and trails. While there on Sunday, I had two different people hitch a ride with me. I was sessioning log rides or skinnies and they stopped to look. Both were fairly new and did not want to try the features. They were concerned about getting out of their clipless shoes. One guy avoided almost all the ladder bridges over logs and went around. He was also not committed to a lot of the rock stuff on Xtreme for the same reason. He did not say this, but I could tell. He did not go over the the rocks on Lara's either. I believe that it would be of great benefit to many new riders to ride on flats to get comfortable with many features and rocks. How can you learn them if you never go over them? If you fail on flats, the consequences are typically less severe. I don't feel comfortable on very skinny features or doing ups onto stuff or pedaling off of stuff in clipless shoes myself. I think this would lead to people looking forward to features. Flat can be like training wheels or a learning tool for people who don't do a lot of technical features.

    Maybe some people just don't want to slow down.

    There is nothing to be done about it.

  3. #3
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    I would venture to say, as is usual with these cases, it's that certain people simply don't know better and if they are uncomfortable with a feature, their instincts are to ride around it to avoid having to get off their bike, or remove it so they don't need to dismount the next time.

    If you build a trail system to a specific difficulty and do not update/maintain it regularly, it will inevitably distill down year after year. If you get new people entering the sport on a yearly basis (and often they come in, then leave shortly afterwards) there are constantly new faces to continually alter trails in the manner they see fit (often not knowing they are doing anything wrong). Even if only a few of these people choose to alter the nature of the trail, it will slowly get 'sanitized'. Education is important, but in reality you cannot reach everyone and effort has to be made to continually maintain a system to the standards that the users have.

    The best bet, if the trail system has a manager (in this situation Halton/Kelso) make them aware that the trails are being altered and as a customer you are not happy with this. They will either respond with maintenance, or potentially make it aware they have made these changes for whatever reason to enhance what they feel better serves their users and their business.

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    To clarify my opinion....I don't understand human nature when it comes to mountain biking. You are out there to bike. I've ridden trails where people will make a 'short-cut' to avoid like 50 m of fun, non technical trail (no hills, nothing!). You are there to ride, I could at least see making it 'easier' as somewhat logical to a begineer (though don't agree with that).

    Saying that, I just don't think you cannot rationalize what some people are going to do. So the best best is to be pro-active.

    I think this analogy works well from road racing. If you aren't constantly working to make your way to the front of the pack, you'll be spit out the back quite quickly. I think keeping up with trails needs to be the same. There is no resting, equilibrium states rarely exist, it actually defies the laws of nature.

  5. #5
    rbs
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    The best bet, if the trail system has a manager (in this situation Halton/Kelso) make them aware that the trails are being altered and as a customer you are not happy with this. They will either respond with maintenance, or potentially make it aware they have made these changes for whatever reason to enhance what they feel better serves their users and their business.
    I went this route last year and didn't get much of a response.

    I do understand that there are different levels of trails users. Better signage might be key. I saw a family with kids on 12" wheeled bikes on Xtreem - and not having fun. Is there enough signage to allow people to make informed decisions about which trail to ride?

    Certainly the upper parking lot has opened Kelso to an entirely different set up users. You don't have to climb the hill anymore. On the other hand, I'm hesitent to take my kids on their own bikes because there is no trail that's completely beginner. Even the Old Bell School Line/Old Farm Lane devolves into a rocky down that I know is going to end in scraped knees and tears

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    rbs
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    So the best best is to be pro-active.
    No argument there. What is proactive though? Does Kelso need a dedicated user group who can provide input?

    Following up on my other post, it occured to me that maybe there aren't enough indicators of which trails are difficult, and maybe there needs to be a nicely sculpted loop at Kelso that leads out to the cliff and back to the upper lot that a family could ride. The step beyond the paths in town, but before the rocks and roots. Something tailored to 16/20" wheels and too hard gearing. (Don't get me started on kids bikes).

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbs View Post
    I went this route last year and didn't get much of a response
    That is disappointing to hear. Though like any business, they have a right to run it how they see fit and we have the right to support it or not. (not sure how much public funding they get, but if there is some, there would have to be a channel to get your voice heard/do something. Not to say it would be easy).

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbs View Post
    No argument there. What is proactive though? Does Kelso need a dedicated user group who can provide input?
    Not sure if it would fly, but a 'friends of kelso' type group that did regular maintenance in collaboration with park staff. I would be a way to monitor the trails if the park was amenable to that.

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    rbs
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    I've heard that the bulk of operational income is from the ski operation - mountain biking is secondary. But then it's harder to track who buys a season pass for MTB/skiing/hiking. Skiing is easier to track because you need to get your lift pass. MTB/hiking/swimming are all general entry especially when the gates are unmanned.

    rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbs View Post

    Following up on my other post, it occured to me that maybe there aren't enough indicators of which trails are difficult, and maybe there needs to be a nicely sculpted loop at Kelso that leads out to the cliff and back to the upper lot that a family could ride. The step beyond the paths in town, but before the rocks and roots. Something tailored to 16/20" wheels and too hard gearing. (Don't get me started on kids bikes).

    Signage always helps. In my line of work I deal with large volumes of people, giving them instructions regularly. My rule of thumb is, if you want it to reach everyone, you need to repeat it/present it once for each person you are trying to reach (if their attention isn't 100% focused).

    That's me saying I wouldn't expect it to stop everything, cause people will just blow buy a sign, but it will catch more people.

    While prevention will alleviate 90% of the problems, 10% always relies on damage control.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbs View Post
    Certainly the upper parking lot has opened Kelso to an entirely different set up users. You don't have to climb the hill anymore.
    I like Kelso, don't get there too often these days.
    The trail system could do with a re-think though. The parking lot of choice is now that upper parking lot. The closest trail is the Extreme trail. It's going to see all sorts of traffic just because of that.
    Best option in my opinion would be to dumb that trail down to a beginner trail, while adding in progressive features to it (an easy, medium, hard and hot-chilli line choices).
    Then go ahead and work on a new extreme trail that starts down in the far south west corner ( as far away from the parking lot as possible and at the bottom of the hill ). Re-work the connecting trails and you have a trail system that might function a little bit better than it does now.
    It could be done eh?
    Cheers, Dave

  12. #12
    rbs
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    Quote Originally Posted by dskunk View Post
    Best option in my opinion would be to dumb that trail down to a beginner trail, while adding in progressive features to it (an easy, medium, hard and hot-chilli line choices).
    At first read, I didn't like that suggestion, but I understand the reasoning. Most of Xtreem is currently rideable by an average mountain biker. Lose a couple of rocky sections and it could be a fun ride for most families - close to the parking lot, with an easy return and not a lot of elevation change.

    But as you mention, there would have to be a replacement supplied.

    I don't know that there's much additional capacity at Kelso for trails. IIRC, conservation trumps recreation when it comes to conservation authorities.

    As far as I can see from Halton's online mapping tool, the S/W corner (near Steeles/Appelby) isn't part of Kelso.

    I had heard that there was a plan to move the swimming to the reclaimed quarry at the top of Kelso and add trails around the resevoir at the bottom. Unfortunately, I can't find anything online about a master plan for Kelso. And Kelso certainly has some unique challenges. The rail line certainly breaks up the park and would be a factor in integrating trails around the reservoir with trails on the escarpment.

    For the 'expert' rider (I'll borrow that designation from the expert group at the Tuesday night races), Kelso really isn't big enough, and never will be. I'd love to see a big loop marked out from Kelso through Rattlesnake, Crawford, Hilton Falls and back. There are definitely some challenges with that, but it would create an endurance ride unique in the GTA.

    Which sort of brings me back to your original point - if HRCA is going to have trails for mountain bikers, then there should be a master plan for trails the considers the needs of that user group. And that might take a rethink of what is available.

  13. #13
    rbs
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    a 'friends of kelso' type group
    There are Trail Ambassadors. They help out at the Tuesday night races and I see them riding on weekends. I've spoken to them, but not about this aspect of things.

    Unfortunately Google does not give me any information on the Program. And if you can't Google it, it doesn't exist, right?

  14. #14
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    There is a bypass for the extreme trail from the summit parking lot. Maybe it should be signed better at the parking lot. That would be a start.

    These trails are managed by conservation Halton, whom I know to be a somewhat lawsuit-sensitive organization. My guess is that is the reason for the trails being dumbed down.
    Strava made me do it....

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    rbs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    There is a bypass for the extreme trail from the summit parking lot. Maybe it should be signed better at the parking lot. That would be a start.
    True. The more I think about it, the more I question is I've ever noticed much in the way of signage that a rider new to Kelso could reliably follow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    These trails are managed by conservation Halton, whom I know to be a somewhat lawsuit-sensitive organization. My guess is that is the reason for the trails being dumbed down.
    You don't have to be sued many times before you get that attitude

    But these are less 'this could be dangerous' and more 'I screw up on that rock every time' trail modifications.

    I mentioned it to AJ, the MTB coordinator last year and he said that it wasn't the park.

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    rbs
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbs View Post
    As far as I can see from Halton's online mapping tool, the S/W corner (near Steeles/Appelby) isn't part of Kelso.
    Oh, and don't forget the rifle range. It's loud enough on weekends as it is - I don't need to be any closer.

    And, no, I am not worried about getting hit.

  17. #17
    rbs
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbs View Post
    IIRC, conservation trumps recreation when it comes to conservation authorities.
    Self quoting and replying to myself - these are the danger signs.

    Reviewing the "Master Plan for Hilton Falls Conservation Area
    Concept Alternatives and Management Considerations:
    Stage Two Report AUGUST 2010"

    http://www.conservationhalton.ca/upl...ls%20Final.pdf

    I see this statement (emphasis mine):
    The sustainability evaluation of the three concepts was based on a range of environmental, social and economic factors with the environmental factors being assigned a weighted value of two times that of the social or economic categories.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    To clarify my opinion....I don't understand human nature when it comes to mountain biking. You are out there to bike. I've ridden trails where people will make a 'short-cut' to avoid like 50 m of fun, non technical trail (no hills, nothing!). You are there to ride, I could at least see making it 'easier' as somewhat logical to a begineer (though don't agree with that).

    Saying that, I just don't think you cannot rationalize what some people are going to do. So the best best is to be pro-active.

    I think this analogy works well from road racing. If you aren't constantly working to make your way to the front of the pack, you'll be spit out the back quite quickly. I think keeping up with trails needs to be the same. There is no resting, equilibrium states rarely exist, it actually defies the laws of nature.
    While it has always been a problem the Oxbowing of twisty singletrack and removal of basic log challenges. I think it has become worse in the last 3-5 years.

    Maybe some of it is Strava. Though I also blame it on the demise of the group ride. As it seems group rides have become sessions where people ride as fast as they can to the next meet up. while it is all good reality is not everyone wants that. And newbies end up left to fend for themselves. Just had that situation last week on the Wed group ride.

    Like a road bike ride a mountain bike group ride is supposed to be fun. And where those who are better pass on to the newbies what we know. Where riders would stop to play on a log and help the newbies figure it out.

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    I agree with some of your points about the group rides. I have a couple of like minded guys I like to ride with, but the last couple of rides that I went to were just like you mentioned. Guys just racing to the next trailhead. No time for trying a feature twice if you messed it up or taking time to help someone work over a log or patch or rocks.

    I also get the feeling people in many disciplines in biking have a sense of entitlement as to what the trails should be. I have seen people dig and build dirt jumps on single track. cut logs, move rocks and other such behavior. No thought is given to how the trails were conceived and the work that went into them. There is little respect to the builders or the environment. They figure it's just dirt out in the forest and that they can do whatever they want. For the most part they can.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbs View Post
    As far as I can see from Halton's online mapping tool, the S/W corner (near Steeles/Appelby) isn't part of Kelso.
    Ahh. My bad. I think I mean the N/W corner.
    But you get my point. The main thing would be to put in an expert trail away from that main (easy , no hill to climb ) parking lot and change the current "expert" trail into a beginner/learning trail.
    I'm going to leave work now and see if I can find my way home.
    Cheers, Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    While it has always been a problem the Oxbowing of twisty singletrack and removal of basic log challenges. I think it has become worse in the last 3-5 years.

    Maybe some of it is Strava. Though I also blame it on the demise of the group ride. As it seems group rides have become sessions where people ride as fast as they can to the next meet up. while it is all good reality is not everyone wants that. And newbies end up left to fend for themselves. Just had that situation last week on the Wed group ride.

    Like a road bike ride a mountain bike group ride is supposed to be fun. And where those who are better pass on to the newbies what we know. Where riders would stop to play on a log and help the newbies figure it out.
    Strava is evil.
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    Strava is evil.
    But is it lawful evil?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbs View Post
    I see this statement (emphasis mine):
    The sustainability evaluation of the three concepts was based on a range of environmental, social and economic factors with the environmental factors being assigned a weighted value of two times that of the social or economic categories.
    that's pretty standard...

    the problem will arise that people will start building unapproved trails to meet their needs as current trails are altered or shut down... the problem is exasperated by increased development in the area.

    also diversity of the trail network is important. unfortunately some past/current trail builders/clubs in some areas have followed rather dated building techniques of the mantra "to make it more tech you have to ride it faster". this mantra was what was heard by the land managers even though it only represented one homogeneous side of the larger spectrum of riders. trails where destroyed under this doctrine with no consideration to build new trails that capture the essence of the old trails. also these builders didn't know how to build these tech type trails (would have been a loss of face). i've cited many examples in the past on this forum and won't rehash them here.

    the end result of this was a growth of unapproved trails that met the more diverse needs. elsewhere in the country the land managers embraced these diverse riding styles and developed these diverse trail networks, though ontario fell way behind. there is change in the air even though there are still a few hold out spots. the key for a healthy riding community is diversity of the riding styles as well as a diverse trail network. both go hand in hand. it will also help keep people on the trail which will help protect the environment...
    Last edited by singlesprocket; 05-29-2013 at 09:24 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbs View Post
    True. The more I think about it, the more I question is I've ever noticed much in the way of signage that a rider new to Kelso could reliably follow.



    You don't have to be sued many times before you get that attitude

    But these are less 'this could be dangerous' and more 'I screw up on that rock every time' trail modifications.

    I mentioned it to AJ, the MTB coordinator last year and he said that it wasn't the park.
    So shouldn't AJ have been concerned that people were coming into his sandbox and screwing around with his trails?
    Strava made me do it....

  25. #25
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    Full disclosure: I have not ridden Kelso since 1996.

    I don't really get how removing obstacles from a trail would help anyone hold onto any kind of Strava victory... I mean, unless the KOM has moved out to B.C. or something, they must know next time he comes around, he's going to easily re-crush them on the newly simplified trail.

    I guess you could remove the features for an afternoon, ride at full speed, and then carefully put them all back.... but that's not what we're talking about here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    Full disclosure: I have not ridden Kelso since 1996.

    I don't really get how removing obstacles from a trail would help anyone hold onto any kind of Strava victory... I mean, unless the KOM has moved out to B.C. or something, they must know next time he comes around, he's going to easily re-crush them on the newly simplified trail.

    I guess you could remove the features for an afternoon, ride at full speed, and then carefully put them all back.... but that's not what we're talking about here.
    I don't think Strava contributed to dumbing down the trails. It definitely affected group riding, as some Stravaists try to hammer every Strava section for which they know the very millimeter it starts and ends. Bleh. I am anticipating new Strava dating service where speed compatible Stravaists will be able to hook up and potentially work on little Stravaists. A horror.
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    Taking into account their penchant for speed, this self imposed genetically enhanced race will multiply at an alarming rate. The Horror indeed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    I don't think Strava contributed to dumbing down the trails. It definitely affected group riding, as some Stravaists try to hammer every Strava section for which they know the very millimeter it starts and ends.
    But that doesn't make any sense either. On a road ride, drafting in the group and then launching into a segment, sure. But there's no drafting advantage on a real MTB trail, just other members of the group who may, for instance, climb faster but descend slower than the guy behind them, slowing each other down. I guess one can argue it helps with pacing if they otherwise having pacing issues, but if they really want a PR time, I think they need to ride by themselves at a time when no one else is on the trail.

    I think what I'm suggesting is, some people just want to ride fast with other folks who ride fast. Just because. I'm not sure that should dishonour the spirit of the group ride, unless said group ride was explicitly stated as a beginner, no-drop, or a "session" of some type.

    I'm further gonna play the devil's advocate here, and say that repeatedly practicing clearing a log, for instance, is probably something that you should work on by yourself (or with like-minded folks) and SHOULDN'T expect to do on a typical group ride, while everyone else waits....Just as the resident hammer shouldn't expect fellow group riders to help clear the trail ahead for an epic strava KOM.

    For the record, none of the group rides I have been on recently have actually had any of these problems IRL though. Everyone just kind of rides and all is good.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    But that doesn't make any sense either. On a road ride, drafting in the group and then launching into a segment, sure. But there's no drafting advantage on a real MTB trail, just other members of the group who may, for instance, climb faster but descend slower than the guy behind them, slowing each other down. I guess one can argue it helps with pacing if they otherwise having pacing issues, but if they really want a PR time, I think they need to ride by themselves at a time when no one else is on the trail.

    I think what I'm suggesting is, some people just want to ride fast with other folks who ride fast. Just because. I'm not sure that should dishonour the spirit of the group ride, unless said group ride was explicitly stated as a beginner, no-drop, or a "session" of some type.

    I'm further gonna play the devil's advocate here, and say that repeatedly practicing clearing a log, for instance, is probably something that you should work on by yourself (or with like-minded folks) and SHOULDN'T expect to do on a typical group ride, while everyone else waits....Just as the resident hammer shouldn't expect fellow group riders to help clear the trail ahead for an epic strava KOM.

    For the record, none of the group rides I have been on recently have actually had any of these problems IRL though. Everyone just kind of rides and all is good.
    No it doesn't make sense to sprint for the KOM after drafting the longer part of the segment or hammer the segments on an MTB group ride and recover in between etc. But it is happening with some guys. Whats the pleasure - I don't know. Strava is evil, as pointed out before.
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    As part of a group ride, what would you do for example at Kelso when you get to the couple of log rides, Teeter, skinny sections. Do you blow by them to keep riding, or do you give everyone a chance to try them out. I gave up on group rides when such features were avoided for the sake of moving along. I tend to ride with like minded folks that enjoy playing on features and don't mind waiting around a bit. In a larger group that can be a bit of an issue for sure. Sometimes you mess up going up over a climb with rocks or up a rock face or roots. I often like to get back and see why I messed it up and give it another shot. Specially something new. I guess it all depends on the group and what you are trying to get out of the ride. At any rate, this is getting away from trail sanitizing unless groups are getting rid of obstacles so it is not slowed down.

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    interesting you bring this up secret agent. the group of people i ride with really break up in those two groups. the group that likes to session a difficult section/feature. or the hammerheads. can't speak for everyone but just the group i ride with, the hammerheads are horrible at attempting any tech features. stuff that i wouldn't even give a second thought to, they have to dismount. with clipless pedals thrown into the equation they are very reluctant to try new stuff. they tend to stick to famliar trails and avoid trails that might result/require a dismount on. their bike handling skills seem to be stagnant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by secret agent View Post
    I agree with some of your points about the group rides. I have a couple of like minded guys I like to ride with, but the last couple of rides that I went to were just like you mentioned. Guys just racing to the next trailhead. No time for trying a feature twice if you messed it up or taking time to help someone work over a log or patch or rocks.

    I also get the feeling people in many disciplines in biking have a sense of entitlement as to what the trails should be. I have seen people dig and build dirt jumps on single track. cut logs, move rocks and other such behavior. No thought is given to how the trails were conceived and the work that went into them. There is little respect to the builders or the environment. They figure it's just dirt out in the forest and that they can do whatever they want. For the most part they can.
    most of our group rides happen in the winter - Hilton Falls and Agreement Forest...

    there is no hammering around in the winter, and we often spend time re-trying features, but mostly tough technical climbs... there were occasions where there would be multiple attempts before we'd call it a day for that particular challenge... everyone is on clipless - that is not an issue. this talk about clipless vs platforms and how it affects skills is so yesterday. I personally don't want to ride anything technical unless i am clipped in. almost all my riding buddies feel the same. the beauty of the group is that we can hammer when we feel like hammering but we do not go around features.

    as mentioned, Strava does get in the way at Kelso sometimes - as there is a friendly competition between few guys - which is fine...

    for those that want challenges - they will find them... biatching about dumbing down trails is not productive unless we try to figure out how to reduce the probability of it happening and there were some interesting suggestions around here... location of extreme tech trails is the key, i think, as well as skill improvement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    interesting you bring this up secret agent. the group of people i ride with really break up in those two groups. the group that likes to session a difficult section/feature. or the hammerheads. can't speak for everyone but just the group i ride with, the hammerheads are horrible at attempting any tech features. stuff that i wouldn't even give a second thought to, they have to dismount. with clipless pedals thrown into the equation they are very reluctant to try new stuff. they tend to stick to famliar trails and avoid trails that might result/require a dismount on. their bike handling skills seem to be stagnant.
    Can you please inform us on the relative size of the bellies of the people riding clipped in? Just curious

  34. #34
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    Back at Kelso...

    Why did they remove the jumps on the old digger downhill trail.
    The booter over the roots into the righthand corner and the booter that sends you out between the V in the tree.
    Both were perfectly rollable, and had been there for years.
    Whilst I prefer the jumps on the new DH line to the east, it was nice to still have the older run with a bit of air-time potential....

    Same with the little booters at the top by the lifts. They put them in for the races, but pull them out again after...and all they are is a little rollable pile.
    WHY?

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    D&D and Joseph Conrad in one MTBR thread? Never thought I'd see that. Diversity is and has always been the strength of this group.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    Can you please inform us on the relative size of the bellies of the people riding clipped in? Just curious
    Clearly it's all the bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    Can you please inform us on the relative size of the bellies of the people riding clipped in? Just curious
    all shapes and sizes, oh and they do race o-cups
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    all shapes and sizes, oh and they do race o-cups
    Great to hear that some of your friends race too when the mood strikes them. That's the nice thing about O-Cups, in that there's a place and category for everyone whether they only have modest skills like your friends, or whether they are at the sharp end of the stick on which the riders typically have good skills and fitness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Great to hear that some of your friends race too when the mood strikes them. That's the nice thing about O-Cups, in that there's a place and category for everyone whether they only have modest skills like your friends, or whether they are at the sharp end of the stick on which the riders typically have good skills and fitness.
    probably, but skills aren't as necessary in such a venue as fitness... you can see it in the courses (as you say "category for everyone"). that is racing and certain trails/networks reflect that. a lot of us prefer trails based more on skill thus the disconnect...
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    probably, but skills aren't as necessary in such a venue as fitness... you can see it in the courses (as you say "category for everyone"). that is racing and certain trails/networks reflect that. a lot of us prefer trails based more on skill thus the disconnect...
    Lol at skills not being necessary in O-Cup, there are Elite and Expert class riders at O-Cup who race Downhill and are regularly at Joyride / Blue working on their technical skills to gain an advantage. At those levels there is nothing left on the table, every advantage is necessary to make it to the podium.

    You also aren't going to get anywhere in O-Cup or the National DH circuit if you don't have the cardio or power to push a 35-40lb DH bike in 9th or 10th gear on the flats between turns, especially in Ontario.

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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    interesting you bring this up secret agent. the group of people i ride with really break up in those two groups. the group that likes to session a difficult section/feature. or the hammerheads. can't speak for everyone but just the group i ride with, the hammerheads are horrible at attempting any tech features. stuff that i wouldn't even give a second thought to, they have to dismount. with clipless pedals thrown into the equation they are very reluctant to try new stuff. they tend to stick to famliar trails and avoid trails that might result/require a dismount on. their bike handling skills seem to be stagnant.
    The skill set of the group of hammerheads you ride with do not represent the skill set of all hammerheads. As a group, their skill level actually varies a lot, just like the skills of those who prefer to session.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    probably, but skills aren't as necessary in such a venue as fitness... you can see it in the courses (as you say "category for everyone"). that is racing and certain trails/networks reflect that. a lot of us prefer trails based more on skill thus the disconnect...
    Courses and features vary, of course. Variety is the spice of life, and it wouldn't be much fun if they were all the same. Racing isn't for everyone, as there's lots of fun to be had with casual riding (which is what makes up most time spent on trails even for those who race) but lots of people enjoy it as an activity already in its present format. It's not broken so no need to fix it. Other formats of events like enduros now gaining more popularity too, so that if people are interested in events there's always something to match their preferences.

    Just a little tiny air here from the last O-Cup as posted up by someone in the Mansfield thread, but smooth navigation of sections like this all goes into being efficient on a race course.

    Dumbing down the trails at Kelso-969680_10152871646160052_2029892724_n.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by VVagabond View Post
    The skill set of the group of hammerheads you ride with do not represent the skill set of all hammerheads. As a group, their skill level actually varies a lot, just like the skills of those who prefer to session.
    For example, I am (sort of) a hammerhead that owns a dirt jumper and used to ride freestyle BMX. Be careful of those sweeping generalizations, Mr. SS. That would be like me saying all people who ride clipless have beer bellies. And we all know that is not true...right?
    Strava made me do it....

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    Sweet it's the age old ongoing useless debate about clipless vs flats and skilled vs hammerhead.

    Strava isn't evil. Douchebags will be douchebags, Strava just enables them.

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    The whole clipless vs flats is a stupid discussion when dealing with experienced riders. Good riders can do technical section clipped or unclipped. I can do most of what I do in flats on clips, but there are a number of things I don't want to try clipped in. So I ride flats if I know I will be on such a trail. I was not suggesting any kind of advantage to either which is what it seems to devolve into a pissing match. It was specifically targeted at beginner riders or riders that have poor technical skills. Riding without clips may help improve skill by reducing the severity of crashes or mishaps if you fail. It may also add a level of confidence due to not being locked in.

    If people are removing technical features I can only surmise it is because they don't have the skills or want to go faster. I can't believe it is vandalism as it is always to make a trail easier and not impassible.
    This is where the clipless issue may creep in. In either case, these individuals are either not aware that they are ruining it for others or don't care; maybe both.

    I am not sure what can be done about such people. My feeling is that in a place like Kelso, more man made features incorporating rocks and ladders bridges and North shore style technical stuff can be built. There should be ride arounds already built into the trails. there are already some of these there, but they are not well integrated and more of an afterthought. They also require more maintenance and upkeep. There are already a couple of of features there that are suspect and one bridge on the Xtreem that is downright dangerous right now if you are coming down toward the gap that has developed in it.

    They can try to take as may rocks as they can out of the Agreement Forest, but that seems like a job for Sisyphus. I don't think you can dumb down those trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    For example, I am (sort of) a hammerhead that owns a dirt jumper and used to ride freestyle BMX. Be careful of those sweeping generalizations, Mr. SS. That would be like me saying all people who ride clipless have beer bellies. And we all know that is not true...right?
    what happened? if it was just me making this observation then it could be construed as a generlization. but it is not just me. i also see this in the building of trails as well as others. i see this in the difference of trails in different locations as well as others. it is a sentiment thats in the riding community, it is the reason why in many cases unsanctioned trails get built here in ontario. to pretend that this does not exist and that everything is hunky dory is is the biggest generalization of them all...

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    [QUOTE=secret agent;10432662]The whole clipless vs flats is a stupid discussion when dealing with experienced riders. Good riders can do technical section clipped or unclipped. [QOUTE]

    i agree...

    the majority of riders don't fall in that category
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    Quote Originally Posted by singlesprocket View Post
    the majority of riders don't fall in that category
    Everyone has to start somewhere, and many enjoy their riding activities just fine accepting a certain plateau of fitness and/or skills. If there was a magic wand one could wave to increase skills or fitness or both, I'm sure that wand would be used, but people have many priorities in life. I would never bag on anyone for choosing to allocate their time, or areas for improvement (or non-improvement), in whatever way suits them regardless of whether that means they plateau, or eventually perhaps even decline, in their fitness or skills.

    So long as they are enjoying whatever kind of riding activity they are participating in, it's all good to me.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by shirk View Post
    Sweet it's the age old ongoing useless debate about clipless vs flats and skilled vs hammerhead.

    Strava isn't evil. Douchebags will be douchebags, Strava just enables them.
    Mountain bikers where racing their buddies on rides before there was Strava. Who remembers when we all used Cateye MTB cyclocomputers?

  50. #50
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    In summary....

    So I'm going to summarize the points I've gotten so far:

    1. Signage denoting trail difficulty needs to be improved/more prominent.
    2. Group rides help build skills and discourage bad behaviour.
    3. A master trail plan could help by building a set of trails that meet the needs of more cyclists (and hikers)
    4. There is no group voice for cyclists.
    5. Strava is evil.
    6. Clipless riders can't do tech or are fat


    I think I'll drop the last two as irrelevant or red herrings. I only use flats on my DJ, but I ride all the the tech in Kelso clipped in. I use Strava and haven't been called a douche (to my face). I'm not fat (yet).

    So this all comes around to getting together a group of cyclists to speak with a more common voice. All of the improvements would come out of that. There's nothing we can do as individuals.

    I guess I have to do some research to see what the best way to get something going is. The only 'Friends of" type group I can find using Google is Friends of Glenorchy, the new park at 407/4th Line in Oakville. I'm not sure how receptive to this sort of thing the Conservation Authority is.

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