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Thread: Soapbox time

  1. #1
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    Soapbox time

    So I went to Hardwood Hills this past Saturday to check out the Nationals course. I found the course to be much harder than the Sir Sam course, with many steep climbs that made it rather hard on single speed. I can live with that. But I was stunned to see them add a second gap jump to the course.

    WTF? Do they expect 50 and 60 year old sport riders to take air like X Games wannabe fools? I am getting a bit sick and tired of the attempt to introduce "air" into XC racing. I was never comfortable taking air and I did some experimenting during my years of downhill skiing. I certainly am not comfortable doing it on a bike. But the worst part is the huge penalty given for bypassing the jumps. For people with a solid background in taking air, it is a gift. Maybe the organizers can introduce wheelies or riding on skinnies and penalize those who cannot do them.

    Sorry but it had to be said. I sign up to these things to race XC, not to do any cheap stunts.
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    Counterpoint: since when does XC mean "my wheels must stay on the ground at all times"? Also, have you seen a world cup XC course lately? How are people going to learn to ride like Nino Schurter without courses which provide for air time? As someone explained to me a while back when I was wondering why the elites were doing shorter & more laps at Hardwood than the expert riders, it's because they're making it more relevant and getting with the times, so to speak. Things seen at the World Cup level will trickle down to lower levels to prepare riders for competing at higher levels. Also, Joyride 150. If you spent 10% as much time there practicing jumps & drops as you do training your cardio, you'd be laughing at the jumps at Hardwood.

    And now I'm gonna have some fun. What's up with all the double track and fireroads on the XC course? It's like they're making it into road riding on dirt, this is not what mountain biking is about. I demand that they remove all doubletrack and fireroad sections and add more technical features, especially to the climbs. I signed up to race XC, not road ride on dirt. If I wanted to road ride, I'd get a 29er, I mean a road bike.

  3. #3
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    So do we have pics of the jumps?

    I will need them to cast judgement.

  4. #4
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    I haven't ridden the course yet.

    From other discussions, it almost sounds like this is only in for the elite race Saturday. It apparently wasn't in the expert race (but maybe a typo that it was in for the sport race). Heard people have been injured on it.

    I'm all for throwing in stuff like. I think it's super fun. I know with smaller one last year, it was the highlight of my lap. I think wheels off the ground is an element of mountain biking and certainly when I'm out riding, while it may not be a 'gap' per say, it's not uncommon to launch a drop and need to clear something before landing (aka not be able to roll it). As long as there is a ride around for everyone.


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    Wow that looks like fun. Hope they keep this for the Epic 8 in Aug!
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  6. #6
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    Soapbox time

    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    Counterpoint: since when does XC mean "my wheels must stay on the ground at all times"? Also, have you seen a world cup XC course lately? How are people going to learn to ride like Nino Schurter without courses which provide for air time? As someone explained to me a while back when I was wondering why the elites were doing shorter & more laps at Hardwood than the expert riders, it's because they're making it more relevant and getting with the times, so to speak. Things seen at the World Cup level will trickle down to lower levels to prepare riders for competing at higher levels. Also, Joyride 150. If you spent 10% as much time there practicing jumps & drops as you do training your cardio, you'd be laughing at the jumps at Hardwood.

    And now I'm gonna have some fun. What's up with all the double track and fireroads on the XC course? It's like they're making it into road riding on dirt, this is not what mountain biking is about. I demand that they remove all doubletrack and fireroad sections and add more technical features, especially to the climbs. I signed up to race XC, not road ride on dirt. If I wanted to road ride, I'd get a 29er, I mean a road bike.
    Did you really bring in a World Cup example to a discussion about Sport racing for people over 50? Can you really be that ridiculous in your attempt to make yourself relevant?


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  7. #7
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    My tires burped looking at that. Between a hard tail, tubeless, and not being designed for flying, the mind says I would attempt the jump for sure but I'm not quite sure that my bike wouldn't explode in a ball of flames on landing, followed shortly by my massive bulk.

    Though I'm sure that it would be to many cheers of the inevitable pile of spectators that will be there hoping for it to happen.

    Also as a Solo rider for 8H events, for me its about the distance and fitness, so cardio and strength training take a precedence over extreme skills as that's what the courses usually demand from me. I'm not opposed to the log overs, rock gardens and what not, in fact I love me some rock and roots, but those are available in large quantity for me to practice on.

    Factor in having kids and limited time to travel and train, Joyride isn't my first option, but the local trail system is because, its free, and doesn't require me having to drive an hour or so to get to it.

    I admire people's abilities, and if this is something you could do blindfolded then I say this without any hint of sarcasm, that's awesome and honestly good for you, I envy your skill set.

    As for being in an 8H event? I'm going to say most likely not. With how banged up and injured people get on a course that's already fairly low key from a technical standpoint, having this drop in there is tempting fate.
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  8. #8
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    Soapbox time

    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    I haven't ridden the course yet.

    From other discussions, it almost sounds like this is only in for the elite race Saturday. It apparently wasn't in the expert race (but maybe a typo that it was in for the sport race). Heard people have been injured on it.

    I'm all for throwing in stuff like. I think it's super fun. I know with smaller one last year, it was the highlight of my lap. I think wheels off the ground is an element of mountain biking and certainly when I'm out riding, while it may not be a 'gap' per say, it's not uncommon to launch a drop and need to clear something before landing (aka not be able to roll it). As long as there is a ride around for everyone.

    There is definitely a ride-around for both jumps. But the penalty is significant on both. I question this practice. Rewarding somebody for little more than a cheap stunt seems wrong in the context of XC.

    Having said that, I will do the second jump. It is less scary. I did it last year too.


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  9. #9
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    Soapbox time

    Quote Originally Posted by pucked up View Post
    Wow that looks like fun. Hope they keep this for the Epic 8 in Aug!
    Let's get real here. Do you understand the liability in a citizen race where the majority won't even pre-ride? This would come as a complete surprise, with a spectacular crash.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    Let's get real here. Do you understand the liability in a citizen race where the majority won't even pre-ride? This would come as a complete surprise, with a spectacular crash.


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    You tell me. Should be no different than the Nationals. The by pass to the jump will still be there and the organizers can educate participant's of the jumps via website and at the captians meeting. It may even get more people out to pre ride the damn course.

    Heck it may even increase riders for the race. A lot of people I know would enter just for the jumps! There is a reason why the X-Games are so popular and tbat XC MTB is in a decline. What worked 10-15yrs ago when Canada was on top of MTBing with Green and Sydor doesn't work now with most young people. So hats off to the organizers for shaking things up.
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    Ive seen a video of some one taking the gap, and it looked harmless. The pic on the other hand looks pretty tough. I will have to wait and see for myself. But I doubt that will be in sport.

    On the other hand, this isba National Finals course. This is the top of the tops for xc racing. I might be dissapointed if it wasnt hard. We need to be prepairing this riders for what is really out there on the world cup circut.

  12. #12
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    Of course it is harmless when you see somebody jump it. I am the first to admit that compared to what they do at the X Games, this is an embarrassing, cheap stunt. It is like comparing a 50 year old Sport racer to a World Cup racers.

    And with all due respect, us sport racers are not competing in the nationals. Only expert/elite get that honour. Risking our necks for a cheap stunt seems a bit absurd to me.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pucked up View Post
    You tell me. Should be no different than the Nationals. The by pass to the jump will still be there and the organizers can educate participant's of the jumps via website and at the captians meeting. It may even get more people out to pre ride the damn course.

    Heck it may even increase riders for the race. A lot of people I know would enter just for the jumps! There is a reason why the X-Games are so popular and tbat XC MTB is in a decline. What worked 10-15yrs ago when Canada was on top of MTBing with Green and Sydor doesn't work now with most young people. So hats off to the organizers for shaking things up.
    I have done many 8 hour solos. Trust me, a citizen race is not the place for gap jumps. Too many will look at it and say: "that looks like fun" and proceed to injure themselves.

    But the good news is that they don't have to enter an 8 hour race and pay $90 to do the jump.
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    And with all due respect, us sport racers are not competing in the nationals. Only expert/elite get that honour. Risking our necks for a cheap stunt seems a bit absurd to me.
    Is it mandatory to hit the jump? No. Then take the time penalty and do the go-around. Or practice doing jumps until you're comfortable enough to air it.

    As someone lacking in fitness & cardio, maybe I should start complaining about how the climbs are too long and demand that the uphills be drastically shortened with technical sections added in their place. Or that I should have an EPO exemption. But that would be absurd, and damn near everyone would tell me to HTFU and train more.

    And you're a sport level racer, it's not like you're going to win anything big or qualify for the national team. You lose a couple places on the jumps because other better rounded riders had the skill to air it out and you didn't. Ok, fine. Again, you're a sport level racer, what's the big deal? You have nothing at stake other than a podium position to make you feel good. Does this sound harsh? Yes. But that's the truth whether you like it or not.

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    Yes, the alternate route sucks if you don't take the jump. Way longer and you lose all your speed. I couldn't get the courage up to try that gap and I'm not sure my six year old carbon scalpel can handle the landing without splitting in two!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    Is it mandatory to hit the jump? No. Then take the time penalty and do the go-around. Or practice doing jumps until you're comfortable enough to air it.

    As someone lacking in fitness & cardio, maybe I should start complaining about how the climbs are too long and demand that the uphills be drastically shortened with technical sections added in their place. Or that I should have an EPO exemption. But that would be absurd, and damn near everyone would tell me to HTFU and train more.

    And you're a sport level racer, it's not like you're going to win anything big or qualify for the national team. You lose a couple places on the jumps because other better rounded riders had the skill to air it out and you didn't. Ok, fine. Again, you're a sport level racer, what's the big deal? You have nothing at stake other than a podium position to make you feel good. Does this sound harsh? Yes. But that's the truth whether you like it or not.
    +1... I'm not much of a racer, but maybe I would be if there was more stuff like this... As it stands, most of my race experience goes something like this: 1) get blown away on the double track 2) get stuck behind all those guys that just passed me on the singletrack. So, I could use something to level the playing field!

  17. #17
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    so true, we need more jumps. it is what the majority of people want. it's what makes a trail fun and popular.


    Quote Originally Posted by pucked up View Post
    You tell me. Should be no different than the Nationals. The by pass to the jump will still be there and the organizers can educate participant's of the jumps via website and at the captians meeting. It may even get more people out to pre ride the damn course.

    Heck it may even increase riders for the race. A lot of people I know would enter just for the jumps! There is a reason why the X-Games are so popular and tbat XC MTB is in a decline. What worked 10-15yrs ago when Canada was on top of MTBing with Green and Sydor doesn't work now with most young people. So hats off to the organizers for shaking things up.
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  18. #18
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    Meh. I'll just go practice the jump. That's why they have pre rides
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    I have done many 8 hour solos. Trust me, a citizen race is not the place for gap jumps. Too many will look at it and say: "that looks like fun" and proceed to injure themselves.

    But the good news is that they don't have to enter an 8 hour race and pay $90 to do the jump.
    The jump may not be for most solo riders but there are a lot more team riders than solo. The good news is that the ones that will take the jump already have experience with getting air. Either from skateboarding or bmx which is where I came from and then transition to mountain biking. The bad news is that most kids now think MTB is an old man sport and will no way transition to it. So in a couple years time you can watch the 8hr and or the 24hr races die like the rest of the citizenship races due to lack of interest. I wonder what you'll complain about then?
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  20. #20
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    This brings up the question of how we define XC. I'm sure in some places, maybe out West? cyclists would consider drops, log bridges as part of their normal XC ride. In other places riders would consider lots of rocks to be part of their XC ride e.g. Hilton Falls

    As the technical abilities of riders evolve over time, the organizers have to add more technical features to the course to reward the more rounded riders. The difficult part would be balancing between the two. e.g. do we design the course so it requires 75% cardio and 25% technical skills? or some other mix?

    IMO, as long as there is ride around it is ok. Myself, I would likely take the penalty of the ride around, but from a spectator perspective it makes the course a lot more interesting and fun to watch!

  21. #21
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    Good work Pulse Racing and Hardwood Hills. Nice to see new trails getting built and more variety being added to Simcoe County.
    Keep up the excellent effort.
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    Just a friendly reminder......you the whiners are aware that Hardwood is the course in one year for the Pan Am games. So like the course at the London Olympics there will be sections that are extremely challenging for everyone else like Niņo Shurtner. So the real question is what is the plan for post Pan Ams after the games are all over.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptSydor View Post
    I haven't ridden the course yet.

    From other discussions, it almost sounds like this is only in for the elite race Saturday. It apparently wasn't in the expert race (but maybe a typo that it was in for the sport race). Heard people have been injured on it.

    I'm all for throwing in stuff like. I think it's super fun. I know with smaller one last year, it was the highlight of my lap. I think wheels off the ground is an element of mountain biking and certainly when I'm out riding, while it may not be a 'gap' per say, it's not uncommon to launch a drop and need to clear something before landing (aka not be able to roll it). As long as there is a ride around for everyone.

    By the way....Louda hit it.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by pucked up View Post
    The jump may not be for most solo riders but there are a lot more team riders than solo. The good news is that the ones that will take the jump already have experience with getting air. Either from skateboarding or bmx which is where I came from and then transition to mountain biking. The bad news is that most kids now think MTB is an old man sport and will no way transition to it. So in a couple years time you can watch the 8hr and or the 24hr races die like the rest of the citizenship races due to lack of interest. I wonder what you'll complain about then?
    So let's talk about ride-around penalties.

    So what if I decide to walk the jump? Strictly speaking one could walk it and make it infinitely more dangerous for people that won't expect somebody walking the take-off or the transition. The sad part is that it would be much, much faster than the ride-around and I would still have tons of momentum into the next climb. For the second gap jump, walking would be also much faster than the ride-around.

    It is only a matter of time before racers will walk such tough sections if the ride-around penatly is much bigger. To me, this is the balance point between the two choices. Do not make the penalty large enough to tempt somebody to walk the difficult part.

    I wish organizers would use that criteria. That would be fair, if we are still interested in fairness.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil View Post
    Just a friendly reminder......you the whiners are aware that Hardwood is the course in one year for the Pan Am games. So like the course at the London Olympics there will be sections that are extremely challenging for everyone else like Niņo Shurtner. So the real question is what is the plan for post Pan Ams after the games are all over.
    What does that have to do with sport racing?
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