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  1. #1
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    Technical Trails

    I rode behind the Wilmington JCC yesterday for the first time. I hated it. The trails were so rocky that they were barely passable. Some places were not even rideable, at least for me. I see a lot of people looking for technical trails and seemingly looking down on non-technical places like Nockamixon and Middle Run (two of my favorites). What am I missing? Is it a bragging thing or is there really a way to make slow crawling over rocks fun? Maybe I am just too soft.

  2. #2
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dung Hopper View Post
    I rode behind the Wilmington JCC yesterday for the first time. I hated it. The trails were so rocky that they were barely passable. Some places were not even rideable, at least for me. I see a lot of people looking for technical trails and seemingly looking down on non-technical places like Nockamixon and Middle Run (two of my favorites). What am I missing? Is it a bragging thing or is there really a way to make slow crawling over rocks fun? Maybe I am just too soft.
    I like the challenge. It's just more fun and rewarding for me.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  3. #3
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    Different strokes for different folks. Some people have the equipment and, more importantly, the skills to run super technical trails like that and enjoy it. Good for them. I'm like you and prefer faster and less technical trails. Ride the trails you like and don't worry about what anybody else thinks. Some people like technical trails and some don't. Its ALL good. Hell, the hottest thing right now in bicycling is "gravel grinding"; that's about as non-technical as it gets.
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  4. #4
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    It's all relative too. What was once technical, becomes less so, the more you ride a trail and memorize the lines.

  5. #5
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    I bought a new bike today. Maybe it will help me learn to appreciate rock. I doubt it though.

  6. #6
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    Congratulations! What kind of bike? If its a long travel, full susser with a slack headtube angle and dropper post, then - yeah - it should help with the rocks.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dung Hopper View Post
    What am I missing? Is it a bragging thing or is there really a way to make slow crawling over rocks fun? Maybe I am just too soft.
    I find challenge to be fun. Riding a trail you know you can 100% ride with no difficulty is boring. Difficult sections give you something to shoot for the next time you're there. There is no better feeling than the one you get when you finally clean a section that had been giving you fits.

    And as you ride more and progress, what is difficult now becomes routine, and you find something even more challenging to ride.

  8. #8
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    It's not a long travel but it is a 120mm full suspension. A Trek Fuel EX 8 29er. It should handle rocks better than my hardtail. We'll see, I haven't even put pedals on it yet.

  9. #9
    CrgCrkRyder
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    I am not a great technical rider but I enjoy the challenge that rock gardens, etc. present. I enjoy it on my full suspension bike, on the hardtail not so much. As long as you are having fun I would not worry about what other people think. Congrats on the new bike.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dung Hopper View Post
    Is it a bragging thing or is there really a way to make slow crawling over rocks fun? Maybe I am just too soft.

    is it really your belief that people with more skill than you or desire to challenge themselves (other words become more skilled) are only doing it for bragging rights?

    really?

  11. #11
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    Yes, I am suggesting that people who talk bad about places like Nockamixon and Middle Run for their lack of difficult technical areas may be doing so to subtley brag. Sort of an "I'm too cool for that" attitude.

    However, I was posing it as a question, really, whether riding big rocks is actually more fun or is it one-upsmanship. It may simply be different preferences or even that I haven't given it enough of a try to fully appreciate rock riding.

    I have never really enjoyed bouncing over big rocks. It rattles my brain and is uncomfortable. I simply don't enjoy the herky-jerky feeling of it. As a result, I can't imagine preferring rocks over a fast singletrack trail. It makes me wonder what I'm missing. Maybe the new ride will open my eyes to the joy of rocks. Maybe it won't.

  12. #12
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    Sometimes I want flow, but I can always enjoy riding tech. It's a definite feeling of accomplishment to be able to make some of the moves, and being able to string together a bunch of those moves to be able to clean a difficult section always gives me a rush.

    However, before I learned the skills to be able to make those moves I wasn't into tech at all. Couldn't understand how I'd EVER be able to ride some of that stuff.

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  13. #13
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    Thanks, Steve. That's probably where I am now. When I started riding the steep, rocky trails back there I was asking myself why I bothered to drive there when I could have gone to middle run.

  14. #14
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    I prefer rocks and tech stuff... that's why I ride a mountain bike. If I wanted fast, groomed trails, I would have stuck with BMX. As said previously, preference... not bragging rights.
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  15. #15
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    Liking (and being good at) rocky, technical terrain does not mean you have to diss on smoother trails. I feel sorry for people who, in a region like ours that offers so much riding diversity (both on and off road) can only enjoy certain trails.

    However, I think such people are rare. Most folks I ride with enjoy rough trails but also see the fun in smooth ones.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  16. #16
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    I was always under the impression every type of trail has something to offer if you limit yourself to one type of riding then your skills in any other area will never get better!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampboy62 View Post
    Sometimes I want flow, but I can always enjoy riding tech. It's a definite feeling of accomplishment to be able to make some of the moves, and being able to string together a bunch of those moves to be able to clean a difficult section always gives me a rush.

    However, before I learned the skills to be able to make those moves I wasn't into tech at all. Couldn't understand how I'd EVER be able to ride some of that stuff.

    Steve Z
    I feel the same way Steve. I remember when I first started riding MTB I didnt know anyone and usually rode alone. I would come across an obstacle & think "am I supposed to be able to ride over/thru that?" I'd usually give it a go & just see what happens.

    These days I prefer fast flowy trails but still enjoy a day in the chunk when the mood strikes. Best case is a place like West Branch that has lots of both.
    No moss...

  18. #18
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    I learned how to mountain bike on those very trails. My parents still live just a few miles away. Riding that section of Brandywine helped to prepare me for the trips I've taken all over the desert southwest like Sedona, St. George, and Moab. I realize technical terrain is not for everyone. I also love the fast flow of Middle Run and WCC. That is what I love about the sport. Every trail system offers a unique challenge. As many have mentioned already, there is a rush and a sense of accomplishment when conquering technical terrain IMHO.

  19. #19
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    By the way, where is the Wilmington JCC?
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

  20. #20
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    Wilmington JCC is in Talleyville, DE. Very easy to find off of 202S. They just built a new WaWa at the turn off for it. I park there towards the back to enter the best trails around this area again IMHO.

  21. #21
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    eBay: Some of the rocky trails along the slope down to the little creek are brutal. I thought I was going to have a heart attack coming back up. I parked at the JCC and headed due north.

    Eventually, I turned around and passed the parking lot and found a rocky trail that ran right down to a bridge across the creek and over to the gravel trail. This trail was rocky but rideable. I made my way up the gravel to Ramsey Road and realized that that was a place where I learned to mountain bike about 16 years ago. I hadn't been there since 1997. I am going to go back soon and try to get reacquainted with the part off Ramsey Road.

    Back from 1996 to 1997, I lived in the area. I had my bike stolen (a 3-speed beach cruiser that I treated as a mountain bike) so I went and bought a Gary Fisher at the Bike Line on 202. The $500 I paid for the bike seemed like an obscene amount of money at the time. I broke that bike in along Ramsey Road until I moved about 6 months later.

    I had some fun in that area and I want to go back. Just seeing it brought back a lot of memories (friends, women, etc.). God, that seems like an eternity ago.

  22. #22
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  23. #23
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    Rode there today. Some of my favorite trails in the area, also some of the gnarliest. I am one of those riders who seeks out the chunkiest most brutal terrain to test myself. What I enjoy about it is after having been defeated by a certain line time and time again... when you can go back and eventually conquer it, the feeling is sublime. I really enjoy the flow of White Clay and Middle Run, (though I would prefer Fair Hill over both), but the satisfaction that comes with taming a gnarly line and coming out without any new dings or pedal strikes isn't something that I find in super manicured trails. Being from PA also makes it hard to avoid the rocks, so I eventually learned to love them.

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