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  1. #1
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    XC race courses too smooth?

    Most pro's still race hardtails and looking at any XC race it's easy to see why, the courses are mainly smooth. In an extreme, one could even use a road bike with knobbies on many of them.

    Mtn biking susp technology isn't needed much if the paths are smooth and near rigid hardtails easily used.

    I suppose the term Cross Country would depict a course that's mostly made up of flattish single track trails but I question the lack of technical skill necessary in today's races.

    Why not throw in a 1km section of nothing but logs. Or maybe go up rock gardens instead of usually going down. Put in tons of jumps and drops on the straights.

    I mean heck, they already purposely put crazy hill climb sections in the course, why not actual skill stuff?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Destroy
    Most pro's still race hardtails and looking at any XC race it's easy to see why, the courses are mainly smooth. In an extreme, one could even use a road bike with knobbies on many of them.

    I've been on courses with pros and they ride the most technical terrain like they were just cruising down paved road. They can handle it on hardtails b/c they're PRO'S.

    Quote Originally Posted by Destroy
    I suppose the term Cross Country would depict a course that's mostly made up of flattish single track trails but I question the lack of technical skill necessary in today's races.

    Why not throw in a 1km section of nothing but logs. Or maybe go up rock gardens instead of usually going down. Put in tons of jumps and drops on the straights.

    I mean heck, they already purposely put crazy hill climb sections in the course, why not actual skill stuff?
    You've obviously never raced in West Virginia.
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    Idea! interesting...

    But if you throw in lots of jumps and drops then it's no longer a XC race... There are a few things to consider here:
    1) European courses are typically smoother than American courses. The one exception is Ft. William. This is just the way XC racing is done in Europe. They make the courses much more spectator friendly because the average Joe like to go out and watch a bike race. You can't have this if your course is all singletrack deep in the woods. European courses typically run through towns for this reason. It's more a showcase of fitness than technical skill, not to say that European XC racers have no technical skill. Frischi has ridiculous tech skills, according to Hans Rey
    2) Stemming from #1, we usually don't see pics from the technical areas of the courses because they are typically further away from the staging area and harder to get to. The photographers don't want to walk three miles with all their camera equipment to take pictures of one rock garden. I'm sure they are there, we just don't get to see them. Ask some non-Pros who race the national series about courses
    3) There's a different type of technical skill involved with riding a smooth course. You have to be able to go ridiculously fast and take turns and navigate smooth singletrack at that speed, a skill which I am still learning.
    4) XC racing and riding is all about diversity and not limiting yourself to one type of terrain. That's why courses like Mt. Snow and Ft. William still exist and are mainstays in the national and international calenders. Each year, if you notice there are low altitude courses (Sea Otter), high altitude courses (Deer Valley), technical courses (Mt. Snow), etc, etc. The point of XC is to be able to ride all types of terrain, smooth, rocky, rooty, whatever nature throws at you. There is a different type of fun in each type of trail. We all know what I'm talking about...

    There is more I could say but I digress...On one hand I agree with you though... NORBA and the World Cup could use one more really technical course, like one where there are so many rocks that your tires hardly ever touch smooth dirt. Especially in Marathon courses. It's still all about variety though...

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    kmoses pretty much summed it up. Pros are not like the rest of us. Everyone says to let your bike float under you on the tech stuff, and if you watch the pros you'll see it done correctly. Watch anyone else and they look like they are fighting the bike.

    Also, any of the east coast nationals are incredibly technical. But let's not forget, races are not only for pros, they have to keep the rest of us coming back by making them just tech enough for fun, not mostly unrideable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmoses
    I've been on courses with pros and they ride the most technical terrain like they were just cruising down paved road. They can handle it on hardtails b/c they're PRO'S.

    You've obviously never raced in West Virginia.
    Agree with your first statement... and I would like to add Pennsylvania to your second. Racing for 6hrs at French Creek (rocky, rooty, tech climbs, loose, lots of long rocky climbs) is no picnic, but the pros handle it very well even if on rigid SS's (I just hate getting passed by guys on rigid SS's on tech climbs... kills my flow...)
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    The Mt St. Anne course seemed a very good blend of tech and smooth

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    The Mt St. Anne course seemed a very good blend of tech and smooth
    Yep Mt. St. Anne is techy. I would offer up Snowshoe, Mount Snow, the new one in NC, Brian Head, etc. Many of our races here in CO and the one to the south of us in NM.

    The paved highway XC course thing is a myth. They are definitely out there, but that doesn't mean they are all like that.

    I would offer up that most pros are on duallys now anyway. Especially here in the States. There are a few exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbfool
    I would offer up that most pros are on duallys now anyway. Especially here in the States. There are a few exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions.
    A lot of pros are also helping to design new duallies... Adam Craig helped design the Anthem, Frischi helped design the Spark, JHK helped design the GF Race Day... the list goes on... it's just what they want to ride now that duallies exist that are as light or lighter than hardtails and pedal as efficiently...
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    I hate courses with a lot of rocks and tree roots. Give me a race course with lots of climbing and some smooth singletrack anyday. I have a job to come back to on Mondays, so falling and killing myself on a rocky or tree root infested course is not my idea of a good time.

  10. #10
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    They've got races at those types of trails too: tsali, lake hope ohio, etc.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Destroy
    Most pro's still race hardtails and looking at any XC race it's easy to see why, the courses are mainly smooth. In an extreme, one could even use a road bike with knobbies on many of them.

    Mtn biking susp technology isn't needed much if the paths are smooth and near rigid hardtails easily used.

    I suppose the term Cross Country would depict a course that's mostly made up of flattish single track trails but I question the lack of technical skill necessary in today's races.

    Why not throw in a 1km section of nothing but logs. Or maybe go up rock gardens instead of usually going down. Put in tons of jumps and drops on the straights.

    I mean heck, they already purposely put crazy hill climb sections in the course, why not actual skill stuff?
    I can not claim to know what US or European courses are actually like, but where are you getting this info from? Have you ridden the courses in Europe and the US? From my understanding, you have it backwards, that Europe has more technical courses (rocks, roots, switchbacks, climbs). They do have sections through towns or on pavement, but not the entire course. Each course needs a variety of terrain anyway to allow for passing or attacks etc.

    I have read in several magazines over the past few years that the reason the US XC scene is falling behind Europe so badly is due to LACK of technical courses compared to Europe.

    Any European or American Pro's out there wanting to set up straight and offer some facts?

    Like I said, I have not ridden any of those courses, but I think the general nature of the courses seem ok. Maybe a little to smooth at some places, but yes, that is why they have races at different venues. I also don't think the objective should be to turn it into a freeride or downhill set up. XC is an ENDURANCE race - speed and skill.

    I think your perception and reality may be off.

  12. #12
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    Yup

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbfool
    Yep Mt. St. Anne is techy. I would offer up Snowshoe, Mount Snow, the new one in NC, Brian Head, etc. Many of our races here in CO and the one to the south of us in NM.

    The paved highway XC course thing is a myth. They are definitely out there, but that doesn't mean they are all like that.

    I would offer up that most pros are on duallys now anyway. Especially here in the States. There are a few exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbikemad
    I can not claim to know what US or European courses are actually like, but where are you getting this info from?
    Simply news and professional pictures in mags and online. Look at any of the Pro Eur or US racing pictures. See much technical stuff? I sure don't. I find it hard to believe all the pictures I've seen are in easier areas of the course due to lazy photographers. They live for the great action shots, don't they?

    Most recent pics that prompted this post is the recent Belgium race. I was looking at the womens action pics.

    This is not an absolute. Of course there are races in different regions that offer technical challenge but my point was as a whole, whenever I see mtn bike pro racing pictures, the terrain is far from needing much skill. Endurance and strength, yes; skill, not much.

    Sounds like out east USA is the place to go for some good fun that 'GotMojo?' seems to hate. A good 300meter flat or up (not downhill) section of pure, rocks and roots is exactly what I'm talking about. Some thing to challenge man AND machine.

    From a spectator standpoint, I'd bet good money that adding jumps, drops or log sections on the straight flat sections of boring tracks would perk their interest quite a bit.

    And as was said, passing areas and such still need to factored in.

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    Running a race is a business. To make maximum money, you need maximum participation. And to have maximum participation you need to have a course everyone can handle.

    Sure, I'd love to have a race around the Porcupine Rim Loop, but how many women, beginners, juniors, and 9 yr olds are going to participate, and be safe. I know my wife wouldn't enter if she had to race that downhill. I would love it though!!

    Anyways, our local race series has up to 400 participants per race. The market has spoken and they think the courses are fun!! Otherwise they wouldn't be paying $34 each to race it.

    As far as pros on hardtails....I was amazed on how the Specialized Duo Pro Team at the 24 hours of Moab could bomb down those rocky washes and climb the opposite side like it was nothing....in the dark on hardtails!! They were freaking incredible!! I have a lot of hardcore downhiller friends who do crazy gap jumps and such, but I was still more impressed with what those XC pros can ride with minimalist equipment.


    Another point. As far as making XC course more technical to make it advantageous to the technically superior (which I think is your underlying frustration), it doesn't really work. In sport, expert, and pro, all the guys have pretty good technical skill. Some of the guys I race against, race DH on the side. It may gain you a few spots, but it won't take you from mid-pack to podium. You need to be well rounded in all areas: technical, strength, endurance, mental toughness, power/weight, sprinting, competitive spirit, etc.

    Maybe you should consider racing downhill, where technical skills are heavily weighted for success. But the downhill racers I know, train as hard as I do for expert level XC. It's just a different type of training. So you can go into that arena and find just as challenging to get podium positions.
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 04-26-2007 at 05:42 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmoses
    You've obviously never raced in West Virginia.
    Or in Australia. Two rounds of our state series here in Victoria included parts of the downhill course in the XC track. Rocky and technical sums up most of our race courses a lot better than smooth and flat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Some Guy
    Or in Australia. Two rounds of our state series here in Victoria included parts of the downhill course in the XC track. Rocky and technical sums up most of our race courses a lot better than smooth and flat.
    Was it Glenrowan that royale was saying was just plain evil?
    From what I know of their definition, some of the Vic XC courses would qualify more as All Mountain compared to what they often get overseas.

    On the commonwealth games part of the course used for Chase The Sun round 1, we actually go uphill on a section which the downhillers have turned into an unofficial section of track that they use

    Personally my preference is towards flat courses for XC.

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    I remember reading in Bike magazine about a guy who was getting upset with these hard-packed smooth trails, so he protested by riding a road bike with knobby tires and I think he actually placed pretty high.

  18. #18
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    I wouldn't say this looks easy...

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    MT SNOW, VT!!!! That's a technical race course....especially the downhill portion of the XC course where ALL of the spectators watch you descend. It's awesome.

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    My observation: For a purely United States perspective and from races I've done and comments I hear and see about trails, the southeast and east coast is the ticket if ya wanna be punished technically out there. Granted most places have smooth areas but your not getting out of a root infested or rock infested climb much.

    And same goes for descents. But maybe just cause they are more fun, the descents never bother me like all the energy/speed sapping climbs.

    But the technical factor is everywhere when high speed is involved....

    Even out west, maintaining balance in areas with crazy exposure and even bombing a wide open trail, (and from personal experience in grassy areas sometimes staying inside that "rut" at near 20 miles per hour, making small steering corrections trying not to catch the tire on the edges of the trail) is about as technical as it can get as well. Even though looking at someone riding out in the wide open like that looks pretty easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yoda2
    I remember reading in Bike magazine about a guy who was getting upset with these hard-packed smooth trails, so he protested by riding a road bike with knobby tires and I think he actually placed pretty high.
    That was actually a short track race at Sonoma. It was Carl Decker, and he won.

    Short track is the epitome of catering to the fans. It is supposed to be fast and low on tech.

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    Doesn't look hard.

  23. #23
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    Always does(look easy) from behind a pc.. By the looks/angle of the spectators above..that is steep for sure. And on a HT with a Sid..

    Some of our XC races down here in the SE mtns can be as tough or techy as one could ever want. After all, Pisgahs right down the road.. Most pics at races unfortunately are out by the start/finish, parking lot, etc..not back on the singletrack where the real stuff is found. At least thats how it is around dees parts.
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    It is indeed steep but the line is clean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckman
    Always does(look easy) from behind a pc.. By the looks/angle of the spectators above..that is steep for sure.
    I totally agree. The camera never does the trail justice.

    Look at this picture of Mary McConneloug behind her saddle.
    http://tinyurl.com/2zptjf

    And her boyfriend (husband?)
    http://tinyurl.com/2649cb

    They are both from the north east and excel on courses like Mount Snow. I can assure you Mary can out descend any of you complaining about smooth courses. They are back behind their saddles so that indicates it is steep. You've got loose dirt, ruts, roots, tree stumps, etc. It might not be the hardest section of trail out there, but I bet it's not easy.

    Check out the other pictures
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/mtb.php?i...tbXCworldcup12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    It is indeed steep but the line is clean.
    As loose as that is, I wouldn't call it a clean line.
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/mtbphotos...up12/m_DSC0092

    Look at the guy behind Jeremiah Bishop. Actually you can tell both are really having to work to control their bike.

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    Yup...and then add the fact that you'd just crested seconds before while bleeding from your eyes and drooling while at MHR...and then immediatey descending that kinda stuff. Yup. Easy as pie..
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    In the cycle news article there were comments about an easy course... Still doesn't look hard.

    But stick in a ledge, a root, several large boulders so that a jump is required....

    The line is clean , the terrain is loose.

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    Check out the pic os Sauser:

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/mtbphotos...up12/m_DSC0023

    More importantly, look at the guy in the background coming down the trail off the course Yea... no skills involved there

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    In the cycle news article there were comments about an easy course... Still doesn't look hard.
    The course of a whole may have been easy. Most courses are not that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    The line is clean , the terrain is loose.
    No offense, but that is an ignorant statement. Terrain, ground, dirt, whatever you want to call it is part of a line.

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    Not to me, but then I am trying to be precise.

    I am glad that most courses are not like that.

    I would hope for a section in each course where the combination ot the best line and terrain are difficult enough to cause a few dismounts (intensional or otherwise) during the race.

    BTW I did not see any comments in the article of dismounts or crashes...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Not to me, but then I am trying to be precise.

    I am glad that most courses are not like that.

    I would hope for a section in each course where the combination ot the best line and terrain are difficult enough to cause a few dismounts (intensional or otherwise) during the race.

    BTW I did not see any comments in the article of dismounts or crashes...
    They usually only mention it if it affects the out come of the podium, but apparently it was tech enough in sections to get the lead moto to crash.

    First a jammed chain forced him to stop and allowed Absalon to catch up. Then, while leading the French rider on a descent, the lead moto crashed directly in front of him.

    "After I caught back up to Julien, we caught the (lead) moto on the downhill and he crashed, like a meter in front of me, so I crashed into him! When I looked at my bike, it was under the moto, so I thought that was it, but the spectators pulled the moto off my bike and it was okay."

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    Was that on the section shown in the pictures or elsewhere on the course??

    It kinda implies that if the moto wasn't there, he wouldn't have fallen.

    In my only race, the lead ATV held me up so I dropped my chain....
    Why do the have a lead moto anyway?

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    This is the first time I've ever heard of a lead 'anything' in mtb racing. I ask why as well..? Must be a Euro thing.

    edit:this was for jeffscotts post just above. My bad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbfool
    They usually only mention it if it affects the out come of the podium, but apparently it was tech enough in sections to get the lead moto to crash.
    That's dumb. I'd be pissed off that motorcycle did that to me. Any pics of the incident?

    Just to add other general comment, decending technical it not what I was posting about. As another poster mentioned, go do Downhill if that's one's desire. I'm more refering to causing racers to have to slow down some, scan, think, plan, time, balance, control, absorb, lean, etc. instead of just head down pedal like crazy on boring hardpack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Was that on the section shown in the pictures or elsewhere on the course??

    It kinda implies that if the moto wasn't there, he wouldn't have fallen.

    In my only race, the lead ATV held me up so I dropped my chain....
    Why do the have a lead moto anyway?
    My point was that the lead moto crashed. I realized that it caused him to crash. Most of the lead moto guys I've seen are very good at riding there bikes on trails. So it apparently it wasn't too easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckman
    This is the first time I've ever heard of a lead 'anything' in mtb racing. I ask why as well..? Must be a Euro thing.

    edit:this was for jeffscotts post just above. My bad.
    Nope. They do them for the pros at Nationals. Reason? I'm not sure. The World Cup race courses are usually 6 k with 200+ guys starting. A lot of people get lapped. It also let's the crowd and announcers know where the lead is on the course and if the lead is coming. They aren't usually that close to the racers.

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    There is another thing to consider... It's no big deal to make it down that hill for sure. But think something else... first lap is fine, second is still fine, but now imagine last lap after 2 hours of riding when your hear rate is around 180+bpm. Still easy?
    Primoz

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    I know for cross the euro broadcasters use a lead motto with a camera guy on the back. Sometimes in a trail next to the cross race sometimes in front or behind. probably the same thing in big euro mt. bike races.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli
    Running a race is a business. To make maximum money, you need maximum participation. And to have maximum participation you need to have a course everyone can handle.
    This is very true. I think that we also need to understand that to have maximum participation you need to have a diversity of courses. We need this for the future of the sport. If I was a beginner racer and every course was really rocky and technical I would probably stop racing after a year because it was too painful. I know that I didn't start racing technical courses until me second year racing. I didn't have the necessary skills to ride technical courses at race pace. It's still hard. Also, if races were only on technical courses then I personally would get bored. Every course would be the same. I like having a diversity of courses, everything from smooth to rough is good for me, as long as there are courses of both types.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    It is indeed steep but the line is clean.
    Just because you see the line as clean doesn't mean that it's not technically hard. I don't know, maybe we have different definitions of "clean." When I think of a clean line I think of smooth, hardpack (read:not loose at all) dirt that is basically like pavement and is clear of any obstacles on the trail (rocks, roots, etc.) or on the sides of the trail (trees leaning in, bushes, stumps). In that shot I see loose dirt, some roots, and rocks to throw you off line. Also remember that everything becomes more technical with speed. Riding singletrack at 25mph makes everything technically challenging.
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    Quote Originally Posted by primoz
    There is another thing to consider... It's no big deal to make it down that hill for sure. But think something else... first lap is fine, second is still fine, but now imagine last lap after 2 hours of riding when your hear rate is around 180+bpm. Still easy?

    Not easy at all, but that just doesn't look like a difficult section to me, the line is just to clean...

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    I was talking more about general not this particular section.
    And few more things about lazy or not lazy photographers (since that would be my job... being sport photographer, not being lazy ). Sometimes there are limits, and even though you would love to go all the way around the track, it's just not possible. Most of agencies or newspapers don't have more then one or two photographers on track, which means you have to be somewhere close to finish area, if you want to catch podium. So this means hiking for few kilometers to other side of track, where more interesting section would be, is out of question. And besides... if you know sport, and if you have enough experiences, you can get really great photos, even if section is not technically most demanding. Most of time you actually get better photos on less demanding sections, then on more demanding ones. If nothing else, you get nicer background without bunch of people standing 1m off the track. And on the end I'm paid for good cycling photos not for photos of cyclists on most demanding section.
    Primoz

  43. #43
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    I remember years ago, like 15ish, following Gunner on some 'smooth non-technical singletrack' at Slatyfork during a warmup. It was just rolling, grass lined, creekside, hardpack dirt/clay singletrack with maybe an old cut stump that might catch a pedal.

    I got schooled trying to follow his wheel. Managed to keep him in sight and learned more about cornering in those five minutes than ever before. The pro dogs and top tier racers make that trail get tighter and more technical because they are riding with speed that 90% of us can't imagine. Using the entire trail on the edge of traction at race pace is fer sure a 'technical' skillset.

    There's a technicality that comes from the terrain itself, and there's another category of 'technical' that involves the influence of speed. They make it harder by riding it at speeds that few of us amateurs understand.

  44. #44
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    Why the heck would you want high risk sections (jumps, no fall areas, dismount areas, etc) in a XC course? XC racing is about endurance first and foremost.

    I am not thrilled with my endurance, but I certainly don't see a solution in making the courses more technical. At 45 years old, I have limited tolerance for risk and injury. I have raced on some courses (Canada Cup comes to mind) where the technical challenge was more than enough for me. If it become difficult enough that we have to dismount for fear of breaking our bones or the bike, then the fun is gone.

    Besides I race a rigid SS bike, so even relatively tame single track can feel like a scray ride when speed is added.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    KHS CX 550 cyclocross

  45. #45
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    in the rules

    again, I am not 100% on this one, but i think it is actually in the UCI rules that the entire course needs to be rideable, that a rider show not have to dismount. (can anyone confirm this? commisaire on the weekend just warned that there was a sandy climb would require all riders dismount, but he was allowing it in the race, even though it did not keep to the rule that the entire course is to be rideable).

    all I can say is, those who don't do it, don't know what they are talking about. just looking at pictures is hardly an educated opinion.

    all this banter about one section of downhill, whether it is a "clean line" or technical or not is just ignorant. it does not take big features to make a course "technical", it is the race on the whole, the conditions, the weather etc.

    also, looking at still images in mag or online NEVER gives the real feel. cameras just can't show the true angle. and what may be "easy" to the average joe at 7 mph, is something entirely different than at 25 mph... redlined HR... with 3 guys on your tail... and the leader 20 seconds ahead...

    i just don't get this. XC IS AN ENDURANCE RACE. ALL racers have EXCELLENT technical skills compared to the average joe or sport racer. Not just good, EXCELLENT and they make it look easy.

    Still wish some actual PROs would chime in and set us all straight. If courses are really too smooth or not?

  46. #46
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    Seems like one could pick ones races then, some more technical come less technical.

    I would like to see more MTB bike racing on TV, this probably means more excitment....I enjoyed the Mt St Anne Race for example, guys scambling down the rocky section, some riding it.

    I would have thought road racing, TDF was all about endurance...

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    I would like to see more MTB bike racing on TV, this probably means more excitment....I enjoyed the Mt St Anne Race for example, guys scambling down the rocky section, some riding it.

    I would have thought road racing, TDF was all about endurance...

    I think we would all like to see more on TV.

    Road racing also about endurance. But it is also a TEAM sport for the most part. Strategy comes into play.

    At the highest levels of MTB XC racing, they are ALL good riders. It usually some down to a few things like fitness, desire, NO mechanicals/flats. Note that most MTB races train tons on the road, putting in the long miles on a road bike to build technical skills?.... No, they already have that. It is ENDURACE and fitness that makes them a winner at that level.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbikemad
    again, I am not 100% on this one, but i think it is actually in the UCI rules that the entire course needs to be rideable, that a rider show not have to dismount. (can anyone confirm this? commisaire on the weekend just warned that there was a sandy climb would require all riders dismount, but he was allowing it in the race, even though it did not keep to the rule that the entire course is to be rideable).

    all I can say is, those who don't do it, don't know what they are talking about. just looking at pictures is hardly an educated opinion.

    all this banter about one section of downhill, whether it is a "clean line" or technical or not is just ignorant. it does not take big features to make a course "technical", it is the race on the whole, the conditions, the weather etc.

    also, looking at still images in mag or online NEVER gives the real feel. cameras just can't show the true angle. and what may be "easy" to the average joe at 7 mph, is something entirely different than at 25 mph... redlined HR... with 3 guys on your tail... and the leader 20 seconds ahead...

    i just don't get this. XC IS AN ENDURANCE RACE. ALL racers have EXCELLENT technical skills compared to the average joe or sport racer. Not just good, EXCELLENT and they make it look easy.

    Still wish some actual PROs would chime in and set us all straight. If courses are really too smooth or not?
    Well, this won't count for much, but my opinion is that of a licensed semi-pro. I consider descending a decent strength of mine, and race primarily in CO. I've been racing for 7 years (as an expert) and have raced at Sonoma, Big Bear, Snowmass, Angel Fire World Cup course, Mount Snow, Durango (both of the national venues) and Alpine Valley (1 year in Wisconsin), and like I mentioned before I think the easy XC venue thing is a myth.

    Will those with a higher skill set than me think it's a myth? Probably not. Of those listed Sonoma was the easiest, but it definitely had it's moments.

    It think the tech courses serve a purpose and the mostly fitness courses serve a purpose. I like the variety. I do well on those that have a combination of both.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmoses
    You've obviously never raced in West Virginia.

    In response to the original post, I'll side with kmoses. Mainly because
    I have raced some of the courses in WV and have ridden most of them
    at one time or another. What a great mixture of everything. There is
    always at least one or two that are easy however there are several that
    make you wish you were on the easier ones .

    Just enjoy them all and remember, it's better to be out there riding that
    smooth boring race course than sitting at work dreaming of racing a
    great technical course.


    ODN
    Caffeine ! "Do stupid things faster and with more energy" ! !

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbfool
    It think the tech courses serve a purpose and the mostly fitness courses serve a purpose. I like the variety. I do well on those that have a combination of both.
    Agreed. You also become a more balanced rider if you are racing different styles of courses. If you race only on tech courses you would be really fast there but I would venture a guess that you would be slower on pure fitness courses.

    Then there is the fact that they are all interrelated. Having good tech skills (i.e. good line choice, balance, bike control) helps you on fitness courses because the handling skills have become second nature. You don't have to worry about your line around a turn or something, you can just concentrate on breathing and hammering your legs off. And having good fitness helps you crank hard though all those rock gardens in the tech courses... so it's all related...
    Brought to you by rocks.

  51. #51
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    Watching the "Offroad to Athens" documentary, I'd say they Euro courses are indeed pretty technical.
    Now the Winding Trails course in Farmington, CT is a veritable expressway!

  52. #52
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOszkgM-uME

    This great above vid shows some stuff that should be on pro XC race courses.

  53. #53
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    Now I get it... what your thinking of is called an adventure race right??? You should try one... they look like fun...
    Brought to you by rocks.

  54. #54
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    I would think that would be called something other than X/C, it would be more like Stage races or challenges.

  55. #55
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    I copied this from ashwinearls post:

    OOps didn't work, read his article it has a good definition of an MTB X/C race.

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