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  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    I believe we were talking specifically about bike parks, so it would be a trail dedicated to bikes. I can't recall seeing a squirrel catcher on a public trail out west. Do they have them out in your neck of the woods?
    Sometimes. One is a compact city park that's sortof bike-parky (Tannery Knob in Johnson City, TN). Another is Schooner Trace in Brown County State Park in Indiana. Another is the short downhill line at Southwestway Park in Indianapolis, IN. All three use fairly gnarly rock waterfall features at the start of the trails because of either additional mandatory gnar later on down the trail, or because of big jumps (Southwestway Park).

    Pisgah and Dupont don't really have them. Almost all the trails in Pisgah are old (sometimes VERY old) logging roads and footpaths, so nothing of the sort is intentional there. DuPont's trails are rarely harder than intermediate level, and when they are, people who are caught there and shouldn't be either turn around, walk the hard stuff, or attempt it anyway (and probably crash). There are enough spots here that are pretty much mandatory hike-a-bike for anyone that most folks almost expect it at some point on a ride.

  2. #202
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    we don't build squirrel catchers per se on the trails, but we do build several hits in succession with no space in between where you're either all in or you're all out. all of our jump spots have squirrel catchers though...


  3. #203
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    Batchelor Street Trails in SW MA has (had?) a trail named "Entrance Exam" near the beginning of the trail network. It had several features near the beginning of the trail that required solid Intermediate+ skills to clean. There was a sign clearly stating that if you had trouble with those features you should turn around because it was only going to get harder from that point forward.

    This was back in the days when trail builders had few concerns regarding liability, and "go arounds" were universally derided as "p**** paths." Not the most politically era of mountain biking, but it kept most riders from getting in too far over their heads. For me, it taught me not to on sight unfamiliar features, always evaluate risk versus my skill, and ultimately not hesitate once I'd committed to a line.

  4. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    we do build several hits in succession with no space in between where you're either all in or you're all out.
    I like trails like that. They can be scary but if you do it right it's really rewarding. We have a new trail like that on which you have to nail the first double jump cleanly in order to have the right momentum for the next several. If you case the first one you'll case the rest. We call it, "lawyered" or "lawyering" as in case after case after case.

  5. #205
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    Mountain biking is an interesting sport regarding risk. In many instances jumping and going faster is less risky with less chance of crashing. Most trails have a flow speed that they were designed to be ridden at. Ride them slower than that and you may actually be putting yourself at greater risk. I have injured myself more on easy flow trails not jumping than I have doing crazy ass gaps.

    Your presumption that keeping the wheels on the ground is safer is not neccesarily correct.

  6. #206
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Imma slap noob stickers on everyone who needs it.
    LOL Liked that one!

    ...

    And interesting thing that about "filters/qualifiers/squirrel catchers/gatekeepers" because I don't live in an area where this sport is as developed and otherwise, wouldn't know about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    So, I was thinking about this a bit more.

    Labeling riders is an interesting idea... but I think its one that would be incredibly hard to pull off (enforcement/etc). As basically you're talking about a biking license test, and/or different skill level licenses.

    Instead, mountain biking has done the reverse. We label the trails by difficulty/description. So people have to "police" themselves, and choose trails that are appropriate to their skill level.

    If they decide to go down a freeride/jump trail that is way above their skill level, they may crash and get hurt (which is unfortunate/sad), but there really isn't much you can do about it, imo, without investing considerably more resources into enforcing stuff.

    Maybe bike parks could do something similar, on some of the truly difficult trails, but that would still require something like a "skill license" to be issued, which is a heck of a lot more overhead/oversight than I think could be easily managed by a single park.
    Very interesting. Wouldn't hear this on a youtube video.

    ...

    And yes, I'm new at mountain biking and now I'm actually reluctant to give any encouragement to strangers or unsolicited advice!

    As a thought, and mind you, I have never been to a bike park public or private or anything like that, but could the purely voluntary use of noob stickers at the very least help people find others like them?

    Edit: Added:
    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    Mountain biking is an interesting sport regarding risk. In many instances jumping and going faster is less risky with less chance of crashing. Most trails have a flow speed that they were designed to be ridden at. Ride them slower than that and you may actually be putting yourself at greater risk. I have injured myself more on easy flow trails not jumping than I have doing crazy ass gaps.


    Your presumption that keeping the wheels on the ground is safer is not neccesarily correct.
    I did fall last time I rode, and one of them cases was bcz I was going a tad faster than usual. But that's probably more bcz my brain is not used to the speed yet. I fell on a 90ish degrees turn with maybe five half-foot steps on it. I had to tuck my chin down to hit the ground with my helmet (!) But that was not a case of jumping vs. no jumping... So, now I'm into going slow again. But when you say that going faster is sometimes safer, can you expand a little more on that?
    Last edited by AlbertHenry; 2 Weeks Ago at 03:02 AM. Reason: Forgot to add a comment.

  7. #207
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    But when you say that going faster is sometimes safer, can you expand a little more on that?
    Forward momentum often helps you clear over obstacles whereas if you are going too slow, you will stall out and fall/stop. This is easy to see if you ride over log stacks, if you don't have the speed to take you up and over, you will stop before you reach the top and fall over. Going too slow, you'll often just bounce more upwards without moving forward enough to clear the obstacles. Also, if there is a drop, if you go too slow your front end will just drop steeply, pitching you forward rather than your bike smoothly leaving the ground and staying more parallel to the landing surface and in control.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  8. #208
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    could the purely voluntary use of noob stickers at the very least help people find others like them?
    No. In all honesty, some people would take it as sarcasm, and some advanced riders would use them out of sarcasm. It really isn't a problem. There are beginner levels rides where beginners can meet each other. There are skills clinics where you are sorted based on skill (in part based on questions you answer, and in part based on how coaches at the clinic assess your skills). If you show up to an "all levels" ride, it simply becomes obvious to everyone else (based on their own observations and assessments) where your skills fall in compared to everyone else.

    [QUOTE=AlbertHenry;14437069]I did fall last time I rode, and one of them cases was bcz I was going a tad faster than usual. But that's probably more bcz my brain is not used to the speed yet. I fell on a 90ish degrees turn with maybe five half-foot steps on it. I had to tuck my chin down to hit the ground with my helmet (!) But that was not a case of jumping vs. no jumping... So, now I'm into going slow again. But when you say that going faster is sometimes safer, can you expand a little more on that?

    I had this happen on my last ride. A number of spots had plenty of rocks and roots. At one particular location, the descent was fairly fast, but there were waterbars/steps, it was somewhat eroded, and there were plenty of rocks poking up out of the trail. If you chose a good line, you could pick up some good speed. If you didn't, you'd need to creep down it. At one point, I took a little jump off one of the waterbars, and my line was not good. I hit the ONLY cluster of rocks in the trail downhill of the waterbar. One of my riding buddies did the same. But because we had some speed, our bikes had enough momentum to ride over the rocks. If either of us had been going slower, the rocks would have stopped our front wheel dead and we would have probably crashed unless we had low speed trials skills to hop over the rocks, which we do not.

    There's not an absolute speed for this cutoff. It depends on the size of the obstacle, and all of the little aspects of your bike that make it what it is. And there absolutely can still be a speed that's too fast, as well. It absolutely takes some skill to add speed to your riding. Your brain does need to get used to processing things more quickly for sure. But you also need to have a good handle on body positioning on the bike. The faster you go, the lower you need to be able to get your center-of-gravity to remain stable. You need to know how to find a centered body position so that hitting bumps doesn't knock you out of that centered position. You need good bike-body separation with firm, but fluid control so that you can allow the bike to move beneath you and let your arms and legs absorb those movements while keeping your body low, centered, and stable.

    If you add speed and technical challenge and you're too stiff, your center-of-gravity is too high, and/or you aren't using good bike-body separation, you're going to have problems. Those are critical skills you need to develop for mountain biking. The great thing about those skills is that you can (and in fact, it's probably preferable to do so) practice them in empty parking lots and open fields. I learned these things on my own goofing off on urban/college campus rides without any formal direction or instruction (which didn't even exist at the time, anyway). Everything else you do/learn on a mountain bike will build on these things, so they're important to learn.

    The crash you describe sounds to me like you were attempting something your skills aren't prepared to handle. Slow speed technical riding requires the ability to track stand, particularly in awkward positions. It also often requires some hopping skills to independently move and place your wheels (with some precision). Watch some Jeff Lenosky "Trail Boss" vids on Youtube sometime. He frequently applies these slow speed trials skills into trail riding. He was an advanced trials rider doing professional demonstrations and videos (on VHS) back when I was a noob.

    If you hit your helmet, you probably ought to replace it. Bike helmets aren't generally designed to take more than one hit.

  9. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    we don't build squirrel catchers per se on the trails, but we do build several hits in succession with no space in between where you're either all in or you're all out. all of our jump spots have squirrel catchers though...
    Are these "secret" trails, or can you tell us where they are, so duffers like me don't end up on one by mistake? What sort of rating do you give them, if any?

  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    could the purely voluntary use of noob stickers at the very least help people find others like them?
    Feel free to make one for yourself. I doubt too many people (other than yourself) would bother.

    Believe me, to those of us who've been at this a long time, we can tell within an instant if a rider up ahead is a beginner. No sticker or warning label needed.

    Even when a really good rider is pretending to be a rookie you can tell by their movements that they're not.

  11. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by andytiedye View Post
    ..don't end up on one by mistake? What sort of rating do you give them, if any?
    oh, you won't end up on any of them by mistake, but everything obviously has go around routes as not all of our friends can hit everything and we still want them to ride with us too. rating of them? everything is rampage inspired. it's a very very rare day that someone comes out and is able to do everything cleanly on the first day of sessions, and those few were legitimate name pros..


  12. #212
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Feel free to make one for yourself. I doubt too many people (other than yourself) would bother.

    Believe me, to those of us who've been at this a long time, we can tell within an instant if a rider up ahead is a beginner. No sticker or warning label needed.

    Even when a really good rider is pretending to be a rookie you can tell by their movements that they're not.
    similarly, assuming clothed identically, we can also quickly tell if it's a male or female from body positioning way off in the distance as well...


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    Cool I've never been to a bike park or skills park before. So you can see if someone is a rookie, huh?

    Carrying momentum, looking ahead, staying separated low and loose. I'll be practicing these more. I do remember looking ahead while going down here but you have to have A LOT of trust in your bike.

    Why so much jumping?-imgonline-com-ua-compressed-pjbyjkgfjuean.jpg
    Why so much jumping?-imgonline-com-ua-compressed-u5thlgolthdg.jpg

    Are you supposed to somehow memorize where it was you wanted to go?

    Also, how hard should I grip my bike if I want to stay loose?

    PS> That's not where I fell, and I hit my head lamp which is very loosely attached to the helmet. I wasn't going that fast. Just not used to it.

  14. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    Cool I've never been to a bike park or skills park before. So you can see if someone is a rookie, huh?

    Carrying momentum, looking ahead, staying separated low and loose. I'll be practicing these more. I do remember looking ahead while going down here but you have to have A LOT of trust in your bike.

    Are you supposed to somehow memorize where it was you wanted to go?

    Also, how hard should I grip my bike if I want to stay loose?

    PS> That's not where I fell, and I hit my head lamp which is very loosely attached to the helmet. I wasn't going that fast. Just not used to it.
    Anyone who's been around for awhile can tell on any trail whether a rider is beginner or advanced. There's a very obvious comfort level with how people handle their bike. Those steps aren't that big of a deal. Sure, it's not what I'd expect beginners to ride or even attempt, but a solid intermediate rider should be able to negotiate that. Yes, you have to trust your bike, but it's not really an inordinate thing.

    If you ride a trail REALLY REALLY often, then yeah, you might start to memorize things. But you don't want to rely on that too much because trail conditions change. No, the primary thing you need to rely on is your ability to read the trail and assess conditions on the fly. How does traction feel right now? What adjustments can you make right now to improve it? Is traction really good, and allowing you to push yourself harder? Or is it really bad, forcing you to ride even more conservatively? Is there new erosion, have the rocks moved, or are there new trees down? All these things can change in short amounts of time. The rider ahead of you can knock a rock loose, so it can be a timeframe of seconds!

    Staying loose is not a question of how strong to grip the bike. I mean, sure, you need to be able to hold the bars and access your controls (brakes and shifters and anything else you've got). You can either grip too firmly or too loosely. Doing either will result in problems.

    But you also need to avoid tensing up the rest of the muscles in your body. You NEED to be able to move your arms, your legs, your hips, your shoulders, and your core. But you also need to have firm control over that movement. If you don't, you'll collapse and flop around on the bike and that causes problems, too. It requires strength and stamina. That's why I (and the guys in the last video I posted) get so exhausted on that really fast and rough descent. It takes a lot of effort to CONTROL your body in situations like that.

    This is why, as a beginner, you need to control your progression on the trails. It takes time to learn how to read the trail and assess conditions quickly at riding speed. It takes time to learn body positioning on the bike. It takes time to learn to smoothly control your body movements. And it takes time to learn to use all of these things at riding pace on trails that change. You've gotta keep riding, keep practicing, and take efforts that you don't get in over your head. Walking something that's a bit much for you so you can ride again tomorrow is better than crashing, injuring yourself, and having to take time off the bike.

  15. #215
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    Albert.

    From the photos, its a bit hard to tell exactly how difficult those stairs are. But like Harold mentions, that to me is beyond what I'd expect any true beginner to ride. And, also, looking at it, and Harolds comment... I think I'm solidly in the intermediate category (progress?), as I think I could handle it, but it doesn't look like a total walk in the park. It really comes down to the turn radius/spacing/steepness/slickness of those stairs when turning.

    As far as gripping the bike and staying loose?

    Gripping the bike hard with your hands is super tiring (will cause "arm pump", where your fingers struggle to hold on, and when you let go of the bars, your fingers stay curled like they were still on the handlebar for a while, and is moderately painful). Additionally, the tight grip keeps your upper body tense, and that doesn't let the bike "dance" around under you.

    I'm trying to think of how to describe the actual grip strength/force. Its definitely firm-ish, as there is no chance that your hands will slip off the bars, even when you take a decent impact/jolt. I guess its similar to how I hold a hammer, or machete when I'm using it? Too tight and my hands will hurt from the repetitive impact vibrations, too loose and it will fly out of my hands when using it.

    In my experience, this "looseness" mostly comes with time on the bike, and the associated confidence that comes with it. I think I'd mostly describe it as being comfortable on the bike in the type of surrounding/situation you find yourself. If you're not comfortable on the bike, you tend to tense up, and ride more defensively (usually more weight back, and less mobile/fluid on the bike from what I can tell). And in my experience, it is just plain more difficult to ride well when you ride defensively.

    And memorizing? I have ridden a number of trails quite frequently. I don't think I have them "memorized" in the traditional sense. But, I do have a good idea where most of the places I find more difficult are, and I'm constantly trying to find different ways to approach those areas (which, is what I'm practicing each time I'm riding down it, trying to get better).

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    It comes so naturally to both of you that I think you misunderstood the OP's comment.

    I am fairly sure what the OP means about "memorizing" is that since we are supposed to be looking far ahead on the trail to "read" it, and NOT look at the front wheel, we have to not only read, but instantaneously and perfectly memorize the trail (at least short-term) so we can navigate it by dead reckoning. I can't do that either.

  17. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    So you can see if someone is a rookie, huh?
    Yes. We can "thin-slice" a person by their body language, attire, equipment, etc. and get an idea of what we might expect to encounter.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    you have to have A LOT of trust in your bike.
    That's why one should buy good quality equipment and take care of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    Are you supposed to somehow memorize where it was you wanted to go?
    Memorizing a trail does help improve one's performance but having good bike skills will let you read a trail as it comes.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    Also, how hard should I grip my bike if I want to stay loose?
    Squeeze the grips firmly but loosen the arms. If you're losing your grip then squeeze more tightly. If you're death-gripping the bars then you'll get fatigued and stiffen up prematurely. Somewhere in the middle.

  18. #218
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    Quote Originally Posted by andytiedye View Post
    It comes so naturally to both of you that I think you misunderstood the OP's comment.

    I am fairly sure what the OP means about "memorizing" is that since we are supposed to be looking far ahead on the trail to "read" it, and NOT look at the front wheel, we have to not only read, but instantaneously and perfectly memorize the trail (at least short-term) so we can navigate it by dead reckoning. I can't do that either.
    I took the comment at exactly face value, of what the words written actually mean. I didn't try reading into it as you have.

    That's not how you scan the trail, though. You don't focus so far ahead and then ignore what's going on right in front of you, relying on your short-term memory of what you saw a few seconds ago.

    No, no. Reading the trail involves actively keeping your view dynamic. Yes, you want to scan far ahead to see what's coming up and start planning for it, but when there's something you need to address right away, you don't want to ignore it. You don't want to focus ON that thing so much that you run into it and crash (or ride off your line and crash), but you want to focus on how you're going to get through it and where you're going to wind up after it. Sometimes, the way you ride through something will be determined by what comes AFTER it. Maybe there's something even more challenging next that requires you to plan your line multiple moves ahead. Reading the trail and scanning it are never static things.

    Think of it as "now" and "next" and that you actively need to look up and down the trail between those two points.

    Very often, even, the angle at which you view something will change your assessment of how to deal with it. So sure, you note that it exists far ahead of time, but you need to be prepared to change your strategy as you get closer. That requires you to look at it again when it's closer to your front wheel. And that's why for particularly vexing spots, you might also want to get off the bike and look at it from multiple angles. Why you might make multiple dummy approaches. Why you might want to watch other riders do it first. Why you might visualize everything in your head for days, weeks, or longer before you can clean it or even work up the nerve to try it.

    Sometimes, the thing you need to change in order to ride a tough spot might seem counterintuitive. Having other skilled riders watch you try might help figure out what it is that you need to do. Some of the coolest rides I've done have been with other professional mtb skills coaches. Stopping to session something tough and getting high quality advice from other skilled riders is pretty sweet. Shifting up or down just one gear. Adjusting your line by ever-so-subtle amounts. Tiny shifts of your body. And then voila, you clean it like it was no problem.

    Your ability to read a technical trail is going to make a big difference in how fast you can ride it. If you can't process it as fast as your legs can pedal through it, you're probably going to crash. If you can't process the trail fast enough in your mind, you either need to slow down to a speed that DOES allow you to process it or you need to stop, take the time to walk through it, assess what's going on, and plan your line, so that you have time to process it mentally. It's a skill that gets better with practice. Which means lots of riding, and it means challenging yourself by trying to ride difficult things, and it requires riding trails new to you (or at least things that are not frequently in your rotation) so you cannot rely on memorizing the trail.

    As much as I dislike it when people give the advice to "ride with faster riders" to get better (there's WAY more to it than that), this is one skill where riding with people better than you are can help you. So long as you're riding as a group, together, you can watch them ride stuff, and they can watch you ride stuff, and you can ask questions and receive advice. Observing other riders' line choices can help you learn to make better line choices. When I do it, I almost always learn of a new way to ride something. Some line I didn't see before. And once I see it, I can't un-see it.

  19. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I had this happen on my last ride. A number of spots had plenty of rocks and roots. At one particular location, the descent was fairly fast, but there were waterbars/steps, it was somewhat eroded, and there were plenty of rocks poking up out of the trail. If you chose a good line, you could pick up some good speed. If you didn't, you'd need to creep down it. At one point, I took a little jump off one of the waterbars, and my line was not good. I hit the ONLY cluster of rocks in the trail downhill of the waterbar. One of my riding buddies did the same. But because we had some speed, our bikes had enough momentum to ride over the rocks. If either of us had been going slower, the rocks would have stopped our front wheel dead and we would have probably crashed unless we had low speed trials skills to hop over the rocks, which we do not.
    Interesting anecdote. I have one of my own that I'm applying consciously or unconsciously in this sport. I was around ten years old with my dad driving down a road and there was a Jeep in front of our 92 Corolla. Well, the exhaust pipe and/or muffler of the Jeep comes off and my dad doesn't move an inch. If anything he gripped the wheel harder since it was clear that we were going to go over the car part. Boom boom. I asked my dad why he didn't swerve around it and he told me that he could've lost control of the car. I'm applying that in this sport. If I see a better or smoother line but I have to turn to get to it I ignore it and brace for whatever terrain I have in front. I don't want to get washed out and my mind isn't as fast and I have fallen bcz it just gets overloaded. Besides, I don't mind if I loose some of what is for me excess speed though I do keep that momentum. Another funny thing that I've noticed is that I take the highest point of a drop. Maybe I'd rather go down a large step rather than a short but steep and often sideways and maybe slippery incline.

    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post

    I'm trying to think of how to describe the actual grip strength/force. Its definitely firm-ish, as there is no chance that your hands will slip off the bars, even when you take a decent impact/jolt. I guess its similar to how I hold a hammer, or machete when I'm using it? Too tight and my hands will hurt from the repetitive impact vibrations, too loose and it will fly out of my hands when using it.

    In my experience, this "looseness" mostly comes with time on the bike, and the associated confidence that comes with it. I think I'd mostly describe it as being comfortable on the bike in the type of surrounding/situation you find yourself. If you're not comfortable on the bike, you tend to tense up, and ride more defensively (usually more weight back, and less mobile/fluid on the bike from what I can tell). And in my experience, it is just plain more difficult to ride well when you ride defensively.
    Perfect. So far I believe I have the grip right but I think I'm in that defensive position too much because I put so much weight back that I know I'm doing OK when I hit the rear wheel (on my 26er mind you) on those tricky descents. Or so I think. I've actually wondered, what could possibly go wrong if I'm in this position going fairly straight? I can even bail out more easily.

    Quote Originally Posted by andytiedye View Post
    It comes so naturally to both of you that I think you misunderstood the OP's comment.

    I am fairly sure what the OP means about "memorizing" is that since we are supposed to be looking far ahead on the trail to "read" it, and NOT look at the front wheel, we have to not only read, but instantaneously and perfectly memorize the trail (at least short-term) so we can navigate it by dead reckoning. I can't do that either.
    Yes! That's my issue. And I read Harold's reply and I think I'm doing all right except with the now and next when I'm faced with very technical descents like the one of the photo which after some sessioning, I did magically clear by looking 2-3 meters ahead but ignoring what was immediately in front. It was damn scary but I think I'll "cheat" by also looking closer to the bike next time.

    I think that the looking ahead and picking a good smooth line is mostly important or vital if you want to pick up speed and I'm not at that level yet.

  20. #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I took the comment at exactly face value, of what the words written actually mean. I didn't try reading into it as you have.

    That's not how you scan the trail, though. You don't focus so far ahead and then ignore what's going on right in front of you, relying on your short-term memory of what you saw a few seconds ago.

    No, no. Reading the trail involves actively keeping your view dynamic. Yes, you want to scan far ahead to see what's coming up and start planning for it, but when there's something you need to address right away, you don't want to ignore it. You don't want to focus ON that thing so much that you run into it and crash (or ride off your line and crash), but you want to focus on how you're going to get through it and where you're going to wind up after it. Sometimes, the way you ride through something will be determined by what comes AFTER it. Maybe there's something even more challenging next that requires you to plan your line multiple moves ahead. Reading the trail and scanning it are never static things.
    That makes a lot more sense, and is what I do as much as possible. I think OP and I may have misinterpreted your earlier description of "reading the trail" in the same way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Your ability to read a technical trail is going to make a big difference in how fast you can ride it. If you can't process it as fast as your legs can pedal through it, you're probably going to crash. If you can't process the trail fast enough in your mind, you either need to slow down to a speed that DOES allow you to process it or you need to stop, take the time to walk through it, assess what's going on, and plan your line, so that you have time to process it mentally. It's a skill that gets better with practice. Which means lots of riding, and it means challenging yourself by trying to ride difficult things, and it requires riding trails new to you (or at least things that are not frequently in your rotation) so you cannot rely on memorizing the trail.
    I will admit to having gotten into quite a rut lately trailwise, but even when I was going a bit further afield I never saw any sign of this improving with practice. Of course if it's more than just a tiny bit technical I won't be able to ride it anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    As much as I dislike it when people give the advice to "ride with faster riders" to get better (there's WAY more to it than that), this is one skill where riding with people better than you are can help you. So long as you're riding as a group, together, you can watch them ride stuff, and they can watch you ride stuff, and you can ask questions and receive advice. Observing other riders' line choices can help you learn to make better line choices. When I do it, I almost always learn of a new way to ride something. Some line I didn't see before. And once I see it, I can't un-see it.
    I'm too slow. Can't learn anything if I can't keep up with them. I would have to be on an ebike.
    I realize that some of this "ride with faster people" thing is to turn every ride into a hammerfest in hopes that you will eventually get faster, but the difference is too great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    Interesting anecdote. I have one of my own that I'm applying consciously or unconsciously in this sport. I was around ten years old with my dad driving down a road and there was a Jeep in front of our 92 Corolla. Well, the exhaust pipe and/or muffler of the Jeep comes off and my dad doesn't move an inch. If anything he gripped the wheel harder since it was clear that we were going to go over the car part. Boom boom. I asked my dad why he didn't swerve around it and he told me that he could've lost control of the car. I'm applying that in this sport. If I see a better or smoother line but I have to turn to get to it I ignore it and brace for whatever terrain I have in front.
    I don't know if that's a good plan in the long run. Sometimes that alternate line is there to go around a very technical feature, like a gap or a drop.



    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    So far I believe I have the grip right but I think I'm in that defensive position too much because I put so much weight back that I know I'm doing OK when I hit the rear wheel (on my 26er mind you) on those tricky descents. Or so I think. I've actually wondered, what could possibly go wrong if I'm in this position going fairly straight? I can even bail out more easily.
    Your balance will be off if you get way off the back of the bike. Generally it's preferable to get your weight low but centered.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andytiedye View Post
    I will admit to having gotten into quite a rut lately trailwise, but even when I was going a bit further afield I never saw any sign of this improving with practice. Of course if it's more than just a tiny bit technical I won't be able to ride it anyway.
    This is where it becomes important to set up a good progression for the things you want/need to learn. Where focused practice is important. Where being actually coached can be very useful. But it's also important to note that once you get to a certain point in your riding, improvements are small and they take a long time to accumulate because the practice and repetition is the most important part. You can attend a weekend skills clinic and be taught lots of little things you didn't know, and get a little bit of practice/repetition of those things. But if you don't continue to practice those things in the weeks and months after the clinic, they won't stick. The same goes for self teaching on the trail. If it's not something you work on with some regularity, you won't commit it to long-term muscle memory. This is why it's so important to ride different places and not rely on your memory of the same trail all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by andytiedye View Post
    I'm too slow. Can't learn anything if I can't keep up with them. I would have to be on an ebike.
    I realize that some of this "ride with faster people" thing is to turn every ride into a hammerfest in hopes that you will eventually get faster, but the difference is too great.
    That hammerfest scenario is the exact scenario you want to avoid. Even working on fitness, if the faster rider is just gone and out of sight, that does nothing to help you. What's helpful is having a "rabbit" who's just a little bit faster than you and gets you to push yourself a little bit harder than you might otherwise. Unless, of course, you're someone like me who tends to ride harder when solo. So if I try too hard to keep up with someone who's a little bit faster than me, I end up blowing myself up. Hammerfests are purely about fitness, though. They're not the kind of scenario where you work on your handling skills. Even for advanced riders.

    No, what I'm talking about is a fun, social pace sort of ride, a "party pace" if you want to call it that, where the whole point is staying together. Especially if you've got an atmosphere of learning, and learning from each other, where you're going to stop occasionally along the ride and session things. Maybe goofing off is a big part of it, or maybe it's about more serious learning. Either situation works. It'll probably take some effort to find people interested in that sort of thing. This is one place where bike parks and pump tracks have value. They foster that kind of attitude/atmosphere as soon as you walk through the entrance. It's easy to watch other riders while you wait for your turn. Runs tend to be shorter, so you can repeat things easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    I don't know if that's a good plan in the long run. Sometimes that alternate line is there to go around a very technical feature, like a gap or a drop.
    Yup. The better plan is if you get lots of line choices that you can't analyze quickly to stop, check them all out and decide which one is better for you, back up to give yourself enough time to approach it, and try again now that you have more information. If you can't stop safely to do this, you're going too fast. Every rider needs to be able to inspect a feature they are thinking about riding. You need to look at the exit/landing zone, and that may not be visible from the entrance. You need to look at the feature itself to determine if it's safe (is any wood loose/rotten? Are there any loose rocks?) and to identify the line you're going to take.

    I've encountered this situation plenty of times where there's a feature that's too big for me to be willing to ride. Or some rotten wood that makes things sketchy and unsafe. If I can't read everything at riding pace, I'll stop and check it out. In that sort of scenario, I'm taking the alt line, or I'm walking the feature (if no alt line, which also happens).

    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Your balance will be off if you get way off the back of the bike. Generally it's preferable to get your weight low but centered.
    Agreed again. Getting your weight way back is a great way to get your front wheel in the air, as in a manual (among other things). And in scenarios where you need traction on the front wheel, it's a great way to crash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DethWshBkr View Post
    I've understood it is sort of like ski resorts. The ratings are only relative to the other slopes on that mountain.
    That seems about right. A couple of years ago, we rode a system that had a "black diamond" trail that most of us would consider a green circle.

    The black diamonds that I rode in Whistler were pretty legit though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Your balance will be off if you get way off the back of the bike. Generally it's preferable to get your weight low but centered.
    While I generally agree with this as it applies to modern bikes, it sounds like the OP rides 26" and might have some pretty dated geometry in which case moving back might be the only option.

    The way that I ride my current bike is much different than I did way back in the old days.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    Japan. You can't ride bicycles on mountain trails.
    I rode at the Hakuba Iwatake bike park last summer. That was a real hoot except for the crappy rental bike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    If you case the first one you'll case the rest. We call it, "lawyered" or "lawyering" as in case after case after case.
    Have you been watching me ride, Nat?
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    So in summary, modern mountain bikes make the trail easier, safer and more comfortable so drops and jumps were added for the thrill. To be able to do them properly you need to gain speed and to keep up the speed, berms were added. Then-again, it's up to the rider to look for the "path of least resistance" to keep that speed. Moreover, going through rock gardens at some speed is actually safer and more comfortable.

    I for one will probably keep taking harder lines on the same trail and ride them not trial but macho style... if you will. Remember that I only have access to a handful of non-mtb specific trails of my level and I can't handle the speed yet.

    As for the progression, that will be difficult. I'll just comfort myself with being a recreational mountain biker.

    And about my bike's geo. I had an extremely low handlebar which is why I had to shift my weight way back. Now, I've just installed a proper entry level fork with the handlebar at the height it should be. Head angle went from 73 to 70 degrees and it is a noticeable difference. I haven't tried it off road yet but definitely will once winter is over.


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    Sigh...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Sigh...
    no doubt

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    Modern mountain biking has much more in common with motocross, dirt bikes and and on road motorcycles than with classical mountain biking (sans suspension) as it was intended in the 1980's.

    And we are seeing the results:

    -no one takes you seriously unless you have a $6,500 bike (minimum) from one of a handful of brands

    -an endless list of cripples and dead riders from "bicycling" accidents

    -a never ending parade of tech that lifts the bar of what's considered to be minimally necessary to ride a trail at 4 mph. A trail that probably shouldn't be ridden over with a bicycle in the first place.

    -crash protection galore for the inevitable, well, crashes

    But, let's just ignore the fatalities and debilitating injuries. Stoke!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertHenry View Post
    So in summary, modern mountain bikes make the trail easier, safer and more comfortable so drops and jumps were added for the thrill.
    No the trails were already easy. I used to ride XC trails on my BMX bike with no issue. Jumps and drops were added once mountain bikers started learning how to ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    No the trails were already easy. I used to ride XC trails on my BMX bike with no issue. Jumps and drops were added once mountain bikers started learning how to ride.
    Oh, there are plenty of people spending time at the local jump line that can’t really do much more than that. Assuming that they have mastered or even gained basic competency of standard riding skills is a bold move.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Oh, there are plenty of people spending time at the local jump line that can’t really do much more than that. Assuming that they have mastered or even gained basic competency of standard riding skills is a bold move.


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    Conversely, there are plenty of people who can ride super fast but nearly panic at technical sections and jumps. I'd say we all have our strengths and weaknesses, areas where one could improve. Wouldn't you agree?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Conversely, there are plenty of people who can ride super fast but nearly panic at technical sections and jumps. I'd say we all have our strengths and weaknesses, areas where one could improve. Wouldn't you agree?
    Of course.




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    Quote Originally Posted by UltraMTB1 View Post
    Modern mountain biking has much more in common with motocross, dirt bikes and and on road motorcycles than with classical mountain biking (sans suspension) as it was intended in the 1980's.

    And we are seeing the results:

    -no one takes you seriously unless you have a $6,500 bike (minimum) from one of a handful of brands

    -an endless list of cripples and dead riders from "bicycling" accidents

    -a never ending parade of tech that lifts the bar of what's considered to be minimally necessary to ride a trail at 4 mph. A trail that probably shouldn't be ridden over with a bicycle in the first place.

    -crash protection galore for the inevitable, well, crashes

    But, let's just ignore the fatalities and debilitating injuries. Stoke!
    That's a hell of a rant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UltraMTB1 View Post
    as it was intended in the 1980's.
    As it was intended by whom? Who was it that gets to decide exactly how everyone else on the planet should enjoy their bikes? You?


    Now all you have to do is rewrite history and get everyone to go along with your pretense that a bunch of dirt roadies in day-glo spandex trying to out-exercise each other were the real forefathers of the sport...

    Why so much jumping?-700x450_klunkerz.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    As it was intended by whom? Who was it that gets to decide exactly how everyone else on the planet should enjoy their bikes? You?


    Now all you have to do is rewrite history and get everyone to go along with your pretense that a bunch of dirt roadies in day-glo spandex trying to out-exercise each other were the real forefathers of the sport...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    You DO understand that many of those gentlemen were, in fact, “roadies” who wore day-glo apparel, right?

    Just so we get our history right.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Oh, there are plenty of people spending time at the local jump line that can’t really do much more than that.
    I don't believe that because the fundamentals of bike handling carry over to every terrain. Pumping jumps, rollers, and rock gardens are mostly the same skill set. The differences are line choice and mental attitude. Bump jumping a curb is no different than popping off a root to gap over a root bed. Pumping a roller is no different than pumping a boulder. If you can't jump or hit drops you do not have good bike handling skills. Jumping and hitting drops are basic skills.

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    Why so much jumping?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    I don't believe that because the fundamentals of bike handling carry over to every terrain. Pumping jumps, rollers, and rock gardens are mostly the same skill set. The differences are line choice and mental attitude. Bump jumping a curb is no different than popping off a root to gap over a root bed. Pumping a roller is no different than pumping a boulder. If you can't jump or hit drops you do not have good bike handling skills. Jumping and hitting drops are basic skills.
    I pretty rarely jump on any of the trails where I live now, and pretty much never did for when I lived in western VA. Use a rock or root to pop over several others to maintain momentum/speed? Regularly. Hit natural 2-3’ drops? Yes. But a built jump wasn’t really a thing on the trails where I lived in VA, short of actual jump lines with a jump every 20-30 yards, which, again, were rare in themselves.








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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    You DO understand that many of those gentlemen were, in fact, “roadies” who wore day-glo apparel, right?

    Just so we get our history right.
    Chicken or the egg?
    I definitely get that, and having gotten into the sport around 1990, also resemble that remark (to a point).

    But I'm sure we can agree that it's ridiculous to pretend that the gravity/moto/shuttle party/upgrade your bike atmosphere hasn't been part of the sport since the very beginning. And that escaping from 'roadie' bike culture and just having fun on bikes in the dirt was also a big part of what set things off. You hear some people talk, you'd think nobody ever hit a jump or drop, drifted a corner o raced DH until 2004 or something.

    And 'as it was intended'? WTF does that even mean?
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    Jumping and hitting drops are basic skills for a well rounded rider.
    fify



    (this from a guy who rarely if ever gets his wheels off the ground and is wildly jealous of all my buddies who are frequent flyers)
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    And 'as it was intended'? WTF does that even mean?
    Yeah, that part was revealing. Somehow I doubt he'll be adding clarification. Angry new guy with fewer than 50 posts and already a negative rep red box, I predict he'll be gone from MTBR in under 200 posts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Yeah, that part was revealing. Somehow I doubt he'll be adding clarification. Angry new guy with fewer than 50 posts and already a negative rep red box, I predict he'll be gone from MTBR in under 200 posts.
    Obviously here to tell everyone how it's supposed to be done.

    Maybe he can find his forever home down in the VRC, ranting about how swapping cantis out for V's 'goes against the design' or putting a stem shorter than 150mm on an older bike 'ruins the geometry'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    I don't believe that because the fundamentals of bike handling carry over to every terrain. Pumping jumps, rollers, and rock gardens are mostly the same skill set. The differences are line choice and mental attitude. Bump jumping a curb is no different than popping off a root to gap over a root bed. Pumping a roller is no different than pumping a boulder. If you can't jump or hit drops you do not have good bike handling skills. Jumping and hitting drops are basic skills.
    I'd personally not call jumping/dropping "basic" or "beginner" skills. As in, not ones I expect everyone to have, and not one that I'd expect to need on a "basic" (green?) trail.

    That said, I would say that they should be considered basic skill for any rider intending to ride black trails. Which I guess I consider to be "normal" skill level (ie, green/blue trails are missing features, or have smaller features, to purposely help people skill up to what is common on the black trails). Double black and pro trails are definitely "beyond normal" skill level IMO.

    Full disclosure here though. I suck at jumping. I've been riding for just over a year now, and I'm starting to feel much more comfortable on drops. Jumps... not quite there yet. I'll get there though .

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    Quote Originally Posted by ocnLogan View Post
    I'd personally not call jumping/dropping "basic" or "beginner" skills. As in, not ones I expect everyone to have, and not one that I'd expect to need on a "basic" (green?) trail.

    That said, I would say that they should be considered basic skill for any rider intending to ride black trails. Which I guess I consider to be "normal" skill level (ie, green/blue trails are missing features, or have smaller features, to purposely help people skill up to what is common on the black trails). Double black and pro trails are definitely "beyond normal" skill level IMO.

    Full disclosure here though. I suck at jumping. I've been riding for just over a year now, and I'm starting to feel much more comfortable on drops. Jumps... not quite there yet. I'll get there though .
    You're thinking about this in terms of mountain bike trails and what it takes to traverse them...which is kind of my point. Mountain bikers have been slow to catch up to other off-road two wheel sports (MX and BMX) where jumping is taken for granted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    You're thinking about this in terms of mountain bike trails and what it takes to traverse them...which is kind of my point. Mountain bikers have been slow to catch up to other off-road two wheel sports (MX and BMX) where jumping is taken for granted.
    Not sure I'm buying this. You're saying that mountain biking in general should be moving to more MX territory, and if it doesn't, it is deemed "slow to catch up"?

    Certainly MTB can differ, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by phlegm View Post
    Not sure I'm buying this. You're saying that mountain biking in general should be moving to more MX territory, and if it doesn't, it is deemed "slow to catch up"?

    Certainly MTB can differ, right?
    I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying in every other two wheel off-road sport jumping is a basic skill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying in every other two wheel off-road sport jumping is a basic skill.
    Ah, misinterpreted that, but I still think you're making an unfair comparison. For example, I would expect very little jumping on an XC course, but there could be a ton of jumps on a DH course. Jumping would just be a lesser part of some riding types. The concept of "catching up" needn't apply - it's just different.

    You could take the opposite approach, and say BMX doesn't typically deal with roots and rocks, where navigating them is a basic skill in MTB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phlegm View Post
    Ah, misinterpreted that, but I still think you're making an unfair comparison. For example, I would expect very little jumping on an XC course, but there could be a ton of jumps on a DH course. Jumping would just be a lesser part of some riding types. The concept of "catching up" needn't apply - it's just different.

    You could take the opposite approach, and say BMX doesn't typically deal with roots and rocks, where navigating them is a basic skill in MTB.
    I'm not talking about race courses but even the evolution of XC and DH courses (which now have more jumps than the early days) are evidence of mountain biking slow to pick up the skill. However every trail near me has jumps of some sort. I'd also like to point out that people who can jump find more opportunities to jump off of natural features. I rode a trail today that has a natural step-up right on the main trail about 10ft long coming out of a gully. I've pointed it out to a few people who didn't realize it was there. Most people just roll it it unaware of the potential.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    I'm not talking about race courses but even the evolution of XC and DH courses (which now have more jumps than the early days) are evidence of mountain biking slow to pick up the skill. However every trail near me has jumps of some sort. I'd also like to point out that people who can jump find more opportunities to jump off of natural features. I rode a trail today that has a natural step-up right on the main trail about 10ft long coming out of a gully. I've pointed it out to a few people who didn't realize it was there. Most people just roll it it unaware of the potential.
    I agree with you there - you can hunt for jump opportunities anywhere, and XC race courses have become decidedly gnarlier in the past several years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    You're thinking about this in terms of mountain bike trails and what it takes to traverse them...which is kind of my point. Mountain bikers have been slow to catch up to other off-road two wheel sports (MX and BMX) where jumping is taken for granted.
    I think that is true for MX/SX/AX. For more typical trail riding, I'm not sure if I'd say the same thing.

    I grew up dirt biking... but on normal single/doubletrack trails in the mountains/desert. For normal trail riding like that (at least in the desert southwest USA), jumps were quite uncommon. So, the natural/techy style of mtb trails I'm more comfortable with, but the bigger jump type features still scare me a bit, just because I have nearly no experience with them.

    Whoops were common in some of the sand washy areas, but I was either too unskilled to ride them as a rhythm section, or they weren't really ride-able as a series of doubles/triples(I couldn't tell you which at this point).

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    I'm not talking about race courses but even the evolution of XC and DH courses (which now have more jumps than the early days) are evidence of mountain biking slow to pick up the skill. However every trail near me has jumps of some sort. I'd also like to point out that people who can jump find more opportunities to jump off of natural features. I rode a trail today that has a natural step-up right on the main trail about 10ft long coming out of a gully. I've pointed it out to a few people who didn't realize it was there. Most people just roll it it unaware of the potential.
    I love following 'poppy' riders that really know how to take advantage of air opportunities. Always an eye opener, even on trails I've ridden lots of times; it's interesting what options a different skill set will open up.
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  54. #254
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    Quote Originally Posted by UltraMTB1 View Post
    Modern mountain biking has much more in common with motocross, dirt bikes and and on road motorcycles than with classical mountain biking (sans suspension) as it was intended in the 1980's.

    And we are seeing the results:

    -no one takes you seriously unless you have a $6,500 bike (minimum) from one of a handful of brands

    -an endless list of cripples and dead riders from "bicycling" accidents

    -a never ending parade of tech that lifts the bar of what's considered to be minimally necessary to ride a trail at 4 mph. A trail that probably shouldn't be ridden over with a bicycle in the first place.

    -crash protection galore for the inevitable, well, crashes

    But, let's just ignore the fatalities and debilitating injuries. Stoke!
    I can't imagine why your reputation is so poor.

  55. #255
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    Quote Originally Posted by rynomx785 View Post
    I can't imagine why your reputation is so poor.
    Haha, is that guy banned yet? He's been here less than two weeks and has two neg. reps already.

  56. #256
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    Haha, is that guy banned yet? He's been here less than two weeks and has two neg. reps already.
    yep, he's on a weeklong va-ca.

    I don't think he even owns a bike yet. His profile says:
    Bike Setup: new to sport
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  57. #257
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    This is a post from the "Trails" section of MTBR that I thought was hilarious and fitting for this thread


    "I heard that this trail is supposed to be one of the best so I decided I had to try it. First I went to my local Target and bought their top of the line Jeep brand Full Suspension bike. This thing set me back over $200 so I knew I would have one of the best bikes on the mountain. I arrived on a hot, sunny afternoon and about 100 meters into the ride, I discovered that this trail should not be open to the public. It is literally impossible to ascend this trail, even on one of the best bikes available. I walked my bike almost 2 miles and endured ridicule as people descending the mountain laughed at my bike. I can only assume they were jealous. On the descent, I flipped the bike at least 5 times and broke several parts off of my brand new bike. How is this trail considered rideable? I can only imagine the fate of some lesser bike. I don't think I'll ever return to this trail."

  58. #258
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravityryder26 View Post
    This is a post from the "Trails" section of MTBR that I thought was hilarious and fitting for this thread


    "I heard that this trail is supposed to be one of the best so I decided I had to try it. First I went to my local Target and bought their top of the line Jeep brand Full Suspension bike. This thing set me back over $200 so I knew I would have one of the best bikes on the mountain. I arrived on a hot, sunny afternoon and about 100 meters into the ride, I discovered that this trail should not be open to the public. It is literally impossible to ascend this trail, even on one of the best bikes available. I walked my bike almost 2 miles and endured ridicule as people descending the mountain laughed at my bike. I can only assume they were jealous. On the descent, I flipped the bike at least 5 times and broke several parts off of my brand new bike. How is this trail considered rideable? I can only imagine the fate of some lesser bike. I don't think I'll ever return to this trail."
    Please tell me this was satire?

    Sent from my SM-N975U1 using Tapatalk

  59. #259
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    of course it's satire. not even chuck norris would ridicule a jeep bike...


  60. #260
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    Quick, someone post a link to the legendary Jeep Bike thread. And the Whole Map of the Forest thread while you're at it.

    Here's the Jeep one:

    https://forums.mtbr.com/general-disc...ld-776332.html
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

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