Friday, April 15, 2011

catering to the weak

I will apologize in advance, this might come off as a rant but I feel like it is a valid opinion.
This came about in a conversation I had with one of my friends, a fellow mtb'r and I have had this discussion in some form or the other with some of my other mtb friends.
I commented on a picture of a MORC crew removing a large rock, that looked like it would have been a killer addition to the trail but instead they were removing it. The response I got was "they remove rocks and logs to avoid putting too much stress on a section of the trail, but they do have rock gardens on most of the trail except Salem Hills." Ok that is true but why should people (MORC) change the trails and alter natural features to make trails easier to ride. What they should do is offer more training on how to ride your bike better and how to ride different sections and particular trails. I didn't get much for argument on this. There only follow up was that I should be thankful for what I have because there is such an abundance of mtb opportunities here in the Twin Cities and I didn't have much to argue with that except that with so many places you think they could have a more equal spread of difficulty, especially with all the ski areas and so forth. If you look at the MORC site they have a trail rating system and for the majority they are in green and blue and I feel that some of the blues are too highly rated, for example Salem Hills it doesn't offer a blue sections but the ski hills around here are the same over rating their runs.
In my opinion MORC over all does a great job of trail maintenance, mtb advocacy and a pretty good job of trail development but for progression of the sport, a little on the weak side. Maybe this has to do with the demographics of the riders? This is purely speculation but to me it feels like the demographics of the riders in this area must lean towards the novice, recreational rider with limited skill sets. Which in my opinion is very sad because there is so much potential for growth of mtbing here in the Twin Cities and opportunities to develop better quality riders but by catering the trails to the novice rider we are only nurturing the weakness. I know the old motto of you are only as strong as the weakest link but in order to develop stronger links you have to provide them with development and opportunities to develop, such as skills clinics and more difficult trail options. Don't get me wrong I am great full for the opportunities I have and I'm not whining... I know talk the talk walk the walk so I might have to give it a go and get out there on some trail days and maybe attend a meeting or two, try to voice my opinion on a more formal forum.
I think there is no replacing quality skill that is why even when I can't hit the trails and get hours of riding in I am practicing my skills. Starting with balance which is the most important and basic skill. It is as simple as riding curbs and doing track stands right by your house. I will also do manuals and wheelies back in forth in front of my house, bunny hoping onto the curbs and over rocks and stuff in my neighborhood. Also you can advance your knowledge by watching how to videos or even racing videos and there are tons of books on mtbing.
Hopefully this got all of you thinking, don't add the problem by making sections easier because you can't clean them, learn to ride your bike and practice/train. It is worth it in the end, I promise you!
Keep it real!

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