Again it doesn't let me reply in the comments, so here it is:
Well Allen, I'm glad to see that you read my blog, thank you for leaving a comment and we should definitely get together and ride. Let me know next spring/summer when you are in town and we'll get together. I love riding with new people.
Maybe their isn't a super open public rift but there is definitely something brewing and I'm not saying that it is just locally. I think you are right that most people do get along pretty well at the trails but if you follow any of the forms that aren't segregated into different categories, like gravity/dh/freeride, all mountain, and xc, a forum like MORC you will see that sides are being chosen very clearly in most debates and if you could pole the sides you would see that you could distinctly separate the two categories as I described them. Real or traditional mountain bikers and dirt roadies. Sure there are some that might fall through the cracks or on the middle ground and just because you ride a rigid single speed 29er doesn't make you a dirt roadie straight away, I'm not saying that. It's more about your mentality that you bring to the sport and riding then your bike or kit of choice that separates the two.
I feel and think you can see it on a much larger scale if you simply look at how XC racing, not at the WC level, but through the more grass root levels is becoming more like road racing on dirt, they are making the course more conducive to a pedal fest then a challenge of mountain biking skills. I understand XC is about endurance and you have multiple levels of rider skills competing on the same course or parts of the same course but you aren't doing the sport or the elite riders any good by encouraging this type of riding. A good example is the Chequamegon fat 40, it is advertised as an epic mountain bike race but most of the race is on fire roads...? that's not very epic or even mountain biking. Which type of riders benefit from this, dirt roadies, who have won the last couple years? I believe they were tour de France riders... Is it cool that the Cable area draws 2000+ people for a bike race? Oh hell yeah! Technically it is called a mountain bike race, should it be? Well not in my opinion and I guess that is debatable. It's probably closer to a gnarly gravel grinder then a MTB race.
I don't think that anyone would publicly appose making the trail harder besides maybe a land owner, due to liability but there is sanitation of the trails happening, by that I mean removing or changing of feature to make them easier, maybe not to the extent that James write about in his blog.
Here is are a few prime examples, all from leb as that is where I ride the most. If you are familiar with the big rock on the left about 1/4mile in on the blue, it's right before the big table top jump. No one has obviously removed it but they have began to ride around it making the trail wider and in essence sanitizing the trail. Why even ride up to it if you can't do it? there is a wide clear ride around if you just stay on the main trail? I've seen people do it and unfortunately I have to say they fit my example of a dirt rodie.
I agree that people don't like to be pigeon holed but hell if people are going to call me a DHer (not that is all that bad IMO) and say that I'm not a mountain biker (which I most certainly am) then I'm going to call them as I see them. (see previous post "called out").
Next example There is a rock garden about 1/2 way through the first section and at the beginning of the year it was super tough and then someone moved the rocks and added dirt so the rocks were not so pronounced to make a clear path through with out touching rocks, what is the point of a rock garden then?
Third is the log step up toward the end of the first blue section that has the sharp right after it. It had to be replaced because it had eroded out from people making a wide path around it because they couldn't ride up it and when we were putting it back in we had a group of again dirt roadies complain that it was too high and to difficult to ride this section....
Do you kind of see where I'm coming from? and as I mentioned in the previous blog people complaining about sections being too hard and too many rocks.
As for making it tougher, they even have ride around in the black and double black, that makes no sense to me. It should be scary enough with no option but to ride it simply for the intimidation factor to keep people that shouldn't be in there from going in and riding it.
As for fast flowy trail, totally agree, there needs to be that style of trail and I wouldn't want every trail to be slow and technically precise riding but there should be more of that, there are over 75miles of single track in the metro and I'd say there is only about 10-15miles of that, that is technical (black diamond) and even less that would be considered double black.
Cuyuna is amazing and nothing should be changed to the existing trails, they are great how they are. Should there be more trail, that is more technical added with jumps and drops and rock and all sorts of fun stuff? Hell yes! And I've heard rumors that it might be in the works.
I have nothing against having easy trails, I think they are great. I encourage new riders to come out and ride as much as they can and hope they improve and some day will have the confidence and skills to ride the more advanced trails. I am even planning on having clinics when I finish the Lexington Street Bike Park and if MORC allows maybe some at the new Lebanon Hills Skills Park.
I'm saying that there needs to be more equality. There are tons of riders that can clean all the so called Black diamonds day in and day out. This will leads to stale riders. We have no more room to push our selves or progress when everything becomes too easy.
I do on the other hand understand why some of this is as MORC's insurance limits them to 30inches of height for drops and features.
Anyways, thanks again for the comment. I love to hear from my readers.
Keep it real!