Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Interesting words on mtn bike skills

This was taken from a thread on mtbr talking about switching from road to mtb XC

One poster wrote:
One of the features I find too often in MTB riders who are trying to help is to undervalue the skills they have buit over years of riding; they are complex and those applied to racing require a very special layering of skills. On the other side fo the coin is new riders underestimating the skill required to do what we do. When you put the two together....... I have numerous cases of road riders transitioning to dirt and it can be scary; all power, no grip. I see mtb'ers eager to have a road rider join the our sport without preperation and get them in over their heads; oh must come out man, you'll dig it. And we aren't even talking about racing. I have seen beautiful mountain bikes sold in an instant after poorly managed dirt experiences.

I believe that there is an innate resistance in mountain bikers to appreciate their skills. Some of that comes with sort of "learning as you go," a self suficiency in a non-verbal skill which is common in our sport. Mtb'ers are very frequently creative, constructive people who build and design, cobble together and keep things going, never looking back. It is part of the strength required of our sport and one of the things which allows us to have total mechanical breakdown in the middle of nowhere and ride out anyhow. It also doesn't neccesarily lend itself to analysis as skills built in this fashion can seem intuitive as they are learned in layers over forgottten time. We tend to not let things get in our way and keep the wheels rolling. In service of that we concentrate on what is in front of us, being ready for what is around a blind turn. That takes skill and time. There is no shame in acknowledging that or even tooting the horn once in a while. And that brings us to another reistance in Mountain Bikers; we aren't much into tooting our horn.

I found his words right on the money. There is so much going on when we ride a trail. Even one seemingly non-technical. Weight balance, position, breaking, lean, steer, pedal stroke, etc. There is quite a lot of efficiency in mountain biking that can be seen by how tired some people get after a technical section even though they are very fit on the road or other sports.

Raise your hand if you've ever done a fork breakdown on the side of a trail, or stuffed your tire full of grass in order to ride out.


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