worst enemy

Mountain Biking’s Worst Enemy

Words Cam McRae
Date Jul 30, 2018

Originally published 2016-07-29

When parallels between the mountain bike community and US politics emerge, it may be time to re-examine how we interact. Both Republicans and Democrats down south are used to encountering hatred and vitriol from the other side of the aisle, as we are from the most rabid opponents of our sport. A glimpse at the venomous commentary on social media makes it clear that even rank and file voters have a deep distrust and no respect for those on the other side of the red/blue divide.

In this election cycle new fractures have emerged. Chasms of opposition have appeared within the two parties. Some Democrats hate their chosen candidate so much they have decided to vote for… Donald Trump. And the reverse is even more likely. There are even high profile members of Dubya’s administration who have publicly declared their support for Hillary. From the outside it feels like the apocalypse is nigh.

“As it stands, UDale is well built but it’s a fucking snooze!”*

* UDales refers to Upper Dale’s trail. 


This section of trail was one we worked on for several years and it was very erosion prone. In heavy rain it became a torrent and was a nightmare to maintain. The landowner (Metro Vancouver in this case) paid a significant sum to have it realigned and built with a succession of berms, by Paddy Kaye’s company, which also builds the Joyride slope style course each year.

We have factions within mountain biking that are as dissimilar as Louisiana Republicans and California Democrats – but there isn’t any need for animosity. Dirt jumpers and XC riders have so little in common they may never meet, except by chance at the ER. Instead, the divisions we are dealing with come from riders who are hewn from the same stone.

“….now it has been mostly watered down to the same shit you can ride anywhere….most of the soul is gone.”

One example is the way the dumbing down crowd sometimes launches offensives against those who do much of the trail work and advocacy. To be clear I often lament the loss of character that can accompany trail work; roots covered, mandatory airs decommissioned, and tech climbs ‘paved.’ I prefer it natural and gnarly most often, but I’ve also come to appreciate variety. And with NSMB.com having adopted trails for four consecutive years, I have some perspective on the realities of trail building and dealing with landowners.

Our bulletin board has been a battleground for some of these discussions. So much so that Mike Vandeman and our local mountain bike hater, Monica Craver (known as the Frog Lady) both lurk and poach comments, often altering their context to paint us in a negative light; all to further their anti-mountain biking agenda.

“After 25 years of riding here. I feel part of my roots and soul have been taken.”

Discuss. Dissent. Have opinions. These are fundamental to keeping this thin veneer of civility from collapsing into mayhem. And never in history have regular people had the opportunity to be heard as they do now. I’m happy we provide a place where people can have a voice. My stoke is more muted when I see how dissenters sometimes express themselves.

“So I am probably not the one to complain since I have only done limited trail work in my life…”

Our local trail association, like most across North America, is governed and run mostly by volunteers. There are a few paid staff but the rest sacrifice time that would be otherwise spent with family, working or riding trails. Despite this sacrifice, they are called dictators and accused of having a secret agenda to destroy the soul of the North Shore in the name of populist approval.

“The Shore used to be the Shit. Now it is simply the shits.”

The Evil of The Net
The internet turns us into monsters. Or perhaps it releases the evil creature that exists within all of us. I know it’s true and I am also vulnerable to keyboard rage. If my life had gone a different way, and I didn’t have a somewhat public profile on this medium, I might have become a full time troll. My first instinct is often to lead with F-bombs and insults. I blame (and give credit to) my Scottish blood for the online battles I still sometimes find myself in. Thankfully I’m getting incrementally better at taking the high road. So I get it; our worst selves come out online. And sometimes I love it. If it’s Richard Dawkins schooling an evolution denier, the more guns blazing the better. But when it’s mountain bikers hacking on volunteers who do vital work to preserve and expand our access to trails, it makes my Scottish blood boil.

“a part of my soul has been bruised, perhaps removed for good”

Yes – the Shore has changed. There was a time when there was very little trail maintenance and the trails were slowly disintegrating – which is a sure way to preserve the gnar. Except that some of the disintegrating gnar was made of wood and nobody stepped up to fix it. And other zones were eroding to the point of no return. Back then there were a few flat crushed gravel trails and many black diamond lines – with virtually nothing between. Beginners and kids were faced with an almost insurmountable barrier to entry.

“New dales is crazy boring, what a waste of elevation.”

There is still challenge aplenty on Fromme, Seymour and Cypress but the busiest trails are those that can be ridden by everyone. There are 72 singletrack trails on Fromme according to Trail Forks. Of those, 7 are rated as green, 19 as blue, 30 as black diamond and 14 as double black. And these are ratings that take the difficulty of the North Shore into consideration. Leppard would be a black diamond trail virtually everywhere else and Expresso, which is marked as green, has at least two moves that confound many expert riders.

A catalogue of dumbing down.

A catalogue of dumbing down.

“ If threats of lawsuits are what dictates current MTB trail ethos, then the NSMBA no longer has any real purpose and is obsolete.”

But I digress. My point isn’t that trails aren’t getting easier. There are more accessible lines in our riding area than there have ever been. And I’m not saying people shouldn’t have opinions. I am trying to make two other points.

Don’t Be a Dick
A mountain biker crapping on the volunteers who build, maintain and advocate for the trails we ride is like sh!tting on your doctor because she isn’t saving your life in a way that pleases you. Have opinions. Express them. But get off your condescending horse to express them, and have some perspective and gratitude for what these people do on your behalf. For f*ck’s sake.**

** as mentioned – prone to keyboard rage

Provide an Alternative Way Forward
I have ridden with several past and current NSMBA board members and many of them are better riders than I. They appreciate challenging trails and I know they work hard to preserve them and to maintain the audacious creative spirit builders like Digger and Dangerous Dan embedded in our mountains. The harsh reality is there are landowners and their lawyers to wrestle with. The days of building whatever you want are gone. Great strides have been made because the bureaucrats and politicians who grant access have come to trust our trail association. That trust was hard won but it would be easily lost. Lamenting the changes, blaming the NSMBA, and providing no alternatives, is the strategy of the professional complainer. It is of absolutely no use, and yet it does damage. If you have some mystical power that would convince landowners to build new gnarly trails – exactly the way you want them – let us in on the secret. Otherwise have some respect for their effort and realize that you are hacking on people who are working on your behalf. Many of them working for free.

By all means, lament the loss of trails and distinct sections you love. There are times when the loss of a single root has felt tragic to me. Sing their praises and express your desire to preserve them, but recognize the realities that accompany legitimacy. And then have some gratitude for the work done to allow us to ride our bicycles on challenging and interesting trails that literally cast a shadow over one of the largest cities on the west coast of North America. Or wherever you happen to ride.

While our sport is gaining traction in the mainstream, it remains a misunderstood fringe activity with an identity problem in most contexts. We are seen either as reckless daredevils or lycra-clad leg shavers. Those who fail to recognize that riding bicycles in the woods is a healthy pursuit that allows us to move through the wilderness with very little impact, will continue to do what they can to damage our reputation in an attempt to restrict our access.

Don’t shut up. Continue to express opinions. But for the love of Jeebus, let’s recognize that the internet tends to make us a-holes – even to each other - and take a deep breath before putting those damaging fingers to keys.

FFS

Long Live The North Shore.


 

Comments

cooper
0
Cooper Quinn  - Aug. 1, 2016, 10:58 p.m.

The comments here. LOL.

FFS, people.

Reply

cooperquinn
+6 AlanB AJ Barlas Andrew Major Mammal Niels Todd Hellinga
Cooper Quinn  - July 30, 2018, 8:41 a.m.

To be slightly more vebose here, as this article is back.... 

  • Complain away online about the NSMBA - just don't expect that to change anything. 

  • Come to have discussion, dialogue, and be willing to help? Offer constructive feedback or ideas, and either be willing to listen to 'our' side of the story, or get a deeper understanding? F- yeah. Lets get some sh*t done. Bring your friends. 

I think you'll find that approach isn't specific to the NSMBA, either. It works with most organizations, trail builders, land managers, and humans.

Reply

+1 AlanB
mevp  - Aug. 1, 2016, 2:46 p.m.

Man you guys have so much angst up there. But mostly online, in the real world everyone I meet on the trail is generally chill, friendly, and having a good time.

Reply

wacek-keepshack
+1 Cam McRae
Wacek Keepshack  - July 30, 2016, 9:36 a.m.

Very well written. As a fulltime troll and a Polish person, I am well aware of people who endulge a hobby of shitting in their own soup. The origins of such behavior lay in having expectations and demands based on absolutely nothing. Throw some fake ideals into the pot (like what real MTB is about) and you have a dick cheese cookin'. They haven't done crap but they sure know how stuff should be done and the people to throw crap at are the ones that actually do something. As if they actually were some great shredders who can utilize difficult features, but that is highly unlikely. Hardship almost always forges humility and the case you describe is highly probably a bunch of Joeys who whine on dumbing down of A-Line, while all they do is roll on it.

However I am affraid that all the MTB community can do is to have a voice of approval, gratitude and support to those who build trails. Those great people need that tap on the shoulder, even if there's one love message per 10 slimy ejaculations. Trolls cannot be stopped. They feed on anger they create. Always.

Cheers! All the best! Waki

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Lee-Lau
0
Lee Lau  - Aug. 1, 2016, 8:39 a.m.

It's all good Waki. The forums on NSMB are very negative- its the culture of that place which is a cesspool. The trails here are pretty decent. The builders and volunteers here do pretty well

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chris-mclean
0
Chris McLean  - July 30, 2016, 6:52 a.m.

Cam - thanks for the article. You have been both a wonderful advocate and one hell of a troll over the years.

For me trail building has been a personal journey. That people like a trail once they find it, is great and gratifying, but that isn't the point. When people don't like the trail(s) then, for the most part it is water off a ducks back for me. If you don't like it pick a tool and make a difference is my opinion. Just don't make a difference on my trail (without permission). Find your own trail, build your own trail. Be the trail blazer we all can be.

People will always talk more than do more, its in our nature I guess. The real point is to get out on your bike and ride and have fun. And if the trail really gets your juices flowing (good or bad), pickup a macloed and a pulaski and make a difference. Dig some dirt instead of flinging mud.

Reply

dave-evad
+1 Robert
Dave Evad  - July 29, 2016, 3:52 p.m.

Trail designers/builders don't do anything for anyone but themselves or money! I'm not talking about avg Joe helper, either. Most trail db's are forced to build easy and intermediate trails because they are building on public lands. Public land isn't their personal playground. If they want the privilege to build elitist trails on public land, they have to earn that privilege by building trails accessible to everyone first. What makes any of these people think they can just tear in to public land and build triple black diamond death runs all over the place and F everyone else? You want to do that, go find some private land and build stuff even they can't ride themselves… HAVE AT IT!! But when you step foot on public land, it's just not going to happen that way.

But that's what they want and threaten to quit building if they can't have it their way. Well, F'off than!! Go find your private land which isn't available and nobody wants the insurance liability. That changes the entire scenario and they know it and so they give in and build easy to moderate trails first so they can start building their death trails. It's all about what they want, it's government and the public who is watching out for the citizens that their public lands aren't being abused by the elitist few. They have to force these builders to pay their dues through building the more accessible trails.

They complain about so few volunteers and donations, but why would anyone want to volunteer and donate toward a bunch of trails they won't even be able to enjoy? Yeah, thanks for your $100 and 40 hours of help, too bad this is a death run you'll never get to enjoy.

Reply

extraspecialandbitter
+1 Cooper Quinn
ExtraSpecialandBitter  - July 29, 2016, 5:15 p.m.

Odd. I just "finished" (it's not quite done) a project to build a trail that the lead builders went and asked permission to do (so they weren't told to do it) and the entire goal was to create a trail that EVERYONE could enjoy. Granted, not everyone loves it, but many people do. And the best part is that that's part of the reason that we do it. We get satisfaction knowing that people enjoy something that we put time and effort into. I dig because I enjoy manual labour and I want to give back to a community that has provided so much to me. There is a little bit of selfishness in that I also enjoy riding what I've helped build and I've made friends along the way, but those are most definitely not the only reasons that I dig.

But what do I know… I'm just an entitled Millennial according to Brad Sedola.

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paul-burbidge
0
Paul Burbidge  - July 29, 2016, 6:15 p.m.

I don't get the argument that you have to pay your dues and build trails for others before yourself. Why does land ownership matter? Generally an expert trail isn't using terrain that would be suited to beginners.

The more I build the more I realize that I need to build for myself. Not everyone is going to like your trail no matter what, you might as well make sure you do.

Get permission from the owner or administrator and build something that your excited to ride.

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dave-evad
0
Dave Evad  - July 30, 2016, 7:46 p.m.

Why does land ownership matter? Because it's not your personal property to do with as you please. Despite the amount of public land out there, those in charge of the land aren't going to just allow endless trails in most cases. Heck, most state parks can only support 3 or 4 trails, so it's even more critical that all trails are accessible to everyone. It's also important if any tax payer grant money is involved. If that's the case, any trail built using that money should absolutely be accessible to as many people as possible.

Build features, but make a ride around. It's not that complicated, but trail DB's get inflated ego's and don't want a ride around. They want to force everyone to "learn" and "build skills" and stupid crap like that. It's not up to trail DB's to tell people how to ride. It's up those in charge to insure everyone can enjoy the land they own.

The biggest problems with inflated ego's comes when introducing new people to the sport. A new rider should have the same opportunity to ride those trails and be able to skip the features they can't do without having to dismount and plow through the woods to go around every feature. But the fact always remains that trail DB's want their elitist trails, and that's fine, but they will have to pay their dues in order to gain access to their little personal area of a public land.

These trail DB's often need a reality check. There are people who can out ride them any day of the week. Maybe we should start building trails so hard, that only the top elite 20 riders in the world can ride them. How would most trail DB's enjoy working on trails that even they can't ride because it's so difficult. My guess is they wouldn't bother if they can't ride it either. Let's just build every trail so difficult that they no longer have a purpose because nobody can ride them. Sounds pretty stupid right?

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pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - July 31, 2016, 2:52 p.m.

Dave, I can understand your viewpoint but you seem to be pretty fixated on an issue that, if I'm guessing correctly, pertains to one or two specific cases that have occurred in your immediate proximity. Be careful about painting all trail builders with the same brush, because your generalizations are applicable to exactly zero situations, trail builders, or networks I know of - and I know of a few.

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Lee-Lau
0
Lee Lau  - Aug. 1, 2016, 8:25 a.m.

Sounds like your issue/issues are region-specific. In the Yukon or in Sea to Sky/Fraser Valley - we get to build what we want generally speaking

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dave-evad
0
Dave Evad  - Aug. 3, 2016, 12:29 a.m.

Plenty more than one or two and I doubt it's just in my area, but I'm sure it's easier to believe that it's limited to just a few places.

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mudrunner
0
mudrunner  - July 31, 2018, 1:50 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

Pediclescrew
0
Big D  - July 29, 2016, 12:29 p.m.

builders rule, thank you! Remember that one time when digger was getting out of his truck as I was draggin' my ass up MH? After the smallest bit of chit chat (first time I met him) he pointed me to a brand new hidden gem AND, realizing I was not at my best gave me one of his two Mcdonalds cheeseburgers! Who does that? What kind of saint??
The shore is the shit. It might not be the best or most diverse or whatever, it doesn't matter, its The Shore. Capital S. Mecca.
No area will ever please everyone, I mean there are loads of people who don't think whistler is a great ski hill, but the point is, f*ck off. If you are not willing or able to build, take what you can get or piss off back to your moms house!

Reply

dj
0
DJ  - July 29, 2016, 10:12 a.m.

the sanctimony in this sport gets a bit outta hand at times. even from trail builders, whom i have a lot of respect and thanks for.

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Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - July 29, 2016, 9:48 a.m.

We can't have it all. If we want more trails on land that is owned by a third party, then be prepared to respect their opinions and rights as the land owners, or go elsewhere. Shore trails are no longer a secret to anyone with an iPhone and the land owners (at least those who acknowledge that trails exist) want variety to reflect the larger community of trail users and that mitigate risk from litigation. That is reality. I'd much rather have the NSMBA leading the way for trail maintenance, and builds etc. than the alternative. Adapt or die, because time travel isn't an option.

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kwl
0
KWL  - July 29, 2016, 9:30 a.m.

When I ride solo I tend to ride easier trails like 7th and Lower Oil Can. With friends I like to mix it up with Bookwus, Grannies, Boogieman etc. It's great to have a mix of trails and all are fun and challenging on my hardtail, my one and only bike. Thanks builders and the NSMBA.

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brad-sedola
0
Brad Sedola  - July 29, 2016, 9:20 a.m.

I feel that I'm starting to talk like some old MOFO, but the sense of entitlement with the younger generations boggles my mind. In my mind nobody should even comment on a trail that they had nothing to do with creating or maintaining just because you drop $5K on a bike. Earn your turns, help out on trail days, pay your club fees, whatever, just don't bitch about it.

The Northshore has changed since the good ol' days, trails are getting easier. I don't mind, it coincides with my devolving skills as I get older. I appreciate every trail that I have ever ridden on those hills over the last 30 years. Flying Circus (RIP), Boogieman, Bobsled, Penny Lane/Good Sir Martin… all wicked trails.

I dedicated 10+ years to our local bike scene but with age comes other responsibilities and unfortunately none of the up and comers took over the reigns. Trails, clubs and races have all but disappeared around my locale. Makes it even more special when I manage to get down to the lower mainland to ride trails that continue to have the volunteer's dedication that I remember.

Keep it up! You guys really have something special down there.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - July 29, 2016, 11:35 a.m.

To be fair, most of the worst offenders on our bulletin board are old bastards like me. And all of the quotes used in the article come from that contingent as well.

Reply

rachid-nayel
0
Rachid Nayel  - July 29, 2016, 7:56 a.m.

Thank you Cam, very well said. At the onset, reading the title, I was concerned that I'd read your letter and be angry at the end, instead, it's been a great start to my day.

The end isn't near, 7 years ago we were at the precipice of something terrible, now we're enjoying something entirely different.

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Lee-Lau
0
Lee Lau  - Aug. 1, 2016, 12:10 p.m.

Would you agree that disrespect to Land Managers is among "mountain biking's worst enemy" Rachid?

Reply

blackbird
0
tw  - July 29, 2016, 7:55 a.m.

Dumbing down? Not enough gnar?
Simmons Pipeline video nails it: Daddy's bike too easy.

A big thank you to all those guys who work on the trails all over but particularly on the sea to sky where I ride.

Amazing opportunities everywhere.

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BigAirGar4
0
Garry Drouin  - July 29, 2016, 7:40 a.m.

Well said Cam!

As a longtime builder and Ontarian who only visits "The Shore" even I was shocked at the Dumb Down from visit to visit.

Words do hurt but actions most times unsanctioned by riders who did not lift a fucking finger to build anything but its now their right to modify lines, remove obstacles and generally be a total douche are even more disheartening.

Cant even begin to imagine how frustrating it must be for you guys…

Keep fighing the good fight ….I guess

Reply

craw
+1 grambo
Cr4w  - July 30, 2018, 8:06 a.m.

Feels a bit weird to comment on an old article.

I like Upper Dale's. The original line was unsustainable and the new line is really nicely done - the berm arcs are perfect. I think it's a nice addition. The rest of the trail is still as it was. I don't see why this would bother anyone.

Reply

cooperquinn
+2 Mammal Todd Hellinga
Cooper Quinn  - July 30, 2018, 8:25 a.m.

Its not everyone's cup of tea. 

And that's fine, neither was the original. Or subsequent variations. 

If you're complaining because its too easy, go faster. 

*its also worth noting the NSMBA had, and has, basically nothing to do with Upper Dale's. That was all Metro/LSCR.

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grambo
0
grambo  - July 30, 2018, 5:08 p.m.

I never got to ride the OG Upper Dale's but I love the lower half. The upper part seems to be in kind of a weird spot, but damn it is well built, those berms are really well done and make you feel like a rock star to hit hard.

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icullis
0
icullis  - July 30, 2018, 10:57 a.m.

Long time biker/forum troll/whiner/etc., first time poster.....

The trail system 8 years ago was in a state of disrepair, with few options for beginners, and very little support from the landowners. NSMBA was instrumental in changing that....NSMBA has done a great job engaging the land owners and building a more sustainable diverse trail system. This system allows for people to try mountain biking and progress to harder and harder trails. It's fabulous to have choices for different trail difficulty levels, and trail options.

Unfortunately, many challenging trails on Fromme were closed in 2010 (pinkstarfish, jerry rig, groovula, GMG, etc.). These trails were in various states of repair, but with the loss of them, many riders lost the ability to progress (I am in the process of re-building a hardtail from spare parts for a challenge). 

Is there a plan for more challenging trails or the expansion of the trail network? What is the status of negotiations with Metro/DNV/RSTBC?

I want to help! Let us know what the long term plan is for the trail network and how we can add our voices.

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cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - July 30, 2018, 9:58 p.m.

Hey! 

I recognize you from such places as "my email"! Engaged citizenry! 

We're currently working to get our current trail proposals (like the Double Black we discussed a while back) online, for a couple reasons. 

1) So members/stakeholders can see what we're working on, and what stage proposals are at. Currently, these things are getting bogged down,  and it can be kinda easy for things to just "die" in a back room. Putting these proposals out in the public sphere will hopefully help with that, because;

2) We need your help. Once we get them online, we'll have the relevant land manager contacts you can use to show support for specific trails.

So keep an eye out for that, we're working on a plan for how to effectively and efficiently get people to engage on these proposals - it may be something like Evergreen's "Advocacy Alerts". 

(I think my comment was too long, so I've split it here...)

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - July 30, 2018, 9:58 p.m.

A few more notes and thoughts, in no particular order:

  • We already have the 'general' land manager contacts on the nsmba website. If you ever have a question about a trail, feature, whatever, please get in touch with me (or info@nsmba.ca), and we can direct your query or comment to the right place. Land managers and politicians here a LOT from people who don't like mountain biking. They don't hear a lot from mountain bikers. Lets work to change that, and make sure we come across as good strong signal, not just noise.  

  • If mountain biking, trails, and outdoor recreation matter to you, its an election year for DNV, CNV, and DWV. ASK CANDIDATES ABOUT TRAILS, PARKS, AND OUTDOOR REC.  

  • The Double Black proposal is currently in a bit of a 'holding pattern'. DNV has written up a risk management policy for trails, including trail standards. Once adopted, this will be a good thing, as we'll be able to build some really cool stuff. The problem is..... see above. Its an election year, and Council has to vote on this. In the meantime, we're moving forward with specific trail routing and feature planning, so that whenever this policy finally is adopted, we're ready to push forward.  

  • And keep an eye out in 2019 for some opportunities to provide input to the long term trails vision. Our annual survey is a major data source for us, and as you point out, its shifted over the past few years from the desire for more beginner and intermediate options, to more new challenging options. You'll see a shift in what we're working on, based on this (see: new Lower Digger). We're going to be putting together a full long term vision and plan, and input from members and stakeholders will be part of that.  

So that's a long way of answering your question "How can I help?", the short answer is (as you have) - get engaged with us, and don't be afraid to engage with land managers. The same rules I posted at the very top apply; constructive feedback and an open mind for dialogue go a long way with land manager staff. And remember - you vote for politicians. Make them aware of what you care about, and where you think they should be spending money. For reference, CNV is spending.... what, $200M on the new Harry Jerome?

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icullis
0
icullis  - Aug. 8, 2018, 3:11 p.m.

Thanks for the feedback Cooper! I have emailed the municipality, but get no response....

I also want to make sure that any emails don't actually undermine the work you are doing. 

Couple of questions;

  1. Will the 2019 feedback sessions be done as a collaboration between NSMBA and the landowners?
  2. Do you have an election platform or candidates you will endorse?
  3. Do you have any idea when the DNV will finish the pump track and is there any other bike infrastructure planned (I'm jealous of Nanaimo, Surrey, Vancouver, they all have nice jump parks, pump tracks, etc.)

I really do like the new trails, it's just progression that is needed and a big picture. Each of the trail networks is isolated and planned separately. I guess it would be nice to see all landowners working together with a semi-common vision. 

I've taken a look at the new lower digger. It is well built, but still not really a challenge....

Reply

RAHrider
0
Reed Holden  - July 30, 2018, 1:06 p.m.

I don't bother riding the extra few feet to upper Dales as it is not the kind of trail I enjoy, but neither was the old rutted out erosion disaster that some pass off as "gnar."

My wife and I have come to "appreciate" flow trails for the fact that they attract most of the DB riders (as you all refer to them as) and leave the classic "old school" trails relatively unused. Half Nelson is always touted as "the best trail in Squamish" but in reality I rarely see anyone ride it fast enough to gap the jumps, most people roll over everything. A lot of these changes have come with the invention of the bike park and machine built trails. When I moved to BC, there was no such thing as a machine built trail and quite frankly, they are a waste of elevation IMO. Crashing at 30 km/h hurts and riding uphill for an hour for a downhill that takes 10 minutes is really stupid. They make sense at Whistler where you pay for your downhills in $ rather than sweat and you wear armour, c-spine protector etc.

As far as modern day trails go, I have to say, the hand cut trails done in the last 10 years in BC are incredible!!!!! Although Good sir martin and forever after are far from the most difficult trails on the shore, they are still among my all time favorites. So thanks to all the quality trail building that has been done in the past 10 years and don't listen to the haters. Even if I don't ride your machine built trail, someone else will and love it even if I don't get it.

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blackbird
0
tw  - July 30, 2018, 8:30 p.m.

I just gunna put this video right here:

https://vimeo.com/162165049

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michael
0
Michael  - July 31, 2018, 8:01 p.m.

Let's just say, no complaints. On the Sea to Sky I can still ride old school gnar off the map. Sadly North Van is pretty much beaten dead, ruled by land owners.  What's funny, the off map trails are now getting more traffic than ever before, riders are simply looking for less dumb, it's true.

Reply

jason
+1 Peter Leeds
jason  - Aug. 2, 2018, 10:13 a.m.

Very true.  I am one of the old farts.  My opinion on “hard” is skewed as I have ridden here too long.  What used to be black has been massaged on many trails.  Oilcan re-routed years ago so it is no longer fall line ish and now curves around.  It is no longer black.  Initial first roles on Boogieman have always (at least the last 20 years), been a bit janky to role over the root and rocks.  Now they have new bermed corner rolls and are much easier.  

I see lots of folks riding newer trails which is great.  Not opposed to having the smooth trails.  But don’t like trails to get smoothed out without the original lines or difficulty preserved.  Expresso used to have jank.  The new Expresso was built (which is a great trail), but what would be even better is if the original was also preserved and maintained along with the new.  

Riders who continue to look for difficulty just end up being pushed to non sanctioned trails.  So the closer of things like starfish don’t accomplish what the district wants anyway.

Would love to see the bureaucrats understand and appreciate that not all trail work needs to smooth something out.  And that there are those who appreciate the difficult trails.

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syncro
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Mark  - Aug. 7, 2018, 4:37 p.m.

When Oilcan got taken on as a project it was a trail that was pretty much given up for dead and was a mess. Plenty of blow down in a couple spots rendered the trail impassable. At the time the community had expressed a need for more intermediate type trails yet there was a ban on new trails, so Oilcan seemed like the perfect candidate for a rehab project to give riders with fewer skills an option. When the idea was put forward there was no objection AFAIR as nobody was riding it. 

I agree with you a bit on some of the other points, but realize that the choice between preserving gnar yet fixing significant erosion can be a difficult one, and it is often predicated on how long that will take - read volunteer hours. The other factor to consider is that the building climate is different with greater involvement from the land managers and that means building to a different standard than 20 yrs ago.

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icullis
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icullis  - Aug. 8, 2018, 1:38 p.m.

I've seen quite a few renditions/changes to lower oilcan over the years. I think the new work is great, there are nice jumps, and it flows really well. 

My one concern is around the building climate....the landowners seem to want intermediate trails, but keep advanced ranking. So my questions are:

  • How do rankings compare to Squamish and Whistler? 

  • Do DNV and MV get to choose the ranking?

  • If we keep advanced ratings on these "easier" blacks does that make it harder to get "harder" blacks or double blacks? Or is there a new expectation that the trails are hard enough?

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PoCo_Rider
+1 Cooper Quinn
PoCo_Rider  - Aug. 1, 2018, 1:17 p.m.

Cam, thank you for this sentence, "Leppard would be a black diamond trail virtually everywhere else".

Makes me feel much better about my riding ability. :)

Seriously though, a very well thought out piece. I do some trail days with BMBA and I know that working on the trails is a delicate balance between the land managers need to be risk averse and the rider's need for fun. I have nothing but respect for NSMBA and the work that they have done and continue to do. Access is everything.

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jpetter
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jpetter  - Aug. 6, 2018, 11:13 p.m.

The one thing I don’t understand is why the climb trails are being smoothed out? Is it builder choice, or a land management issue, or something else? I can understand descents being manicured for preservation and/or rideablity reasons or to offer ride arounds, but uphills? No Quarter on Fromme is a classic example. I used to have to get off and walk in several locations but now it’s much more manageable. It’s still a grunt on a big enduro bike, but the tech is gone. Although my personal bests keep getting better with all the work being done!

Thoughts on this?

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