Enduro practice - Should it be standardized?

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7/23/2015 10:52 AM

Just a question for the masses. Today the EWS CB stop added an "unofficial" day of practice on Wednesday. For those out there with jobs this can create a bit of a disadvantage as taking advantage of said additional practice can be difficult for obvious reasons. Prior schedules indicated one day of official practice only.

When you combine this "unofficial training" with last weekend's "rumor" that various riders had additional practice for the race in France it starts to become frustrating.

So...Should practice be standardized? Should "illegal training" be frowned upon like skin suits and bullet heads? Is there a solution or is this really a non-issue and those who have the time should be rewarded with more practice???

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7/24/2015 4:29 PM

Related, here's a note from Chris Ball about Crested Butte and training prior to events:

"Dear all teams and riders,

Congratulations to everyone for a great first half of the season. As we hit the midway point in our year, with four events to go, I just wanted to write to clarify the opening and closing of trails at the next event in Crested Butte.

Pre-riding of courses, official training and venues has become a topic for discussion this year and something I have been following closely. It’s a topic with many points, from sporting equity, to culture to local land access legislation and economics.

Nobody wants to feel that they are competing on an unfair, unequal playing field but we must also recognise the world that we live in and that entire valleys, ski centres and communities cannot always close mountains for weeks or months at a time.

In some venues such as Ireland, where the mountain is privately owned and the trail network not sanctioned, we were able to close the area for two weeks. In Scotland however, where land access is the right of the people and trespassing laws do not exist, it is impossible to close a publicly accessible trail outside of official race times.

The two opposing examples above just highlight the various complications we face when it comes to standardising formats, training times and trail closures. But of course, viewed in a positive way, this shows the dynamic series that the EWS is at its heart and that we are able to use these various local differences to keep each event new, fresh and exciting.

Many riders will at some point have some form of local advantage and at other times be disadvantaged too. Across the whole season we think that this likely evens out, although it’s never easy when you are the disadvantaged one of course and we understand that.

Next up we have a very special case. Crested Butte is one of the most iconic and foundations stones of our sport and should be a riding experience on every mountain bikers list, but the remote nature of the terrain, the hundreds of kilometres of high altitude trails and wide spread lay out of the valleys make accessing trails long, arduous and physically demanding. For this reason we have split the event over three days of racing, with only a small number of stages per day (each accused by big climbs). The terrain is not super technical and therefore also lends itself to safe blind racing.

Of course, to not practice a stage is against our very own rule book but for a special occasion like Crested Butte, I feel that this rule is worth bending. Course maps will be released on Wednesday and riders will be able to ride what they like, nothing will be closed but riders can use their acclimatisation day to go and ride a stage, or part of a stage, it’s up to them and their tactics. Thursday will be our only official practice day, where we will open only a small number of stages for official practice. Those stages only can be ridden on Thursday.

This sounds confusing, and it is a very different approach but I urge you all to think and take care of one thing, altitude. You will be riding from 10,000ft upwards and your body is not a machine, it’s a human. Take your time, stay well rested and hydrated and allow yourself to adjust to the thin air and enjoy the fact that you might get a few surprises come
race day.

Of course this format is not something we will role out to other venues but unless we made some dramatic changes, Crested Butte would either be a very short race consisting of only 4 stages or to have you practice everything would mean the event would have to last 7 days, something none of us can afford either financially or in terms of time.

Adventure, variety and the occasional curve-ball in event format are all part of the EWS and something we are proud of. We hope you all have a great time in the iconic Crested Butte with Big Mountain Enduro as our hosts. I personally am very excited to learn, experience and see how the next round will unfold.

As always, we are open to feedback and although we may not react to every piece of advice, we do listen to it all and take it on board. Following Crested Butte, I will host a riders meeting in Whistler to listen to all of your thoughts regarding training and event format ahead of the 2016 season. Details of a time and a place will follow soon.

Kind regards,

- Chris Ball"

http://www.bigmountainenduro.com/bigmtnenduro/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Crested-Butte-letter.pdf

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7/24/2015 5:31 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/24/2015 9:14 PM

One thing that's quite odd is that on the "official practice day" you can't even ride all of the stages. Where's the sense in that? Vital reached out to the organizer for comment.

Meanwhile, several riders are already in Crested Butte six days early getting used to the area and (a reasonable person would assume) trails they anticipate being in the race. As Chris Ball mentioned above this is impossible to police as the trails are open to the public. In theory only the organizers know what trails will be included.

Then again, what's a Pro rider to do between events? Seems like riding in the next race area would be a wise move, as would showing up a few days before the event, even if you're a working class MTB hero.








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7/24/2015 7:11 PM

That's if. I'm quitting my job on Monday so I can get adequate practice in. Only reasonable thing to do.

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7/25/2015 12:56 AM

hmm. it is a sticky topic. Justin Leov raised it last week ( but he forgot he lives in Finale Ligure and most likely has the advantage for the last event, eh?).

There are two solutions:
1) cut new trails for each race so that no one has ridden them and the new trails can be controlled so easier to disqualify someone
2) shut down resorts two weeks ahead of the race so even the pro's can't get there ahead of time for that 1 week extra riding time

It does suck though since I know with a few more runs, my lines would be better dialed and I would not have to say while riding "fickeneh, shoulda hit it the other way....".

But if you are an amateur and require a real job to have the opportunity to ride ( like me ), then you aren't good enough on the bike anyhow, else you would already be a pro. So, no problems from my side.

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7/25/2015 6:40 AM

the last-minute addition of wednesday's unofficial practice is a bummer. getting helmet cam footage alone for an extra day of study is a huge advantage to anyone competing, whether they ride all the trails or not.

ibeaver, plenty of pro riders with legitimate results have jobs they have to juggle with racing.

i don't know an easy solution, but if i was a racer who had made travel/work plans and couldn't change them, i'd be bummed.

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7/25/2015 6:49 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/25/2015 6:51 AM

One thing that seems to be missed in this discussion is the altitude of Crested Butte. Coming from sea level to a resort that starts at 2,700m is brutal. Even for media squids who won't have to do all the climbing during the race, the combination of altitude sickness and jetlag is savage, so in my personal view, you'd be crazy not to arrive early (but that is not to say I think people should be practicing the race track this far out).


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7/25/2015 8:36 AM

I live at 6,500 feet and routinely ride at 8-10k. I didn't need to show up for the altitude (which one day wouldn't do much for anyway) but for practice.

I do have a job. Said job is "crazy" this time of year so requesting time off months ahead of time was a "must". I planned on arriving late weds for a full day of practice Thursday.

Now the word is it's a free for all weds with every stage "unofficially" open and only a few stages will be open on "official" training on Thursday. Add to this the bike park stages on day 3 which those who show up a week early can take an educated guess on and be hammering for days and it becomes a bit discouraging.

I've chosen to withdrawal. I don't have delusions of a top 20 but I do want to do as well as I can do. For me to go out there and race much of this blind when the best in the world have had practice makes me a liability. I realize the race organizers say you can "safely race blind" - and that may be true. But the fact remains some will be and some won't be and that's not rewarding bike handling but "who can show up earliest".

I think the only way to fix this is make a gentlemanly agreement much like the skinsuit thing where you are shamed if caught practicing early. Social consequences seem best. I realize there will always be local knowledge but that's a whole other thing.

Interested to see how this one plays out...

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7/25/2015 8:50 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/25/2015 8:51 AM

I think it has to be a rider 'agreement' so to speak, an honor system that is followed. As it stands now, this is certainly not the case, because people are there riding, more than a week ahead of time, and not trying to hide it. Enduro teams are paying for hotels and costs for riders for this, like Yeti and others. In my mind, they aren't doing anything wrong, because they aren't breaking any rules. I just think it sucks as far as a fair playing field. The only thing I'm not going to do about it is not race. Vote with your $$$. I've done three enduros, one being terrible, two great, but no longer exist.

In the end, none of the crying matters, 'fairness' doesn't matter too much, or certainly that 'spirit' thing. It is still just money. These events fill up with riders in a minute or two of registration, the promoters make money, the venues make money on lodging, and it'll keep going.

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I'm hungry.

7/25/2015 9:06 AM

Chris Ball's letter above discusses the altitude. As Jeff mentions, some athletes may already live at altitude and therefore not need to show up early for that reason.

Even so, what worsens the situation is the EWS racer's booklet, which originally told riders to arrive on Wednesday. There was no mention of Wednesday practice (official or otherwise) until just a few days ago when it was quietly updated, long after most people would have solidified travel plans. Riders who show up early are now allowed to "unofficially" shuttle whatever stage they'd like on Wednesday - something that is typically against the rules, whereas riders who show up too late to ride on Wednesday may now need to power themselves up climbs or use official shuttles on Thursday.

Plus the fact that not all trails will be open on Thursday. Poor foresight/clarity on the organizer's part in my opinion.

The book now reads:



The EWS rule book specifically states that prior training or training outside of "official" times will result in disqualification:





Though the rules haven't always been followed. Here is one mention of it from Dirt Mag, and another here from Lars Sternberg. Richie Rude even went on record last week in the Vital coverage voicing his concern over prior practice. The EWS is bending their own rules for this event, and at the last minute.

Like any seasoned Pro, it's clear that some have learned how to perform their best - and that means showing up early when possible. Smart race strategy?














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7/25/2015 9:21 AM

Wow. Thanks for the visuals too Brandon. I guess the only way I should have considered racing this event is taking a whole week off and driven down today. That'd allow for sufficient time I suppose. There certainly seems to be a bit of miscommunication between EWS and BME (the local promoter). I received a few scathing emails from the owner there which I'll leave out. My thoughts are if Chris Ball (whom I really do believe is a class act) believes some of these stages can be raced blind, then they should be. For everyone. Cancel Wednesday practice and make a line in the sand *right now* regarding pre running of courses. Otherwise this can of worms will only grow...

I'm not to privy to how rally (car) racing works but can anyone enlighten me? Seems semi-similar.

Maybe those with the most resources should just be rewarded...and those without, like myself, need to make a bigger sacrifice to make it work. I mean it is just bike riding, something I apparently like a whole bunch

My $0.02 on this is besides a "gentlemen's agreement" a lot of this comes down to the forest service. What I think all of us want is raw, newly taped courses. Maybe a few pedal pedal turn stages but that's not what got me excited about the sport. I want stuff like I see in France. The US has terrain that could offer some of the best stages like this around. The problem is the FS would never let new/raw courses like this be cut. Which is a whole other topic of debate.

So...this means you've either got to go to private land (working on that ) run a race like they had in Winter Park where everyone bitched and moaned it was a "bike park" or do what they are doing in CB - which will have bitching all its own.

On a less important note, one other thing that has changed substantially is the amount of climbing. It has been lessened greatly as the event approached. Again, I'm fine with changes but changes 1 week out... c'mon.

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7/25/2015 9:33 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/25/2015 9:33 AM

It's worth noting that there are ~500+ miles of singletrack in Crested Butte, so pre-riding the right trails would be like finding a needle in a haystack.



http://www.cbgtrails.com/embed/38.898280862062315,-106.95726871490477/10

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7/25/2015 9:40 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/25/2015 9:41 AM

You are right but once you start to filter them based on expected time and elevation gain/drop (which is posted) you can make some damn good educated guesses. Especially if you have a week...


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7/25/2015 2:56 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/26/2015 1:25 PM

jeff.brines wrote:

You are right but once you start to filter them based on expected time and elevation gain/drop (which is posted) you can make some damn good educated guesses. Especially if you have a week...


Valid point. Here's the elevation/distance/time breakdown for Crested Butte:



One could certainly make an educated guess, though it'd be difficult. Is that against the rules though? As far as I can tell, it's only illegal to practice stages after they have been released and before official practice begins. Crested Butte's "unofficial" practice day is now an odd exception.

Here are more riders already in or arriving in CB soon. This appears to be the norm. If it were an issue, would they be posting photos? Doubtful. It's certainly a bummer for those who can't arrive early, though without prior knowledge of the stages does it really make a difference?



















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7/25/2015 4:21 PM

I just look at this and think how hard this enduro thing is to manage with the growth so fast, and the officiating and rules lagging behind with so few staff to manage these fine details, and anticipate these issues, and so little experience built up over the years...

People are expecting a high level of professionalism out of something new and unknown... Professionalism comes out of years of experience, continued diligent practice, and adding to a shared body of knowledge... EWS is just too young for that... It's just not possible in some ways to meet the high expectations because so much of putting on an enduro race is exactly like riding a course blind but with everyone expecting a world beating time at the bottom.

Tough to know what the right call is. This is just one that the riders are going to have to roll with and consider teething pains

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7/25/2015 10:35 PM

A couple of thoughts on this one.

First off if you think that the Pro's don't get early looks at the courses you are living in a cave. Their "educated guesses" are actually pre informed by the locals. Courses have to be taped, start and finish lines marked etc. Saw this firsthand at Winter Park last year. Several pros were riding the courses long before they were released including some of the ones that complain so loudly about things being fair.

Second, changing the courses so close to race day is idiotic. They announced a while ago what to prepare for and Day 2 was supposed to be over 8K of climbing. Now it is down to 5.5K. Also have heard a few rumors of shuttles as well. Shouldn't this all be nailed down before anything is released?

Last, adding a wide open practice day the week of the event makes me lose a lot of respect for the EWS. It shows they have no respect for the working racers and this whole race appears to be a complete cluster. Not sure if it is also a BME problem as well, but I hope not. As someone that hold an entry I have decided not to attend the race. Wish I would have used the time to head to Dville instead.

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7/25/2015 10:56 PM

Looks like almost everyone is going to ride Doctor Park (not Doctor's), which is an incredible ride in and of itself. I guess we'll just see how good of a guess that is of a EWS stage trail. I'd certainly bet on it after riding it a few times and being so stoked on it. Fun ride, and the race will just mangle some parts. But I'm sure the promoter will help fix any issues...

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I'm hungry.

7/25/2015 11:03 PM

All I see here is a bunch of tilting at windmills.

If you want rulebooks 30 feet thick, go race UCI; go race USAC – they're sanctioning enduro races now. I think EMBA is doing a fantastic job at organizing, promoting, running, and REGULATING races.

As Chris Ball says in his letter, each venue is different. This means uniform rules will not work.

And for all of you complaining about "fairness": life is not, and never will be, fair. Neither will racing. Neither will your job.

For the record, I am competing at Crested Butte. My goal is to finish. Even if I were a pro, I would harbor no ill will towards those who spend more time there than I would get to. As it so happens, I will be there on Monday – spending the week with my daughters and my mom for my summer vacation. So I won't get as much practice as some people will. And yet, I'm not complaining. I am going to go, go have fun, hang out with friends I don't get to see too often, and most importantly of all:

I'm going to ride my bike.

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7/25/2015 11:05 PM

To Eric Saunders... Isn't the promoter of this the promoter of many other enduro races? The Big Mountain Enduro Series? Isn't this promoter the one that has a cap on entrants? It isn't like they are expecting 200 and got 899 racers. They are capped field limits. They should have control over this. I agree there are growing pains, but 'unofficial practice' on a Wednesday when shuttles can be used is just terrible for fairness when people might be driving there at that time. I'm not saying it sucks, I'm saying it should have been done better. "Altitude" is not an excuse. Just one more day doesn't make that much of a difference compared to running a course once or twice more than nothing, like the blind stages that were originally intended.

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I'm hungry.

7/26/2015 6:57 AM

Wow. Good to see I'm not the only one choosing not to attend. Chris will take notice of action more than tantrum throwing.

Few thoughts to add.

First, this is the world series. Top level of the sport. I'm more than amicable about 'growing pains' for regional level races. But for the top level? C'mon. I get its a relatively new discipline but its still timing riders down a mountain. We've been doing that for decades. Sure, shit will go wrong, but the one thing the organizers have 100% control over is the schedule. So I don't buy the whole "growing pains" argument for this one.

Brandon brings up a good point in that I need to be clear about what I'm not happy with. Is it riders showing up early and trying to figure out the stages or is it an added day of practice? Well, I guess I'm not happy with both but one is within the control of the promoter, one is not. So yeah, I'm really complaining about the late add of a practice day.

Showing up early is what it is. I got the impression its discouraged to try and figure shit out early at an EWS but apparently not. I guess you can show up weeks early to a DH race too and even if the track isn't open chances are part of said track will be open. Not to mention it'll give you a chance to get used to the dirt and hey, I hear riding your bike makes you faster. NO MORE RIDING BIKES TO MAKE THINGS FAIR! I kid.

In all seriousness, the fast dudes show up to a WC DH, take 5 practice runs, and win. Why? Cause it doesn't take that much to learn a DH track. Or it does - but a lot of it is just paying attention to details, walking the track and just plain being good. Plus a track will change substantially through a weekend.

What could have really equalized things is just shortening the race. It already sounds like they are dropping vertical from the expected 20K+ monster it was advertised as. So why not do a mega one day event on Sunday and let everyone practice? Or make it a two day event? These giant events really only reward those that *can* show up early. I'm not sure its even that fun.

If we had say, 4-5 stages to learn as opposed to 7-8 stages all of a sudden limited practice becomes less of a problem. What we all want is to race everything blind (all of us) or everyone get at least one practice run. What we don't want is a mix.

Finally to the gentlemen who is telling me I need go ride my bike and that life isn't fair. First, thanks dad. Second, I would agree with the statement of "go ride your bike" (for all of us). Honestly though, you are telling me your only goal is to finish - that's cool and admirable. I thought about dropping from pro to am just to "have fun" but then I'll get flak for sandbagging. On the contrary if I stick in pro and try to race blind I could cause some major problems for a real (paid) pro who had adequate practice. (get in his...er their...way). Not to mention I'm a liability in general. Finally, you are there early. So its a little easier to say "whatever, you guys need to just do it" than it is if you were arriving later in the week...

I don't expect life to be fair. But in a race environment, I do expect the promoter to do everything they can to make it as fair of a race as possible. Adding practice a week before the race and sending a letter out saying "hey guys, this one is going to be different" - implying you should be there already - is far from doing their best to keep things fair.

My $0.02. I'm sure I'm wrong.



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7/26/2015 7:11 AM

Wait wait wait. I thought about it more. I think I have a solution...

Going a step further with my suggestion to limit stages, what if we eliminated even more stages. This way everyone only had to practice 2-3 stages over 3-4 days with a race on Sunday. Or wait, lets go one MORE step, one stage, race on Sunday, track walk on Weds or Thurs and practice up until the race. There could even be timed practice and qualifying so nobody catches a slow rider like me.

We could have the track be gnarly, the promoter could focus on ONE single stage. Timing wouldn't be an issue either - just one top to bottom run...


Oh wait...

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7/26/2015 8:57 AM

That's the first good idea you've had in a long time Jeff. Tucker would be proud.

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I'm hungry.

7/26/2015 11:27 AM

TRex wrote:

To Eric Saunders... Isn't the promoter of this the promoter of many other enduro races? The Big Mountain Enduro Series? Isn't this promoter the one that has a cap on entrants? It isn't like they are expecting 200 and got 899 racers. They are capped field limits. They should have control over this. I agree there are growing pains, but 'unofficial practice' on a Wednesday when shuttles can be used is just terrible for fairness when people might be driving there at that time. I'm not saying it sucks, I'm saying it should have been done better. "Altitude" is not an excuse. Just one more day doesn't make that much of a difference compared to running a course once or twice more than nothing, like the blind stages that were originally intended.

Don't get me wrong, I agree that being in control is the key, and I believe that the extra practice time can be significant. In all likelihood we will see a good race, and crested butte practice-gate will recede. But I do expect the issue to receive attention for next season, and possibly upcoming events.

so just to answer Jeff's question... I don't know that practice needs to be the same for all events, but I do think that broad changes need to be avoided at all costs, and as much as possible you should stick with the published plan.

To meet a standard some riders and teams would be happier with, it needs to run like a UCI race with officials to enforce rules, enforced operational standards, and more standardization from the management committee . But then all the side show around this stuff is something a lot of riders hate about racing. So what to do? I don't know Chris Ball, but I would guess he understands this and has a plan in place to navigate the EWS to this true top level. The more the racers commit to Enduro the more that the organizers need to honor their commitment and bring the level up... but it's going take time. I think it will happen... just not today.








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7/26/2015 7:52 PM

First off, thanks for noticing my Instagram account.

Yes, I was in Crested Butte this weekend riding, seemed like a good idea with the race less than a week away and the temperatures here at home approaching triple digits. A couple points:

To me, cheating is breaking the rules. To my knowledge there aren't any of those forbidding you from riding in the same vicinity of an upcoming race. As mentioned previously, there are hundreds of miles of trails in CB and even with shuttles you'd have a hard time "lapping" anything you suspect might be a stage - you gotta pedal a lot to and from trails. I suppose you could have a driver dropping you off and picking you up at key spots to make sure you covered the local faves adequately, but doing that seems like it would take NASA-level logistics. And you'd still wear your ass out ahead of the race. We "shuttled" today and still climbed over 3,500' and topped out well over 12k.

Secondly, the stages haven't been released, so unless there is a conspiracy and the organizers and top riders are in cahoots, people are at best taking educated guesses. If the riders are figuring out the stages based on elevation profiles and, hmm, I dunno, stages used for last years Ultra Enduro, good on them. That's just being smart.

The whole drama is completely overblown IMO. What, are we gonna forbid anyone that's been to Whistler from riding the next round?

If some racers are getting course info ahead of others, that needs to stop. Aside from that, pfft, whatever.

Sorry if I rambled, I hit my head today. Haha.

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MRP - Brand Manager
Pivot Cycles - Team Rider

7/26/2015 9:55 PM

My $0.02

The idea of Enduro racing was what got me excited, show up, ride a trail once or twice and race.

I know that it isn't illegal to ride public trails or to buy a lift ticket and ride behind a fast local, but it really pisses me off to see so many spending so much time weeks ahead riding "potential" enduro stages. I don't think it should, but that is how I feel about it, it almost enrages me to think about all of the times I've seen top pro's sessioning venues or locals showing out of town riders around. There is a reason why I was a top 10 rider at Winter Park, I spent years racing those trails, however I never pre-rode the venue before sanctioned practice. Just the thought of it made me feel dirty and sleezy! The only other EWS I competed at was Whistler and I busted my ASS during practice days getting in as much on trail experience only to get humbled by many that spent days riding the same trails before practice officially opened.

Jeff, I agree, lets start focusing on one stage racing again, as a MTB racer the past two years I feel like I've been experiencing an identity crises. 'Who am I"

The honeymoon is over, we had a great go of it Enduro, some good times and bad, but I think we should see other people, its not really working out.

No hard feelings to anyone out there, if you enjoy it do it, if you don't move on. Where's my DH bike? Step 1 delete strava, step 2 just huck it!

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7/27/2015 6:50 AM

Seems like Chris Ball has been a breath of fresh air in the raceing world. It would be like going back to the George Bush area without him. No the world still isn't perfect but haveing a promoter that clearly cares about the sport and people in it is such a positive thing in itself. I understand how it feels to be " in between " classes in ability and the stress it can cause. That's no reason to say everything is unfair.

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7/27/2015 6:53 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/27/2015 8:47 AM

Full disclosure: I rode in Crested Butte last weekend. That brought my total days riding in Crested Butte to 5, in my life. I have no idea if any of what I rode is in the race. The two days I've spent at the bike park are a safe bet, but I'd be willing to bet that Dike Trail and at least one other is not. So, if I'm lucky, Doctor's Park (ridden 2x), and maybe another trail I rode are in it and at least half of the race I've never seen before and may not even ride on the practice day since I don't fancy paying $15 per shuttle.

1. Altitude is going to be a big factor. I got dizzy at the start of two of my rides, and I live in Denver.
2. Locals always have an advantage. I have a lot of experience at Winter Park, and when I race non-locals there, it's an advantage to me. This will be doubly-true of those who live near CB or have ridden there a lot, since it's not a resort.
3. Start posting stages months in advance. This is really the only solution. It leaves it up to the entrant to come up with the time and money to either make it to the event area early or to accept that they were given information and they did not use it to their advantage. If I wanted to be competitive at Highland Park or Finale Ligure, I'd plan to head there at least one week before hand, two, optimally, and practice courses. That is the only way to level the local / non-local playing field and is already the practice for most pros and many avocational riders (see above photos or consult Strava).
4. Stop pretending this is a show-and-go format. If you show up at an event and don't practice, that's on you. Promoters need to DROP THE PRETENSE that we aren't practicing.

Or, here's some novel ideas:
1. Make a disclosure on the entry form that describes your familiarity with each stage or the area in general. Eg. Have you ridden Doctor's Park: a. 1x b. less than 3 c. often d. I'm a local. Then have a few prizes for people who fly from across the country or world and post kick-ass times.
2. Have a local / non-local designation on the results so that you at least know who's who and can at least take some pride when you do well in someone else's backyard. Sometimes if you are from a region, you're still not a local. I'm as intimidated as anyone else about CB...and I live in CO, 'cause basically I don't know the area well at all.
3. Keep a few surprises up your sleeve. I don't know what these would be, but keep surprising us (as long as the surprise doesn't weight the locals and traveling pros even more than current practice!).
4. Weight race days towards FEWER stages instead of more. This allows people some time to relax, socialize or whatever. Or practice their balls off that's what they like.
5. Chris Ball's on the right track...he's trying to be fair, keep things exciting and deal with all of our complaining. Don't let this become like UCI / USAC bore-fests where all of the excitement has been drained out.





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7/27/2015 8:19 AM

I'm racing in CB and was there this weekend to ride and fish... Seemed like a smart thing to do



The only things I'm frustrated by:

-Changing the practice schedule
-Shortening the race. I figure this is an EWS (the top of the sport) and the tracks/days/riding should be hard. When I signed up for the race I saw the elevation and mileage descriptions and trained for it. Why are they making it easier?

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7/27/2015 8:39 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/27/2015 8:40 AM

if i was a competitor, my biggest issues (like the 2 above who have decided not to race now) would be the late addition of another practice day and the altering of the course layout/liaisons/climbs.

i think the reason showing up early to a venue has been made an issue is because the RACERS bring it up in vital slideshows. consistently there are audio interviews from pros frowning on other racers being at X venue for days/weeks/months in vital slideshows from the EWS.

i personally don't see any ethical problem with riders showing up as early as they're able. everyone has different schedules and resources. i do think it is a massive advantage to sample and potentially film as many trails as possible, however. once the stages are released, maybe i'd be lucky enough to have ridden some or all of the trails already and would have them filmed to learn them even better off the bike.

it's just part of the nature of this kind of racing. but again, historically, the complaints have come from racers in the past about showing up early.

FYI, dave camp is gonna podium.



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7/27/2015 8:56 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/27/2015 8:59 AM

Interesting.

I'll keep adding my $0.02 because well...I'm at my dayjob and things are slow this morning.

Problem I have with *this race: I'll reiterate what I've said multiple times - my frustration is really adding practice time "unoffically" one week before the race, especially when this practice time was a doubling of previous disclosure. That's huge. When a race book suggests I show up on a day, I'm going to show up on that day. As a privateer working man, I can't just take gobs of time off. Now I know this will put me at a disadvantage compared to those who can show up earlier, ride the surrounding trails and maybe get lucky (or just being local). I'd be an idiot to think otherwise. Still, the first practice run is by far the most important and if I had enough time to at least get one on every stage, (as two days of practice would allow) I would still be racing. I realize some will get 3-4x the practice I do. That's fine! GoPro. Walking sections. At least then I am going in with a full understanding of what is to come.

To those who are there early and riding. In the words of Pac, "I'm not mad atcha". Seriously, I'd do the same thing if it were legal (which in this case it is) and I was within a few hours and could make the jaunt this past weekend. If you want to compete, its the only smart thing to do. The problem I have is in this case, it feels *necessary*. (I'm pointing the finger at the promoter, not the racer)

David's point of changing the elevation substantially does blow too but at least is fair across the board - to some extent. Plus, in David's case, him actually training is really just bad news for the rest of the field

For what its worth, I do see the flip side of the coin. This is the top level of racing. If you can't show up early boo hoo hoo. If you can't take advantage of every sliver of opportunity, that's your fault.

I still think this style of racing will go far. I just think we need to be honest with what we want, with what is most fair and what makes the most sense.




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