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The immediate prompt for this was the inaugural women's Paris-Roubaix road race today, but I've been thinking about this a lot in regards to mountain bike racing. The Paris Roubaix Femmes was an exciting race. But more than half of the starters DNF'd, with one (Annemiek van Vleuten) suffering a broken pubic bone. There were some other pretty ugly looking crashes onto the pave. Think of an XC rider crashing directly into large rocks in a rock garden. After watching this, I have to ask myself the same question I ask when I watch downhill racing: should we even be watching things like this? You introduce elements into a race such that it is not possible to win unless you go beyond the limits of control. I think this was the case for today's race. It will definitely be the case tomorrow for the men's Paris Roubaix race with the Ardennes sections of pave--apparently they will hit those at 60 kph, and either you get through or you don't. Turning to MTB racing, the last stop of the UCI world cup was Snowshoe WV, where the winner of the first men's race said of the massive rock gardens, that basically you can't actually pick a line through, and you just point and shoot and hope you don't hit anything big. Is that really what we want to see? Don't we want to see skill? There have been a number of bad crashes on the downhill circuit this year and last year, including broken vertebrae. It's only a matter of time until a racer ends up paralyzed. I loved watching Danny MacAskill's videos, and used to watch Martyn Ashton also--until Ashton ended up a paraplegic. I don't watch any more, and I don't watch things like RedBull Hardline that are essentially made to cause lots of bad crashes. It's one thing for people to take risks doing the things they enjoy. It's another to encourage them to push ever further (Gee Atherton) as part of a spectacle, or because people feel they have to do it to make money or attain status in their field of sport. Given that American football is by far the most popular sport in the US, I expect I am in a very small minority, but I don't enjoy seeing people hurt themselves, and I don't want to be a part of encouraging this.
 

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No. It's not like the only way for them to feed their families is to train for years to master the art of downhill mountain biking and compete on the World Cup circuit. That's a very deliberate life goal. It's not like they're sex workers or something.
 

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I ride and race hard every year without being paid ( I used to get paid for years) . Broke 7 bones last year at 51, still raced this year broken bone free so far.
If you broke so many bones, it's time to do a bone density check
You know that bikers have very low density, especially racers
Seriously

Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk
 

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I think it’s inherent to sports. Each sport finds its balance of safety. Sometimes it takes a dramatic fatality, like Dale Earnhardt, to get them to reform in a meaningful way. Then again sometimes it’s Olympic curling
Yeah, at some point with DH/enduro racing, you get to the point where you might pull off a win and shave a few seconds, but the risk and consequences become so great if you crash, like lifetime disability, etc. One problem is young competitors without fully developed brains don't really understand the implications. They are pushed to go faster, sometimes just by their own internal sense of competition, but at some point you are throwing too much on the line IMO...
 
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You can’t cancel or stop people from watching one of the classics like Paris roubaix. It’s gritty, but that’s part of the history. There are some times where downhill/enduro racing goes a bit far though. I remember people being airlifted when I used to race DH in the early aughts. Feels bad.
 

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It's way better than boxing, where the literal point is to watch somebody get their brain literally splattered against their own skull.

Not that I'm totally anti-boxing. I just don't see how, with regard to any guilt factor of watching it, bicycle racing is even in the category of high-risk, compared to boxing or even motorsports. As an ex-motocrosser, I consider motocross the closest modern equivalent to jousting or real dueling. Literally, at least at the highest levels where people win, it's a process of people continuously threatening to kill each other in order to win. I guess other motorsports are probably similar in terms of danger involved. Bicycle racing, even downhill, doesn't compare IMO, because it's still more man vs. course than man vs. man.
 

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It's way better than boxing, where the literal point is to watch somebody get their brain literally splattered against their own skull.

Not that I'm totally anti-boxing. I just don't see how, with regard to any guilt factor of watching it, bicycle racing is even in the category of high-risk, compared to boxing or even motorsports. As an ex-motocrosser, I consider motocross the closest modern equivalent to jousting or real dueling. Literally, at least at the highest levels where people win, it's a process of people continuously threatening to kill each other in order to win. I guess other motorsports are probably similar in terms of danger involved. Bicycle racing, even downhill, doesn't compare IMO, because it's still more man vs. course than man vs. man.
You must not do downhill.
 

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It's way better than boxing, where the literal point is to watch somebody get their brain literally splattered against their own skull.

Not that I'm totally anti-boxing. I just don't see how, with regard to any guilt factor of watching it, bicycle racing is even in the category of high-risk, compared to boxing or even motorsports. As an ex-motocrosser, I consider motocross the closest modern equivalent to jousting or real dueling. Literally, at least at the highest levels where people win, it's a process of people continuously threatening to kill each other in order to win. I guess other motorsports are probably similar in terms of danger involved. Bicycle racing, even downhill, doesn't compare IMO, because it's still more man vs. course than man vs. man.
i wrote an intelligent response to your post that afterwards i realized you wouldnt understand. so i simplified it to say.,.


wooooo. more beer!
 

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You make is sound like cycling is on par with MMA. It's an endurance and skill sport.
Many cycling races are non contact sports (redbull rampage, DH, BMX street) so they are far cleaner than other popular sports. Even in the big races accidents are just that, not intentional (like van der poel crash in the olympics). The life of an athlete in any physical sport revolves around injuries, goes with the territory.
 

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The number of DNF's don't mean anything in one day races. They're always high. Once a domestique has done their work and blown or just dropped so far as to be useless to the team there's not much need to continue on to the end.

It's a professional team sport, not an everyone gets a trophy for finishing event. Some riders need the miles and finish, some need to recover and be ready for the next race a few days later.
 

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Eh. There’s a risk to everything in life. The popularity of pro cycling and MTBing encourages people like us to be active and experience the world in an amazing way, on a bike. I would argue that eating poorly and not exercising is riskier than participating in a sport that has a crash risk.
 

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It is a fair question, IMHO, but no. People who ride are going to ride, and those with that personality are going to ride hard and seek out the gnarliest stuff. I would give a different answer to football, but for individual sports where pros are not entertainers to tens of millions, no.
 
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