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.