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Just some thoughts I wanted to share, perhaps it will spur some interesting discussion. Or maybe it will go down in flames. Either way, I feel there are a lot of misconceptions about mountain biking and I want to clear a few things up.

First of all, mountain biking has always been about pushing the limits of what is possible on a bike. The forefathers who built their cruisers in Marin county, what did they do with them? Bombed the hills. That's right, the sport is based on DH riding. And trying new things. To deny that and to say that XC on mellow trails is somehow more "pure" is simply ignoring history. Always remember where you came from. That doesn't mean you always have to push the limits, not at all. But a lot of people who influence the direction of the sport ARE pushing the limits, whether it is 24 hour racing, 100 mile xc race on a singlespeed, fastest line down a hill, etc. It's just the nature of it. Many people drawn to bikes for some reason want to see their skills progress. 10k feet of climbing in a day? 30 inch bunnyhops? Same feeling of accomplishment.

I occasionally hear about "extreme mountain biking" as a reference to dh/fr. The only people calling it that are the ones who are not familiar with it, or only know of spectator sports and never get off the couch and break a sweat. I think that name will die out in the near future as it becomes more popular. If you go to BC... NOBODY calls it extreme, it is just mountain biking. The old guys up there with attitude problems aren't *****ing about freeriders, they are out riding hard themselves, it's the norm. Lazy people call things "extreme sports" because it takes more energy and dedication than they can imagine. As a personal example, I think bullfighting and MMA is extreme.

Almost ALL of the guys I ride with started out and still enjoy XC and backcountry riding. We are a lot more well rounded than you might think. It's not just little kids jacked up on energy drinks. I'm closer to 50 than I am to 20. Professional career, generally productive member of society, responsible, etc. Not running down old ladies in the park and scaring kids. I rode xc for over 10+ years before I got into freeride and I still do. We're just normal dudes who have always enjoyed riding bikes.

Adrenaline junkies: I enjoy adrenaline in a controlled situation but I am not reckless. I do not like to crash. I will not simply huck myself off a jump and hope for the best. If I cannot visualize it and "know" I can do it, I won't try. I am actually a lot more cautious now than I was when I first started riding XC and flailed all over the place. Most adults who can afford $3k+ bikes need to be able to work on monday and are not stupid about getting hurt for no good reason.

Earn your turns: awesome. Great way to balance your life. Simple and reliable. Another of the many ways to enjoy the sport. Share the stoke, but if you feel the need to preach, remember we all ride for different reasons, and there will always be someone more hardcore and more pure than you. Your epic is some other guys warm up ride. Instead of riding up the trail, he (or she) rides from town instead of driving to the trailhead. Full suspension? Real men ride hardtails. I mean full rigid. On handmade steel frames of course. Except for the "real" real men who ride organic bamboo frames bonded together with free range grizzley bear sinew which wasn't shot with a gun, but stabbed with a pointy stick in northern montana then butchered with a sharp piece of flint and dragged across three states on foot. Etc. Live and let live. Relish in the fact that you're a bad ass, and true bad asses don't need validation from the weak.

Lazy Shuttle Monkeys: Common misconception that riding downhill is for lazy people. Well, it can be. But if you are pushing it hard, it wears you out fast. I honestly feel more shredded from a day at Whistler riding the lifts than I do on a long XC ride with a ton of climbing. Legs, upper body, everything. You'd be surprised.

The future: Freeride and DH will become more and more popular but XC will never die. XC is great and easily accessible, but DH/FR is off the hook ridiculously FUN. I've ridden xc, backcountry, road, bmx, commuting, alpine skiing, snowboarding in many different places, etc, but nothing compares to dh/freeride for me. Not even close on the fun factor. Your personal satisfaction with the sport may vary, but ask around, talk to some of the local freeriders and you'll see. The ones that are hooked are HOOKED.
 

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Awesome post! Couldn't agree more.

I love to snowboard and kiteboard and personally got into the sport for the freeride/downhill aspect of it, but if someone's stoked to ride a bike I don't care how they ride it. I'm just glad they're stoked to do it and have the opportunity to do so.

Most of my riding buddies are in their late twenties to late thirties, have careers, in some cases families and are friendly and productive members of society same as you.

I also have to agree on the fun factor. I've done some pretty exciting **** in my day, but I've gotten a lot more of that feeling in my short time biking than anything else.

Also, anyone that says downhill riding is easy or not tiring hasn't tried it properly. I was as tired from 3 days biking at Whistler as just about anything I've done.

Anyway, I think we need to all think about what's important in life and be glad that other people have found something that makes them happy instead complaining that they're not riding the same way we like to ride. I mean would you get mad at someone else for preferring fries over tater tots? We could do a lot more together than as small groups.
 

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Nice. I enjoyed that a lot. Very well said.
 

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100% agree, except... The problem is public perception, which has developed a somewhat negative view of mountain biking. Correct or not, many ascribe that negative perception to DH style riding (the issues at Syncline for example). It's not true in every scenario (great relationship between Falls City and Blackrock), but it's still the dominant public perception. Because of that perception, DH riders unfortunately end up being the scapegoat for other mtb'ers problems...

I hope that your post and others help change that perception!
 

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Spectacular write up! If only all bikers could have this view;
 

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MattSavage
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+1 million!!!! If it's got two wheels and pedals, I'll ride it! And I'll love it! Up, down, side to side...

I pity those guys that limit themselves to one facet of the lifestyle and hate on the others who follow a different path (that goes both way for xc'ers and dh'ers). They don't know what they're missing!

Great post.

I just wish my road bike could suck up rocks the way my Nitrous does, otherwise I might not be laying here bloody and broken...
 

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Ovaries on the Outside
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I always enjoy when someone dismantles perceptions by basing their argument on a few more. I think I get what you are saying, but I think that people are different and get their kicks in different ways (which of course explains why there are so many categories for mountain bikes). While I know not everyone else is like this, I don't like a 4k downhill unless I did the pedaling to get there. It completes me and gets me excited for each ride and that equates to "purity."

You may disagree, but I happen to be cool with that.
 

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umarth said:
I always enjoy when someone dismantles perceptions by basing their argument on a few more. I think I get what you are saying, but I think that people are different and get their kicks in different ways (which of course explains why there are so many categories for mountain bikes). While I know not everyone else is like this, I don't like a 4k downhill unless I did the pedaling to get there. It completes me and gets me excited for each ride and that equates to "purity."

You may disagree, but I happen to be cool with that.
I would ride with you anytime.:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
umarth said:
I think I get what you are saying, but I think that people are different and get their kicks in different ways (which of course explains why there are so many categories for mountain bikes).
That is exactly what I am saying. We all have opinions and ideas and unique experiences -- which is great.

I have issues with dogma and assumptions portrayed as facts.

Glad to see my post resonated with a few of you. I almost didn't submit it.

Get out and ride this weekend if you can.

:)
 

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Great post! My only comments are regarding this ...

ride_nw said:
Lazy Shuttle Monkeys: Common misconception that riding downhill is for lazy people. Well, it can be. But if you are pushing it hard, it wears you out fast. I honestly feel more shredded from a day at Whistler riding the lifts than I do on a long XC ride with a ton of climbing. Legs, upper body, everything. You'd be surprised.
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It is exhausting to ride downhill and do it fast. I know that first hand. I have a bias against anyone who shuttles on a regular basis or pushes their bike to the top (I'm not talking Whistler, it makes sense there, enjoy your trip and vacation). There's pride in getting yourself to the top, and DH guys don't share that. It comes down to the mental struggle that everyone goes through in order to climb the trails you love to bomb down. It's part of earning it. Those who bypass this struggle, take the easy way out, are "lazy shuttle monkeys". That's how I'd use the term.
 

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Cool Post.

I'm a lazy shuttle monkey!

Actually I'll pedal but just very very slowly :)
 

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mightymouse said:
Great post! My only comments are regarding this ...

It is exhausting to ride downhill and do it fast. I know that first hand. I have a bias against anyone who shuttles on a regular basis or pushes their bike to the top (I'm not talking Whistler, it makes sense there, enjoy your trip and vacation). There's pride in getting yourself to the top, and DH guys don't share that. It comes down to the mental struggle that everyone goes through in order to climb the trails you love to bomb down. It's part of earning it. Those who bypass this struggle, take the easy way out, are "lazy shuttle monkeys". That's how I'd use the term.
I think you are missing the point of the original post. That point being that it is fine to have your own value system and to decide that what feels right for you. It is lame, however, to make a value judgment if other people don't share your views.

I ride my big bike about half the time. About half of that, I end up pedaling the pig to the top. Does that mean I should look down on people who choose an easier way to the top such as maybe riding a lighter bike? Of course not. That would be stupid. Unfortunately, it isn't any different that what you are advocating.
 

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@mighty mouse.

I think you are missing the point. Not everybody rides specifically one way or the other. Sometimes I shuttle to the top, sometimes I climb. Depends on what I feel like doing that day, where I am riding, which bike I want to ride, or who I might be riding with. Just because I do shuttle runs does not make me lazy. I can out climb and go the distance with many pure XC riders. There is nothing wrong with riding in which ever way you feel like. I ride DH, Freeride, XC, All Mountain. What ever label you want to put on it. I simply ride !
 
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