british xc

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  • british xc
  • Premier Icon stuartlangwilson
    Subscriber

    You could do a TCL or similar course and get some insurance if liability is your main concern stopping you taking groups out.

    I think being fit and fast is more popular now than it was a few years ago. Or at least a lot of the show me your bike threads have fast looking bikes in them. Maybe they are just being used to make going sloooow even easier.

    Agree xc racing is expensive, but so is dh and enduro.

    These things go in cycles, (no pun), 25 years ago we had no sprinters and world class middle distance athletes, 10 years ago we couldn’t move for guys getting to the 100, 200,and 400 final.

    With XC, well 20 years ago with Baker, Gould etc, there was only XC to speak of so all the talent went there. Now we XC, marathon, 4X, downhill, and most likely around the same size pool to recruit from.

    crikey
    Member

    Because XC racing is hard. It requires commitment and hard work to get and maintain fitness, and the will and ability to race regularly, all things which are absent from the fashion driven pony trekking by bike that modern mountain biking has turned into. The adoption of mountain biking by the chattering classes is good in that it brings people with lots of disposable income into the activity, but it suffers in that it becomes just another hobby, just another leisure activity for the well heeled instead of a sport to train for and compete in.

    Ahem, bit ranty there but its changed a lot and not for the better.

    But at least there is plenty of used quality bikes that have had very little use available now. Thanks of course to the “chattering classes” upgrading yearly.

    djglover
    Member

    The fit and fast thing is true I think. It seems to transpose into running too. 10K races, for example, seem to be as popular as ever, but as a 37 minute runner a few years ago I’d have been well up the field, today I could be in the top 5. Where have all the fast guys gone??

    Premier Icon Radioman
    Subscriber

    Don’t agree with crikey…..fashion driven pony trekking!!! I think it is way better now than ever… I started in the late 80s and enjoy it just as much as day 1. Its true that its getting crowded in some places but I’m prepared to live with that. The chattering classes!! ?? The whole thing that got many people into MTBs is that its not full of “Blue Blazer Commisaire types… I saw a thread earlier today about some “racer” loosing his rag after being held up on a trail centre ride…CALM DOWN…or try some road time trialing instead!….. Long live Freeride!

    So true djglover, so true. Just look at marathon times, there used to be tons of UK men around 2:20 at London when Speding and Jones were racing, now that time would get you top 3 Brit!

    Edric 64
    Member

    I wish the trails were as quiet as they were in the mid 80s ,when you could ride all day and not see another cyclist

    TheBrick
    Member

    DH is fashionable because of it’s gnar == kids are more likely to stay with it during that late teenage lull in sporting activity and others will be attracted to it due to the excitement. Plus load of other foke with money can do it. DH can still be enjoyable even if you’re unfit even though you’ll never get that good without being fit.

    XC is hard unless your already fit and with it not being “cool” dose not help encourage people into it. It’s not seen as exciting and “extreme”, even though it can be.

    I think also due to all of the continuous sub-categorisation of mtbing when people think of xc they think of something unchallenging technical wise, so dull, rather than just racing that goes up down and across.

    cows_in_cars
    Member

    As touched upon in the amazing Danny thread, which was almost certainly the wrong place to do it, the state of british xc seems in a pretty poor state.

    We have a depth of downhill talent that is only really matched by the French, at the world cups there are a staggering amount of downhillers from the uk that qualify for the final. Yet in cross country in a few talented riders but that’s it, nothing like the depth in downhill.
    Why are we so rubbish when in the early 90’s the uk was a force to be reckoned with in xc?

    My personal feelings are I feel there is a bit of a go slow culture in xc riding in this country. Noticed a few threads on local rides round here when someone suggested setting up a little race course and bombing around it, as a change, it was totally poo pooed, and the usual plod culture was resumed.

    Other than Shred and a very small bits and pieces in MBUK no one covers xc racing magazine wise, were as Dirt has loads on downhill racing. The lack of coverage of British xc has seen many of the better riders cross to the road so they can actually be sponsored.

    Racing has got stupidly expensive.

    And I can’t speak for other clubs, but my current club is rubbish, it gives the youth riders loads of help and support with racing and supporting them; Which is great obviously, but once you’re out of that age group there is nothing but road rides and one slow, plod around the hills. I tried to get my local club to start an XC training session, as it does loads for the road and triathlon but only the aforementioned plod for mountain bikers. I was told fine, but do it yourself, which is no help when I am not trained in this area and they didn’t want it official, which mean if something happened to someone I would be screwed. All I wanted was a coach or someone official, to come along to the sessions; I emailed coaches from the club but got nothing in reply, I was happy do all the work they just had to come along but no. THANKS. I am pretty annoyed about this, as I was happy to give up my time, to do something for the sport but kind of just got it shoved back at me.

    Understand that this isn’t important to everyone, but…

    crikey
    Member

    Chubby baggy suited clowns, porting huge camelbaks around, filled with sports drinks, first aid kits, energy bars, wearing the latest colours, sporting this seasons helmet du jour, with gps tracking in case we get lost, out for 5 hours, actually riding for 2, as we stop every 10minutes because Jason and Amanda are new to this…
    It’s not a sport, its a jeffing mobile dinner party.

    don simon
    Member

    I think there is a general attitude against xc here.
    If we start with the “jey” title. Immediately I see a negative attitude towards crosscountry.
    There isn’t really a great history in cycling in the UK, not to the same levels as say France, Spain or Italy, in any discipline.
    In Spain xc mountain biking and competitive mountain biking xc is big business and downhilling much less so.
    Who would you rather be, a lycra clad “jey” boy or a stormtrooping weekend warrior? Talking the talk is alot easier that walking the walk.

    crikey
    Member

    +1 Oh Welsh Spanish fella.

    Edric 64
    Member

    Lycra all the way its much comfier than baggy shorts flapping around

    don simon
    Member

    +1 Oh Welsh Spanish fella.

    Or as we say; olé boyo… 😕

    crikey
    Member

    Like it. What’s the Spanish for tidy?

    don simon
    Member

    ‘Chulo’ or ‘Que chulo’ are the closest I can get. The ‘ch’ as in chew so ‘chewlow’ and not the Welsh phlegmy ‘ch’. 😀

    crikey
    Member

    Google translate came up with ordenado, which is presumably a literal thing that doesn’t capture the essential everything-is-as-it-should-be of the original.

    I wish the trails were as quiet as they were in the mid 80s ,when you could ride all day and not see another cyclist

    OT: I find it varies in our area Edric. The obvious honeypot gets busy with cyclists, horses, runners and ramblers at weekends for sure. But there are plenty of good trails tucked away that you rarely/never see a soul using. It’s just that some take a bit of work to find, sometimes repair and link together, and almost all are cheeky which I know you disapprove of.

    Back on topic: it seems strange in a country blessed with so much accessible XC terrain that we suck so badly at racing. Perhaps the sight of us old giffers puffing around puts the kids off. 😆

    cows_in_cars
    Member

    You could do a TCL or similar course and get some insurance if liability is your main concern stopping you taking groups out.

    yes thats true and have considered it, just think it’s a shame that what is a pretty performance driven club, road wise, can’t be bothered to help someone that wants to help the mountain biking side.

    I think that recreational wise mtbing is much better than it was 20 years ago, generally,I think it’s great that there are loads of people just enjoying riding their bikes. Although a racer at heart I have no problem waiting to past people on the trails e.c.t but do really object to the, almost aggressive at times, go slow attitude that’s crept into xc mountain biking. It’s almost a fear of having to admit that your not quite as fit/fast as you would like so will make sure you can hide behind the “having fun” tag. Think that, that attitude needs to be dropped and being fast should be something to aim for. Years ago I enjoyed group rides, generally now I can’t stand them, I just can’t be bothered cycling for five minutes waiting around for ten mins then cycle a bit more. Lucky really that I am happy enough being a loner! Still know my fitness would benefit from being pushed by others.

    Road riders seem to have such a different culture, it seems all to be about being fit and everyone out on club rides is aiming to get better, I just don’t get that feeling at all from mountain bikers, it’s almost should be ashamed of fitness.

    don simon
    Member

    Ordenado is ‘organised’ and not the colloquial ‘tidy’, chulo is closer to ‘cool’. Tidy is accepted I believe, as you South Walians speak a different language, across all walks of life. Chulo is not crude, rude or offensive.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    There’s always going to be folk who are attracted to the pure fitness of xc racing, the old suitcase of courage and all that.
    The OP mentioned XC racers crossing to the road – you have to say that Xc is unusual in that it’s a bit of a nursery sport in the way DH definitely is not. Because if you’re young and a genuinely strong xc rider, at the sharpest pointiest end of xc racing, why wouldn’t you just hit the road? You’re training on it 80% of the time anyhow, and that’s were the money (well, some) / acclaim / real strong men are. Plenty of top men have taken this path with xc racing as a stepping stone.
    This doesn’t really speak to the lack of popularity of xc racing at the local level, but it does impact the image of the sport at the very top level IMO – it’s a niche of a niche.

    Not sure about a plod culture – you do certainly read some badly generic and tired comments on lycra and the xc mindset here in la la land. In reality though, fast riding is always respected. When have you ever been on a ride when people didn’t tacitly tip the hat to a strong display of riding? The bloke who cleans the local beast of a climb, or pyar leathers a section of singletrack when everyone else is dibbidy dabbidy. No one bows down and pays homage but it’s definitely something that is admired IME.

    cows_in_cars
    Member

    Back on topic: it seems strange in a country blessed with so much accessible XC terrain that we suck so badly at racing. Perhaps the sight of us old giffers puffing around puts the kids off.

    True! I find it odd that with so many people at trail centres week in week out, the huge fields in marathon events and people clambing over each other to get in to mountain mayhem, that we have so little depth in cross country racing. You would have thought there would be some cross over? It’s not as if we are even any good at marathon racing aside from Sally Bigham.

    mrmo
    Member

    to be fast XC you need to be fit, which means you actually have to ride and not just sit in the car park talking the talk.

    to be a good DHer you need to be fit, but for the less fit you can buy a skill compensator and seem better than you are.

    cows_in_cars
    Member

    In reality though, fast riding is always respected. When have you ever been on a ride when people didn’t tacitly tip the hat to a strong display of riding? The bloke who cleans the local beast of a climb, or pyar leathers a section of singletrack when everyone else is dibbidy dabbidy. No one bows down and pays homage but it’s definitely something that is admired IME.

    That is true, but it still doesn’t stop group rides generally being a ramble across the hills. The last group ride I did with my local club, people did ‘tip there hat’ when I out climbed and descended everyone, but the point is I shouldn’t be out climbing and descending everyone, I am good but not amazing in anyway really. The ride was such a long drawn out process of covering very little distance that I have not been back. It seems if I want to be fit I have to for go the company that a club should provide…Although, a bit OT, the club is odd to say the least, almost no one cheers you on at races or even says hello, least friend-est club I have ever belonged to.

    don simon
    Member

    Not sure about a plod culture – you do certainly read some badly generic and tired comments on lycra and the xc mindset here in la la land. In reality though, fast riding is always respected. When have you ever been on a ride when people didn’t tacitly tip the hat to a strong display of riding? The bloke who cleans the local beast of a climb, or pyar leathers a section of singletrack when everyone else is dibbidy dabbidy. No one bows down and pays homage but it’s definitely something that is admired IME.

    I think I’d have to disagree, while people on the trails might show approval, and something it is something I’ve experienced (I still haven’t been passed and left standing at Llandegla black at 1:15hr), the public face is that of willy waving. Not an attractive place to want to be.
    Maybe it’s like football and everyone wants to be the goal scorer and no one want to be goalkeeper or even worse a defender.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    to be a good DHer you need to be fit, but for the less fit you can buy a skill compensator and seem better than you are.

    not if you are actually racing DH.

    there are a lot of bling bikes in the bottom half of the field.

    cows_in_cars
    Member

    he OP mentioned XC racers crossing to the road – you have to say that Xc is unusual in that it’s a bit of a nursery sport in the way DH definitely is not. Because if you’re young and a genuinely strong xc rider, at the sharpest pointiest end of xc racing, why wouldn’t you just hit the road? You’re training on it 80% of the time anyhow, and that’s were the money (well, some) / acclaim / real strong men are. Plenty of top men have taken this path with xc racing as a stepping stone.

    p.s not true in all countries, in Switzerland they are so over run with top ranked mountain bikers that some are considering switching to the road just in the hope of making it to the olympics. Cross country is king there. If I was a top level mountain biker in this country I would be packing my bags for switerland pretty quick!

    don simon
    Member

    That is true, but it still doesn’t stop group rides generally being a ramble across the hills.

    If that’s your gripe then maybe the structure is a bit wrong or you’re in the wrong club.
    Most rowing clubs are geared towards racing but accommodate recreational rowers.
    In Spain (Madrid) most shops have a club affiliated and often that club is competitive to the degree that riders are poached and/or transferred. the level is very high and often attracts local pro-riders (Mancebo, de Segovia or Guerra).
    Maybe it’s the organisations that are the problem. I haven’t seen enough to comment on that.
    Let’s see what the Olympics does.

    mrmo
    Member

    jam bo, maybe not if your racing, but for the average weekend warrior, it is easier to talk the talk and buy a skill compensator then make claims about your skills going DH. If your not fit no bike is going to make much of a difference climbing a big technical hill.

    Premier Icon cakefacesmallblock
    Subscriber

    Crikey; I’ve never read so much codswallop in all my life.
    To me and many others, mountain biking is “another” hobby. Until this year it was what I did to keep fit when not windsurfing or surfing. Most of my ” huge” disposable income needs to go on house n home, not on diesel to drive to the coast, so – and I’m entirely happy about it- I now go riding much more often, sometime with the chattering classes as well.
    Xc may well be in a state, but to me it’s a perfectly acceptable “normal” branch of this “hobby” I first had in 1987.
    Heck, I even rode at Mountain Mayhem this year, however the reality is that I do want mtb’ing to be a sport to keep me fit and well; a means of getting out and about; a rush and a way of socialising with likeminded people.We probably don’t ride that slowly either, but I’m way beyond everything having to be a competition, that’s a really sad thought.
    I may even watch some xc racing.

    cows_in_cars
    Member

    Oh there is no doubt I am in the wrong club! I will not be renewing my membership! Although in my defence, the club is, as I said before, very performance driven for road, TT, track and triathlon and it says on their website and in the handbook that they are for mountain biking too, it just sadly turned out not to be true.
    The trouble is that there aren’t really any other clubs that have any mountain bike base around here, the nearest thing is the local running club that has a bike section.

    ac282
    Member

    XC racing is certianly in a better state now than it has been since about 2000. The problem at the top level is a lack of support. There are loads of ex xc racers riding on the road at the moment as that’s where they can get the support to go full time.

    don simon
    Member

    the club is, as I said before, very performance driven for road, TT, track and triathlon and it says on their website and in the handbook that they are for mountain biking too, it just sadly turned out not to be true.

    Could that be the solution, use the club for fitness and training and races for racing. I don’t think the club have misled as they do have an mtb section. Perhaps you could talk to the club with regard to setting up a more competitive side, if no one will provide you with the service, do it yourself.

    cows_in_cars
    Member

    er…refer you to my starting post, I did do just that. I am not saying that the club lied to me, but they do state, “The club aims to offer a supportive environment for people with race ambitions” i don’t feel one group ride at the pace of the slowest rider really fits that bill. It’s not a bad ride and think it’s great if that what you like or just starting out but it’s not “really a supportive environment for people with race ambitions”. Even less so when coaches don’t bother to even reply to enquiries.

    To be fair to them though they have re worded their statement on mtbing on their website recently, with more emphases on the social side and toning down the performance side.

    vdubber67
    Member

    fashion driven pony trekking by bike

    Chubby baggy suited clowns, porting huge camelbaks around, filled with sports drinks, first aid kits, energy bars, wearing the latest colours, sporting this seasons helmet du jour, with gps tracking in case we get lost, out for 5 hours, actually riding for 2, as we stop every 10minutes because Jason and Amanda are new to this…
    It’s not a sport, its a jeffing mobile dinner party.

    Best rant within someone else’s thread I have ever seen. Insightful, to the point, and oh so right.

    Good work that man.
    🙂

    barbus
    Member

    Crikey
    That bit about Jason and Amanda made me spit my tea all over my keyboard.

    ”A mobile diner party”.

    Not stopped laughing since you posted it.

    big_n_daft
    Member

    some general observations:

    You need to separate social MTBing from racing, don’t knock social MTBers as they are part of the pyramid that creates the racers but the riding is different and should not be knocked because people have a chat, eat cake and drink beer

    there are very few mtb “first” clubs around that focus on XC racing rather than DH

    XC racing suffers because :
    1. it’s a lot of work for the organisers, very few clubs organise XC races (compare to road racing or TT) so there is an overreliance on “professional” organsers
    2. there isn’t the club infrastructure to support organisers who are not “professional”
    3. rider tend to be “consumers” and don’t marshal or provide one because they are too focused on their own limited objectives
    4. venues are hard to find
    5. no coverage, a certain magazine has failed to cover (or even have a look at) the race series orgainsed 10 miles from their office for the last three years, the same series that got a double page spread in MBUK
    6. riders don’t pre-enter which leads to the cancelation of events due to financial risk
    7. the lack of XC coaching via BC (level 2 very new Level 3 doesn’t exist yet)
    8. XC racing tends to be an “all day/ weekend” affair, people often don’t have that much time for a 11/2-2hr race

    the elephant in the room is AGE RELATED RACING it’s complete rubbish and has no basis in the reality of rider ability. Who is stopping the change that has been floating around? The professional organisers who are desperate to retain their current ageing customer base and that ageing customer base who like racing against their mates and don’t want to be racing against younger riders

    The trouble is that there aren’t really any other clubs that have any mountain bike base around here, .

    go and talk to the LBS’s try and get some sponsorship and form a club, half a dosen like minded people is what you need and they are probably out there desperate to get someone to liftshare with them

    Klunk
    Member

    I love this, we’ve got no xc talent in this country because fat middle aged riders don’t want to push themselves till they puke.

    cows_in_cars
    Member

    You need to separate social MTBing from racing, don’t knock social MTBers as they are part of the pyramid that creates the racers but the riding is different and should not be knocked because people have a chat, eat cake and drink beer

    I don’t mean to knock social mtber’s at all, I think it’s great to see so many people out there having a good time and agree with you that they are part of the pyramid structure.

    And in away that’s part of my point, I do feel there is a different ‘air’ about xc mountain biking these days, one of, if not, “don’t go fast”, “there’s little need to improve”. As I said I used to enjoy group rides, we still waited for everyone, but speed was still something to aim for. There where a couple of guys that I used to ride with on the group rides, that had no real interest in racing, but they were still really quick, to the point when one of them did enter a race he almost won it. That speed thing, I feel, has gone, as mentioned above, the nod of approval when you ride fast or clear a section no one else does, is still there, there just doesn’t seem the push to get there oneself.

    I don’t think social riders and racers can’t sit along side each other, in my experience, it used to happen but somehow it’s different now.

    The age related racing thing is a good point, not sure why we have never swapped to a road style ability categorised system.

    Other things I think would help would be more of the city centre/elimination style events, get the idea of xc racing out there to the masses. I also think it’s a pretty cool format, a little like mid point between 4x and xc, and you do see at world level some cross over, with DH and 4x riders riding. Although I am not sure about tempting downhillers away from downhilling, not sure they are not better to stay were they are!

    Do think the race series could do with a bit of a shake up, a bit of verity, most series have had same format since the beginning of time. Why not have a series that has a few different rounds, such as a short track race or an endurance race, might get a different type of rider interested.

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