Bugging me for years
Here’s the olympic (happens to be womens) XC race…Posted 9 years ago
Now if you ask me, the technical skills they exhibit here are lower than the average trail centre skill level. Granted the fitness may be immense, but surely someone should be training them better than this? In this video in particular I’d say a much faster and better line could be had almost straight down that drop with a little fluidity, but it’s not just this vid that I’ve noticed it on?
I don’t see your point, what do you expect them to do gravitate?
Gravitate? Were you thinking levitate?
I’m expecting them to take better lines down what seems to be a fairly simple route?
Don’t forget that mtbing on the screen always looks a lot less technical than it looks on the bike…
Thats very true, however there’s plenty of footage of joe bloggs from up the street riding harder things than that, faster and more cleanly. Even some of the STW crew could manage that much better despite being mostly keyboard riders 😉
I’m not, before anyone calls it, suggesting IM any better, I’m just wondering if there are not far more capable riders out there who simply aren’t found/trained – which is a shame. It seems the olympics is not a place in which the best is found in our sport, sure you or I might take a second look, but if I’m not mistaken these guys get to check the course out before, and even if not I’d expect them to be top of their game and attack it full on. Looking at that picture they clearly take the smoothest route down the left hand gully and then pootle down it braking, leaving no momentum for the next hill.Posted 9 years agoGarry_LagerSubscriber
Watching womens sports is really for friends, family and, er, admirers of the female form. This is particularly true for sports that don’t have a deep talent pool of participation like MTBing. The fit bloke at your local club would stomp all over the women’s olympic MTB field.Posted 9 years ago
Ooh, I dunno; that looks quite tricky, actually, speshly on a hardtail or short-travel full susser. And I bet it’s steeper than that camera angle makes it look.
Those ladies would still kick most of our arses round that course, I’m sure. They are top-level pro athletes. I smoke and drink, and stay up late.
The fit bloke at your local club would stomp all over the women’s olympic MTB field.
Bollocks. Unless he was a top-level pro MTB racer.Posted 9 years agoIanMunroMember
Taking into account the camera’s ability to make most terrain look pretty easy they seem to be making pretty good progress to me.Posted 9 years ago
You could argue that better technique would improve their times, but races aren’t won on the technical sections (unless they’re doing trials or dh). Plus pushing your skills will result in crashes and injuries and they may well have concluded that the extra risk doesn’t warrant the reward.
Or they could just be pussys 🙂
IMO, which may be controversial, that really isnt steep or technical (you can tell as they’re not even back over their saddle very far), the centre of that run is clearly the fastest route – nothing on it is beyond a hardtail and there’s no need for more than light brake scrubbage. But I’m nto just talking about this particular bit, it was just the only clip I found on youboob, I’m thinking about the last olympics too where the course was virtually flat and the worst bit in it was a small rock garden which all the competitors approached so slowly that half fell off.
I think these races could be won on technical sections – they clearly have the fitness behind them, theres no question there, but if just one of them had pushed out and rolled the centre line at pace they’d have opened up a good few seconds on each item. I’m particularly bad uphill, im not that fit, but I do gain ground on people on downs (despite not being a flying jumping DH type of person) just because people seem to pick really bad lines and not flow. Since I’m not great, there are bound to be others in the MTB community that are ten times better and really could show these guys how to open up a much bigger lead – this is an area where our country should be streets ahead, and the technical side should be a major part of the race.Posted 9 years agoOllyMember
time made up on a descent, at the risk of crashing or having a mechanical, will be peanuts when your half a minute or a miunte ahead on a climb surely?Posted 9 years ago
if you want to win XC, u need to be fit, skill makes up no more than 10% of overall speed IMO.
its why mincer roadies are always winning races, when rad gnarr doods like us are at the back, even though we are pulling phat whips?
(and also why Abi Greenway races for charge, but cant mend a puncture, grrrrr)wwaswasSubscriber
so, here we have athletes who are the pick of their countries respective xc communities who’ve trained and raced for years to reach the olympics.
and yet their respective coaches, governing bodies and themselves have not worked out that they might be able to gain a bit of an edge on technical bits and made sure they do a bit of practice on the gnarly bits?
coffeeking should become the gb Cycling xc coach as of now, imo.Posted 9 years ago
😀 I told you it was controversial 🙂 I’m not saying ditch the fitness side of it, nor that it makes a huge percentage of the time, but if it does make up 10% then thats a LOT in olympic terms surely. I’m just shocked by the fact that they look so wooden and rickety – not at all like you’d expect from someone who’s a pro MTBer, more like you’d expect from a pro roady stuck on an MTB for the day?
They can much more easily be lost on technical sections, with a puncture, mechanical or crash.
As answered earlier, yes of course there’s that risk but if you have a raised level of skill and training in that sort of stuff you’d expect the risks to be minimised. Granted they do likely do it on paper inner tubes and rims of carboard, but I wonder if thats sort of defeating the purpose in some ways.
I dunno, I just find the XC races boring and road-like in their lack of adventure and technical side and their wooden riders, especially when you see the flowing grace exhibited by some of the DH race competitors (obvisouly not olympic) even on hardtails. Having come from mostly what is apparently now termed “aggressive XC” riding (I just call going for a ride) I just expected something with a little more zing I suppose, rather than an offroad road race.Posted 9 years agomamadirtMember
(you can tell as they’re not even back over their saddle very far)
When did you last see an x/c racer hanging off the back of his/her seat? That’s just for d/h wannabees on flat stuff, like me 😉
Surely in an xc race situation you’re gonna take the smoothest line, which is exactly what they’re doing.Posted 9 years ago
Surely in an xc race situation you’re gonna take the smoothest line, which is exactly what they’re doing.
I dont think that is the smoothest line, but I suppose thats personal judgement at the time.
I wouldn’t want to ride that on a race geometry hardtail with 80mm of travel and flat bars (which is what you need for the rest of the course).
Why not? Maybe I’m lacking in perceptive skills but that particular bit looks like a piece of cake, something I’d not hesitate to attack on my rigid flat-barred XC bike and as I’ve said from the start I’m far from extraordinary.
And rudeboy – never, Im never likely to be that fit and I’m too old to get into the team I’m sure! This http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJehifyWa64&feature=related for example is way beyond me!Posted 9 years ago
Rudeboy – as I said, from the start if you actually bother to read the post rather than just trying to cause arguments, I’m not just looking at this one – im thinking of all the previous olympic footage I’ve seen on TV (in considerably better quality etc). I dont have to be on a section to take a reasonable guess at its difficulty. As I have already said I accept the camera does flatten it, but then it flattens all the other footage out there too.
I suppose the trade-off would be needing slightly tougher (heavier) components for a gain in technical ability, maybe the trade-off isnt good enough. Just thought it was an interesting point up for discussion! What sparked the thought was a roadie friend of mine that entered some small local XC races and wiped the floor with the field despite having absolutely zero MTB skills.Posted 9 years agohelsMember
XC races at that level are won on the climbs.
I did the World Cup at Fort Bill a few years ago for a laff, (at the very back !) and heading down the big chute thing (Nessie ? the top of the old course) in a line of riders is very un-nerving.
But anyways women I know who race at that level claim it to be very frustrating. No matter how much better you are technically than the rest of the field you will only ever catch the person in front of you, and you can’t overtake on the technical sections. If she is fitter she will just come bombing past you on the next climb.
Gunn Rita Dahle flatted in the race I was in, ran to the next tech station, dropped back to about 80th, and still finished on the podium.
And I would agree with the point about hitting that section when you have been riding at 120% of max for 90 mins, although that clip looks earlier in the race as the riders are still bunched. Not as easy as you might think !Posted 9 years agostumpy01Member
If I was in an Olympic event, would I potentally risk it all, or take the safer line that might cost me a couple of seconds…..hmmmm. I think I would play it safe.
I do potentially agree with Garry_Lagers comment about fit club blokes keeping up with the women’s XC racers.Posted 9 years ago
I don’t know if it’s the same for Mountain biking, but when I was younger I used to race for Thames Valley Harriers at 400, 800, 1500m and XC in the winter. One of the guys I ran with was about 4secs slower at 800m than the olympic womens world record, so he would have easily have kept pace in most races with international level 800m runners. And he was 16 at the time, with no proper rigorous training/diet etc. I was significantly slower than him!!
Yup, well aware of the difficulty of racing when whiting/blacking out due to exertion (been there, done that!) but I felt that section was the ideal overtaking opportunity – the whole frustration of bunching and not being able to pass people is true, but that I think is where that section works well, with the option of the centre line.
XC’s are indeed won on climbs, but is that only because everyone works the same way? In the XC races I’ve done in the past I was able to make up 5-6 places on even short descents in the first lap (due to people bunching) and 1 or two in the ones afterwards, but clearly I lost out due to fitness, to the point of being lapped by the leader, then overtaking the guy and several others on a down, then having him storm past me again!) and I thought “if only I was THAT fit and able to do the downs too I would stand a fairly good chance of doing well!”. Instead I nearly passed out with my heard rate bouncing off about 200, which is why I no longer race XC 😀Posted 9 years agofootstomperMember
This is why olympic mtbing is boring – its just for roadies who happen not to be riding on a road
Sorry but i disagree, a few years back when rivington near Bolton hosted the Commenwealth championships we where on a downhill part of the course and some of the riders especially the girl who was representing the UK went down at full speed, when I watched the highlights later on TV they looked like they where braking all the way down which was definately not the case.
Video footage can be very deceptive.
As others have said it isn’t worth the risk of losing 30+ seconds if you fall for the sake of gaining possibly 3 or 4 taking the technical lines.Posted 9 years agomatt_outandaboutSubscriber
Clearly XC is easy to do, especially when trained in kung-fu keyboard skills as we all are.
I think its all about tactics – taking an easier descent line costs a second or two, but means you can run lighter kit, without damage, saving far more on climbs and non tech bits.
Having said that, there were /are a few in XC racing that seem little more than fit athletes, and less than skilled in the biking area, so bringing me back to agree with the OP, its amazing a few more descending skills are not being displayed on many of those vids.Posted 9 years agomyfatherwasawolfMember
Well, the ‘overtaking line’ straight down the middle looks to be raised on the up-slope side, doesn’t have a smooth run-up, the drop is about 1 metre, and looks nearly vertical. Rather you than me!
In general, top level xc riders are technically brilliant – they don’t get to that level without the skills to match. As nearly everybody else has mentioned, watchng it on the screen is far removed from the reality.Posted 9 years agoWiredchopsMember
Couple of points I think.
I do think Coffeking has a point with regards to the women’s sport. I’d say that participation, focus and takeup of XC mountain biking is not as great as it could be and that will inevitably lead to a lower equivalent level compared to other sports.
Having not seen that section of the course on anything but that cacky youtube vid I can’t comment on that individual section. However there was a couple of pro women racers in the SSWC in 07 which I saw racing and even after 4/5 laps they were nailing it. I find fatigue in my upper body really inhibits my descending speed especially on an XC geared bike. As has been pointed out, the bike is a compromise between the up and down bits, with the large focus on the up.
I think this point is important. The sport’s been around for a while, and most of the competitors will have competed in hundreds of races. The form of the race will have evolved to suit the conditions in which everybody races under. If more and more technical XC sections are introduced, then you would expect a corresponding step-change in tactics. In this case, people are racing for hours, not minutes every risk must be assessed and weighed.
In a donwhill race seconds gained by taking a high risk corner at speed has a corresponding high level of pay-off. This dictates the tactics of the rider. In an XC race, those same seconds are insignificant compared to the minutes gained on uphill sections, and the large penalties incurred when a puncture or mechanical occurs.
THere’s a good book called ‘beating the odds’ and is about the mathematics in sport. It has good sections on risk, tactics and playing style and gives great explanations of why many sports have the form they do today based on the probabilistic environment created by the rules and conditions of the sport.
I.e. same as what everyone else said.
Si CPosted 9 years ago
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