Answer to email about Mountain Bike Park!

A Mountain Bike Park--correspondence

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The email I received which prompted this response appears below, and was in answer to my email announcement of the idea for the park.


Thanks for sending me your comments. I've taken some time to answer them, so I hope this letter doesn't bore you!!

First off, concerning your comments about the substrate being much more yielding in the case of skiing, this is certainly true. But I think these issues are covered under general laws that allow people to do inherently dangerous things without unneccessary liability. Everyone tries to make good, safe bikes, and sooner or later virtually any part can fail. All riders will have to indicate acknowledgement of this fact. As to the fact that falling "HURTS"--you bet it does! Even just falling to the side at dead slow and landing on your hip, creates welts and bloodblisters and bruises that can be several inches in diameter and can last for weeks. I wear kneepads, elbow pads, padded gloves, and a helmet. Next I think I'm going to get hip pads. What's your point? Won't that happen anyway, on my hills just as much as anywhere else? At least if something serious, like arterial blood flow, happens, we have spotters and solar powered call boxes and so on, and even first aid packs you would be required to carry with you at all times.

I thought you might be interested to know that I have, in four years and several thousand miles of off-road mountain biking with my wife and friends, have only been to a ski lift place one weekend. The rest of the time, we have always earned every downhill with it's uphill. We have never even left a car at the bottom and at the top, though we keep talking about trying that at Nobel Canyon. Everyone says it's nearly impossible to do up, and tougher riders than me go up the road instead...

So my point, of course, is that I've really come from your side and personally, I love uphills. Our favorite rides are three or four local 1200 foot climbs and we do them in an hour and a half at least once a week. 20 minutes or less of downhill after well over an hour of uphill. I really can't believe I'd bother to do that if I didn't realize a pleasure in uphills, even gruelling steady--I-will-beat-you-someday--hills. The best the local 25 mile circumference has to offer.

I just don't think this negates the usefulness of the park. Not only would experienced riders like you and I occassionally have fun on it on our own bikes, but the vast legions of people who really JUST DON'T GET IT can try the sport on our beginner slopes and have a blast doing it. The rental bikes would vary in quality for people that want to try different bikes and can afford different price ranges. (Every bike would probably have full suspension, though.)

Also, the trails would be specially designed by famous mountain bikers to be especially fun. They would all be one way, and they would almost all be downhill, but a few would be uphill-only trails, both steep and difficult ones and easier ones. But face it: a four thousand foot climb is a lot of work. We do 1200 foot climbs in an hour or so, and two years ago this was an all-day thing. Now it's an evening pleasure. But 4000 feet? We're in our late thirties, and we would have to quit our jobs and train every day to do much better than we're doing, so sometimes, just getting the payback would be cool. (And it is payback: has anyone ever left a car at the top of a hill so they didn't have to ride down?)

Lastly, I had planned from the beginning to have the trails contain uphill sections, with the total uphill being, from say, 400 feet on one trail, and 2000 feet on another. They would do this in part by utilizing the uphill trails to connect sections. Most trails will have uphills that you are supposed to scrub speed off on, of course, to slow the trail down without getting technical. Others will be technical.

A lot of work will go into this park and your continued feedback would certainly be appreciated. Thanks again for your previous comments.

Russell Hoffman

original transmission follows:
Well, I'm not going to give you much encouragement. In my case, what I like about mountain biking is going out into the woods, getting a good workout, etc. My mountain biking has little in common with downhill skiing.

Note that downhill mountain biking is different from skiing in that the substrate is much more yielding in the case of skiing. No road rash, no broken bones unless you manage to torque something (which I've done), etc. Falling off a bike HURTS, and it isn't as smooth and graceful even if you manage to stay upright.

Also, a bike is a very efficient way to get up and around mountains - the nice thing about it is that you can cover lots of ground, see the scenery, etc. National forests and other nearly-pristine areas fill the bill without the addition of an "area." All we need are fire roads and trails.

So, basically, I guess I'd just as soon it didn't happen.


Here is part of his followup email, which I found much more encouraging:

... I appreciate your reply, and I don't mean to tell you that you're doing a horrible thing. Some people might enjoy it - I used to belong to a bike club in which most of the members really just did the uphills to be able to do the downhills ... Good luck with your venture ...

Well, friends again now, I'd say!

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