Saturday, August 31, 2013

I only ride park!!

...well actually I don't. But its the title of a seriously funny song, that you check out here

Aaaanyway, had 3 days in 3 different bikeparks in the Harz mountains with Drea. 16 gigs of gopro-footage later (and a hell of alot editing time), and I present you my vid "3".

The parks them-selves represent very different quality levels. From Braunlage bikepark, which should be a text-book example of how not to design a park. To Hahnenklee, that's actually passable for a single good day of riding, to Schulenberg - a place by riders, for riders, and trail design reflects that -no "Joey's" in this park..

I hope you enjoy.

Watch the HD version HERE.

4m12sec. HD option available. Embedded version:

Monday, August 26, 2013

4 shots from the perhaps most overlooked riding place in Eastern Europe

Why am I the only one riding this place?? For AM riding, this place is fucking sick! Want lift assisted DH/FR as well, this place got you covered for that too.. 

I am talking about the Tatra Mountains. I went there a few weeks ago (again), and shot a few pics:

You can just barely see the trail if you enlarge
(click to enlarge)

This place boarders on the edge between Poland and Slovakia, its actually Poland on the left, and Slovakia on the right.
(click to enlarge)

Trails like this warm my heart : )
(click to enlarge)

See you next time.
(click to enlarge)

I wrote a whole lot more about this place, here, and here, and here! And a great video here! Check it out.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tree-gap vid

Being the first person to hit something is always freaking me out a bit. I would sometimes prefer not to do it, to be honest, but hey, someone has to be the first one, right?
But luckily it always ends up with this: The definition of good times.

So the hard thing was to find the right speed. I obviously didn't want to undershoot it, and die, but I didn't want to overshoot it either. So some testing had to be done on a nearby jump to the right of the tree-gap. Anyway, just watch it:

Watch in HD HERE

2m 07sec

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Random stuff

A couple of random shots, enjoy.

Lets start of with a bike. This is the 2013 Gt Force, and the lucky owner is my buddy Karl. A full carbon frame, with the I-drive system(150mm). Its got a Fox 32 150mm up front, a Fox Kashima RP3 out back, XTR gears, Easton EA70 hoops, R1 Brakes and a Raceface Next crank. Not a bad setup, but it needs a dropper post, if it wants to be taken seriously tho' ; )
(click to en large)

In action.
(click to enlarge)

Needs more bandages!!
(click to enlarge)

2 very different forest-rockets.
(click to enlarge)

Dear Fox. Your close competitor (RockShox), makes full use of travel on its forks, you should try that on your future lineup.
 (click to enlarge)

Gapping the tree-gap. You get 8-10 meters of air time, and you can actually see the tree below me in this shot. More on this jump soon.
 (click to enlarge)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Trying the line to the left...

...and failing doing so.

Simple edit. 60sec. HD option available HERE.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Anatomy of Intelligent Trail Design

Is the best tool for trailbuilding an axe, or chainsaw? Or a shovel perhaps? Its neither, the best tool for trailbuilding is this:

But how does brain neurons translate into great trails? Well, keep on reading, as I respectfully shed some light on that, lets start with the most basic thing:

What do you want?
DO: Have a plan and a vision. What direction do you want the trail to take? Do you want flow? Or a tech section, something open and fast? Or perhaps something super tight? Be progressive, not conservative. Ambition doesn't hurt either. Determination is your friend.

DON'T: Have a great flow one second, going right into something awkward that destroys the experience or flow. Know what you want from the trail experience, don't wander in the dark.
Real life example: 2 of the most popular local xc-trails provide small drops - followed by a very tight left/right turn. What this means is, that the drops has to be taken at very slow speed, punishing experienced riders who rides fast over drops. Don't punish fast riders!

Plan 3 steps ahead.
DO: See a trail-section in parts. Its easy to understand, hard to master. There is a start (green), a middle (blue), and an end (black). This can be applied to a trail that's 50m long, or 500 meters long, and anything in between. The important thing is to connect these sections in the best possible way. One have to complement the other, like a synergy.
Real life example: Ever been to Whislter? Or some place where every part just made sense, where the green blue and black part where working together in perfect harmony? Then you know what I'm talking about.

DON'T: Be lured by something that might look attractive as a trail (green or blue or black) but it just doesn't match with the other colors.
Real life example: I remember when a friend of mine found a really nice drop, with a good run-in, and a nice transition, after the transition however, there was a natural ditch, rumply ending any possibility for any further advance. So to use the color codes again; He had his green (fun run-in) and blue section (good drop), but the black section was missing(end).

Think of a trail in longer segments, then divide these segments into parts.
Here you have a single segment of a trail, divided into 3 parts:

Make it worth while.
DO: Reward the rider. Make the rider forget that pain in the legs during the climb, the prospect and anticipation of that sweet rewarding descend is worth the entire climb, two fold!

DON'T: Punish the rider. Don't demotivate the rider, to take that climb to the top, where all that awaits is a dull descend. Its ok to let the rider work for his carrot, but let that carrot be as sweet as possible.
Real life example: We all been there: climbing a  hard mountain to the top, just to see that the entire descend afterwards, is a dual track gravel fireroad.

Build stuff that challenge you beyond your "safety box".
DO: Build jumps and drops that seems to be just a tad too big or high/steep. Make stuff difficult. Within a few weeks you WILL be riding it, and even hitting it hard.
Note: Sketchy does not necessary equal fun. Challenge, however, equals fun.

DON'T: Build stuff that you can ride full throttle the very moment its build. There is no progressive challenge in that, and you will most likely get bored with this feature within a very short time. There are exceptions to this rule, but they are rare.

Understanding kinematics.
This is probably some of hardest things to master. How a bike rolls, and how much energy it costs. But its also one of the most important things, as its a fundamental part if you want to achieve "flow". Some trail builders have a great understanding of kinematics - perhaps even without knowing it. Others, are completely oblivious about it, and build as if gravity didn't exist. It does however - and its all about taming it to an kinematic advantage. There is much more to be said about this subject, but I would probably run out of ink..
DO: Be smart, be clever, and use the kinematics to your advantage.

DON'T: Ignore the physics, ITS THE LAW.
Real life example: Too many to mention here, its a huge problem.

If it doesn't work, don't use it.
Sometimes, something just doesn't work. Its only human nature to fail once in a while, luckily its also human nature to learn from the mistakes.
DO: Have the ability to scrap a trail section, a drop, or a jump, if it isn't fun, or doesn't work. Its heart breaking at times, but its the right thing to do, and deep inside of you mtb heart, you know it.
Real life example: My (good) local trail builders told me of this 400m section they where building on for 3 months, cutting down trees, adjusting and test riding. But in the end it just wasn't fun. They took a deep breath, shed a tear, and abandoned it. 3 months of hard work down the drain. It sucks, but its for the greater good.

DON'T: Ignore what doesn't work. It will haunt you, and your fellow riders, and depress the overall joy on the trail.

Make the best use of the terrain.
DO: Take every advantage of the terrain possible. Squeeze the most out of it. Scope it not once, but twice, preferable three time, to make sure you take absolute best advantage of it.


One hill, two different lines, be smart about what line you decide to build.

Trail maintenance is not an option, its a MUST DO.
DO: Take care of your trails. Riding will be hard on your trail, and the trail will slowly die on you if don't groom you trail. Service it, and you will have a trail that works as intentioned. It might even get a bit better after some time.

DON'T: Ignore the importance of trail maintenance. The result will be a damaged trail, that will suck the fun out of it, and you can even risk permanent trail damage.
Real life example: Well, I bet you know a trail or two that hasn't been serviced for a while, and it tells.

Trail testing: (ADJUST or ABANDON)
DO: Test what you have build. Its simple actually; is it fun? Challenging? Does the flow work? If you can answer "No" to one of these points, then ADJUST or ABANDON.

DON'T: Underestimate the value of the test-riding and micro adjustments. Micro adjustments can make or break a line!

Build With Passion
Jack Nicklaus pretty much nailed it: "I'm a firm believer in the theory that people only do their best at things they truly enjoy. It is difficult to excel at something you don't enjoy."
DO: Build with passion, it will most likely reflect on the trail. Passion breeds quality.

DON'T: If you don't enjoy it - It will tell.

Hope you enjoyed this post, and my mad paint-skillz as well. This is my tribute to all the great trail builders out there, you guys rock. If you have a comment, something to add or critique, then don't be shy, bring it to the comments section, it doesn't require a sign-in.