Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What I learned from 10 years of Mtb riding

So I just recently passed my 10th year of mountainbike riding, and you know what, I learned A thing or two in the process. From the bitter, to the optimistic, let me take you through what I've learned, perhaps I can pass on some knowledge. Some of it has been very expensive for me to learn, some of it has taken a lot of time to see a pattern, and some of it is just plain obvious. Take a look:

Today, cheap parts, are as good as expensive parts

With the exception of wheels and suspension parts, choosing the cheaper alternative in gear/parts, will not set you back performance wise. Yes there I said it, and I fucking stand by it.
(Yes there are a few exceptions to this, but they are rare, so shut up.)

For 56€ on CRC you can get this Shimano Zee derailleur. You can take a huge dump on it, and it will still shift crisply.

For 286€ you can get the SRAM XX1 derailleur on CRC.
A difference of 230€ (!!)
I dare you to look me into my eyes and say that those extra 230€ are justified against a Zee shifter..

A dropper post is a must

I don't care if you are on a hardtail, fully, on an allmountain rig, or a fatbike. A dropper post will be your friend. It adds so much to the enjoyment, at a small weight penalty. Nuff said.

When I started mountainbiking, there was no such thing as a dropper post, alot has happened in that regard over 10 years..
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What you drink, matters.

I started out by just drinking water when I was out riding. Today I drink a combination of :

-Magnesium (electrolytes)

And after 10 years of combining things, I really think I nailed it. My mix of ingredients listed above improves my concentration and increases alertness, it also reduces tiredness and fatigue, and it helps maintain hydration during our rides, and lastly, it builds up power and muscle. And I truly feel a difference. Don't just drink, drink smart.

From left to right: Tabs(magnesium, caffeine), BCAA, Creatine. Put all of it into your Camelbak, or water-bottle, and go ride!
(my gawd this picture resembles last new years eve .. )

Carbon is overrated

Oh sure carbon is sexy; those curves and weight savings can mesmerize anyone. Ive had my share of Carbon AND alu frames, and the carbon was never defining the ride. A great alu frame can outperform a carbon frame, and vice versa. What I'm saying is this; frame material does not matter; what matters is good design and engineering. 

Sure a carbon frame is sexy, but is it functionally superior to an extend, where there is an actual gain?
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Heavy chunk of alu, yes. But a truly great design, superior to the S-Works(s) Ive had.
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The bike industry is not your friend (although It wants you to think so)

26inch wheels are best.
29inch wheels are best.
27.5inch wheels are best.
27.5inch+tires are best
10 speed is best
11 speed is best
12 speed is best *facealm*
Boost 110 is best
Boost 148 is best
Metric shocks are best.
Wide rims are best.
and so on..

Oh the industry knows whats best for you right? No they are driving sales! Its actually very obvious, but I'm still shocked as to how many people just eat it raw, without really asking a simple question: "is this new change/standard really be something that will impact my riding experience"

..or are you just buying into the hype and marketing machine?

That brings me to...

Commercial reviews suck

Be it on Pinkbike, or some German bike magazine. In the end, these sites and magazines need to run a business. Salary comes from advertising. Advertisers need to sell products, good reviews sell more products. Do you see where I am going?

This is not witchcraft, its pretty simple actually. Commercial reviews have a huge bias towards the advertisers that put money into the website or magazine.
When the German magazine BIKE tests tires in a Schwalbe factory, the Schwalbe tire always wins...Hmmm that's odd.. *obvious sarcasm*...

Suck it down and love it!!

Ride with people that are technically better than you

If you have the chance or opportunity, then strive to ride with people that are more skilled than you. Observe what they do, at what speed they do it, and try to copy it! Be it tricks, small technical details, body positions - its all contagious. Watch and copy!

Be aware, that if you ride with less skilled people than yourself, you are being dragged in the same direction. You spend less time experimenting, you automatically copy "poor line choices" and in general, don't push anything forward.

Skills are contagious.

If you know (or find) a ripper, then watch and copy!

And a few bonus-"wisdom" points;

-Crash zones by drops or jumps can save your ass, or even your life.
-Riding improves mental being as well.
-Crashes; you always hit two things; knees and wrists.
-Explore the woods, there are gems everywhere.
-If you ever get the chance to ride on frozen dunes..then do it! Its amazing.
-You are more skilled than you think.
-Be polite and greet other riders. Its contagious.

Sure some of my points can be a bit controversial, but after 10 years I guess its aligned into these points. Don't agree? Fine! Put a comment in below : )



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

All Mountain Next turns 7 years!

My blog turned 7 years, yay. This blog is just a few weeks from closure, so things are slowly shutting down regarding the content. But after 522 posts..I think I've done my job ; ) My stats are still very solid, so I'm actually not shutting this down due to the lack of interest. But I want to do something different.

So as of now I might go 2 ways:

1)Keep this blog in a "lite" version, with rare updates.
2)Just let the blog go.

I don't know, I got all these ideas for a different blog, and I currently don't know what to pick up. Its all in my brain, brewing, on the verge to pop my head.

Hello friend

So this is me last year dressing up for a convention, my mom (and her dog) gave me a ride. Anyway, 7 years of blog-writing makes you strong!

Okay, so this turned into a mess.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Recent Riding Part 3/3

Last batch of pics:

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Recent Riding Part 2/3

More shots from the woods:

Henning hitting the tree-gap
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Henning brought his YT Tues AL
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Jan hitting a new feature
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Mr Madsen got a "new" bike as well. Its a Commencal, thats all I rememeber.
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Kim giving the tree-gap a go
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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Recent Riding Part 1/3

A few shots from a few recent rides, check it out:

Jan testing the new feature, teased in the previous post. The height got slightly reduced, and rumers has it that it actually works a bit better that way ; )
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Kim hitting the tree-gap.
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What got a whole lot of positive attention recently is the platform-drop.
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..And so it got ridden...alot.
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Henning dropping in..
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More to come..
(Thanks to Mr.Madsen for the pics.)

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hard Wood

A new jump has risen.

Fully rideable, but still a prototype. Jan did some initial testing, first-moving it (you can see him to the far right in the picture). The plan is to send the rider into the moon.
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More to come.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Grab em' by the bushing..

Quick update with a few random shots.

Gaps, I see planning of gaps everywhere these days! Quick! to the batmobile!
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Now how cool is this pic..
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So, this is a tiny 4ft gap, And I wondered; "how slowly can you actually hit it.."
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You can go slow...but not that slow..dammit! Tumbled and landed on my back on some tree stubs. 
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First person view of a recovery/self treatment
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Layers of Fear

How do you cope with fear in mountainbiking?

Fear in mountainbiking is an odd thing. I constantly see different behavior regarding fear from the people I ride with, but there is a red line. I see a pattern of behavior. And my general theory is; pretty much everything can be predicted and/or categorized. So here goes; the different layers of fear in mountainbiking. Lets start of with a simple physiological look at what fear is:

Your amygdala is essential to your ability to feel certain emotions and to perceive them in other people. This includes fear and the many changes that it causes to the body. If you are looking down a huge drop, that you haven't ridden before, chances are that your amygdala is very active!

I have categorized fear in mountainbiking into 6 layers and named them;

-The Darwin-award seeker
-The first-mover
-The risk seeker
-The risk calculator
-The risk avoider
-The shell shocked

From the smallest amount of fear, to the biggest amount of fear, lets go:

The Darwin-award seeker
This is the "Bender" of the mtb scene. There are very few of these people, and for good reason; our brain is usually not seeking stunts that can cost us our life. The Darwin-award seeker is often lacking the self-preservation intuition that many of us have. This results in the biggest risk-taking in the sport. The darwin-award seeker does not necessarily have the skills to do the stunts they do. The Darwin-award seeker can sometimes be seen doing things on the bike, what others would categorize as downright "dumb". Oh, should you for some odd reason not know what a Darwin-award is, then go here.

Josh Bender is a good example of a darwin-award seeker. Take this drop he did; the gravel-landing was too soft, and his skills where questionable at best for stunts this size. I wonder; do these people feel fear, but don't recognize danger? Or do these people have a amygdala defect?
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Often results in:

The first-mover
Not only are first-movers hitting big stuff, but they are also the fist ones to do it. This is the Redbull Rampage contender. This is the rider that builds and hits big stuff on the northshore BC, or in some secret spot in the French mountains, or in your local quarry on some sick high-risk line.
The first-mover go in...first. Fueled by confidence and technical skill, where others watch..they ride it. First-movers are often skilled builders as well. They are not without fear and a strong self-preservation intuition tho', the first-mover have limits, but they are way more gray-zoned.

Compared to the bender-drop above, this huge drop from Redbull Rampage is well designed, calculated (takeoff, landing and speed), and ridden by a rider with a very high skill set. However, he is the first one to ride it, despite the danger. Fear is present, but overcomed by technical skills, and confidence.
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The risk seeker
This is the category where most of my riding buddies sit. They definitely don't represent the majority (I will get to that later), but a lot of seasoned riders go into this category. This is the rider that gets thrills by seeking bigger and bigger stuff to hit. This rider loves bikeparks, and the challenges that await there. This rider can look at a big set of stairs, in some urban area, and think "I could hit that with my bike". The risk seeker is never satisfied, there is a continuous search, and need, for something a tad bigger. The risk seeker is rarely seen on a hardtail in tight spandex. They have a strong self-preservation sense, and a comfort-zone, but like to push both things. Fear and danger is flirted with.

So this pic sums up the risk seeker pretty good; Its all about hitting bigger and bigger stuff, new stuff, and a constant need for a self-challenge. All this while still being grounded by the "laws" of fear and self preservation.
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The risk calculator
One thing that spots a risk calculater is that they are never the first one to hit stuff. The risk calculator is often seen walking up to a drop or a jump, inspecting it over and over again; over-analyzing. They talk about hitting stuff, often having an open monolog about stuff they'd hit in the past, or how they can potentially injure them-self in the present. The risk calculator is often standing on top of drops or jumps, thinking, while the mind-fuck corrupts their brain. But please note that the risk calculator can actually be spottet hitting big stuff, and riding high-risk stuff, they just need more time than most of us, they need the time to...calculate.

(Using Jan in this picture is not fair, but it fits the topic.) The risk calculator is often hiding in his comfort zone, and only the right sum of calculations can take him out of that comfort zone. The over-calculation can often be a sign of technical insecurity. Fear creeps into their head, and dominates their decision making. The self-preservation and amygdala is on high alert pretty much all the time.
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The risk avoider
This is the main-stream mountainbike rider. The risk avoider is afraid of pretty much everything. Their fear is only matched by their insecurity and extreme self-preservation need. Stepping out-side the box or comfort zone is a big no-no. Expect excuses from the risk avoider for not hitting stuff, the risk avoider is often self-aware that they are scared of everything, but will not always admit it. The risk avoider often has a very poor set of mountainbike skills, mostly because they never challenge them self, they are often seen to compensate by having a strong cardio tho'. (go ahead and read between the lines)

The risk avoiders are not that hard to spot in the wild..
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The Shell Shocked
We have all been there; failing a drop or jump and crashing. It can freak us out, make us scared, insecure, momentarily destroy our skillset. All that, is what I categorize as being shell-shocked. Fear creeps in and corrupts our minds. The self-preservation part of our brain is going full steam.
There are 3 ways to evolve/devolve from a shellshock state:

1)you get up from the crash, and ride the feature the same day. Shocked, but determined not to be beaten. You get back into your former "fear-class".

2)you temporarily devolve into the "risk calculator" or "risk avoider". After some wound licking, you get back to your former "fear-class".

3)you permanently devolve into the "risk calculator" or "risk avoider".

Shell shocked is a layer of fear that is spawn from a crash. The self-preservation part of our brain is going full steam. Only question is; how will you tackle your fear as a human being? Do you ignore it? fight it? or capitulate?

And so..
So this is my non-empirical observational study of fear in mountain biking. More than 10 years of mountainbike riding with very different people, has taught me a thing or two. There is a red line. In the end, we are all but (somewhat) simple and predictable mammals when it comes to fear. Try taking note of who is who, next time you stand by some new feature out on your trail, with your buddies.

What class do YOU belong in?

Bonus: My thoughts and late night wine-drinking-theory
Fear and comfort-zones can be translated to many other aspects of life, you can use most of my theory in this article to the following:

-Handling of a relation ship
-Handling of Money
-Travel and exploration

However! And this is the interesting part: you can be very risk willing in one area, but absolutely comfort-zone seeking in an other. As an example; you can be a first-mover in mountain biking, driven by the thrills, but ultra conservative (risk avoider) when it comes to relationships, with no needs for thrills whatsoever. This to me is interesting, as I initially imagined that the amigdala in out brain would not differentiate between what aspect of life the fear/comfort zone sets in. But it does. 

We obviously do not have an omni-potent relationship to the challenges we face in life, instead we unconsciously categorize them into segments, each segment is then individually evaluated by our amygdala. This is what makes us into the humans we are. Skål!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

240 frames per second

We shot a little bit of vid, whilst testing a new line.

38 sec with sound

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Happy verbal vomit, with an intellectual touch.

Its autumn, and I shot a few pics, some of them turned out okay, check it out:

Warning, no bike-related stuff, although all shot on bike trips.

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I see you..
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That is all. Pokemon.