Park/Freeride/Downhill Riders


September 24, 2013, 08:55 AM

I had some good conversations on the lifts at The Rock this last weekend. A lot of the more experienced DH riders there gave me a good eyeroll when I mentioned that I was part of CORP and those were the trails I rode. I very much got the feeling that among the more "extreme" riders that CORP is not for them and the trails we make are kind of lame.

In that vein, I noticed the post about getting a Dual Slalom or 4X track somewhere around here, possibly at Elver. I think it's ideas like this that will help us capture the non-XC crowd and have those riders work on the trails they like to ride. Unfortunately, what we've currently got for these types of trails includes Blackhawk, which requires it's own membership, and some trail at QR. CamRock has the limited DH around the CR3 trailhead, but has some cool spots for potential runs.

I also realize that we live in Wisconsin where we're not going to make a 10+ minute DH line or freeride zone and as a club can't put in chair lifts (unless you've got one laying around!). However, I think we need to open up our trails to more than XC and promote more than just "look at how many miles of trail we have!"

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XXX

September 24, 2013, 11:30 AM

I say we ressurect QR! It has the elevation and location! We really need someone to head up this type construction/management to help Jeffb at Quarry Ridge.

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JHenry
Technical Terrain (TTF) Crew

September 24, 2013, 12:38 PM

We really need someone to head up this type construction/management to help Jeffb at Quarry Ridge.

This is typically the point at which the conversation dies. This person needs to be the type of person that can work with local governments and also motivate the ridership to really plan the construction and build lines that require little maintenance and stay within the expectations of the landowner. My interpretation over the last 8 years is that the idea that land owners require CORP to work within certain boundaries for reasons of safety and preservation/stewardship is a big turn off. Also being required to get planned lines or improvements approved by a steward seems to be a sticking point. If the line, feature, or improvement is executed well and respects the other users there is no reason it can't be completed. To date I can only name one global requirement for CORP: no articulating features due to insurance. There is a local requirement for handrails on features above a certain height at PV. Of course we try to adhere to IMBA guidelines as much as possible which ends up being our best proponent when building on public lands.




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« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 12:42 PM by JHenry »

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Nate W.
Club Raconteur

September 24, 2013, 12:52 PM

I was thinking the public versus private angle when I first rear Aaron's post too.  To my knowledge, the one thing that the vast majority of bike parks in the US (and probably Canada as well) have in common, is that they are on privately held (or at least privately managed) land.  A lot more leeway in what can be built. 

I also noticed that you mention the membership fee as a drawback for Blackhawk...don't you have to pay to ride at The Rock?  I'm sure you have to pay to ride at Trestle, Whistler, Diablo Mountain, etc...

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XXX

September 24, 2013, 01:41 PM

We really need someone to head up this type construction/management to help Jeffb at Quarry Ridge.

This is typically the point at which the conversation dies. This person needs to be the type of person that can work with local governments and also motivate the ridership to really plan the construction and build lines that require little maintenance and stay within the expectations of the landowner.

I agree totally. If I wasn't already on PV, I'd love to help out there. But I think getting a person for this would be very helpful, maybe even a floater person who helps plan/manage all of these types of features across all the parks?

I was thinking the public versus private angle when I first rear Aaron's post too.  To my knowledge, the one thing that the vast majority of bike parks in the US (and probably Canada as well) have in common, is that they are on privately held (or at least privately managed) land.  A lot more leeway in what can be built. 

I also noticed that you mention the membership fee as a drawback for Blackhawk...don't you have to pay to ride at The Rock?  I'm sure you have to pay to ride at Trestle, Whistler, Diablo Mountain, etc...

I agree Nate, private land does offer a lot of flexibility. As for payment for BH, I think that scares away some riders (no lifts after all) and there's not a lot of artificial features. I don't want to step on any toes, but CORP could pick up the slack by promoting or building more of this type of terrain to build some momentum on getting more riders involved on the public lands. Just a thought.

Again, I don't want to seem like I'm complaining, I'm just trying to share some opinions I've heard. A small part of me can sympathize, but I ride everything from DJ to XC some I'm happy with everything we've been doing.

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XXX

September 24, 2013, 02:24 PM

Here's my $.02 as someone who would love to see this sort of thing come to the area...it's not likely to happen due to lack of consistent support from the riders who ask for it. The push to build park style riding in Madison has gone through a very recognizable cycle over the last decade and that cycle almost always ends the same way, a few new features pop up and then all the momentum pitters out.  The notable exception is Pleasant View but even there it takes a huge effort from William to keep things moving forward.

I'm not sure if there just isn't a big enough of a base of riders to produce the requisite number of stalwarts or if it's the personality type that is attracted to that style of riding, but whenever someone has stepped up to push it forward they tend to burn out quickly and there is never anyone there to take their place.

If the riders around Madison truly want park style riding it's either going to take several very dedicated people to make it happen or someone needs to come up with a new approach that doesn't rely on a hugely disproportionate amount of work from just one or two people.  The current model only works when there are enough people to support or step in for the stalwarts when they aren't there and that consistent user base has never materialized for people pushing for trails that only go down hills.

IMO, the most appropriate thing the club has done to promote park style riding has been to form the TTF crew which builds a small number of good quality features, their output is a good representation of the support the club gets from that sect of riders.

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TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

September 24, 2013, 02:47 PM

I could not agree more with what has been said here. And doubly for your insight Rich. It is good to see respectable and professional dialog on the subject.

If you look at the places "everyone is talking about" they all have a common theme. Above and beyond 90% of them being private (exception to the new stuff happening at Copper Harbor), the people riding them are not building the trails. They are all being financed and professionally built in some way. Volunteers help make it happen, but there is professional money behind them. Not the locally designed, built, and volunteer construction which has been our main model of operation.

About the "rolling eyes". I take that as pretty much the same as "nothing is as cool as this bitchin' place we are riding right now". I have also heard from enough folks that have not been impressed with The Rock that I have not went out of my way to make it there to ride this year. So to each his own I guess.

I for one am dang proud of what CORP does and what we have developed over the years. I don't know of another club with the number, diversity of trails, features, etc to ride as our club that has basically been run off of blood, sweat and the tears of volunteers. The majority of clubs exist to support a single trail system. People travel hours to come and ride on our trails, and there is a lot to be said for that. There are some clubs who do it a lot better and bigger, in a manner of speaking, but all of them have big $ behind them - Chambers of Commerce, County tourism groups, full-time trail builders, grant writers, etc.

I think it bears discussion that if the expectations are going to change significantly in the future, we also need to change our model of operation. Like having a group of members dedicated to getting involved politically, meeting with those Chambers, Tourism Boards, Village Boards, etc. Getting a lot of $ behind us from that standpoint is definitely a possibility, but it takes people dedicated to that. Not the same people who are now trying to build and maintain trails. It seems we have a number of Villages who might support us if we went this direction. I know Cambridge wants to support us, even through expansion of CamRock Park. Middleton has supported us. Verona as well. We would definitely have to get involved at the County level as well.


~ Chuck Hutchens


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singletrackminx
Guest

September 24, 2013, 02:54 PM

Everything else aside...where exactly are these badass downhill/BMX riders riding? Unless I'm woefully mistaken there aren't many of these types of places in the entire Midwest much less Wisconsin.

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TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

September 24, 2013, 03:02 PM

Everything else aside...where exactly are these badass downhill/BMX riders riding? Unless I'm woefully mistaken there aren't many of these types of places in the entire Midwest much less Wisconsin.
N o many around, but getting to be more all the time:
Wisconsin: The Rock, PV, Ray's Indoor in the winter.
Minnesota: Spirit Mountain
Upper Michigan: Marquette, MI Tech, Copper Harbor.
Illinois: A park in Chicago I can't remember right now.

I may be missing a few. But yeah any with the exception of The Rock, all are a long distance away.


~ Chuck Hutchens


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XXX

September 24, 2013, 04:04 PM

Everything else aside...where exactly are these badass downhill/BMX riders riding? Unless I'm woefully mistaken there aren't many of these types of places in the entire Midwest much less Wisconsin.
N o many around, but getting to be more all the time:
Wisconsin: The Rock, PV, Ray's Indoor in the winter.
Minnesota: Spirit Mountain
Upper Michigan: Marquette, MI Tech, Copper Harbor.
Illinois: A park in Chicago I can't remember right now.

I may be missing a few. But yeah any with the exception of The Rock, all are a long distance away.

Andres park in Chicago is what you're thinking of. I talked with a guy on the lift about that place and he showed me some pics of a new jump he worked on that morning. Seems like they've been able to get some of that type of ridership involved in working on stuff.

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XXX

September 24, 2013, 04:55 PM

I love to hear you guys discuss this, the conversation is spot on.  DH/ Dual/ Cross/ Park in Wisconsin can all be ridden on a ten speed with drop bars- it is a fact of topography and liability.  This is OK and we are moving in the right direction with flowy bumpy trails.  These fun flowing lines with jumps (think bumps) don't have to be dangerous.  Think toned down bmx style single track with a slight slope, but you could ride it with a tenspeed if you want to go slow.  We can and we will do it- we are doing it- riding style is changing a bit and the trails are doing the same. 

Jeff may disagree, but acres will be a limiting factor at QR.

BH is interesting, but we should really have something free for the masses in central Madison... that is what is missing- central trail system.

I agree the typical younger jumpy riders are not the answer to building these trails, I think they are not settled in life enough to commit and tend to disappear when college is over.  The next generation of riders will want more of these trails, William is right- watch the kids.

Designing these trails requires skill, but we have a village here folks... we can put our heads together.  Let's incorporate some "bumpy" trails into our up and coming trail systems.  We can find a slope and all have a look together.  Having funding support from Trek or Pacific might be nice- I know 2 equipment operators who ride and would work cheap.

I wish I could step up to fill this position now, but my kids are to younge... maybe in a few years or as an assistant.

More conversation please... I challenge some jumpy riders to add some comments- they may not be on the forum :-\.

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XXX

September 25, 2013, 09:19 PM

It was on my list to post for a assistant at Quarry Ridge in the next few weeks. I can't find anyone to lead work on the downhill sections. And the downhill riders rarely show up for trail days. Working on those trails is a non-priority since I get a lot of help on the cross country trails and positive feedback from people that like the maintenance and improvements. I get no positive feedback from the downhill crowd, and few people step up to help.

I tell every downhill rider when they ask for something that their idea sounds great and they should lead the construction effort. But if we build it, they also need to assist with maintenance. Quarry Ridge has some features that were probably nice the day they were built, but nobody maintained them and they are now not as fun.


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XXX

September 27, 2013, 09:55 PM

can't find anyone to lead work on the downhill sections. And the downhill riders rarely show up for trail days. Working on those trails is a non-priority since I get a lot of help on the cross country trails...
 Quarry Ridge has some features that were probably nice the day they were built, but nobody maintained them and they are now not as fun.
+1
Lets not call them downhill runs because they are not... adventurous single track perhaps ;).  I will talk to some of the adventurous single track riders ;) who are older of school and see if there is any interest in helping- there will not be much if any.  If there is not interest and no one is riding this adventurous trail- lets have more simple single track instead! I for one would be all about more miles over more straight down the hill lines.  The Sisters are pretty much straight down the hill lines... boring- you can build features like that in your back yard... I did.  Curvy lines should still have some kickers of course, this is not Kettle Moraine for crying out loud!

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XXX

September 27, 2013, 10:08 PM

can't find anyone to lead work on the downhill sections. And the downhill riders rarely show up for trail days. Working on those trails is a non-priority since I get a lot of help on the cross country trails...
 Quarry Ridge has some features that were probably nice the day they were built, but nobody maintained them and they are now not as fun.
+1
Lets not call them downhill runs because they are not... adventurous single track perhaps ;).  I will talk to some of the adventurous single track riders ;) who are older of school and see if there is any interest in helping- there will not be much if any.  If there is not interest and no one is riding this adventurous trail- lets have more simple single track instead! I for one would be all about more miles over more straight down the hill lines.  The Sisters are pretty much straight down the hill lines... boring- you can build features like that in your back yard... I did.  Curvy lines should still have some kickers of course, this is not Kettle Moraine for crying out loud!

This is where I would disagree. I think that there are plenty of people riding this stuff, I see even XC guys going down the drops and into the sandy bowl. I ride that stuff and would like to see more. How does that saying go, "If you build it, they will come"? If we want to advertise that we have the best trails around we should try to accommodate every type of riding (that's off-road of course!).

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XXX

September 27, 2013, 11:07 PM


[/quote]

This is where I would disagree. I think that there are plenty of people riding this stuff, I see even XC guys going down the drops and into the sandy bowl. I ride that stuff and would like to see more. How does that saying go, "If you build it, they will come"? If we want to advertise that we have the best trails around we should try to accommodate every type of riding (that's off-road of course!).
[/quote]

I don't disagree that we need terrain and trails for all types of riders.  I rode QR for the first time in two seasons tonight....awesome.  The quote that I used to hear and really like is "The world is run by those who show up".


~ I like beer and men


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