The Goal is Improvement. Right?
Post written by Angela Brown
As I have branched out and began riding more trails in the Pisgah National Forest, I can see how far my riding has improved over the years. I am still not the fastest or the most agile rider out there, but I have improved none the less. I mean my husband, Stephen, and I go out and ride, usually, the same trails every week. We learn the curves, the rocks, and the roots, and over time, parts of those trails that seemed impossible become possible. I believe that improvement in riding skills is the key to growing in this hobby that we have all become to love.
Recently, one of our local trails was revamped. The trail is a favorite, and just about any weekend, you see a stream of bikes heading up to the almost highest point in Bent Creek to take the ride down Green’s Lick. This trail was built and is maintained by our Pisgah Area SORBA (PAS) group. I also work in the Bent Creek area and know that it was a weekly occurrence for the local fire and rescue people to be dispatched to that trail to scoop-up some rider that took it too fast and either wiped out or wiped out another rider.
PAS decided that Green’s Lick needed some new technical features to raise the perceived difficulty of the trail, so a few rocky sections were placed and some sweeping banked curves were built. It worked. I know that those sections will slow people down, which is what needed to happen, but it will also gave riders a trail to ride that will challenge their abilities and give them something to work up to. The problem arose when a few mountain bikers didn’t like what was built and removed part of the technical sections, which prompted additional work days from PAS to repair.
I lead beginner rides for people that are interested in seeing what the sport of mountain biking is about. I know that a new rider would see the rocks at the beginning of Green’s Lick and probably choose to walk across them, but that is fine. It boils down to this, there needs to be a variety of trails out there for each level of rider. When you don’t have challenging trails, the trails that exist will be made challenging by riders going way to fast and causing accidents.
We are lucky to have the Pisgah National Forest in our backyard, and the trails that we have access to are for different rider abilities. Now that we are beginning to have different levels of trails being built in Bent Creek, new riders need to remember that not every trail is beginner friendly, and as their skill levels improve over time, so will their appreciation of the many challenging trails we are so fortunate to have here in WNC.
What do you think?