Why do the British rule Downhill?

PB Forum :: Downhill
Why do the British rule Downhill?
Previous Page | Next Page
Author Message
Posted: Sep 8, 2014 at 6:49 Quote
I'm really curious why the British rule Downhill Racing. It's not like they have a giant mountain range at home. Is it the culture, do little kids grow up wanting to all be Steve Peat and it drives them? Canadians seem to have the best training ground and love for big bikes. Why aren't they any better? Any thoughts?

Posted: Sep 8, 2014 at 9:39 Quote
Our tracks might not be the longest but the tracks we do have are super technical all the way down. We try to pack as much tech as we can in a 2-3 minute track. Most hillside and woodland usually has some form of track on it (probably illegal built) but you can usually find something.

I'm not sure downhill mountain biking is in the mainstream, but I'd say cycling in general is. Whether that is road or mountain biking, with a number of big mountain bike XC centres. There are also more and more Downhill specific venues which are run 7 days a week getting youngsters into it from a young age as well as making the general public aware. I know in North Wales at the recent National Downhill races we had thousands of spectators because the locations are easily accessible and a lot was done to advertise them. More people who are aware the more likely they are to take it up.

From what I've seen of American and to some extent Canadian trails though don't seem massively technical. They seem very big and flowy with the occasionally tech section thrown in. Built for flat out, big air. Looks extremely cool and has helped the likes of Gwin etc. But I don't think it can compete with the thriving British Downhill race scene.

We Brits have it sorted on the National front. With all the big names (and even the likes of Hill and Elliot Jackson) racing in our national series, because it is a mini world cup. If you can podium a British National you can podium a World Cup, which only strengthens our riders and is a huge confidence booster. They all push each other that little bit more having raced alongside each other throughout the age categories. If he/she can do it, then so can I.

Posted: Sep 8, 2014 at 12:41 Quote
Well said that man...

We also rule because it rains here, then it's dry, then we get some snow followed by scorching sun.
All in an afternoon!
We ride in so many conditions whereas lots of nations don't!
Just watch Danny Hart's champery run again! That's the show of skill earned on UK tracks!
Even Stevie Smith said he needed to do some training here after doing the old dirt 1:04 track a couple of years ago....
It must have paid off.......

Posted: Sep 8, 2014 at 12:46 Quote
Yeah, that makes sense. Not many folks talk about DH near my house even though I live within 30 miles of two lift accessed bike parks. It's a small group of locals, pretty much. The races are not really advertised but people do show up from several hours away.
Generally, it seems, people who don't know anything about DH just assume it is crazy and they would never consider letting their children try it. That's too bad because there are great beginner opportunities that would introduce a lot more people if there wasn't a perception that all DH riding is like RedBull Rampage.
Congrats on your country's success.

Posted: Sep 15, 2014 at 7:08 Quote
That makes sense to me as well. I have ridden some spots on the east coast and although the east coast is known for their "techy" trails, I wouldn't consider the resorts I have ridden to be considered for a world cup, not to say that world cup tracks in the US don't exist. I think the US is getting better about making trails for all types so that the sport of DH in the US can grow. In time when there is a bigger demand for it, the US might start to get some more gnarly tracks that could be world cup worthy. I def need to ride out of the country sometime by the way the tracks sound in BC.

Coot

Posted: Sep 15, 2014 at 9:36 Quote
You have Windham which I'm not sure is a WC track but is on the World Cup circuit. I think you need to pack as much onto the track as you can and then your trails will be insane as you have such big hills. I know that is what is currently happening in Portugal and can see them dominating in a few years time.

Posted: Sep 15, 2014 at 10:01 Quote
I think the biggest difference is the actual race scene. If there arent any races nobody will become good at it, competetiveness grows from competing. Add to that varying conditions and good track building and you have a good headstart on most other nations.

Posted: Sep 15, 2014 at 10:09 Quote
johan90 wrote:
I think the biggest difference is the actual race scene. If there arent any races nobody will become good at it, competetiveness grows from competing. Add to that varying conditions and good track building and you have a good headstart on most other nations.

There is some truth in that...you got to build up that racer's edge to get there.

Coot

Posted: Sep 15, 2014 at 13:15 Quote
coot83 wrote:
johan90 wrote:
I think the biggest difference is the actual race scene. If there arent any races nobody will become good at it, competetiveness grows from competing. Add to that varying conditions and good track building and you have a good headstart on most other nations.

There is some truth in that...you got to build up that racer's edge to get there.

Coot


Yeah well if you look at how many extremly fast locals there are everywhere any how many racers at wc's that "win" practice there has to be a missing link as to why they cant produce results. The core problem with racing is not just riding fast enough it is riding fast enough on that single run. Laying down your best when it actually counts is something few individuals can master. And that skill can only be practiced by racing alot and timing your training in such a way that you dont see it as having new go each run but rather the same build up with practice and a predetermined "race run".

Posted: Sep 15, 2014 at 20:26 Quote
Good topic. From what I've seen here in the US people are obsessed with 29ers, climbing, cross country, Lycra, etc, etc. It's almost as if mountain biking is an extension of the road but with just a little dirt added.

For example I went to Denver last year to visit my step-brother. I told him we should go to Trestle. He'd never heard of it and he ended up taking his hardtail there. I don't think he's been back.That's just one small example.

DH is pretty extreme when you think about it. It's not for everyone. Maybe Americans have just gotten soft.

Posted: Sep 16, 2014 at 5:40 Quote
Can folks watch DH on TV in Europe and GB? We have to watch races on RedbullTV.com or some re-cap on a MTB website. The only thing America can stumble across on actual TV is Rampage. That's probably what most people think DH is.
I agree about the 29er, Lycra thing tho. I've seen several people show up at a few different resorts on big wheeled hardtails and then get mad at the resort for not having enough terrain for them.
There is definitely a growth in the number of Ski Hills putting money into summer parks tho. Perhaps it will just take time. Sadly, most Americans missed when Gwin dominated so he won't be as much an inspiration to a little kid just looking into the sport. NASCAR Rules!!!!!

Posted: Sep 16, 2014 at 6:43 Quote
Nederbrock wrote:
Can folks watch DH on TV in Europe and GB? We have to watch races on RedbullTV.com or some re-cap on a MTB website. The only thing America can stumble across on actual TV is Rampage. That's probably what most people think DH is.
I agree about the 29er, Lycra thing tho. I've seen several people show up at a few different resorts on big wheeled hardtails and then get mad at the resort for not having enough terrain for them.
There is definitely a growth in the number of Ski Hills putting money into summer parks tho. Perhaps it will just take time. Sadly, most Americans missed when Gwin dominated so he won't be as much an inspiration to a little kid just looking into the sport. NASCAR Rules!!!!!

The only thing Americans care about is the NFL. I enjoy watching football as much as the next guy but the coverage is non-stop. The sports channels (esp. ESPN) talk about it 24/7, 365 days a year. No other "non-traditional" sports get any coverage. Not that they'd covered DH or anything MTB in the last 10 years or so, but they used to show other types of sports. If you're into DH you have to research it yourself and find out where to watch it.

Perhaps if it became an Olympic sport people might become interested. Who knows? The last Olympics my old man was blown away at the little rock garden the cross country MTBers were going over. I had to explain to him that was a complete joke.

Posted: Sep 16, 2014 at 7:11 Quote
Sadly we don't have much if any coverage on traditional TV. We get the occasional clip or segment about a presenter on a particular show giving it a go or how a particular trail centre has boosted the local economy. But for the World Cups we are stuck with Redbull.tv which to be fair is really good coverage. A few years ago there was Freesports on 4 which showed highlights for about 5-10 minutes along with a round up of other extreme sports, but was usually on 1am so not much coverage.

Us Welsh folk have a TV channel broadcast exclusively in Welsh and that does show some Downhill with the likes of Manon Carpenter and even followed her at the British Downhill Series this weekend just been! But it does just follow the particular athlete as opposed to the sport in general. Any coverage is a plus.

We also had Gee Atherton on the UKs largest radio station for a 1 minute quick fire interview after he won the Worlds which to be fair they also did the same when Rachel won her Championship last year. A few articles the passed week as Gee has been pushing to get it in the olympics. That is the extent of the coverage mind.

Why it isn't an Olympic sport I've no idea. They have so many different cycling events in there and only one Mountain bike event... XC is not even that spectator friendly, whereas Downhill is a lot more spectacular and shows off MTB a lot better. I agree with you about that Rock Garden, it was the same with the Commonwealth games couple months ago.

Posted: Sep 16, 2014 at 14:31 Quote
I have to agree about the use of mountains in the uk and Ireland, spent 10 days in france all good and safe. Got back home and broke my foot. The downhill trails may be short but take no prisoners, steep, slimy roots and hard to ride.

Very sad it gets no coverage,

Previous Page | Next Page

 
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.012545
Mobile Version of Website