Anton Cooper Criticizes Albstadt World Cup Course for Lack of Technicality

May 8, 2019 at 4:58
by James Smurthwaite  

Anton Cooper hit out at the Albstadt World Cup XCO course for not being technical in enough in an Instagram posted yesterday. The Kiwi racer, who finished seventh in the overall last year, has arrived a bit early for some practice on the course that is due to be raced a week on Sunday and is clearly not happy with what he's found.

He said:

bigquotesI'm not normally one to complain about a course, as after all we still all have to race the same track. I'm also well aware of how much hard work goes into building a race track... BUT is this really what the spectators want to see us race on and what will showcase the best riders' skill? Not the direction I feel most of my fellow competitors want to see the sport heading either!Anton Cooper

In the comments, Emily Batty, Maxime Marotte, Geoff Kabush and Raphaël Gagné have all posted in support of Cooper's criticisms.

Anton Cooper exceeded his own expectations. 3rd for this strong Kiwi.
Cooper on his way to third in Albstadt in 2017.

Albstadt has been on the World Cup circuit since 2013 and has always been one of the tamer tracks on offer. However, from looking at the pictures Cooper has posted, the track has been hard packed for this year and even the technical sections, such as the rooty, tight left-hander after the bridge and the steep rock garden, have been sanitised.

The rooty chute (left) has been bridged, while the rock garden has been filled in and gravelled. Photos: Cooper

With tracks on the World Cup circuit becoming generally more technical and exciting in recent years, this does seem like a backwards step from the Albstadt organisers. However, as was proved last year, the weather can make a huge difference on this season opener. Stay tuned next week for all the coverage from the race.


171 Comments

  • 235 1
 Ooooh...a bike path. Perhaps the organisers a planning to have a few joggers with headphones on the track instead?
  • 151 1
 loose dogs everywhere.
  • 98 5
 This course perfectly represents what German MTB has become in the last few years. Most bikeparks and trail networks have become flow trail gravel paradises for the tons of people joining the sports since the ebike boom. Most trails are flattened out and have roots removed. Every jump gets tabled. This WC track looks like one of those ebike uphill trails which are popping up everywhere.
  • 25 7
 @colincolin: is not really related to the ebike boom. Is mostly done to let people approach mtb. Is business for the bike parks. You see people around with bike fenderes and kick stand ride down without problem....
  • 28 11
 @Clod86: It is mostly because of the ebikes, because ebikes bring most new people into the sport. Those people are also riding harder to control ebikes and don't have skills, therefore they need gravel paths, so that they don't get hurt bad when they fall down.
  • 13 3
 @Clod86: Maybe some reality to what @colincolin says. E-bikes lower the fitness bar to mtb, thus maybe the skill level needs to be dropped to match the influx of new riders. If it's in a commercial bike park though- that's their business decision to make, but it sucks for the racers and spectators.
  • 32 5
 @colincolin: what's wrong with tables?
  • 13 69
flag Psykuls (May 8, 2019 at 6:42) (Below Threshold)
 @TheJD: naw, it’s full suspension bikes that brought the masses back to the trails which brought about this trend. Full suspended e-Bikes are just the next step. Full suspension allows anyone to be an “expert”.
  • 4 0
 @aka-bigsteve: and also for people who really like natural trail. Most of the famous bike park in Austria and Germany are just gravel roads with tables in between.
  • 51 0
 @Clod86: whats wrong with bike fenders and kick stands? Are my grip streamers not welcomed either?
  • 11 1
 Germany has a long history in having the lamest tracks on the circuit.
Willigen (mid 00's) downhill world cup track was a giant BMX track,with probably one of the first man-made rock gardens featured on a WC track.
  • 6 28
flag acepran (May 8, 2019 at 7:10) (Below Threshold)
 The weather prediction has been changing constantly for the day of the race (snow, rain, or just cloudy). So it makes sense that they are taking precautions. In case it doesn't rain; after three days of practice, plus two junior races, and two U23 races, the track will be perfect for elites.

Last week there was a race in Germany, and some of the top Riders decided not to race because of the snow and rain the days before. Some weeks ago there was a race in Italy with heavy rain, and even Nino had to walk at some point because of the conditions of the track.

Probably they don't want an Albstadt 2013 where the final result was partly decided by mechanicals.

Anton Cooper arrived to Europe some days ago and hasn't raced during April-May in Europe, so I believe he isn't aware of all of this.
  • 72 4
 Short anecdote from last year regarding peoples expectations of bikeparks:
We were riding in Wagrain,whicj for all i care is one of the mellower parks around and doesn't offer any serious challenge although there are some fun root and rock section in the upper part which are a lot of fun when ridden fast.
Anyhow, we met this guy with a fully blinged out demo with ENVE wheels who approached us complaining about how he's gonna drive home now because the park sucks big time. When asked why he was of that opinion he told us there are way too many roots and rocks in there and it's totally unrideable and no fun at all.

What i'm getting at is that an increasing number of people expect instant gratification. No matter what bike they ride, they have never learned to embrace the challenge in sports but rather to expect and demand to be catered towards to soothw their ego. Imho it's more a symptom of the "generation participation trophy" in general rather than ebikes.
  • 15 3
 @Psykuls: literally none of what you said is true.
  • 7 1
 @BobbyHillbomb: yep, I’ve got a full sus and still suck! Would never ask for the trails to be sanitized though.
  • 20 1
 For racing, this is a joke. Personally though, I don't have anything against flow trails - I totally love them. But I also love challenging, "natural" trails that incorporate rocks, drops, steeps and roots etc. It's all about having a good balance and I agree with others here, in Germany and Austria there's not been a lot of balance lately.

Turning everything into a flow trail is silly. Turning a World Cup into a Green Flow Trail is stupid.
  • 5 0
 @Boardlife69: That reminds me of when we were kids we used to attach a hockey card to the spokes with a clothes pin to make a cool sound.
  • 6 2
 @Loki87: The guy with the high end bike just needs to be shown up by a kid on a klunker. All great riders start on rigid/ hardtails. #Skills are more important than #Bling.
  • 1 0
 @Clod86: agree.
  • 4 27
flag RedRedRe (May 8, 2019 at 8:06) (Below Threshold)
 Funny that complaining about the easy track is one of the riders with leas skills?
  • 3 0
 @Loki87: haha I would love to take Mr. "too many roots and rocks" to ride in northern New Jersey!
  • 5 0
 @cyclecuse:
Haha, my thoughts exactly. I would have loved to show him a real track!
To this day i can´t get it out of my head how infuriated he was!
He did only one run and decided to quit because the park sucked.
I was so shocked in that moment, i wasn´t even able to give a witty response or anything.
I just stood there like "yeah, uhm...i don´t know...i like it".
  • 64 12
 You want to know what's ruining technicality? Flow trails and bike park rats and it all started with A-Line. It changed the game of how trails could be, specifically how much fun they could be for people of varying levels. With basic bike handling skills, you can go really fast and hit decently sized jumps. Bike parks adopted this because it opened up the possibility of having a viable business by attracting a wider audience, like how its common for ski resorts to groom 95% of their trails. The more people that can ride what you have, the more passes being purchased.

This has set a dangerous trend because all these people who started MTBing only knowing flow trails believe that's how all trails should be. You're seeing these people directing how local trail networks should look like. I call these people bike park rats. They're the people who can hit a 30ft. table no problem, but are clueless coming across some wet roots and think rock gardens are too dangerous. These are the people who complain about trails being "too rough" or "not flowy enough". They're a plague on this sport, more so than e-bikes or the UCI. We're also seeing this in DH at all levels. Its completely possible the next generation of riders will never know what a root or rock likes like.

These are scary times we're living in, people.
  • 18 9
 @scott-townes: that's a bit strong isn't it? "if you're not having fun my way, you're not doing it right" often increasing traffic requires trails to be armoured against hard use. This often covers the roots. The goat tracks and tech are still out there, if they aren't then grab a shovel. Sports have a pyramid of users, the advanced are always the few at the top, and a decent percentage of people getting into the flow trails will seek a variation on the theme!
  • 10 3
 @scott-townes:
While i totally agree on your reasoning for flow trails, i would argue your average park rat, while certainly enjoying their flow trails, is more of a shredder than 80% of riders. Even on roots and rocks. Sure there are some who gravitate heavily towards jump trails, but the species we´re talking about here makes up such a small minority of todays bikepark visitors, they´re not even factored into the resorts planning.
Maybe it´s different in the states or canada, but around here, the park rat scene is tiny. Mostly a feww tenagers and/or locals, that´s it.
The biggest threat to gnarly park trails are so called enduro and allmountain riders, who visit a park to "get rad".
When they go to the park and pay money, they don´t expect roots and rocks, but rather to get something that they don´t get on natural trails, buffed trails and a feeling of achievement (speed and flow). People who endure natural alpine trails for the scenery, but would trade them for smooth flowy trails in an instant. So these types bitch about lack of maintenance, overly demanding obstacles and brakebumps, because the one time they pay money to feel good about their ability, they don´t.
The bikepark crowd has shifted from going to a park in order to ride proper gnarly terrain to going there in order to get a lifestyle experience.
That said, before anyone complains, i don´t wanna hate on any enduro or allmountain riders, nor do i blame these people (i am annoyed though). I know they´re not all the same and there are proper shredders among each group. It´s just my observation in my region where parks like Leogang and Saalbach are heavily drawing in these crowds by marketing and catering towards them, that there´s an increasing number of people who flock to bikeparks to be a weekend hero (gotta show the wifey that sweet sweet GoPro footage later!) and to achieve this, parks adjust like themeparks by offering cheap but approachable thrills for the masses.
  • 2 0
 @Clod86: not only are most Bikeparks here not technically demanding they also lack in self awareness. Like the black tracks for Winterberg or Willingen. Both are Just blue with maybe a bit red. If I look beyond the border just at Lac Blanc most complains I hear are German's who rant about the La Flow. Because " wtf where is the flow?" . This is a fun fast single trail with awesome flow. They expected a flat double wide shaped trail.
I can't stand this crap... My hometrails have way more features and we have at least one trail I could not ride complete. It wasn't even a jump trail. Never ever have I seen something in a Bikepark in Germany.

@Loki87 not true that Enduro riders want this out from parks, all my mates are Enduro focused like I am and I dont need a DH for DH tracks with roots and massive rock gardens. We love all together technical demanding trails , same for Bikeparks.
Even most locals around my place are the same and almost anyone who is fast here rides a Enduro.
  • 4 0
 @Serpentras:
As i said, it´s enduro and allmountain riders, not ALL enduro riders. It´s a label, not a definition.
You know the type. Middle aged men (and sometimes women) who bought a Enduro/AM to "shred", yet are in over their heads on most trails. They still label themselves AM/Enduro, even though they can´t ride blue trails properly.
  • 2 0
 @DJ-24: I think you meant to say "baseball cards"
  • 1 0
 @usedbikestuff: Man I wish the dogs were loose. On that kind of trail I picture dogs on those &^&#ing yoyo leashes clotheslining the whole trail.
  • 4 2
 @number44: looseDogLewis would clear all that gravel in one drifty run! Real berms are created with tires, not shovels.
  • 3 0
 @Loki87: Jedem Kind eine Medallie Big Grin Big Grin
  • 2 0
 bob strollers and bluetooth speakers on 29er, 6in travel Enduro bikes!
  • 7 16
 Whoa whoa whoa. Yes, this is Pinkbike and yes, we would expect a WC XC course to be more than a gravel wheelchair path, but COME ON people. Stop whining about how the absolutely AMAZING trails that are being built aren't difficult enough to suit your riding. As a person who hangs around a bunch of other firm opinions, these are often the most destructive and dividing conversations of the sport. MOST PEOPLE like flow trails. Why? Because you don't need to put in hours of commitment to have one of the best feelings you can get ANYWHERE. It's unbelievably cool that more and more easy, flow-oriented trails are being built, as it lets more people access fun, exercise, and god damn happiness. I personally would much rather have mostly machine-built flow trails and then a few hard, technical ones than go back to what mountain biking used to be. For me it used to be snowmobile trails and shitty washed-out unmaintained walking trails through the woods. I want more people to get into this sport so that we have more fantastic options like we've been seeing in the past 10 years.

Nobody is going to take away all of the challenging and unique trails. If you want to ride a bunch of stuff that won't hold up to traffic and eventually will turn into something that is only rocks and roots and genuinely pains you to ride, go rake yourself a crap fall-line trail. It'll be fun for a couple years until a couple hundred people ride it and it turns to marbles and roots that are like cross barriers. Try to remove your head from your bottom and understand that more people getting into a sport will mean better gear, more options, more respect, and above all more people having fun on bikes. Let's talk about how a World Cup race course shouldn't look like this, but let's not get angry and suggest that if you don't like riding tech and do like riding long-lasting, well constructed trail that you're a dingo!
  • 7 1
 @Loki87: Hey mate I upped your previous comment, but not all middle aged men are are to blame, i'm 56 yrs old and still ride rough dh trails pretty hard, [ revo's kind of my local bike park ], I also ride trail centres and a lot of natural stuff as well, but I have witnessed both male and female riders of all ages who seem too lack basic bike riding skills scream there heads off at rock or root sections demanding they should be smoothed over as they are so called DANGEROUS sections, I have also given some of these riders advice when they have asked for it and seen there pleasure after clearing a part they struggled on, shite riders come in all ages and sexes imo.
  • 3 0
 @mark3: If only more riders saw the value in taking a lesson with an instructor like skiers do, they could progress safely and start "driving" their bike instead of just hanging on for dear life.
  • 3 6
 @TheJD: how is an ebike harder to control than a traditional bike? More lies and rumors.
  • 2 0
 @Loki87: great words in that last paragraph, my friend
  • 8 1
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL: You can only get the flow feeling on flow trails? Nah you can make everything into flow if you can ride good.
  • 4 1
 IMBA approved
  • 2 1
 @Loki87: winter is coming for those c*nts
  • 3 0
 What a joke, these guys are pros give them an actual challenge
  • 2 4
 @Serpentras: you sure ride like a pro and can turn Champéry into a Flowline - good for you. But what’s the point? If someone does not ride „good“ (aka as brilliant as you) and that for prefers man made trails, he is a less worthy rider? Stupid.
  • 1 0
 @mark3:
I think you misread what i was saying my friend.
It´s not ALL middle aged men ride like that, but the group i refered to largely consists of said middle aged men.
Not meant in any derogatory way, it´s just an observation. I should maybe have added "who RECENTLY purchased a bike".
Again, everyone has a right to ride what they like. So if they want to ride in a park, sure i´m all for it. And i know people who shred way harder than me and are way older. I don´t have my head that far up my ass ;-)
  • 7 0
 @scott-townes: My favorite local raw trails get fewer and fewer riders and the manicured "flow" trails collect the masses. Can't say this is a bad thing.
  • 4 2
 @Loki87: Your statement falls in line with recent thoughts of mine that stem from a fork on a bike I bought...I have two of the same bikes(older and new version). The new bike has a no offset fork(new modern idea), which in turn makes the bike ride very dull, in my opinion. I swapped a normal offset fork onto the bike and it regained it's more lively feel.
Upon looking more into the offset thing it's explained exactly as I felt it...the new geo and no offset keeps the bike more controlled, doesn't turn as tightly, more planted. To me...kind of dead. Ruined what I like so much about this bike.
And it's been my opinion that the 29 wheel is a symptom of this as well...easier to ride over stuff, more stable, etc.
At my local trails I've seen rooty/rocky areas covered with wood "sidewalks", removing any opportunity to learn how to ride with finesse and technical skill.
It seems more and more the activity of "mtn biking", "trail riding" is getting dumbed down in a way, softened. Bikes are easier to ride, more comfortable, less fatiguing, etc.
Personally, I want to bounce of roots and rocks, kick my tail in the air, sweat, work hard to clear a section...feel the bike!
Man made features don't interest me..I want raw nature paths and a bike with stiff suspension so it pops off things when I want.
Oh well...I'll be over here trying to fit retro parts onto modern frames and cutting my own trails! ha ha
  • 2 0
 @font9a: That's very true. I made a post below about riding Angry Midget in Squamish without running into a single rider last summer while everyone else was lined up at the trail head to ride Half Nelson. I guess my main point is how it will affect future trail building and which funds and permission will go to which type of trails.... although illegal trail building has always been in the culture in the past so it won't change things too dramatically hopefully.
  • 1 1
 as I said on a post before; Anton Cooper made a comment without all the information at hand. Here is the response of Stephan Salscheider:

"Sorry, that the current work on the track leads to such a misunderstanding of what happens on the course. We are doing our best to prepare a course, which is rideable under every weather condition, especially after the experiences and feedback in 2018. Due to weather circumstances with snow this spring, we are later with the preparation than usual. But not too late. What you can see on the pictures is not the final result." https://www.instagram.com/p/BxK006UJKHV/
  • 1 0
 @usedbikestuff: I don't think Josh Lewis will be attending, but you're right, he would certainly be a hazard to all involved.
  • 2 0
 Unfortunately, this is the general approach with trails in this part of Germany. In the last 30 years they have gravelled an infinite number of beaten paths or turned forest paths into wide corridors. It's totally depressing. Meanwhile I ride a hardtail with racing bike handlebars and narrow tires because there are no more challenging trails.
  • 8 0
 @Loki87: As a Bikeshop owner this totally reflects what i'm seeing every single day.
People walking into the Shop buying softer tires because they can't corner as hard as the pro rider they've seen the other day...
A friend of mine runs a bikeschool an i usually tell people that a two hours private lesson cost about the same as a set of tires. People still just buy the tires and hardly ever book the coaching.
Kinda helps me run my business but it's still hilarious.
  • 1 0
 @BobbyHillbomb: LOL- I couldn’t even be bothered to type it out, neg prop would have to do. Thanks for saying it for me.
  • 1 0
 @Boardlife69: I used to work for a bike parts company selling (among other things!) bar streamers, pink glittery ones, we sold thousands! You are on trend with those.
  • 1 0
 @Lasse2000: you missed the point , he said only on flat shaped flowtrails you get this feeling. If you can ride anything with confidence and it is not to difficult for you then everything you ride can let you feel the flow.
  • 1 0
 @Lasse2000: also who defuq said someone is less worthy? They just can't ride as good as others. Lesser rider's to me are guys who f*ck up natural trails and know what they are doing will rip them.
  • 1 0
 @Loki87: Cheers mate, no offence taken
  • 2 0
 @TheJD: In what world does gravel rash hurt less than dirt? I can't address how much e-bikes affect trail design on your side of the pond, because adoption, legal issues, land access are all different in my neck of the woods, but I don't think the argument about severity of injury holds up. Now likelihood? Certainly.
  • 2 0
 @usedbikestuff: I can't imagine Loose Dog Lewis liking this track!
  • 83 1
 Anton for IMBA president!! Fewer sanitized flow trails, more natural and gnarly terrain.
  • 41 1
 Say no to flow.
  • 16 1
 Beat me to it. Looks like another @IMBA hit. Bikes (even XC) are more capable than ever, and the trails keep getting dumbed down everywhere
  • 9 0
 Flow trails are dumb, finding flow on natural trails is real mtbing
  • 76 5
 He could always stop for a wank halfway round to liven things up a bit.
  • 28 2
 So long as they all had to, otherwise it wouldn't be fair.
  • 15 1
 @murfio: Yes, but what about the reach around? Is it still courtesy?
  • 8 2
 Is having a pornhub on your phone considered doping??
  • 3 0
 @Boardlife69: Only if it's a fast connection
  • 3 0
 @Boardlife69: its a health concern in Arizona not sure about doping
  • 52 1
 CX is gnarlier than that
  • 65 0
 van der Poel should compete on his CX bike
  • 9 0
 @BigAlfonz: I was just thinking that someone should give it a go on a CX bike. There are however only 3 photos posted, so its hard to judge what the rest of the track looks like.
  • 13 0
 @tkrug: Like Phil Atwill riding Leogang with his Hardtail to prove the track is too easy? Razz
I'd dig that! >> youtu.be/r6bpmj2uoAU
  • 6 0
 @mo3rki: And like Carl Decker racing (and winning) a short track on a road bike
  • 46 0
 Albstaldtlutely disgraceful.
  • 9 14
flag colincolin (May 8, 2019 at 5:42) (Below Threshold)
 "Wollt ihr den totalen Bikekrieg?"
  • 6 1
 @colincolin: Wassever.
  • 21 0
 Looks like what they have done to some technical trails in parts of the Lake District (UK). I think they call it 'access for all'. I call it ruining trails that I've been riding man & boy. I hate the dumbing down of trails in any form.
  • 22 0
 I love building trails here in Oz, but everytime I put shovel to dirt and build anything other than a berm I get countless complaints and whinging, the general populus of mtb now seem more concerned with one-up'ing each other in tech knowledge conversations, arguing over wheelsize and carbon benefits and getting their suspension 'tuned', than actually learning to ride a bike.
  • 4 0
 Equality uber alles. Screw self improvement and challenge.
  • 22 1
 I think Annika Langvad is smiling...
  • 11 1
 Good on Anton and the others. Downhill is fun to watch. Cyclocross can be fun to watch. A good road race is fun to watch (this has been a great classics season for example) but a dirt sidewalk race is the single most boring of all cycling events. More boring even than team pursuit.
The recent addition of technical challenges has brought the mountain biking back to cross country and that's brought me back to watching it. It's been great the last couple of years.
This is an excellent way to kill it again. UCI at its finest. Looks like Ill be riding instead of watching, so maybe not all bad.
  • 9 0
 The question here is why? Why would they choose to make these "improvements"? Was it something in Albstadt's long term plan, or something that the UCI mandated?

I could ride my wife's Townie around this course now from the looks of things.
  • 10 1
 If it rains these sharp corners on wooden bridges will be sketchy. But not in a fun way. If it is dry the loose gravel corners will also be sketchy in a bad way. Not impressed.
  • 11 0
 I’m with you on this one Anton! That track was good before, now rubbish!
  • 11 0
 Do you actually need a mountainbike to ride this trail?
  • 12 0
 Looks like it's rideable on a recumbent.
  • 7 0
 Someone should show up and race with a cx bike as a protest.
  • 8 0
 Anton definitely has the skillz, especially given the bikes he rides. Good on him for speaking up!
  • 6 1
 Hm, in the comments of that instagram post tthere is on of the trail builders explaining that they are behind the scedule because of snow and that the track we see on the pics is not what it will be on race day. But nobody cares for this, because blaming and ranting is so much fun.
  • 1 0
 Ok well ranting is fun. Who needs facts?
  • 1 1
 Yes, the young trailbuilder. In the past, MTBs used to be ridden on paths that were compressed by use. Today trails are milled out with machines. And then gravel is stamped on it. And then there is 2cm topsoil, or painted brown. He doesn't even know anymore what a natural way is.
  • 1 0
 @mensch-mueller: Natural used to be a rake to clear a line, and a shovel to do a little under cutting. What you're proposing is better than some road crews.

What is also dumb in the method you describe is that over time, the stone layer compresses further into the soil below it, and you end up with having to repeat the process. Just let things naturally evolve, and every now and then chop off the tops of a few ruts, and provide a drainage route as and where needed. Trail building is not as hard to do as so many make it out to be.
  • 1 0
 @Lasse2000 That may be the case, but the real point is that they shouldn't even be considering making a gravel track in the first place. The end result will still be a smooth highway, or are they going to place in some logs to make it technical again? All they have done is smooth out any and all trail irregularities, which is wrong on so many levels, even more so for a WC course.
  • 15 9
 100% agree - it's why I quite racing XC - race of attrition, not skill. Fitness is a lot easier to attain than skill. Dirt road biking is not MTB!
  • 12 7
 Why quit racing if fitness is so easy to attain and you already have the skill? Shouldn't you be dominating if that's the case?
  • 29 2
 @Zdwick: gaining fitness is technically easy, you follow a set formula and you will be guaranteed results. It is however, a soul sucking pursuit reserved for special types of masochists who enjoy not having fun.
  • 6 4
 @jefe: you guys are racing bullshit races if it's just a game of who has a higher FTP.
  • 2 1
 @clink83: Yeah, I don't race. I prefer to have fun on my bike.
  • 7 0
 He should borrow a gravel bike to ride during training (if the "no dropbar rule" doesn't apply during training).
  • 7 0
 This looks like the direction some builders have been taking Fernie, BC in - real shame all around!
  • 4 0
 I was just thinking the same thing for some of the new flow trails money is being spent on in Squamish.
  • 2 0
 @onemind123: That seems to be the riders they're trying to attract now. When we rode there last summer, multiple large groups were only riding Half Nelson, it was a shit show going up since most couldn't even handle the pedal and there was also a line at the trail head. I decided to take Angry Midget instead which was incredible and yet not a single person riding it. 3 other riders out of all those groups were heading up to ride 19th Hole but everyone else- Half Nelson. It was sad to see.
  • 14 0
 @scott-townes: SORCA and many other trail orgs concentrate trailwork on flow trails because that's what people want to ride. And because those flow trails get heavily and ridden all weather, all the time they show the wear. Therefore they need more work. Trailforks and Strava shows the preferences (data is of course imperfect as not everyone uses those platforms).

HOWEVER, a substantial amount of work is done on technical trails. But the type of work is done in keeping with the janky, raw, nature of those trails. Therefore the work does not show to the casual eye. Not trying to demean but to the non-local non-regional builder one can barely see the amount of work done on the Squamish tech trails (to point back to your example - Angry Midget has a fair amount of work)

This is my experience as someone who works on flow and tech trails side-by-side on Seymour and who used to do the same on Fromme. The ratio is like 10 hours to every 1 hour of trailwork respectively. And the ratio of riders is on the order of 20 to 30 to 1. Not complaining or singling out different riding preferences; just relating experience-based anecdotes
  • 5 1
 Flow trails also lower the skill barrier for entry to new riders. If the gap between double track and technical singletrack is too high then it puts off a lot of potential new riders. Flow trails help to bridge that gap somewhat. Well designed and built flow trails also offer challenge to all levels of riders. The less skilled can roll everything and good riders can work on hitting all of the doubles and gaps that new riders don't even see. And so long as the tech trails we all love aren't being dumbed down then new trails helps spread the load and reduce traffic on other trails. Winning all round.
  • 1 1
 @scott-townes: sad to see new people learning what a great sport mountain biking is? typical elitism in mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 @leelau: You can refer to my above post about the benefits of flow trails towards MTBing as a sport and I completely understand and see your points regarding funding and the attention towards such trails. Thank you for the clarification.
  • 2 0
 I have nothing against a well built flow trail- I think they are a great addition to the "technical singletrack" that every single biker seems to say is what they ride and most legitimately love. However- this looks less like a purpose built flow trail and more like a watered down pedal fest. Best of the best should compete on the best. Bummer.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, so, I don't agree with the course in the photos. I wouldn't even call that a flow trail but rather a bike path.

That being said, I would like to see what some people in these comments are calling technical trail. In my geographic region, the people who chastise "flow trail" and say trails need to me more "tech" are usually the same people who say super tech trail is better because it is slower and you don't get hurt as bad when you fall.

At the end of the day, the fun part of riding, IMHO, is going fast. Now...the trail can be buffed out with rollers that can be doubled/ tripled or can be root/ rock infested with some natural gap options...but at the end of the day...all trail needs to flow if going fast is how you have fun on a bike.

As for the person who said the WC tracks are becoming "flow" trails or "Bike park trails"...the elite racers just make it look like that in video. I've ridden at least 2 recent WC tracks and they all flow so they can be ridden at speed but I bet 80% of the people on here demanding more tech trails would be over their heads on some of the rock/ root sections on these courses.
  • 3 0
 Waiting for the whitewashed UCI comment... what a disappointment though, this offseason was way too long to expect this garbage.
  • 2 0
 Anton is right for speaking out, courses need to balance riders raw horsepower with bike handling skills. I'd like to see one of them race a cross bike on the track just to prove a point.
  • 2 0
 This trail has been secretly designed by to allow PinkBike and Cycling Tips readers to have a track they can share and ride together. Well done @radek / @wewallac !

Looks like I'll need to put the 28s on the road bike, but.
  • 2 1
 Well, first I live in Albstadt and what you see here is a good example what the Albstadt MTB community thinks MTB should look like. We have the same situation here with our MTB Marathon Race. A gravel bike would be sufficient to ride the marathon race. Albstadt has a very big "MTB" Community but these people think that MTB is more endurance than skills on your bike. A testament to that is how many people I see riding Fully's on paved forest roads or even worse, on the street blocking cars when there is a gravel road next to it.
So for me this is no surprise at all and its also what happens when you let hardcore roadbiker style folks who are afraid of everything do a WC XC course.
By the way I don't ride my enduro bike around here any more because of this, mainly in Switzerland and France nowadays.
  • 1 0
 @Chonky13: This is so true.I rode for years thinking I could ride but when I took some lessons I very quickly found out that I actually couldnt!! This was a few years ago and the gains I've made and the trails I'm now able to ride have been amazing.And I'm still progressing and loving riding more than I have ever done.
  • 4 0
 How could UCI approve the track?
  • 3 0
 Move the race to Whistler. 1 lap ridding from Creekside, up to the top of peak chair and then back down top of the world etc back to Creekside. Drones that follow competitors for TV coverage.
  • 5 2
 Bro I feel you I f*cking hate those flat trails, we’re mtb riders not road riders wtf
  • 3 0
 that just doesnt make sense. you could build natural courses for a fraction of the cost and workhours.
  • 4 1
 Great course for gravel grinding !... not mountain biking
  • 2 0
 Thats a track even SA Marathon riders would be happy on. Watch out for ze Germans, zey wil race a BMW on ze MTB track, ya!
  • 1 0
 it's getting boring have the same track and same country every year! its time for a change, new tracks, new country, fuck politics!
  • 2 0
 Might as well race to the top of a multi storey car park then back down again.
  • 1 0
 what in the world is the uci doing to the tracks in xc this track is crap and i agee with him too this track i for one will not like to race on at all.
  • 3 0
 Add some road gaps, that will fix it :-)
  • 2 0
 Trail builders pushes for groomed flow trails, bike manufacturers pushes $10k over suspensioned bike to ride them!
  • 2 0
 Metro Vancouver has expanded their trail building techniques elsewhere #widedustysidewalksforall
  • 3 0
 With the track looking like that. Langvads going to run away with it.
  • 1 2
 Reminds me why I vowed never to ride a xc race again, and yet... The wc in Stellenbosch South Africa last year had me thinking xc was finally catching on. Super technical when youre tired and tons of fun. Setting courses that suit ex roadie wanna bees is so lame. Get out youre gravel bike instead, on a course like this its likely to be faster. UCI needs to catch a drift of where our sport is heading and what riders and spectators want. Guys like Nino are great bike handlers!!!
  • 1 0
 Watching on TV Albstadt appears much less technical than most of the WC XC courses.
  • 2 0
 Bent bars and some 700x35 tires should be fine for this one!
  • 6 3
 Perfect for e-bikes
  • 1 0
 They have reverse rise handlebars.... now a reverse gnar track! What's next?
  • 2 0
 My 14 son races harder courses than that.
  • 2 0
 Bummer...was digging watching XC on redbull last year....
  • 2 0
 Downcountry is soooo 2018!
  • 2 0
 Isn't Anton the one with the most spectacular crashes?
  • 2 1
 He didn't get the memo. UCI XC has gone Ebike. He'll understand once he changes steeds
  • 3 1
 Looks like a track for a NICA race
  • 1 0
 Looks like a lot of trails called "XCM" or "XCO" here in Brazil. Sad but true
  • 1 0
 Perhaps they're planning on having a few spectators with blow guns and poison-tipped darts? That'll liven it back up.
  • 1 0
 Oh hey! Looks like Albstadt consulted with the peeps from the Bay Area's MidPen Regional OSP!
  • 2 0
 If you want something technical race downhill.
  • 2 1
 Make the Stock Gnarl Again !
  • 1 0
 Dumbing Down the....... I'll stop now.
  • 2 0
 Perfect for E-bikes!
  • 1 0
 This race will come down to fitness...not skill!
  • 2 1
 XCO racing is also about fitness. Those that don't care for fitness race downhill. Obesity is an epidemic because people don't care about fitness anymore.
  • 1 0
 wtf sort of bullshit course is that
  • 2 1
 this just reminds me of the NICA courses.
  • 1 0
 Big step up between NICA riders and WC Pro's though....unless that is the exact point you're making! Smile
  • 1 0
 He should take a stand and race it on a cross bike
  • 1 0
 Well at least the riders can spray gravel at the spectators?
  • 1 0
 Cursing himself now presumably..
2x rider error on a tame track Frown
  • 1 0
 FLOW TRAIL HAPPENS!
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