Monday, July 13, 2009

Pats Peak, a discussion.

Years ago when Pats Peak decided they didn't like not making money all summer long, the decided to create a mountain bike race course. This is how the discussion went:

The players:

Pats Peak guy 1 (PPG1), let's call him the head snowmaker.
Pats Peak guy 2 (PPG2), let's say he is an event coordinator.

Note that neither of these two guys knows the first thing about land management, sustainable trails, or pedaling a bicycle.

The scene:

PPG1 and PPG2 are standing over a table with a satellite picture much like the one above. They are trying to come up with a race loop.


PPG1: Well, I know there is a nice smooth loop around around this pond, you could probably ride a bike there.
PPG2: That's a good start, but we probably need to start the race at the bottom of the mountain, how are we going to get up the the pond?
PPG1: What? Just have them ride straight up the middle of this here ski trail, duh.
PPG2: Good thinking, there is some nice single track off the back of the pond, we could have the go up through there next.
PPG1: Yeah, but I think there is a stream that goes through there, maybe we could build a bridge over it?
PPG2: No, we have to do this without thought or effort what-so-ever, my cousin works at a freight company, he's got palettes coming out his ass, we'll just throw some of them down.
PPG1: Alright, but you're carrying them up there. I know there is some pretty sweet single track on the top of the other side of the mountain, let's have 'em go down that.
PPG2: OK, but how are we going to get them over there?
PPG1: Run up right up the middle of the ski trail!
PPG2: Eh, this course has to be around 5 miles, we're going to have to put a bunch of bullshit in between those two nice pieces of singletrack.
PPG1: Son of a bitch, well let's hurry up, the Pats are playing in 20 minutes. Let's just zigzag them across the front of the mountain, then dump them into that single track.
PPG2: Alright, how about a grassy traverse to that dirt road that goes straight down the trail.
PPG1: Perfect, and we can have the bastaaahd's rip a 90 degree turn in lose gravel at the bottom of that dirt road.
PPG2: Awesome, and we can put some photographers there, racers love to buy pictures of themselves shitting their pants.
PPG1: Alright, how about another grassy traverse, then a short climb through this wooded section.
PPG2: But isn't there a stream that runs through there?
PPG1: Shit if I know, I don't leave the lodge when there isn't snow on the ground.
PPG2: Yeah, who cares if the entire trail washes out, it's not a ski trail, besides, we got extra palettes.
PPG1: OK, so let's do another grassy traverse, but let's make this one retardedly muddy, and out in the sun, and maybe we can do something to attract swarms of flies?
PPG2: YES! then we can run the fuckers right up the middle of the ski trail again!
PPG1: IN THE SUN, right in the open, but close enough to the trees so there isn't even the slightest breeze!
PPG2: You're a genius. After that we can...
PPG2: No no no, this time will have a small ribbon of dirt for the traverse, but we'll pepper it with waterbars to make sure it's not too much fun.
PPG1: What the hell is a water bar? Sounds gay to me.
PPG2: Yeah, then it's straight down the mountain into a muddy 90 degree turn.
PPG1: More photographers?
PPG2: God willing, but this muddy turn is more than a 5 minute walk from the parking lot, so I doubt any photographers will be there.
PPG1: Darn, 5 minutes until kick off, let's end this.
PPG2: Errrr. Alright, we'll just run them straight up this dirt road in the middle of the ski trail. If there is one thing mountain bikers love it riding long straight dirt roads.
PPG1: They do?
PPG2: I have no idea what mountain bikers enjoy. Let's hope they like grassy traverses.
PPG1: HAHA! Yeah, and straight shitty downhills that lead into sketchy 90 degree corners.
PPG2: Ok, after the downhill, we gotta get them back to the start.
PPG1: Yeah, lets snake then unnecessarily through the grassy downhill, making sure all the holes and mud are right in the middle of all the corners.
PPG2: Yup, and we can end with a muddy 90 degree corner right into another palette bridge.
PPG2: Shit, that was pretty easy, for a second there I though we might have had to pick up a tool and do some trailwork.
PPG1: No, not at all, we can run this same loop for years and years without a single lick of effort.


  1. PPG2: oh, wait, then let's encourage some dumbass bloger to throw mud in the face of 99% of the riders that claim this to be one of the best and most interesting courses in the Norteast!

    PPG2: Perfect

  2. this is much better than the whiny post that colin is probably going to write about how it was really hot and the course was sucky. you have much more imagination with your post but yet i still get the point.

  3. While I agree that SOME of the routing could have been better, I found the trails and varieties of terrain to be challenging.

    Also, your witty and snarky conversation fails to help us consider the roll that New England's current weather situation may have played in course conditions this year. I have not raced Pats Peak in previous years, so I can't offer an opinion.

    Finally, I don't know you, and I don't know if you already promote a race, but I am going to assume that you do not. Instead of shitting on someone else's attempt to put on a decent race, why don't you organize one? Show us how it is done. Go out, find a venue, book it, mark a course, gather some sponsors and sacrifice some of your season so that we can learn from you. Maybe your enlightened approach to course design will educate everyone and improve all races in New England.

    In all disciplines of bike racing there seems to be those who make races happen and those that complain about races. These people are seldom one and the same.

  4. the irony of RMM, king of e-whining, telling someone to promote a race when he has never promoted a race should not be missed.

    but yes. this post is whiny. and yet i laughed!

    in between the stereotyping and the hate kevin makes a good point though -- ski trail work road climbs in july suck really hard. yes, they are "challenging," in the same way that not grimacing when getting kneed in the balls is "challenging." If either of the two work road climbs became a wooded climb (even a double track one), it would be a significant improvement.

    lastly -- there are two locations where you have to make a 90 degree turn on a downhill, and if you blow it you can hit oncoming traffic ala Trebon at 08 CX Nats. That is not a good course design.

  5. would you still be complaining if you didn't come in dead last?

  6. the reason rmm liked the race is because there was enough non-technical for him to make up all the ground he lost on the actual mountain bike sections. oh, and i don't recall rmm ever sacrificing time to promote or even help promote a race but i do remember reading plenty of bitch-fests about events...

    from what i remember, the real mountain bike part of the course (the technical singletrack downhill where rmm and other roadies lose a lot of time) was built by a local high schooler as a spring/summer project for which he received some course credit. so, pat's peak can't even take credit for the only good part of the course!

    also, did the promoter spend his usual 30 minutes at the pre-race meeting on saturday tooting his own horn for "sacrificing a weekend during which he could have hosted a more lucrative wedding?" clearly, the quality of the course shows how much love and dedication he has for mtb racing instead of those silly money-earning weddings.

  7. Funny post, it made me LOL, especially the countdown to the Pats gameday.

    Rosey, you are right on the money about the wedding sacrifice talk. Warn me next time! I'll know better about the mandatory rider meeting next year.

  8. Wow, I missed all this great follow on. I love it almost as much as I liked the post itself. Kevin, I agree with you. I'm so f-ing sick of mud and courses that purposely run you through it that I may not race MTB again this year. The New England weather is a contributing factor but not the sole reason. Poor course design is the base cause and I sort of know some stuff about that as I've been trained to design and built sustainable trails. Keep up the good work!

  9. The kicker about this course was the lack of sustainability and though that went into the design. Routing the water to go down the trail, as opposed to re-routing it into the drainage 10 feet off the trail?

    I keep going back for some reason, oh one of the few endurance events in the NE. Keep showing up and greeted by the elitist view of the promoters and the course design that mountain biking needs to be destructive.