I just got back from the US Nationals this weekend where I got to see Aaron Gwin defend his title in the Pro DH race. Two years racing and two national titles…not bad for the kid that is definitely the future of US DH racing.

I also saw my original pro client, Rich “Big House” Houseman, come back and get 2nd in the pro Mountain Cross final. Rich hasn’t raced much since his little girl was born (I know how that can change your priorities!) but he did pull of the move of the night in the semis. He washed out in a corner with Ross Milan hot on his tail, got a foot down to keep himself upright and miraculously got back on track while keeping Ross from passing. Words can not describe how bad ass that move was and I have to think it felt good to knock his former Yeti teammate out of the finals.

Racing at that level is great to watch but it got me thinking about something that has crossed my mind once or twice…is mountain biking and racing the same thing?

For example, when you have a section on an XC course where it is faster to get off and run than it is to pick your way through it and there is no penalty for dismounting, is that really mountain biking?

Or when you have a kid who has gotten directly into DH racing and has no ability to pedal a bike up anything or navigate a trail without at least 7 inches of suspension, is that really mountain biking?

Or when you have a guy who comes from a BMX background and can rip a BMX inspired mountain cross track but can’t do as well on a rough mountain bike inspired course or even get out and ride a trail, is that really mountain biking?

Don’t get me wrong…as a former track athlete I know the thrill of lining up against other people to see who is the best man, or woman, on that day. I just think that there is a bit of a disconnect between the “soul food” that I feel mountain biking gives us and the racing mindset that some riders have all the time.

I don’t really know that I have a point with this post, just some thoughts I’ve had. I’d be interested to to hear your thoughts on it…

-James Wilson-

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