I sent this out in my last newsletter but I wanted to post it here as well…
I have to admit that I don’t keep up with the mountain biking magazines and forums like I probably should. I’ve been in the fitness industry for a long time and I see a lot of correlations between the stuff that made stop reading fitness mags and forums and the mountain biking equivalents. Namely, there is a lot of shady reporting and messages in the magazines and a lot of “arm chair strength coaches” giving half baked advice on the forums.
For example, I was reading through Mountain Bike Action’s coverage of the recent World Championships (I was waiting for a buddy who subscribes to it to get ready to ride) and I was pretty pissed off at their take on the American men’s DH efforts. They basically dismissed all the guys as lazy and unwilling to make the effort to get away from our soft lifestyle and easy courses.
This really got me hot – I can not speak for the rest of them but Aaron Gwin has shown that he is more than willing to do whatever it takes to be the best. He trains hard, doesn’t party and get caught up in the crap that derails so many others and spent the vast majority of the last World Cup season in Europe living out of a suitcase and riding every course he got a chance to.
He was primed for a strong showing at the World Championships and was fresh off the best 4 weeks any American DH rider had seen in over 5 years. He had gotten 3rd at Mt. Sainte Anne, demolished the field at the Colorado State Championships, won the National Championship by 2 seconds… and then he got hurt in practice.
He basically got tossed at high speed into a rock garden and suffered a severe bruise on the back of his leg. He could barely walk on it yet still sucked it up, rode through the pain and still finished just outside the top 20. When I saw him over a month later he was just getting to the point he could ride pain free and without severe restrictions in his movement.
A soft, lazy rider would have hung it up after an injury like that but Aaron went on to complete the season and finish 9th in the final points standings. I think that Mountain Bike Action’s dismissal of his efforts and failure to report on his injury as a major cause of his final placing was sloppy reporting and a slap in the face to Aaron, something he certainly did not deserve. Mountain Bike Action owes him an apology…