Where would we be without trails? Riding dirt roads may have been fun in mountain biking’s early days, but after years riding singletrack there is no going back. Building or maintaining trails creates a special connection, but you don’t have to wield a shovel to have strong feelings about a section of singletrack.
When a race is proposed locals may have concerns. How much wear will racers cause? Who’s going to organize and flag the course? Will course marking prevent braids? Who will fix damaged trail sections?
The biggest questions are, how do organizers select trails and do they alter trails to fit them into their event? In the past, some organizers worked on trails before an event, possibly without consultation. When changes are made without input from locals, friction is inevitable, particularly when the event organizer does nothing to support the trail system.
Brandon Ontiveros, Executive Director of the Big Mountain Enduro, is interviewed on the subject along with other leaders in the racing world.