Re-visiting Bikepark Winterberg after 8 years

Last time I visited the bikepark in Winterberg, Germany, was in summer of 2010. I injured my shoulder after a couple of minutes when rolling through the practice area not paying proper attention and had to get to the hospital. Let’s just say I don’t have the best of personal memories when it comes to that name, “Winterberg”. Now, after 8 years, we went back there …

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It’s time to renew bike clothes’ waterproofness

In 2009, I bought a Platzangst Hardride jacket for bike riding in wet and cold conditions. While obviously being somewhat of a fashion item, it was said to offer a 5000mm water column while still offering an mvp value (that’s “breathability in grams of water per square metre in 24 hours”) of also 5000. In I’d say the first year of using it, the jacket worked great. Rain just rolled off and the climate inside the jacket was okay when opening the zippers on the sides.

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Don’t waste time looking at numbers

One thing I’ve always liked best about riding bikes is that there are no electronic devices around and that you can concentrate on things other than numbers, displays and buttons. Working with computers all day I quickly found that having time without them around is a precious thing to have.

Last week I was riding with a new group of people. I had met one of them before, the rest I had never seen. When we met, I instantly noticed to amount of “gimmicks” they brought. One of them had an iPhone attached to his handlebar, the other one had a GPS device and a speed indicator thingy. The third guy had a camera attached to his helmet, another one to his handlebar and the last of them had a camera on his helmet and a speed indicator on the stem.

The iPhone apparently was supposed to track via GPS where we rode but alongside of that, it constantly (like every couple of minutes) kept saying “lost GPS signal” “cannot find GPS signal”. Noooo, my friend, that’s not annoying … The speed indicator guys were constantly talking about what they saw on their tiny displays. “Mine shows 16 km/h”, “mine shows 16,5 km/h” “hmm, maybe your settings are wrong, you know … you have to tweak this and that setting if you put on a bigger tire” … Wah! I was so annoyed that by the time we arrived at the first trail entry that in my head I had already marked each of those guys as “never ride with him again”.

Then we hit the first trail. It’s December, so there are a lot of leaves and the ground is soft and muddy. If there are leaves on top of mud, you better try not braking too hard because all that will happen is tires instantly blocking on the leaves and start sliding on top of the soft mud. But beginners do that. It’s one of the most instinctive things people do when they are afraid of something – they brake. So every single one of those guys slipped and fell within the first 50 meters of the trail and I couldn’t help but smile about this. Being equipped with literally thousand of Euros worth of eletronic gadgets doesn’t make anyone better rider.

I don’t say these things are bad to have around, how could I since I also carry a GPS device and a mobile phone in my backpack. The mobile is good to have around in case something happens and you have to call someone and the GPS device is nice to look at after the ride in order to know where you were and how far and long you have ridden. But wouldn’t concentrating on your riding rather than your numbers bring way more joy and way more improvement to your riding? I strongly think so and would encourage every beginner mountainbike rider not to focus on these electronic devices. Enjoy the ride, don’t waste time with looking at numbers.

In your face, UCI!

That‘s my news of the week (who was that Steve anyway …)! Freecaster plans to have its own downhill racing series.

There seems to have been some “financial differences” between the UCI and freecaster regarding licence fees for showing the UCI Mountainbike world cup on the internet. Freecaster couldn’t afford the new amount and therefore will not provide us with live footage of the events next year.

We all were pretty disappointed when we heard that and started swearing about the !”§/&%ing UCI. Freecaster’s response to that is one of the most astonishing things I ever witnessed. Instead of just not broadcasting the races, they’re going to start their own racing series and thereby give the UCI a piece of their mind. I’m so, so, so, so happy they stepped up and talked to the pro racing teams, which, apart from 2 teams, will all be part of the new series, and showed the UCI that nobody really needs them in (at least gravity oriented) mountainbiking. And not just that … Nissan, the original world cup sponsor is on board, too and they even doubled the price money the riders will get for winning the races. How great is that?

Kudos to freecaster! Hope it’s going to work out good.