Mountain Bikers Purposely Tear Up Desert and Injure Trees!

On the way home from Fruita filled with mixed emotions.  I have always thought mountain bikers were smart, environmentally friendly people. My friends that ride and students all seem to be great people but there are some selfish mountain bikers out there that seem to only care about themselves.  There are two spots on Rustlers Loop and one on Prime Cut where mountain bikers have gone out of there way to harm a 200 year old (on Prime Cut) and a couple of 100 year old trees (on Rustlers) just so they can ride a section with more ease!  Dumbing down trails is bad enough but harm trees and the desert to do so?! Wow! Please follow the IMBA rules of the trail and walk over (not around) sections of trail you cannot ride.

For the first 10-12 years of Prime Cut there was a rock you had to go over in the middle of the trail, it was a trail feature that greatly added to the fun and challenge of the trail.  Here is a photo of one of my students riding down it about 5 years ago:

Notice the rocks carefully piled to broke off the go around and protect the 200 year old Juniper Tree.  Sometime around 2005 a local rider went so far as too bailing wire in a huge pile of rocks, metal stakes and tree limbs to protect the tree.  It was a constant battle, locals putting rocks/sticks in to save the tree someone/s spending hours tearing out our work that very evening/morning so their precious ego isn’t damaged when they can’t ride the rock.

The shots above were taken yesterday.  In addition to breaking off a couple of limbs someone even sawed off a limb!  What a selfish and sad act.

Now look at that rock, it isn’t that hard, I had a 63 year old rider in my camp go up it on Saturday and Sunday. I watched a 67 year old man clean it in a camp 5 years ago and you know what he told me two years ago?  He walked up to me while I was teaching at Mary’s Loop parking lot and said, “hi Gene, I don’t know if you remember me but three years ago I took a camp from you and you said I was the oldest person you had witnessed ride over that rock on Prime Cut” to which I replied, “yeah! I remember! you were 67! that was so cool!”.  He then said, “well, I just wanted to tell you, I did it again yesterday”.  He did it at 70!  I can’t tell you how many studly guys I have seen not clear that rock, make excuses and decline instruction of how to do it! Too funny!  If you are under 40, in shape and call yourself a mountain biker you should be able to clear an obstacle that a 70 year old and clear.  If you can’t I would love to help as would many of my students.

I hate to post such a negative post but this is sad and must be stopped!

12 replies
  1. Bighead Todd
    Bighead Todd says:

    Sad. If you can’t clean it, walk it or call Gene @ BetterRide. I like that rock, especially riding up it! Looking forward to my next visit to Fruitopia…

  2. Bama
    Bama says:

    That’s not only terrible, but also very depressing.

    I can remember trying to ride up that rock on one of my very first mtn bike rides. I watched as riders like John Rizzo and Jerry “the Freak” cleaned it.

    That rock gave me a lot of inspiration to learn and grow as a rider. To this day, I owe my ability to trails like Prime Cut and to other more skilled riders like Gene.

    Let’s consider difficult trails “motivating” instead of impossible, too hard, frustrating, or too advanced. Instead on focusing on how to alter the trail, focus on how to alter yourself; use empowering, positive mental imagery and practice until as long as you’re having fun.

  3. shorty
    shorty says:

    I am just starting out with mountain bikeing not that good and a lot of areas i ride have rock like this one and to me thats the fun of bikeing to clean things like this not make things easy my opinon is if you cant clean it and have make your owen way around you dont need to be out there rideing around

  4. Tom Witte
    Tom Witte says:

    It’s jerks like these that get us into hot water with the Sierra Club. If a person hates mountain biking so much that they don’t want to learn how to do it and they’re even intent on destroying precious access where it exists, why are they even up on the mountain?

  5. Chris Cornelison
    Chris Cornelison says:

    I was one of the campers in the “now” picture and learning to ride that rock was one of the highlights of the camp for me. It made me really sad when I saw the picture of the original trail from 5 years ago. While out riding the local trails back in Iowa with heightened awareness, I counted at least half a dozen places where riders here have widened the trail to avoid logs no taller than a standard curb. Totally ridiculous!

  6. Jeremy Green
    Jeremy Green says:

    I remember when I first cleared that rock. It made me feel like I had reached some level in mountain biking. Now when I go ride that part of Prime Cut it makes me sad that other people don’t get to feel that same sense of accomplishment. It really sucks that someone did that to the trail for all of us.

    • Gene
      Gene says:

      Wow, Jeremy you really nailed it. Challenge is an opportunity to grow and enjoy your live more and these people just cheat themselves and everyone else.

  7. Kevin Fosdick
    Kevin Fosdick says:

    I am discusted to hear this story… The rock looks pretty easy. I rode this trail during the festival last weekend and didn’t take much notice… What day was this discovered? How can we punish these peaple? It ruins it for all of us riders who want a more challenging ride!

  8. Ross
    Ross says:

    Good Grief! That rock looks like an average trail feature vs. an actuall challenge. I hope the persone that did the damage never rides in Tahoe. Our trails are loaded to Technical features. Some very advanced but all walkable if you can “walk” let alone ride. I have taught many riders to clear features most find it is easier to ride than to walk and the 26″ wheels will clear almost anything on a trail.

  9. Bruce
    Bruce says:

    I am just starting out with mountain bikeing not that good and a lot of areas i ride have rock like this one and to me thats the fun of bikeing to clean things like this not make things easy my opinon is if you cant clean it and have make your owen way around you dont need to be out there rideing around

  10. Chris Ward
    Chris Ward says:

    The problem exist everywhere…We like to call the people that do this stuff trail pirates…I know it sounds juvenile but the things they do are juvenile. We have a problem here with cross country racers removing obstacles just a few days before the race so they don’t have to walk during the race. Really sucks when is something you enjoy riding on a weekly basis and someone removes it permanently for a one day event. It is not only xc racers but it is pretty obivious when you go to a trail the day after the race and noticed things gone that where there the week prior to the race.


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