There’s an inverse relationship between money spent on a trail building project and the quality of the finished product:

//player.vimeo.com/video/78372782 2013 Bell Built Grants: Copper Harbor, Michigan from IMBA on Vimeo.

When I hear some trail group has a bunch of money to spend on trails, I wince. That’s like a death sentence for good trail building. This same principle also applies to MTB movie budgets:

Bell is partnering with IMBA trail solutions to do another grant, only this time it’s for a double black diamond trail. When they proposed to do a downhill trail a couple years back their three finalists included Follow the Leader at Sandy Ridge, one of the worst, flattest trails ever, and the final winner would ultimately become the Yellow Brick Road featured in the video above. See if you can spot the difference between the next two trails:

SPOILER ALERT: the difference is that the bottom trail is yellow.

I don’t think the cobbles in Paris-Roubaix are as smooth as the IMBA downhill trail in Copper Harbor, Michigan.

16 thoughts on “Budgets

  1. Sandy Ridge: gravity based trails with fun killing climbs because of poor design.

    The trail in Michigan had more than a 5º slope so they had to add rocks to make it “sustainable” to make sure no roots were EVER exposed (even though they cut down a bunch of trees to build the trail), and make sure no ruts ever developed.

    There is also a rumor that IMBA was actually the driving force behind the cancellation of the Cyclocross nationals race on Sunday in Austin due to concerns over root damage to the trees in the park.

  2. Not disagreeing with your point but this trail isn't a good example. that section you show is a chunky rock roll not a rock garden. It's the classic case of video and pics mellowing things and not capturing steepness. The trail isn't the steepest, but uses the terrain that's there well and is pretty steep considering.

  3. Face it. There is typically an inverse relationship between the size of an organization and it's effectiveness in representing it's founding and core values.

    And it happens with local riding groups too. Effective and formidable at first, diluted and compromised after growth.

    Go rogue. Lead by example. It's the American Way.

  4. ohh crap, Boulder Mtn Bike Alliance just got 25k. They're gonna have to step up their shitastic trail building to build even crappier trails.

  5. Fact: the paris roubaix cobbles are kept at a taint crushing soul pounding roughness to maintain the history of the race.

    Fact: they are not imba approved.

  6. Double Black Bros! Dude on the '09 Reign in khaki banana republic shorts was sending it!

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