Whopper losing its character?

Thank you, this is true. Guess it’s about perspective.

I posted my concerns about routes around features, shortly after the completion of Scotch on the Rocks, and my concerns were addressed in a respectful and logical way at the time. I don’t feel there is any need to apologize for bringing it up. That’s the great thing about this site, it’s for more than just posting a pic of your bike. It’s a forum for discussion amongst users of these trails who may rarely talk to each other face to face. I think a good example of this would be that feature being built on Scotch that some pretty experienced riders thought looked very sketchy and perhaps, dangerous.
I used to do more work on these trails but find that a younger group is getting to issues long before I can organize myself to get at it and I think that is great. I also like the idea of that “to do” list in the trail building forum. Keep the discussion going and keep it respectful.

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Thank you @Goose for the time and effort you have put in on this and other trails in the area. And thank you @Ryan02 for sharing your thoughts on the changes. It’s risky to share your thoughts and feelings on the form. Thanks to the others who have contributed constructively to the thread. I love that wet spots are being filled or bridged or rerouted. I don’t love technical elements being made easier. I prefer alternate lines around difficult features that take longer to negotiate.

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I have heard nothing but good comments really about how well Whopper is running. A few have mentioned that it is being degnarred, which I do kind of agree with.

From my personal perspective on a lawless trail system like “whopper” the recent events of a pandemic are creating alot more time for people to put in effort with upkeep, maint and “new features”

The issue with that, is that not everyone has the same perspective on how a trail should ride.

First off, the fastest almost untouchable times were laid down without any of the recent changes. Therefore, it can be done.

That being said, since those days, flipside in particular had seen some hurt. Its not the same trail.

I personally commend James, being a new rider around here to be out laying down boulders and working.

I will however caution any new trail builder/rider,
If you cant ride, or think a feature needs to be changed drastically. Take an honest look at it, and think about the greater community. Are you doing this for you? Or, are you changing it so you and your buddies, and a few other people have commented, or noted that it really needs to be changed.

And also, sometimes projects end. Its possible to “finish” a trail.

The best trails i have seen, and systems generally have a few “visionaries” and then the grunt workers who follow that vision.

Whopper is a gem, Flipside is a classic NS singletrack trail that we hopefully have for a long time.

Cheers

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This has ended up being a really good conversation, I think good communication on topics like this bring the community closer. Everyone is making excellent points and many different views on the topic. Thanks :+1:

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There’s a large leap between a blue or black flow trail and a rail trail. Do you not agree?

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I don’t think there’s any point in debating this further. @Nowlan pretty much nailed it. The original trail builder has moved on to another zone, so Flipside is a bit of gray area. Anyone doing work should consider what the greater community would want.

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Pretty sure I read a thread about this about whopper ten to fifteen years ago on Ecmtb. All of the same points and counterpoints. Funny/not funny.

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You would be right and not once but twice.
The first was when a young rider built a wooden structure at the first ledge everyone struggled with when going in from Burger King.
The second was when work was done on the really tough climb out of the lake loop.
The same arguments and points were made back then as discussed today.

What do the general ridership want?
That’s a good question we know there are some opposing views but hard to say which direction would actually be most popular as there are so many users we haven’t heard from. Regardless it is really refreshing to have a constructive conversation about this to get people thinking about the perspective views from either angle.

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There is a longstanding maxim in trailbuilding; “when the trail is being built it belongs to the trailbuilder, once it is built it belongs to everyone”. An exception to this would be bike parks and sanctioned trails constructed under a management plan, since the saying pre-dates those concepts.

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Maybe it’s losing it’s character, or maybe you’re just not riding in rubber boots enough! :wink:

IDK where this conversation landed, but I’m grateful there is a bulk of people who care enough to even have a decent chat about it. And the reviews from the carseats were, “That’s a fun trail mummy. Other mountain bikers go here too?”

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I recall that bridge being removed pretty quickly at the entrance by BK.

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Yeah, it was the second one that I’m thinking about.

Jaysus the world is ending, I agree with darkmyth, Nowlan, and tossed about something… Crusty old mountainbikers unite!

It was quite the hullabaloo years ago when someone made those changes to the BK entrance. There was good intention by the person doing the work, but he had never seen anyone ride those sections. I remember being pretty disappointed in the changes at the time because I could only make it through those bits maybe 1 out of 5 times, and with the changes you could just roll right through.

I wonder if changes in bike design and tire size have influenced the vision of what trails look like as well?

I’m a bit embarrassed to say I haven’t been into Whopper yet this year, I used to ride whopper religiously but all the construction kind of ruined it for me, but that is a whole different thing. I’ve heard about the work on Flipside and it has made me want to go ride Whopper, so well done @Goose.

Granted I have not done any impactful trail building in a few years, but I have done a bit over the years, including work in Whopper. Most of the work we did whether it was in Whopper or Fight was mainly maintenance work like replacing bridges and fixing mud holes. But there were definitely times when we were walking the trails with tools and came across sections that we didn’t love and changed them. Our take at the time, and I still feel the same way, was no one else is doing any work out here so if we are going to pay for and haul a pile of lumber in to replace bridges and fill mud holes along the way, then we can smooth out a 10 year old root or rock section if we want. Maybe this is a somewhat selfish view, but not many people do trailwork vs the number of people that ride the trails. So if someone is giving up multiple rides to maintain a trail and they want to tweak a few sections, all power to them. We rarely got grief for changes we made as it just made the old trails better. You have to keep in mind that Whopper trails other than Da Minion and Scotch are all very old, as are the original trails in Fight, they need work and maintenance and sometimes to achieve this lines need to be changed. The trails look much different now than when I first started riding them, let alone when the builders cut them many years prior.
My thoughts comes from being in a small group that gave up many rides to work on the trails only to have people ride through and stop just long enough to say how they thought we should change the trails to suit them, if they even stopped at all. And again, I will fully admit I have not done much more than drain a few puddles in the last few years.
But when the motos were breaking the whopper bridges and people were flipping the other bridges the love was lost for whopper trail work. It’s tough to spend that much time and effort working on a trail you love only to have it ruined by a-holes. So we moved to Fight and had our tools stolen that were way back on Bloodline as we were working our way backwards around the trail, so we gave up there as well. I give much respect to the folks working on these old trails as it is for the most part thankless work. Cheater lines aren’t cool, but those tend to be made by riders not builders in my experience.
So thanks @Goose @Nowlan @JeffV and whomever else is out there working in whopper. I look forward to getting out there soon!
And it’s been a while but if you think whopper has lost it’s character because Flipside has seen some love then I would highly suggest riding Susie Q or Death March, because last time I checked those were still as raw and old school as our trails get.

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First Thank You! to anyone who has done any maintenance on Flipside. I regret not saying this before.

That being said I don’t agree with the technical sections being altered. I’ve been thinking about whether I should weigh in on this issue or not because I’m not sure I have the right to say anything and please don’t take my last sentence as a complaint. As @Goose mentioned he (among others) is the one who spent the time and energy to do the work, not me. It should also be noted that @Goose in particular posted on here when he was heading out to do work. If anyone (myself included) had any reservations about changes to the trail we could have joined in and been part of the maintenance/alterations and had our opinions heard.

Making any changes (other than filling holes/fixing bridges) requires a judgement call on the part of the person doing the work. I’m not commenting on anyone’s judgement but we all have different opinions on trail difficulty, safety, riding style etc. I feel like this is a conversation that is becoming less about a few changes to a trail and more one about how mountain biking as a sport is changing.

My guess is that anyone who has posted their disappointment with changes to technical sections is, like me, middle-aged. We have to accept that the sport has changed. The bikes themselves have changed, altering the way we (as a community) ride and new tools like Strava and trails like Macintosh Run have altered the attitudes we have about riding. Speed and flow are becoming more important than technical skills like balance and finding good lines, even the basic skill of getting behind the seat seems to have gone to the wayside thanks to dropper posts. All of these things combine to change the way we think of trails, which leads to trail alterations, which leads to changes in rider attitudes, which leads to more changes, which leads to… you see where this is going.

I like @coaster2 suggestion of making ride-a-rounds that are longer to go around technical sections if in question though.

I want to reiterate, that I thank anyone who has been doing work at Whopper. Although I don’t agree with everything done you have my thanks and admiration. Without people doing maintenance trails will continually degrade. If you want to see what that looks like go to Wrandees. Many of the trails I used to zip though, while still rideable, are a very difficult slog to get through.

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Just to expand on my previous statement, although I don’t necessarily agree to the changes to the sport, the results cannot be denied. There is a much greater interest in the sport, particularly from young people and women, which makes the community so much stronger.

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I haven’t been to Whopper in a long time, largely because of the construction work going on up there, and largely because I’ve been having a ton more fun at the sanctioned trails at McIntosh Run. I’m sure Goose et al have been doing great work, and more power to them. But I can’t comment directly on any of the changes, so I’ll reference some changes made at McIntosh Run.

There were some changes made that I didn’t like because it took away technical challenges that I liked. However, these are sanctioned trails under the vision and direction of MRWA and I completely understand why they had to happen. You can’t have black diamond features on the “front door” trails for liability and safety reasons. I’ve noticed a lot of things continuing to be made easier on both sanctioned and unsanctioned trails, though. A friend commented: “If we’re not careful, eventually it’ll just be a ribbon of asphalt.” While that’s a stretch, it is odd to see minor step-ups having ramps built when there are much bigger, more technical step-ups to navigate. If you can’t do the easy one, you really shouldn’t be on that trail in the first place.

As a volunteer builder at MRWA, I’ll say this: I’d much rather be building new trail, not fixing old ones. So if you can’t ride a feature, work on your skills or walk over/past it. There are many instances of trail widening happening because people are riding around features. I’ve been to builds to re-narrow a trail, which usually results in it also being an easier section. I’ll happily spend half an hour or more on a section of trail trying to learn its secrets, and if you ride “Lake Loop / Bloodline” trails you’ve probably seen me out there. :slight_smile: But there’s no shame in admitting that a piece of trail is too hard and coming back to fight another day.

Finally: though harder under physical distancing rules, I’m happy to help people improve their skills where I can, and I there are coaches for hire. I know Ryan / TrailFlow used to offer some courses, and I think Ride East too, maybe? Help is out there: share the stoke, help each other, and be cool. :slight_smile:

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I’m of course going to chime in. Not so much about Whopper but in general bikes are longer slacker and built to go fast. I ride with a lot of good riders and they certainly prefer the flow. At a consultation for VP only one of like riders asked to leave the rooty raw trails alone. I feel like impassible features deter non local riders. But hey who knows.

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Bear in mind that a lot of the rooty trails that some people have come to love didn’t start out that way. They had soil over the roots that has worn away by use because the builders didn’t go down to the inorganic soil (who has time for that!). Flipside is not really in original condition. “Raw old school tech” in a lot of cases is just worn down trail. Whether or not to smooth out the trail again is another question.

Thinking about the same issues for Hemlock Loop (“the Slog”) at Nine Mile.

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