Cyclists Agree, Fire On Rim Trail ‘Technical’

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Mountain bikers who pre-rode the Fire on the Rim course in preparation for tomorrow’s, Aug. 6, race, are calling the 15-mile loop near Pine and Strawberry “technical.”

Those new to the sport, called “newbies,” are scrambling to learn what “technical” actually means.

Experienced Rim Country mountain bike enthusiasts say it is a catch-all phrase in the sport used to describe skills more advanced than those necessary for traditional path bike riding, which includes bike balance and pedaling.

Technical means the riders must move around and know how to transfer weight for best traction to avoid obstacles that can include, roots, rocks, logs, fallen trees, ruts and ledges.

Technical riding is usually anaerobic and can be on paths or trails that include very steep descents or ascents over uneven and rocky switchbacks and single track.

Experienced riders often use pedal-induced wheelies to help with technical climbs and down hills.

Even event organizers are calling the course, “Very rugged terrain.”

The Web site: http://www.mtbikewnc .com uses a four level rating system to explain the technical factor of trails:

• Level 1 (few obstacles)

Trail surface has relatively few obstacles, such as a gravel road surface.

• Level 2 (some obstacles)

Trail surface has some obstacles, such as small roots, rocks, steps, or easy stream crossings. Generally will not require pushing for technically advanced riders.

• Level 3 (moderately rough)

Trail surface has some rough areas, with possibly loose rocks, drop-offs, log bridges, mud, and stream crossings. May require some pushing.

• Level 4 (very rough)

Trail surface may have large drop-offs, loose rocks, ruts and roots, and you may encounter difficult stream crossings or wadings. Pushing is almost certain except for those with supreme technical ability.

Most who tested the course, including Payson Athletic Club owner Jerry Baker, agree it is both Level 3 and 4, but a portion of it is actually an old logging road.

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