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Old 11-11-2013, 04:42 PM   #1
mikem9 OP
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Trail Riding vs. Offroad Racing

Some folks enjoy offroad racing - Hare Scrambles/Enduros etc. Some enjoy trail riding and exploring.

How about a discussion on trail riding vs. off road racing? Your thoughts and preferences?

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Old 11-11-2013, 05:27 PM   #2
foxtrapper
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Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post

How about a discussion on trail riding vs. off road racing? Your thoughts and preferences?
I enjoy both. They are very different, and I don't mix them.

I don't race any bike, I do race cars. When I race, I'm focused on the track and the line and my speed or times. I'm not paying any attention to the scenery, nor am I attempting to be particularly safe. I'm driving as hard as I possibly can, sometimes a bit more.

When I trail ride, or travel or whatever you want to call it, I'm enjoying the ride and the view. I'm going much slower, so I can actually see that deer over there, or enjoy the sight of the clouds or what have you. I'm not interested in pushing the limits, or optimizing a line, or much of anything beyond maximizing the enjoyment of the ride.

Is one "better" than the other? No. They are simply different. That's my brief take on the two.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:32 PM   #3
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So why not do both?

I have done a little racing (sandy lane enduro) and thought it was fun (came in 6th middle weight C my first race on a stock xt250 with the turn signals and everything).

I tend to go fast all the time dirt riding, but I do stop or slow down sometimes to check things out.

I am getting old, so I am trying to slow down some.
That did not really work so now I go with slow bikes (xt200 is slow).

The TW200 I had was great for exploring solo, but it was not fun to go (or try to go) fast on.
I rode that bike through actual swamps, but trying to go fast is more fun for me.
I do not need anyone else, its fun to just push the limits of whatever bike you have on the trails.

I would say do some racing, I wish I could have done more, it was fun.
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:29 PM   #4
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Being strictly off road on a bike that was previously intended for Super-Cross, and with my thoughts of injuries that will affect me in the future as "That's my future self's problem". Riding at a constant race pace is pretty much a given. I ride at this place called "Hidden Falls Adventure Park" with 200+ miles of trails. I get my watch(g-shock) set to "stop watch" and do a lap around what ever trail I'm on. They're marked pretty well.


But, that doesn't mean that I can't stop and chill out at this radio(or cell, I'm not sure, actually, I'm pretty sure it's a cell) tower that I found while bombing down the trails(or, up the hill as the situation is). Just because you occasionally go out and try to ride like Johnny Walker doesn't mean you can't just go out and enjoy the scenes when ever you want. Even more so if you have a license plate.
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:07 AM   #5
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When I ride offroad whether we are pushing a race pace or trail pace depends on who I am riding with and what we are doing. Most of my friends ride pretty hard so we are generally pushing the limits anytime we are actually offroad. But there are times when we slow down to enjoy just being out there.

But, personally, most of the time I could care less about the slowing down to enjoy the scenery. I will if my friends do that. But I spent a huge chunk of my life in the woods. So, unless it is something new and different, I would rather concentrate on riding hard than simply trail riding to be outdoors on a motorcycle.

So I enjoy riding the most when it is a hard near race pace with better riders. I like being forced to push my limits. Which is most of why I bought the MXC. That kind of riding has my 640 looking pretty thrashed. Once I get some more seat time on the 200 I may see if my battered old body is up for an enduro or hare scrambles.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:41 AM   #6
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I agree with Grreatdog in that I push myself in the woods depending on who I'm riding with. Generally we ride race pace but stop at trail intersections for everyone to catch up. I enjoy the scenery and just being in the woods, but the adrenaline rush is what it's about to me. Cleaning a nasty rock infested section of woods (vs. "squiding" it) is where I get my thrills.

I still race occasionally but really prefer just general fast trail riding. It's considerably cheaper and typically easier on the body and bike (most of the time).

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Old 11-12-2013, 09:02 AM   #7
LittleRedToyota
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i race hare scrambles in a series (about 10 races a year) with tight, single-track oriented woods courses. i also do a lot of recreational trail riding. we do one or the other pretty much every weekend at least and sometimes take off work during the week to go trail riding.

they are both extremely fun for different reasons. if i had to pick just one or the other, i would pick trail riding. we get into more technical, harder stuff trail riding, and that is what i consider the most fun. plus, we end up riding all day rather than just the two and half hours or so it takes to run a hare scramble (though i'm typically completely wiped out after a hare scramble and not looking to ride all day the rest of that day). and, you can go trail riding any day and everyday...don't have to wait for a race day.

i'm really glad i don't have to pick just one, though.

for one thing, racing is a lot of fun in and of itself, too. going as fast as you can--and faster than you might think you can--is fun. competing is also fun.

moreover, though, they feed off each other. racing has made me a much, much better rider than just trail riding would/could ever make me...and that has made my trail riding a lot more fun. you don't really push yourself to go faster...and get better at riding as a result...trail riding the way you do in a race.

on the other hand, the kind of trail riding we do...tight, technical stuff rain or snow or shine...helps me in races. i make up a lot of time in the tight, technical, nasty sections of the races because we ride that stuff all the time trail riding. there are other guys who blow by me in the more open parts of the races, but really struggle when we hit the hard stuff, and i pass them there. i attribute that to the difference in what we ride when we are not racing. (on the other hand, the way they blow by me in the open stuff makes me realize i need to work on that type of riding more when not racing.)

all the best trail riders i know/ride with either actively race or used to race a lot. i'm not saying you need to be a "good" rider to enjoy trail riding at all. but, for me at least, the better i get at riding, the more fun trail riding is...and racing has made me a much better rider much quicker. while racing is a blast in and of itself, what i like about it best is the impact it has had on my recreational trail riding.

when i go trail riding, though, i like to ride...not sight see. not that i don't like sight seeing, but any time stopped looking at stuff is time we could be riding. once in awhile, i ride with some different guys who like to stop a lot and look around, BS, etc. i enjoy that, too, but on a routine basis, i'd rather just keep riding.

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Old 11-12-2013, 04:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by LittleRedToyota View Post
i race hare scrambles in a series (about 10 races a year) with tight, single-track oriented woods courses. i also do a lot of recreational trail riding. we do one or the other pretty much every weekend at least and sometimes take off work during the week to go trail riding.

they are both extremely fun for different reasons. if i had to pick just one or the other, i would pick trail riding. we get into more technical, harder stuff trail riding, and that is what i consider the most fun. plus, we end up riding all day rather than just the two and half hours or so it takes to run a hare scramble (though i'm typically completely wiped out after a hare scramble and not looking to ride all day the rest of that day). and, you can go trail riding any day and everyday...don't have to wait for a race day.

i'm really glad i don't have to pick just one, though.

for one thing, racing is a lot of fun in and of itself, too. going as fast as you can--and faster than you might think you can--is fun. competing is also fun.

moreover, though, they feed off each other. racing has made me a much, much better rider than just trail riding would/could ever make me...and that has made my trail riding a lot more fun. you don't really push yourself to go faster...and get better at riding as a result...trail riding the way you do in a race.

on the other hand, the kind of trail riding we do...tight, technical stuff rain or snow or shine...helps me in races. i make up a lot of time in the tight, technical, nasty sections of the races because we ride that stuff all the time trail riding. there are other guys who blow by me in the more open parts of the races, but really struggle when we hit the hard stuff, and i pass them there. i attribute that to the difference in what we ride when we are not racing. (on the other hand, the way they blow by me in the open stuff makes me realize i need to work on that type of riding more when not racing.)

all the best trail riders i know/ride with either actively race or used to race a lot. i'm not saying you need to be a "good" rider to enjoy trail riding at all. but, for me at least, the better i get at riding, the more fun trail riding is...and racing has made me a much better rider much quicker. while racing is a blast in and of itself, what i like about it best is the impact it has had on my recreational trail riding.

when i go trail riding, though, i like to ride...not sight see. not that i don't like sight seeing, but any time stopped looking at stuff is time we could be riding. once in awhile, i ride with some different guys who like to stop a lot and look around, BS, etc. i enjoy that, too, but on a routine basis, i'd rather just keep riding.
Interesting comments from everyone. Thanks. The above rings very true
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:32 PM   #9
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Racing and trail riding are both fun, but to me very different. I have raced enduros , hare scrambles and motocross for 30 years, even made AA enduro class for a while, all while trail riding as much possible, it all works together. Trail riding let's you practice little things without having try so hard to go fast, however, your trail riding buds won't understand that you're not racing. When I trail ride, that's all I'm doing! Racing takes a different mind set, being really good at it takes a lot of dedication, going to the gym instead of sitting in the recliner with a little computer in your lap!
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:34 PM   #10
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I used to ride with a friend who enjoyed going through (or trying to) the worst stuff we could find. Countless times we had the bikes upside down to get the water out, and a few times someone had to go get a friend with a truck to pull a bike out of a mud pit, 2 adults could not do it.
I sometimes thought he would enjoy strapping the bike to his back and and walking through a swamp more then actual riding.
Me, I liked speed. Not over really rough stuff, but just high speed.
Drifting around turns, picking a fast line, working the motor as hard as it could, being smooth and fast.
I think he was a bit afraid of speed maybe, otherwise he was just nuts.

I also tend to ride when I can, and as fast as I feel safe, and when I was younger, much faster then I felt safe doing.
Once and a while I slow down a bit, like when I am lost, but I don't ride with people because it wastes too much of my limited time.
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Old 11-12-2013, 05:47 PM   #11
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Back in the day when I started and bikes had two rear shocks....I thought I was a hot shot trail rider cause I could smoke all my buddies. Then I rode a hare scramble and got smoked. Then I rode a MX and got smoked again. It took a couple of years until I became a top fiver. I loved both and miss dirt biking.....
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:57 PM   #12
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I have really enjoyed running some harescrambles, but have found recreational trail riding to be much more practical for me. Racing feeds my competitive nature and is a great physical and mental challenge. However I found it costs too much for me for now. There is no comparison of the wear and tear on your bike between racing and just riding. There's also a cost traveling to the events. Not only that, but I also wrecked more often and more spectacularly racing. Fixing the bike is expensive, but fixing me costs even more.

But if I had the resources, I would love to do it every weekend.
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Old 11-13-2013, 05:25 AM   #13
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You just have to remember what happens after the ride. If the guy you just block passed into the weeds or used for traction was racing he is going to laugh it off - your trail riding buddies maybe not so much.

Point is, that even when we ride at near race pace on trail rides what the "near" part means is dialing back the aggression. On trail rides the passes are always clean, roost is minimized (well usually) and nobody ends up pissed off.
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Old 11-13-2013, 06:00 AM   #14
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Back in the day when I started and bikes had two rear shocks....I thought I was a hot shot trail rider cause I could smoke all my buddies. Then I rode a hare scramble and got smoked. Then I rode a MX and got smoked again. It took a couple of years until I became a top fiver. I loved both and miss dirt biking.....
Yes, I had a similar experience. I migrated from trail riding to enduros and hare scrambles, and finally motocross. I liked laps on a small enough closed courses that I could memorize lines and knew what was over a rise or jump. Enduro's were very hard for me as I didn't like the blind nature of the single track. Once I started racing I rarely did any trail riding. Not many motocrossers of the day were very useful on trails anyway.

Both of my sons were pro road racers. Once that ended, they started riding trails. That quickly morphed into desert racing for the older son who lives out west; and J Day racing for the other one. J Day is a series in the northeast that combines elements of endurocross with hare scrambles. They love the competition, plus dirt is so different than AMA Pro road racing. Much more 'fun' for them I think because it is really hobby racing and affordable. They like trail riding too, though.
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Old 11-13-2013, 06:29 AM   #15
wsmc831
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After 15 years of offroad riding, and 7 years of offroad racing, I will say I enjoy offroad riding while I'm there, and racing AFTER I've finished.
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