Article Archive 2
Friends & Family,
Hello, may a happy and healthy February be underway as this letter
reaches you. I am writing for a specific reason,
and as a friend/ loved one of JJ you may well be able to guess what this letter might be about. We all love JJ and likely know about the devastating biking accident
that happened at the end of summer leaving JJ with a severe brachial plexus injury and limited use of his right (dominant) arm.
Currently JJ is at the Mayo clinic
in Minnesota where the leading specialists on brachial plexus injuries are evaluating him... I am writing with an account
number set up for JJ to help cover these uncovered costs. I know this is a difficult time economically, but please donate whatever you can spare. Also, if you know anyone else who might know JJ feel free to forward on this message. If you are interested in reading more about JJ and his experience, he has started a blog: http://humboldtmtnbkr.blogspot.com/.
Thank you in advance for your contribution toward this righteous cause,
Maria & Trevor
Coast Central Credit Union
2650 Harrison Avenue
Eureka, California 95501
Account Number: 69316
FYI: The account is set up under Maria Spetzler since there was no way
start an account under JJ's name without him being present at the bank.
My Place… Of Mind and Feeling
I have yet to find a place in which I feel more alive, you could say than on my bike going down a trail on some god forsaken hill that has been built to only be ridden by people who have the same ambitions as the people who build them. This is not in fact a physical place, for there are many trails, but is a place of mind that attracts me and others like me.
This place in mind has for me partially to do with adrenalin, but also has much to do with being numb to everything around me in the humanly developed world, besides the bike under my feet along with the trail. I become so focused on not falling at speeds of sometimes 35+ mph, that I have absolutely nothing going through my mind besides that I am going super fast, and that there is an obstacle such as a switch back to overcome. Even if I'm not mobbing at high speeds, the whole biking vibe seems to banish any thoughts of stressfulness in my life. Mix this with adrenalin, friends, and some good tunes, I start to feel as if I could have a gnarly crash with gear strewn about, blood coming from my arm, and get up laughing hysterically; which I have done before.
Another thing that can add to this mixture is a good trail, which intensifies all that I feel. Flowing like water on berms, flying through the air then landing smoothly on the other side without tearing myself up is extraordinarily satisfying. After I am off of the bike and all of my gear is put away I sometimes look back on what I have just done and due to a lack of a better word I feel like a complete bad ass. This feeling stays with me and motivates me to do this crazy thing to obtain the feeling of nothing that brings around so many feelings in the place of stress and bothering thoughts.
As I ride I sometimes see something off of the trail like good scenery but usually it is just a blurd picture that has bean faintly picked up by my ambient vision. Fortunately if I am riding with friends and we can't keep quite the perfect pace all together every once in a while we may stop to rest and see how beautiful this world we are riding through really is. We may see mountains, bluish looking from a distance, or a blue green river flowing through lush vegetation in a valley.
All of this does come at a price unfortunately though. I did have to buy the bike, getting rides to the top of the trail is usually difficult, and of course there is falling. Falling is always there somewhere in my mind but I can't and don't think about that because I am so totally entranced and focused on what I am doing that if I just so happened to let it slip into my mind it could distract me and then what I dreaded would become reality.
Falling is a small price to pay (even if my elbows disagree) and so is everything else for I don't know where I would be in life. This creation of some special humans is more than that. It can become a way of life.
As a wise man once said "we have 3 inch wide tires, 8 inches of shock in front and rear.... (we can role over anything!)"
Read Full Interview at bnqt.com
Scott Hart lays out the prelude to a resurgence of the dual slalom discipline...
You come from a racing background; does that explain your overwhelming enthusiasm for the Dual
My enthusiasm for dual slalom is derived from logic. “Gated” mountain
bike racing is in a decrepit state. Mountaincross, or the European
practiced “4X”, isn’t working. Don’t get me wrong, I was the first guy
to get behind the mountaincross initiative. I was in attendance at Eric
Carter’s first Troy Lee Designs “Cycle Race” that was held between
motos during the Glen Helen outdoor motocross national in 1999. I can
honestly say that watching that race changed the direction of my life.
At the time, I was a semi-pro cross-country racer, just dabbling with
downhill, but after seeing EC’s Glen Helen event, I was sold on gravity
racing. The bicycle race was awesome! The jumps were huge; the passing
was plentiful; and the action was insane. I remember being overwhelmed
that Shaun Palmer, Phil Tinstman, EC and the rest of the guys on
mountain bikes actually looked like they were going big, even when
compared with the full 30-minute motos of 125 and 250 pros I had just
watched. The jumps were massive. Over the next few months, I slowly
began to defect from XC as DH began to garner my interest. A few years
later, when Sea Otter held their first Eric Carter-designed
mountaincross event in 2001, I was there. The jumps were big and the
racing was fun. The same can be said for the first mountaincross races
held by NORBA later that year. As a rider, I was happy to see slalom
go. Coming from moto, I was always comfortable jumping and thought
mountain biking could benefit from larger jumps, so I was all about the
50-foot doubles that mountaincross promised. But here we stand, seven
years later and mountaincross has not blossomed into the beautiful
flower we all expected it to bloom into.
The dreams of huge television audiences and big
outside-the-bike-industry sponsors don’t exist. Mountaincross is a
great event, in theory, but it’s extremely difficult to actualize.
Seven years is a long time to try and get a sport on it’s feet and
despite the efforts of many competent event promoters, visionaries and
course builders, mountaincross still can’t stand on its own.
Dual slalom is better than mountaincross for many reasons. The racing
is always fair. No slalom race has ever been won in the first turn. In
slalom, riding skill and bike control are rewarded over meatheaded
first straight speed. Dual slalom courses are simpler and less
expensive for race promoters to execute. In those two ways, slalom
supports the grassroots level of the sport. Mountain bikers are
attracted to the sport by characteristics that slalom supports –
railing turns with rocks and dust. Slalom is like mini-downhill by
promoting all the skills necessary to be successful in both
disciplines. Mountaincross, as it has been practiced for the past four
or five years, has become nothing more than diluted BMX. I was at a
local MTX race this weekend and it looked like 1970’s BMX – flat turns
and small jumps. My negativity towards MTX doesn’t mean I think MTX is
a fruitless genre, but it will never see large participation numbers
when promoted at mountain bike events. MTX is better suited as a
crossover discipline for BMX. Mountaincross would be more successful if
it were promoted by the NBL or ABA. In the last seven years, we’ve
learned MTX isn’t a mountain bike sport. A lot of people aren’t going
to like hearing me say that, but it’s honestly where I think we’re at:
We tried MTX and it’s not working.
Right now, the UCI is taking serious consideration to add dual slalom
to the World Cup. They can’t figure out why their participation numbers
are so low for “4X” and are trying to find a way to get more of the
downhill racers to enter their “gated” event. When was the last time
you saw today’s most prolific downhill racer, Sam Hill, enter a MTX
event? I can’t recall off the top of my head. But, when was the last
time you saw Sam race slalom? Crankworx and Sea Otter last year. Most
downhill racers aren’t interested in MTX for the reasons I stated
above. Slalom is the answer to grow the sport of competitive mountain
bike racing. Dual slalom and downhill go together like peanut butter
and jelly – they’re complement goods. MTX is a bastard child we tried
to adopt, but it just doesn’t fit the family chemistry of our sport.
King Range Trail
a.k.a "Little Whistler"
As Seen Mid December 2007
A few brief words here on the new and astounding mountain bike specific trail in Southern Humbodt's King Range. Approximately an hour and a half drive south from Eureka California a new mountain bike destination has been uncovered. The Bureau of Land Management has worked closely with cyclists to design and build a 13 mile bike specific trail. Upon arrival I had high expectations based on knowledge of the area's shere geography and the good words of many who had ridden pieces of the trail. My expectations were blown out of the water within the first ten minutes on the trail, and my jaw only became slacker as our ride progressed. It was incredibly refreshing to ride a trail, sight unseen, and be able to trust the design and layout of the trail at speed. Bermed corners, ramped tables, smooth camber transitions, drainage seamlessly integrated into fun features of the trail. The trail combines hand cut sections with a majority of hand tractor cut sections which are exceptionally wide and smooth allowing plenty of run out and lots of line choice. The ride presents two rolling sections on either side of a killer 4 mile switch back climb. The climb requires quite a bit of pop and inspires the same, but the fun factor on either side quickly wipes any memories of suffering from the mind. The trail's longest downhill, immediately following the ascent, can be called little short of a bike theme park. Trail builders constructed huge sweeping berms, carving corners into jumps with multiple lip options, stepdowns, natural wall rides and a ripping rythm. None of us could help guffawing like hyped up juveniles as we rolled through section after section of groomed perfection. The trail is 95% rideable as some construction has yet to be completed. This is but the first of many riding opportunities approaching in this area's future and is guranteed to attract many riders from outside the redwood curtain. The soil and design on the trail make it a perfect winter ride, as we encountered no mud and incredible traction thourghout. I strongly reccomend this ride, if only as a beacon of hope that wheels are turning in favor of the bicycle and to remind us that there are edcuated and experienced individuals who actually put the two wheelers first. The fresh Ride Files photo album features photos by Sean Tetrault from our first ride in the King's Range on December 9 followed by shots by Justin Graves taken on an encore ride two days later on December 11th, was so good we couldn't stay away. We hope these photos convey a bit of the beauty and flow which this trail offers. Enjoy.