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Special trails: guest blog, written by Neil Cain

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 06/09/2013 17:10pm

I’m not a big fan of categorisation, and I dislike pigeon-holing for the sake of it – ¬†especially when it leads to unnecessary views on what can and can’t be done, or people believing categories are there for a genuine reason.

The Black Run at Aston Hill. A race course for one day of the year, a trail for the other 364…

A specific example of this happened last weekend.

I was at the Aston Hill Black Run race when one of the guys riding asked Trail Manager Rich “Are you getting any enduro trails?”

Now I’m not sure what an ‘enduro’ trail is. ‘Enduro’ as a race format looks like how a lot of people ride their bikes – wide track to the top, singletrack to the bottom. ¬†It’s certainly how I like riding in big hills, and as a race format it looks great. But is it really a trail type?

Trails to me are just that – trails.

There’s a lot of good adjectives to describe the nature of a trail – ‘downhill’, ‘flowy’ and ‘technical’ all spring to mind – but can we really, really categorise them, nail them down and pigeon-hole them to describe exactly what they are?

A trail used in a race becomes a course – it’s fixed and it has a beginning and an end. Its existence is very short, and in that time it has one, singular purpose. A trail is different – it’s a living thing; it changes, its path alters and it will evolve with the people using it. They are two quite separate beasts.

I see trails a little how I imagine surfers see waves – there are big waves, small waves, hollow waves and grovelling waves – but ultimately they’re all lumps of energy moving through water before breaking over an obstruction; waves.

So anyway, when Rich was asked whether Aston Hill was getting any enduro trails, I enquired “What exactly is an ‘enduro’ trail? Isn’t it just a fun trail that goes downhill?”

“It’s like that,” replied the question asker. “Just a bit longer.”

Excellent.

I’m glad we cleared that up.

The Black Run at Aston Hill. A race course for one day of the year, a trail for the other 364…

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