Cutting Corners at Enduro Races is Slower (says Christo Gallagher)

Have you ever straight-lined a corner on a trail?

Christo just raced Tweedlove’s Transcenduro event (and won) and wants to call-out the course cutters.

Who the blame lies with

You might well have seen the recent controversy surrounding the cutting of corners at Tweedlove Transcend. The argument was that it ruins the hard work of the trail builders in favour of faster race times.

With that in mind, I thought it seemed right to have a look at this and see who, I think at least, the blame lies with.

The heated discussed kicked off at the Tweedlove Transcend Enduro event last weekend. The most obvious point is all the new ‘cut lines’ on the very popular trail “Angry Sheep”. Angry Sheep sees hundreds of runs on it every weekend from the Adrenalin Uplift and pedal powered riders alike.

It’s an exceptionally well-built trail that has withstood an impressive amount of traffic.

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Bit of a sad dog walk up the local today looking at a whole bunch of new cut lines. I don't really have answers and I don't want to seem like I'm pointing the finger at the race just gone as all the various events that visit are much the same in terms of impact. Some thoughts. Plain simple shortcutting sucks. Go ride a firebreak if you don't like corners. I don't know a single trailbuilder who rides cut lines because they know how much effort it takes to build turns. Most of these cuts are slower than the normal line, with worse exit speed and less flow than the main track. Once they are visible though, they will suck in more riders and closing them gets very difficult. Maybe we shouldn't race every classic trail. The one in the pics is loved by many, was taped well by the Tweedlove guys and has now been degraded a little more forever. You Enduro racers are horrible and will apparently cut anything and everything not fully double taped. It might be best just to keep the races away from some of the tracks. Rider numbers via commercial activity are only going up. More races each year with larger entries is putting an ever bigger impact on the trails. It's a huge strain on a network supported only by a few locals and a fledgling charity. No matter what they tell you, none of the event organisers have ever done or supported any significant post event repair. Unless this changes, with organisers contributing in relation to their footprint I can only see resentment from local builders and riders alike continuing to grow. Rant over. Go ride. But stay on the trail please.

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The shorter line is the faster line

What is it about a race that brings in this desire to cut corners?

You could argue that the shorter line is the faster line, and in many cases this is true. A race is, after all, about finding the fastest line down the hill and riding it as quickly as possible. Therefore you might question who is at fault here, the riders or the race organiser?

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The riders or the organiser?

I think we can all agree that the trail builder in question, who no doubt spent over 100 hours on this trail did not deserve to have this work of art abused so disrespectfully. However, bringing in riders from far afield, who don’t know the trail etiquette or understand how the trails got there can lead to the trails being treated in a different way than the local riders might.

Does the responsibility of avoiding course cutting sit with the riders or the organiser? You could argue that wide taping is great for the sport, allowing for creative line choice and natural maturation of trails.

I think, in this case, wide taping allowed for corners to simply be straight lined or cut out. It has gone too far and it’s no longer creative line choice. It’s just cutting corners.

Photo by Dave Price.

Think if it’s more fun or if it’s even faster?

With course cutting being very difficult to police in enduro it relies on a rider’s moral standing to keep things fair.

I think there should be more done to tape courses better. This is of course with perfect hindsight and a local might not even consider that these cut lines might be taken because, of course, they always ride the trail in the way it was designed to be.

Should there be someone with no knowledge of the trail inspecting the taping to provide valuable feedback? Should riders simply have more respect for the trail and themselves? I don’t know about you, but I’m at the race for a good time and going straight over corners instead of riding them is much less of a good time than riding them.

As someone who can call themselves relatively local to the Tweed Valley and someone who prefers corners over straight lines, I was very happy to prove all the course cutters wrong and take the fastest time of the day on the stage by riding the main line.

So next time you’re thinking of skipping out some corners in favour of the straight line, take a moment to think if it’s more fun or if it’s even faster?

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