Does Banner have an undeserved bad reputation? I think it does. I believe these trails are just misunderstood.
I have said for years that “the trails at Banner may be the most fun and most feared trails in central Iowa.” But I think it’s time for us all to forget that fear and enjoy the fun. I’m tired of hearing that Banner is only for experienced riders.
Banner has some advanced trails, but that’s only some of the trails. And once you get a feel for Banner’s character by riding the beginner and intermediate trails first, the advanced trails become much more manageable.
Liz Von Houweling has written an article for all of us Just in time to capture the month of August and our final trio of IMBCS races, plus the Women’s MTB Clinic sponsored by Zoom Performance and Rasmussen Bike Shop on August 27th. Many of us will be able to enjoy the excellent fall weather conditions for some casual mountain bike rides here in Iowa. Liz has some thoughts on the unwritten rules of mountain biking that are well worth reading and adhering to while you are out on the trails…
Mountain Bike Trail Etiquette
Mountain bikers are a pretty easy going bunch, but there are many unwritten “rules” to follow while out on the trail. Even if you develop an incredible amount of skill and fitness, the surest way to lose respect from your fellow riders is to not adhere to proper etiquette.
Respect trail closures. When a trail is “closed,” that means that you should NOT ride it! Riding on soft and muddy trails can leaves ruts and destroy the trail. Stay on the existing singletrack even if it means going THROUGH the mud. Leave no trace—if you’re leaving tire tracks behind you, the trail is not ready to be ridden.
Mountain bike races can vary greatly in length depending on the category and type. Marathon races typically last 3-5 hours while cross country races are only 1-2 hours. No matter the duration, proper fueling is key for meeting race demands.
For all race distances, a good meal that is a mix of carbohydrates and protein with a little bit of fat about 3 hours prior to the start is usually sufficient. Another 100-300 calorie snack about an hour before the race could also be necessary. Entering races hydrated is also important and this process should be started the night prior to the race.
This is our first article from Zoom Performance Level 1 Coach Liz Van Houweling. Zoom Performance has partnered with IMBCS for 2016 by becoming one of our sponsors for the series.
What to Expect at Your First Mountain Bike Race
Toeing the start line for your first mountain bike race can be rather intimidating! I came from racing criteriums for 5 years and was still fearful about the idea of RACING mountain bikes. To outsiders, the thought of going as fast as you can while weaving in and out of trees, bombing down bumpy descents, and maneuvering around other riders can be frightening. I promise that it is not really as scary as it sounds!
No one to build and maintain trails would mean no trails. And no trails would mean nowhere to ride for fun and no races!
So let’s give a a big shoutout to all those who have done and will do the necessary work on our trails, both locally and across the state(s). Let’s also make a resolution to go to the next trail work day or even contribute to trimming and other maintenance on our own as our schedules allow.