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  1. #1
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    MTB vs. Road Bike: Anyone Like Me?

    So, several years ago I purchased a MTB from Price Club (now Costco). It's a MOTIV Ground Pounder. Nothing special really; it's just been a fairly reliable bike I've used for so long now, it's almost a part of me, weird as that definitely sounds.


    In the last couple years, I've focused exclusively on a paved, dedicated bike path that for me functions as a road coarse; one with a few, small short hills with a few twisties and plenty flats. Total 'course' length is 25 miles, 12 1/2 each way. The first half is almost always more trying as it's a change in elevation in the upward direction, not a huge amount but still. I say 'almost always' because the course runs pretty much parallel to and alongside a river for much of its length and if there are any significant winds blowing, all bets are off as to which direction's easier. I'm guessing that's typical with similar topographies.


    I've got several training methods I've developed and schedules I try to follow and for the most part, my rides are one where I'm challenging myself. For me, that means (within reason), never giving up during a planned intense workout in terms of effort. I do time myself as it's a way of tracking overall performance, particularly when I do a personalized time-trail like ride every couple weeks or so. I also include fartleks, intervals, sprints, mini-hill climbs and the like depending on day.


    Now, with that as a brief or perhaps long-winded setup, on to why I'm writing this. I've been asked on more than one occasion why I don't invest in a dedicated road bike like many of the high end bikes I see on my rides; you know, carbon fiber, electronic shifting, super-skinny lightweight racing wheels, etc. with riders decked out in racing clothing gear including clipless road shoes. Well, here's where I'm a little weird, perhaps.


    In addition to my challenging my self on a regular basis, I frequently will be 'challenged' by racer types, usually occurring when I'm on a hard ride and I happen to pass one up; seems to rub some the wrong way. If it were me and I were on an expensive road bike and was passed up by some douchebag on a frigging tank of a MTB with knobby tires, I'd be perplexed to say the least. Maybe it's just me but there's are loads of ego out there, mine included and when that's mixed in with a good amount of competitiveness, that's what's making it all worth it and interesting and appealing, at least for me. I guess or should I say I know if someone can out sprint, out distance or out climb me, I've got the very fortunate luxury of being able to tell myself, "Well, it's 'cause I'm on a total non road bike, that's why". Yeah, that's the case much of the time but than again, there are plenty of others out there who are stronger riders than me; it's like duh, right?

    Blah, blah... blah. So, back to the question. Are there some, if any, others like me who are riding less than ideal bikes for road racing (like a MTB) and find one of their primary thrills to be mixing it up with dedicated road racer/riders?


    Lastly, simply going fast in terms of sheer speed is not a priority or interest of mine but still I've got this itch to change things up a bit or add a touch of variety by investing in the real thing be it a TREK, Cannondale or other sweet ride and seeing how that swings. A TREK BTW, is what I've got my eye on, an Emonda SL6, 7 or similar bike; a model that a ways off from the top in terms of performers but far superior for the kind of riding I'm currently doing. Maybe I'll even join a riding club, too... probably not.

  2. #2
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    I hate those "racer types" almost as much as I hate hippies!

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    If you're asking if it's cool that you can keep up with road bikes on your MTB, that's dandy, it seems like you ride a fair enough amount that you should have some fitness and shouldn't be surprised to pass some folks. However, if you're wondering how well you really stack up in general, a bike path isn't the right place to measure yourself. The really avid riders around you are much more likely to be on the road somewhere.

    Also 25 miles is a decent distance but serious riders are going to double or triple that with tons of elevation regularly in their training. It's like you already know, you're better than some and there are plenty better than you.

    If you're asking if it's worth it for you to invest in a road bike, my guess is that you won't regret it based on his much you're riding now on pavement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chipp View Post
    In the last couple years, I've focused exclusively on a paved, dedicated bike path that for me functions as a road coarse; one with a few, small short hills with a few twisties and plenty flats. Total 'course' length is 25 miles, 12 1/2 each way. The first half is almost always more trying as it's a change in elevation in the upward direction, not a huge amount but still. I say 'almost always' because the course runs pretty much parallel to and alongside a river for much of its length and if there are any significant winds blowing, all bets are off as to which direction's easier. I'm guessing that's typical with similar topographies.
    Most serious/fit road riders only use bike paths to get from A to B, avoid heavy traffic roads ect., take it easy when on bike paths and kind of just laugh at people who pass them if it's because they are treating the MUT as a race course.

    Yourself and the people who get pissed when you pass them are what's known as 'pathletes'. Definitely a funny breed of cyclist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chipp View Post
    Blah, blah... blah. So, back to the question. Are there some, if any, others like me who are riding less than ideal bikes for road racing (like a MTB) and find one of their primary thrills to be mixing it up with dedicated road racer/riders?
    No. That sounds dumb as hell. You intentionally make yourself ride a slower, less comfortable bike so you can...what again? Be as mediocre as some other random mediocre person you don't even know? Who's riding on a bike path? Where you intentionally do not ride quickly in the first place?

    Ignorance and bliss and all.

    Revisit this thread when you finally get a road bike and find yourself enjoying it quite immensely. Even if you don't get to pass any actual fast people.

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    Get a road bike,end of the story.

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    Some years ago I was paid by a major bike manufacturer to ride one of their prototype shaft driven commuter bikes equipped with a myriad of sensors that were attached to a laptop that I was carrying in a back pack. My instructions were to ride regular cycling paths and to cycle through the gears at stops and slopes. Well getting 100 per kilometer I was doing about 60kms before work each day. Two things I found out about racer types on cycle paths. (A) most of them, were not racers, just cruising enjoying their bikes and wouldn't bother with egoism (B) the competitive ones on the path were there because they couldn't keep up on the road, not racers. I'd pass them and say hello, they'd speed up and pass me and say nothing. Nothing is how much you should think about them. You are like the guy in the gym worrying about how much weight the others are pushing. Stop it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipp View Post
    So, several years ago I purchased a MTB from Price Club (now Costco). It's a MOTIV Ground Pounder. Nothing special really; it's just been a fairly reliable bike I've used for so long now, it's almost a part of me, weird as that definitely sounds.


    In the last couple years, I've focused exclusively on a paved, dedicated bike path that for me functions as a road coarse; one with a few, small short hills with a few twisties and plenty flats. Total 'course' length is 25 miles, 12 1/2 each way. The first half is almost always more trying as it's a change in elevation in the upward direction, not a huge amount but still. I say 'almost always' because the course runs pretty much parallel to and alongside a river for much of its length and if there are any significant winds blowing, all bets are off as to which direction's easier. I'm guessing that's typical with similar topographies.


    I've got several training methods I've developed and schedules I try to follow and for the most part, my rides are one where I'm challenging myself. For me, that means (within reason), never giving up during a planned intense workout in terms of effort. I do time myself as it's a way of tracking overall performance, particularly when I do a personalized time-trail like ride every couple weeks or so. I also include fartleks, intervals, sprints, mini-hill climbs and the like depending on day.


    Now, with that as a brief or perhaps long-winded setup, on to why I'm writing this. I've been asked on more than one occasion why I don't invest in a dedicated road bike like many of the high end bikes I see on my rides; you know, carbon fiber, electronic shifting, super-skinny lightweight racing wheels, etc. with riders decked out in racing clothing gear including clipless road shoes. Well, here's where I'm a little weird, perhaps.


    In addition to my challenging my self on a regular basis, I frequently will be 'challenged' by racer types, usually occurring when I'm on a hard ride and I happen to pass one up; seems to rub some the wrong way. If it were me and I were on an expensive road bike and was passed up by some douchebag on a frigging tank of a MTB with knobby tires, I'd be perplexed to say the least. Maybe it's just me but there's are loads of ego out there, mine included and when that's mixed in with a good amount of competitiveness, that's what's making it all worth it and interesting and appealing, at least for me. I guess or should I say I know if someone can out sprint, out distance or out climb me, I've got the very fortunate luxury of being able to tell myself, "Well, it's 'cause I'm on a total non road bike, that's why". Yeah, that's the case much of the time but than again, there are plenty of others out there who are stronger riders than me; it's like duh, right?

    Blah, blah... blah. So, back to the question. Are there some, if any, others like me who are riding less than ideal bikes for road racing (like a MTB) and find one of their primary thrills to be mixing it up with dedicated road racer/riders?


    Lastly, simply going fast in terms of sheer speed is not a priority or interest of mine but still I've got this itch to change things up a bit or add a touch of variety by investing in the real thing be it a TREK, Cannondale or other sweet ride and seeing how that swings. A TREK BTW, is what I've got my eye on, an Emonda SL6, 7 or similar bike; a model that a ways off from the top in terms of performers but far superior for the kind of riding I'm currently doing. Maybe I'll even join a riding club, too... probably not.
    IME/O the really experienced/good/fast (however you want to quantify a bad ass rider or racer) are not concerned with what other guys are doing while on rides. They don't care if a guy on a mountain bike or any kind of bike for that matter passes them. They are encouraging and approachable and want to help (if you want help).

    Wankers are out there in every aspect of cycling just like life. Just do your own thing. Stay positive and have fun. What ever that means to you. However, your words that I highlighted in bold really make you sound as bad or worse than the posers out there giving the sport a bad image.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipp View Post
    Are there some, if any, others like me who are riding less than ideal bikes for road racing (like a MTB) and find one of their primary thrills to be mixing it up with dedicated road racer/riders?
    yes, sort of. most of my bikes are vintage steel lightweights with downtube shifters. i do enjoy passing modern road bikes. it happens more often than being passed. even more enjoyable is talking with someone about my old, beautiful bike and his new one.

    unfortunately, i'm also passed by 50 pound electric assist bikes, and that doesn't feel so good. but most of the time, i'm just glad to share the road or path with people that are respectful and riding in a safe manner.
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    On our training rides, some dudes would show up on their MBikes and haul the mail. But those guys are real racer dudes getting a work out in on a pretty fast training ride. I was never challenged by them passing me, I didn't feel bad about it, I didn't try and pass them back.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfrancois View Post
    yes, sort of. most of my bikes are vintage steel lightweights with downtube shifters. i do enjoy passing modern road bikes. it happens more often than being passed. even more enjoyable is talking with someone about my old, beautiful bike and his new one.

    unfortunately, i'm also passed by 50 pound electric assist bikes, and that doesn't feel so good. but most of the time, i'm just glad to share the road or path with people that are respectful and riding in a safe manner.
    Heck yeah. If you're riding something different, show off a little, give the elitists, and they know who they are, a little perspective.

    Riders often act like dogs. They pass each other competitively a few times, establish a pecking order, and frequently ride in a group.

    I pace riders going a bit harder than me to get the heart rate up. I let them get a block ahead, then try to stay the same distance. Others have done that to me when I'm going strong and they aren't.

    So when a climb comes up, I always have the cheap thrill of maybe catching them midway up and beating 'em over the top, like I did with this hotshot couple the other day on their Dogmas. The guy was really pi$$ed. He sprinted around on the downhill, must have been 30 mph, and went like hell the next two miles, dropping his hapless partner. Had to laugh. Hell, I shoulda drafted his a$$!

    Then there's this retarded kid who can't get enough riding in on his Trek mountainbike. He commutes to a packaging job. No driver's license, so he gets his revenge on his bike. He passed me on the MUT once. I drafted him a half mile or so, but he was trucking along at 22 mph and I couldn't stay with him. He pulled away smoothly and kept going like the Everready bunny. I was impressed by his grit.

    Some, not all, elite riders have a superiority complex, especially down with the proletariat on the MUTS. They still have no compunction passing walkers and kids on training wheels at 20 mph. When slower riders instinctively try to match their pace, usually a muscular 20 mph or better, the elite rider feels challenged and has to prove he's the best.

    My experience, anyway, in the last 35 years.

    Have fun, chip! Its a sport, a competitive outlet. Make the most of it. By all means get that Trek road bike! You need a weapon equal to the competition. Jut think of the performance gain! You're trained up on the MTB and will break the legs of all pretenders!
    Last edited by Fredrico; 09-09-2017 at 02:50 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Heck yeah. If you're riding something different, show off a little, give the elitists, and they know who they are, a little perspective.

    Riders often act like dogs. They pass each other competitively a few times, establish a pecking order, and frequently ride in a group.

    I pace riders going a bit harder than me to get the heart rate up. I let them get a block ahead, then try to stay the same distance. Others have done that to me when I'm going strong and they aren't.

    So when a climb comes up, I always have the cheap thrill of maybe catching them midway up and beating 'em over the top, like I did with this hotshot couple the other day on their Dogmas. The guy was really pi$$ed. He sprinted around on the downhill, must have been 30 mph, and went like hell the next two miles, dropping his hapless partner. Had to laugh. Hell, I shoulda drafted his a$$!

    Then there's this retarded kid who can't get enough riding in on his Trek mountainbike. He commutes to a packaging job. No driver's license, so he gets his revenge on his bike. He passed me on the MUT once. I drafted him a half mile or so, but he was trucking along at 22 mph and I couldn't stay with him. He pulled away smoothly and kept going like the Everready bunny. I was impressed by his grit.

    Some, not all, elite riders have a superiority complex, especially down with the proletariat on the MUTS. They still have no compunction passing walkers and kids on training wheels at 20 mph. When slower riders instinctively try to match their pace, usually a muscular 20 mph or better, the elite rider feels challenged and has to prove he's the best.

    My experience, anyway, in the last 35 years.

    Have fun, chip! Its a sport, a competitive outlet. Make the most of it. By all means get that Trek road bike! You need a weapon equal to the competition. Jut think of the performance gain! You're trained up on the MTB and will break the legs of all pretenders!
    WTF. Cycling can be a competitive sport but generally competing means all sides are aware they are competing.
    Getting excited about passing some random dude on a bike on a the bike path is to cycling what laying out someone you see in a shopping mall carrying a football is to football.
    It's sad really. What causes people to be like this? Never had the talent to participate in any real competitive sports? It's good humor but sad in a way too.

  13. #13
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    There used to be a guy who showed up at our club rides; he was built like a football tackle, and he rode a hybrid (but one of the 'better' ones). Yes, he kept up with us road bikers, and he also punched a big hole through the wind, so we were more than happy to let him lead in a headwind........
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

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    I always find it funny when I get passed by mediocre riders on bike paths doing intervals, while I'm trying doing a nice recovery spin through the river valley. I don't really mind it though, because I know I'm winning CAT 1 races while they're probably popping champagne after their 5 hour century.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Warpdatframe View Post
    I always find it funny when I get passed by mediocre riders on bike paths doing intervals, while I'm trying doing a nice recovery spin through the river valley. I don't really mind it though, because I know I'm winning CAT 1 races while they're probably popping champagne after their 5 hour century.
    By most riders' assessments, a 5 hour century is damn good! That's averaging 20 mph. The average recreational rider is lucky to get 16 or 17 mph average, more like 7 hours on a century!

    Winning a criterium is way more intense, but over in 30 minutes.

    Road racers used to build up leg strength and VO2 max. cyclocrossing and mountain biking over the winter, and hitting the early Spring crits. Then they build endurance in the Spring classics, in preparation for the stage races coming up later in the season. It's all a natural progression, necessary if one want to be a contender, save for a few genetic freaks or druggies.

    When someone drafts me while I'm going strong, I find it flattering. If they pass me, fine. They're testing their strengths against mine. So what? Let 'em have some fun. If you want to get rid of a drafter, sometimes two or three if you're really on a roll, pull off to the left and motion him forward, then see if he pulls away from you. If not, drop the sucker. Not all that different from driving a car on the interstate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    WTF. Cycling can be a competitive sport but generally competing means all sides are aware they are competing.
    Getting excited about passing some random dude on a bike on a the bike path is to cycling what laying out someone you see in a shopping mall carrying a football is to football.
    It's sad really. What causes people to be like this? Never had the talent to participate in any real competitive sports? It's good humor but sad in a way too.
    Your football analogy is revealing. Brute strength. .

    I've always thought bike racing is like boxing. You gotta stay light on your feet and jump around a lot. You have to plan your punches in advance, using them at the opportune moment. You go in and out of anaerobic multiple times, and have to recover without being dropped. Endurance is the key to victory.

    Talented athletes from other sports especially, like to see how good they are spotting a rider they perceive is stronger and faster. I stopped riding crits about age 50, after witnessing too many horrible crashes in the cat. IVs. But its still fun to "compete," for moments of glory so I can smile afterwards.

    Its not sad, merely realistic. We aren't all going to be Eddy Merckx, but its fun to try once in a while. Cycling is an endurance sport, not so much a sport of physical skills like hockey or basketball. Nerds may apply.

    Don't tell me you're not aware immediately when another rider "lays down the gauntlet!" You like to race, don't you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Your football analogy is revealing. Brute strength. .

    I've always thought bike racing is like boxing. You gotta stay light on your feet and jump around a lot. You have to plan your punches in advance, using them at the opportune moment. You go in and out of anaerobic multiple times, and have to recover without being dropped. Endurance is the key to victory.

    Talented athletes from other sports especially, like to see how good they are spotting a rider they perceive is stronger and faster. I stopped riding crits about age 50, after witnessing too many horrible crashes in the cat. IVs. But its still fun to "compete," for moments of glory so I can smile afterwards.

    Its not sad, merely realistic. We aren't all going to be Eddy Merckx, but its fun to try once in a while. Cycling is an endurance sport, not so much a sport of physical skills like hockey or basketball. Nerds may apply.

    Don't tell me you're not aware immediately when another rider "lays down the gauntlet!" You like to race, don't you?
    okay, boxing. Getting satisfaction from sucker punching someone messing with the speed bag in a fitness type gym and being extra proud of yourself because they have expensive boxing gloves is to boxing what blowing by some dude with a Dogma and Zipps on the bike path is to cycling.

    yes I like to race and compete. I do that by signing up for something called a race or showing up for group ride where everyone knows they are competing. Not by passing or chasing strangers. And yes I do get motivated to try and keep up with or beat known good climbers and sprinters on climbs and sprint but I'm competing against that person not the price tag on their bike. I notice bikes because I like bikes but would find it really silly for someone's bike to impact my motivation to beat them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Winning a criterium is way more intense, but over in 30 minutes.
    Maybe for juniors or cat 5s. I regularly do 60-90 min crits.

    So much harder than a 5 hour century, and big crits sometimes harder than a 4 hour century.

    Again, something no MUT pathlete has any clue about in their "passing someone while on my mtn bike and getting them irritated" delusions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    okay, boxing. Getting satisfaction from sucker punching someone messing with the speed bag in a fitness type gym and being extra proud of yourself because they have expensive boxing gloves is to boxing what blowing by some dude with a Dogma and Zipps on the bike path is to cycling.

    yes I like to race and compete. I do that by signing up for something called a race or showing up for group ride where everyone knows they are competing. Not by passing or chasing strangers. And yes I do get motivated to try and keep up with or beat known good climbers and sprinters on climbs and sprint but I'm competing against that person not the price tag on their bike. I notice bikes because I like bikes but would find it really silly for someone's bike to impact my motivation to beat them.
    Well ok, most little dogs can't stick with the big dogs for long, se we play games amongst ourselves. When a big boy shows us how its done, we're impressed, and when feeling good, sometimes seek to test our abilities with clearly better riders.

    We don't have the time or money or probably the optimum bike for racing, so the closest we come to competition are the club rides and chance encounters riding alone. We gotta have some fun too!

    I wouldn't characterize it as "sucker punching" the other rider. If a rider passes someone fast, then slows down and gets caught and thinks he got sucker punched, that only shows his sensitivity toward being dissed. Racer types I pass mostly punch back immediately, IME, like the guy I described above. I accept this behavior. It's a bit like the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest. Cycling, being an endurance sport, won by attrition, whoever has the most left in his legs by the end of the race.

    We all race against the person. That's the given. However, aggressive guys with the best equipment are especially tempting. For one thing, they're typically going the fastest vehicles on the course, forcing you to work harder. For another, its fun to see how much of a handicap your bike is when you try to match their performance. Its the fox chasing the rabbit. Sometimes I'm the Fox, sometimes the rabbit! A common game on the MUTs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    Maybe for juniors or cat 5s. I regularly do 60-90 min crits.

    So much harder than a 5 hour century, and big crits sometimes harder than a 4 hour century.

    Again, something no MUT pathlete has any clue about in their "passing someone while on my mtn bike and getting them irritated" delusions.
    Well you would think elite cat. I roadies couldn't care less if they're passed by a mountainbiker on the MUT, but surprisingly, many do!

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    To the OP,

    You came to a road bike forum and asked a bunch of roadies what they think about someone on a mountain bike passing them on a local MUT (that you think of as a road "coarse"), whether or not we think you need a road bike?

    What kind of answers did you really expect to get from this?

    I have a better idea. Why don't you stop and chat with all of these people you passing? See what they have to say about it.

    There is so much context missing that your question is not really possible to answer. Who are these people you are passing? What is their fitness? What is the maximum safe speed on this 'race course' and how fast are you going ? Are they in a hurry, or just out for a casual ride, or on a recovery spin? Maybe just a casual commute home from work? You seem pretty happy with yourself and your prowess on a Costco MTB. Why would you even consider spending good money on a road bike when you already know that you are faster than 'road bikes on your local coarse' ?

    Your post isn't really about you wanting our opinion about whether or not you need a road bike. You have pretty much already "impressed" us with your cycling proficiency, passing road bikes on your mountain bike and all. This post is what is commonly referred to in Internet Land as a "HumbleBrag".

    Congratulations on being faster than some people, and slower than others (just like the rest of us).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Well you would think elite cat. I roadies couldn't care less if they're passed by a mountainbiker on the MUT, but surprisingly, many do!
    They really don't. When they're out for a recovery spin keeping below a certain heart rate, and some dude in cargo shorts and sandals is destroying himself trying to slowly pass them, they chuckle to themselves a little bit. This is that guy's race. It's their recovery ride. It's cute.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Well you would think elite cat. I roadies couldn't care less if they're passed by a mountainbiker on the MUT, but surprisingly, many do!
    lofl.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    A common game on the MUTs.
    Perhaps it's programmed in the DNA.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Well you would think elite cat. I roadies couldn't care less if they're passed by a mountainbiker on the MUT, but surprisingly, many do!
    I'm curious what distinguishes a cat 1 on a MUT from a weekend warrior on a MUT?

    Do you have some type of cat 1 radar that immediately alerts you to their presence?

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