For What It’s Wirth – Don’t Be That Guy, Part Two: Be That Guy

January 2, 2017
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Don’t Be That Guy, Part Two: Be That Guy

By Mike Wirth

wirthThe “For What It’s Wirth” column the right speed to hit a feature you never is broken, how he’s too tired to go or that in the October 2016 issue was thought you had the skill to hit. This guy his wife has a “honey-do” list. He’s always titled “Don’t Be That Guy.” It was a will simply say, “Just follow me,” before there with his bike dialed, with a smile on rant about the riders whom I encounter on a day-to-day basis who irritate me. Apparently, it stirred the pot with our readers, because I’ve never seen so much feedback on a single article. The feedback ranged from “You nailed it” to “You’re a complete idiot, and I wouldn’t stop to help you even if you crashed and were bleeding on the side of trail.” To say that I was shocked at the responses would be an understatement.

If you’d like to read some of the letters we received, you can flip to the “Trailgrams” section and have at it; however, I will say that the worst letters are not in there, as I didn’t feel it appropriate to print so many curse words and physical threats against me.

The aim of the article was to write something entertaining, but you riders take everything so seriously that I guess I can’t write anything satirical without being raked over the coals. So, to prove to all of you loyal MBA readers that I’m not as much of a grump as I seemed in that article, this is a list of my favorite people I run into on the trail.


I’ve had the privilege of riding with many of the top-level pro riders in our sport. I’ve ridden with Olympians, world champions and top amateurs. They are all faster than I am; however, they don’t feel the need to put the screws to me and would rather enjoy the ride. Whether it’s Todd Wells cranking up a climb and waiting for me at the top or Wade Simmons hitting the gnarliest gap I’ve ever seen and then not bragging about it, I’ve learned that the best riders don’t feel the need to show off in front of me.


A close relative of the not-showing-off guy, this guy wants to show you the best line on the trail. But, instead of pinning it to spread his peacock feathers, he wants to lead you in, showing you the right line and dropping into a big drop or jump. And thanks to his carefully calculated speed and skill, you’ll be sailing over the biggest jump of your life.


This guy is prepared for every single ride like a boy scout. He’s the first one to offer up an extra tube should you flat or an extra energy bar if you’re on the verge of bonking. He’s also the one who knows how to fix nearly any issue that could arise on the trail. Many professional trail guides fit into this category, and I owe them a debt of gratitude for showing me some of the best trails I’ve ever ridden without me having to worry that I wouldn’t make it home for dinner by the campfire.


This guy is the opposite of the Strava junkie who only cares about making it down to the bottom of the trail first. He’s considerate of all trail users, including hikers, equestrians, rangers, bird-watchers, and maybe even forest-dwelling hobos if you’re riding Los Angeles trails. This guy is the first to dismount his bike and give a smile and a “good morning” to fellow trail users. He’s the good Samaritan who helps to keep our trails open.


This guy is active in his community and cares deeply about the trails in his area. He’s not afraid to give up an entire weekday night to go to a local trail advocacy meeting. He also votes for better trail access and probably spends a couple weekends a year volunteering to do trail maintenance. This is the guy who gives mountain bikers a good name.


This guy is one you can always depend on to be up for a big, epic ride. He will never call you at 6 a.m. the day of a ride and make up an excuse about how his bike his face and is ready to go out for a pedal.


There’s an awkward moment in some riding groups when it comes to deciding who’s going to drive to the trailhead, or worse, drive the shuttle truck while his buddies are having a blast shredding the trails. This guy is out to serve the greater good and is willing to take one for the team by keeping his bike in the truck for the first couple runs, or being the man at the wheel on the trip to Moab as his riding buddies take a nap in the back seat.


If you’ve made it this far in this rambling article, you probably fit into one, two or maybe even all of these categories. Our readership is a passionate one, and one that I’m honored to speak to about the sport I love. Be that guy, and I’ll see you out on the trails.


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