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Andrew Fulton on turning Pro

If the Pro class were invitational in the U.S. as the top class is in most BIU countries, we might see some different faces competing there. In order to improve the sport of Biketrial in the U.S., perhaps we should re-evaluate the way we view and rank its riders. In almost every class there is a wide gap in the middle of the point spread. (Ex: 1st-15 pts, 2nd-17 pts, 3rd-42 pts, 4th-48 pts) Often it is perceived that the better riders should advance to the progressively harder level; I feel differently. I think that the riders on the lower half of the gap should be riding the lower class until they hone their skills. But the American ego is a fragile thing. All too often riders seek instant gratification through advancement. A large drop-off or big side hop are impressive, but are not the essence of Biketrial. Mastery of mental focus, physical skills and consistency are overlooked in the U.S. culture. Just because a rider performs a few moves well, there seems to be a push for him to advance instead of perfecting other moves AT THAT LEVEL. Hats off to the riders like Zak Maeda who further refine their skills instead of rushing to advance to the next class. I realize this may be frustrating to lesser riders in that category, but instead of complaing about featherbedding, they should take the opportunity to learn from the better riders. One can learn from watching the way a better rider picks lines, and then riding those lines oneself. Focus on LEARNING, not winning. Winning is good, but learn first and winning will follow. Experience counts for a lot in this brutally mental sport. (For those of you following, this is only my second year of competition, with only 2-1/2 years total on a trials bike.) So I'm relatively new to this sport.

Trials would be better in the U.S. if more riders were riding where they should be instead of worrying about their labels. It's more impressive to boast of a higher competition class than to humbly admit that you have a lot more to learn before advancing. Once a rider consistently gets fewer than 1/4 of the points possible on the day, then progression to the next level is reasonable. As an example, I got 32 points at Seven Springs out of a possible 60. Over 1/2 the points! There's tons of room for improvement, and I recognize I have a lot to learn. Nobody really wants to watch "Pros" five their way through section after section.