The Shimano program has merit, I’m sure. Think about it! If you were on the World Cup stage and all of your sponsors, family, friends and fans were there to cheer you on and you ended up losing the race to a flat tire; the disappointment would be monumental. I’ve lost plenty of races because of mechanical failures. I would have loved to call the boys from Shimano over to work on my broken Specialized. However, I am more of the self-sufficient type. I value the effort I put into my bike. Yes, I’ve trained putting a tire back on my wheel.
I want to pose the question to you. Do you think the Shimano neutral support program takes the ideal of self-sufficiency out of mountain bike racing, or should racing be more about racing? Is this what our sport needs? Without the tool bags, greasy hands and bloody knuckles is our sport turning into a road bike version on trails? Should we have another class or racer -- the self-sufficient one?