Go-Ride Racing: An Introduction to Cross-Country Mountain Bike
Cross-Country Mountain Bike races take place on off road courses and generally have more technical sections as well as offering fewer places to overtake than Cyclo-Cross courses. Riders start together (mass start) and complete laps of a specifically marked course with climbing, descending, single track and technical sections (tight turns, changeable gradients, muddy or rocky terrain etc.) all being part of a typical race.
Cross-Country mountain bikes are lightweight and agile with knobbly tyres and the frame is often smaller than that of a road bike, all of these characteristics help riders to negotiate the technical terrain efficiently.
A Cross-Country Mountain Bike course can be created on a wide variety of terrain. Venues have included public parks, disused quarries, and the peripheries of sports centers, farms, and school grounds.
It is not always necessary to have severe inclines and descents - a challenging Mountain Bike course can be marked out on the flattest of terrain with a little ingenuity. By incorporating loops and switch-backs, a course can be laid out in a relatively compact area of land, with the added advantage that spectators can see a lot more of the race unfold.