More info about Moutnaing Biking
Just starting out in Mountain biking? Needing to know your Enduro’s from your Marathons, your 4X from your XCE and your downhill’s from your trials
Cross-country - Often abbreviated to XC or, at international level, XCO, cross-country races vary in length depending upon the category of rider, usually from around 30 minutes for youth riders to 1.5 to 2 hours for seniors and elites. Races are run on multiple laps of a cross-country course. Cross-country is a mass start race with large fields, often over 100 competitors, so getting a good grid position and a good start is vital. In the race, unlike road racing, riders must be self sufficient and can only get mechanical assistance in a dedicated technical zone. Again, unlike road racing, large groups seldom form due to the nature of the courses, with riders often battling alone or in small groups of three or four.
Cross-country eliminator (XCE) - A short, explosive and spectator-friendly form of cross-country racing, sharing much with the four cross racing format. Four riders compete on a short course with races just a few minutes long. Competition begins with qualifying heats before progressing through knockout rounds until only four riders remain for the final.
Cross-country marathon – Marathon events share much with standard cross country events but differ in terms of race length 40-120KM (25-75miles). Races often take place on much longer courses than cross-country or use multiple laps of a cross-country style course. There are marathon events for all levels of rider from popular mass-participation events like Mountain Mayhem to UCI ranked world championship level events for elite riders.
Downhill (also referred to as DHI) is a race against the clock in which the rider negotiates a succession of fast and technical passages. The participant must demonstrate courage as well as sharp technical and piloting skills in order to affront tree roots, banked sections, bumps, jumps and other natural obstacles along the way. Speeds reach around 80km/h in the men’s races and 70km/h for women. Downhill races start with practice runs, when riders can learn the course and set-up their bikes for the particular demands of the terrain and the conditions. Practice is followed by a timed run, often used to seed riders for the final, with the fastest rider from the timed run going last, which always builds tension and excitement as leaders are deposed one by one from the ‘hot seat’.
Four cross (4X) – Four cross races pit four riders against each other on a steep, technical track. Riders race from a mechanically-controlled, BMX-style starting gate. Events begin with qualifying rounds or motos progressing through knockout stages until the final is reached and an overall winner decided. The format varies depending on the level of competition and number of riders involved.
Trials – Just like motor bike trials it’s all about getting across obstacles manmade and natural as smoothly as possible without putting a foot down. Courses are set with control ‘gates’ which riders must pass through. Each time the rider puts a foot down they score a point, 5 points is a fail 0 points is a clean run. Like golf the aim of the game is to get the lowest score you can. Bikes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. From 20” wheel ‘Mod’ bikes to 26” wheel bikes. Powerful brakes, grippy tires, small frames and small seats aid maneuverability
Enduro – A newer format of racing the emphasis is on downhill gain over uphill pain with two types of event; Enduro downhill and gravity enduro. Enduro Downhill events have one long downhill course 15-30mins in length and can feature massed starts with hundreds of riders setting off at the same time. Gravity enduro events are like rally car stages races. Riders have a set time to ride a longer circuit that has 3-5 special downhill stages. Riders are timed on the special stages with the cumulative time of all the special stages deciding the result.
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