You’ve heard of mountain bike races and tours, and have seen videos of competitions. There are races where they compete on dirt tracks, while there are some going up and down extreme mountain trails. You can read bike magazines and online forums that speak of bike tips and tricks, the most amazing trails, race schedules, categories and divisions. If you are into mountain biking and want to try these out, here are some of the popular kinds of races.
- Cross-country (XC). This type of racing is a massed-start race and follows varied terrain, which stretches out 6 to 8 kilometers. Junior races or sub-professional races are allowed technical assistance, like a pit stop in car races. In professional cross-country races, however, there is no technical assistance allowed, but team members can help one another.
- Downhill (DH). Also known as DH Racing, this is a time-trial event where the winner is the one who has the shortest time going down a hill. It sounds simple, but DH trails are varied in difficulty and length. Players can either start at the same time, or at an interval. Some can last for as short as thirty seconds, while some can last as long as three minutes.
- A similar event to this is the Dual Slalom or Dual. Dual Slalom is an adopted term from skiing where two competitors go down a hill at the same time with the same obstacles and jumps. Whoever crosses the finish line first, wins. They adapted it to biking, as in biking there is no divider between competitors and it is considered a contact sport.
- Freeride (FR). As the name implies, riders are free to choose the type of route they will complete, and it is more than just a competition of speed, but of style. Each terrain for this competition has different levels of difficulty, and judges will score competitors depending on how well they have performed their tricks and sometimes on how fast they have performed them.
- Four cross (4X). This is similar to Dual Slalom, but in this type, four bikers are pitted against each other down the same terrain, which makes elimination faster. This format is used in professional races, but for amateur races there is what is known as the Mountain Cross, or MTNX where it is still a four on four, but the top two per round are the ones who move to the next elimination round instead of just one.
- Marathon (XCM). One of the toughest races, this type goes through different mountainous terrains of 80 to 100km distances. There is what is called an Ultra-Marathon where it exceeds 100km. Mostly they have a mass start from point A, to arrive eventually at point B. One type of biking that developed from this is Enduro (ND). This can last from 12 hours up to 24 hours and have different categories, including solo, pair and team. It is not a test of speed, but of how many laps a team can finish before the end of the event.
Mountain biking is an adrenaline pumping sport, and depending on your drive for that thrill, there are varying options just for you. Find the right one, be careful and remember to have fun.