Cross-Country racing – where next for the UK?

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Matt Page's picture

Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. Former full time racer and 24hr event specialist but now happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.

2 comments

1 month 2 weeks ago

kil0ran wrote:

For me the format for XC is wrong. I watch a lot of bike racing and as much as I want to enjoy it XC is just dull. Too oftens ends up as a muddy ITT with limited overtaking. The courses provide limited overtaking opportunities, there's no choice of lines and so it comes down to the start and a battle of endurance. Bikes and bike handling are so good that mechanicals and falls rarely come into it.

I enjoy watching MTB downhill for the same reason I like watching downhill ski-ing - split times and extreme skill. I've never ski-ed and have no desire to ride downhill but the sport is highly engaging. Short runs, three split times to build excitement, extreme skill, and a hint of danger. 

I wonder if there is a middle ground for XC? Rather like motocross? Have venues where the whole course is in view of the start/finish area and is built on a hillside so you can build in endurance elements (cycling uphill) and technical (some of the smaller jumps/moghuls you get in DH & BMX). Short laps (but a bit longer than XCC) and more technical. Three split times per lap. Hilly long-course BMX racing.

Is there also a place for trials riding? I'm old enough to remember Kickstart and Junior Kickstart getting huge viewing figures on telly, yet again because of the technical skill and split timing. 

Have you seen any XCC (short track) events as that sounds very similar to what you have suggested.
They are on a course that is usually fully within view from one location with a mix of technical sections and up/downhill. I find them exciting to watch and also at World Cup events helps give an insight into form and also top placed riders are gridded, which encourages participation.

1 month 2 weeks ago

For me the format for XC is wrong. I watch a lot of bike racing and as much as I want to enjoy it XC is just dull. Too oftens ends up as a muddy ITT with limited overtaking. The courses provide limited overtaking opportunities, there's no choice of lines and so it comes down to the start and a battle of endurance. Bikes and bike handling are so good that mechanicals and falls rarely come into it.

I enjoy watching MTB downhill for the same reason I like watching downhill ski-ing - split times and extreme skill. I've never ski-ed and have no desire to ride downhill but the sport is highly engaging. Short runs, three split times to build excitement, extreme skill, and a hint of danger. 

I wonder if there is a middle ground for XC? Rather like motocross? Have venues where the whole course is in view of the start/finish area and is built on a hillside so you can build in endurance elements (cycling uphill) and technical (some of the smaller jumps/moghuls you get in DH & BMX). Short laps (but a bit longer than XCC) and more technical. Three split times per lap. Hilly long-course BMX racing.

Is there also a place for trials riding? I'm old enough to remember Kickstart and Junior Kickstart getting huge viewing figures on telly, yet again because of the technical skill and split timing.