For the casual cyclist, mountain biking is a wonderful way to enjoy the great outdoors as well as get a great work out. Today, mountain biking is growing rapidly into an excitingly popular sport. With that growth arises an entirely new subculture of mountain bikers who race professionally.
Every year there are hundreds of events and races organized across the nation for mountain bike enthusiasts. These endurance races are generally for those in the absolute top percentage of mountain bikers. It takes a certain amount of conditioning and performance to compete in endurance races as the competition itself is so demanding. There are plenty of different categories, but these races can be as long as 12 hours, taxing the limits of human endurance.
Types of Races
Of the many categories of endurance races, most are beyond the scope of normal cyclists’ physical limits. Starting at three hours these races only scale upwards, reaching six or even twelve hours in length. The shorter three hour races are separated by gender and occasionally by age groups, but the longer races often open up to include both genders and all age groups.
There are numerous formats for endurance races as well. Some races are strictly solo races such as the shorter races. However, as they get longer, endurance races include all combinations of team work and trade off riding, with teams of up to four riders.
Endurance races are highly organized much like the marathons many of the nation’s major cities hold annually and require registration and occasionally physicals. In addition to assuring the participants are physically capable of participating, these events often require a demonstration of certain safety equipment that meets particular regulations.
Safety is probably the most important thing organizers see to when there is a race. In addition to making sure each rider is in acceptable physical condition and has the proper gear, mountain bikes themselves are often checked to ensure they are in top shape, with fully aired tires, tightened handlebars, and properly adjusted frames and shocks.
Prohibited materials on the bike are also carefully watched. Such prohibited materials include reflectors, kickstands, adjustable hubs, sound frames, true wheels and any personal media devices. All of these items are checked for and expected to be removed before the race starts.
Finding Endurance Races
Endurance mountain biking is a high level addition to the sport of mountain biking. For that reason, if you are interested in getting involved, you should try and contact your local mountain biking association or club. They’ll have all the information you need to not only train for and prepare your bike for competition but the rules associated with the sport. There are numerous websites out there that cater to the crowd of endurance mountain bikers if you are looking for more information.
For anyone who has just gotten into mountain biking endurance racing might be a bit too much for you yet. However, you’ll find that in time you’ll be looking for a bit more of a challenge, and these longer more intense races might be just the thing you’re looking for to push your limits and test your physical conditioning. If you’re serious about endurance racing, take the time necessary to research and get in the shape necessary to compete in these races.