Quantcast

Reviving XC Racing - Your Input Needed

R

RideMonkey

Guest
I posted this earlier in the racing forum but though it would make a good front page discussion

Over the years XC racing has become more and more a non-technical sport that caters to fitness almost exclusively while neglecting handling skills and bicycle technology. XC racing is a poor sport for spectators. Its hard to watch because the courses are so long. Rigid frames and 63-80 mm forks are still the norm because the courses are generally non-demanding from a technical standpoint. Bike companies are not getting much exposure for the latest and greatest in suspension technology and other technical advances on the newest bikes.

Short track racing was created as a more spectator friendly form of racing. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to professional racing. Short track is glorified road racing. Its not technical at all! I wouldn't be surprised to see people showing up on Cyclocross bikes to race short track!

XC racing is on the decline. The best pro racers are turning to road racing or even triathalon so that they have a chance to make some money. I feel that 2 things need to be done to save professional XC racing: make it an exciting spectator sport and make racing more valuable to bicycle industry sponsors by making it a showcase for new technology.

Here is an idea for a new venue that is spectator friendly, exciting, and will showcase technology:

First of all put the mountain back in the biking. Those short track races are glorified road courses. Not technical at all. XC racing needs to be a showcase for new technology like downhill is. Downhill has become a much more interesting sport because its spectator friendly, fun to watch, and is driven by the latest technology.

How about this: XC 4 cross. Make a mile long course that has ramps, water crossings, rock gardens, etc. Make it super technical. The kind of course that would be suited to trail bikes with 4 inches of travel on each end. Have alternate routes around difficult obstacles so that anyone can participate, but make the obstacles a line that would save time for the riders with superior handling skills. So that the obstacles do not become bottlenecks in the course, run 4 racers at a time in 4 cross style.

And voila! We have a spectator friendly event that is exciting to watch, encourages the use of the latest MTB technology, and rewards both fitness and handling skills.

Any input on this idea is welcome.

This is another one of those threads where only thoughtful, mature responses are welcome.
 

Woggle Bear

Chimp
May 8, 2002
57
0
Northcentral Louisiana
Yea!

We were tossing a similar idea around here, in Louisiana, becouse we have no "mountains" for downhill or dual. And like you said the XC scene is too full of roadies. I sugested a long natural and man-made BMX type of course about one to two miles long that would stress all aspects of bike skills (jumping, speed trials, BMX, NS, fitness, etc.) but we were looking at 10 person motos with BMX type starts. It also seems that it would be much easier to run in areas with land access issues.

A sanctioning body would have to be created to get it all going, or something simular.

Glad to see we are not the only ones that think the current state of racing is lame.

WB
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
10,060
62
chez moi
Well, I posted this under BMXman's Future of DH post a while back, but it never drew much commentary there...(Maybe I should take a hint?) However, it seems sort of applicable here as well. In general, I think all mtbing is going to take a more technical and technological format or it will die. Our old categories of riding and racing are breaking down in any case, and the term 'freeride' is useless in any specific sense.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
This may sound a bit naive, but I'd love to see a new form of racing emerge...

The Red Bull event was cool, but not accessible to the average guy/gal...it wasn't meant to be. But maybe there could be an event based on more techical riding, probably at slower speeds than your average DH run with some fast bits thrown in. Some drops, tight twisty stuff, big rocks. No huge supercross-style doubles or anything like that. Some short uphills could be incorporated, but nothing like the Snow Summit style "Super D" courses, where you have one or two long boring fireroad climbs to exahust you before you start the downward fireroad ride. That event is fairly lame. Some built-up obstacles thrown in would spice things up...have a long slow line and a short crazy line through them.

So then we could all be northshore posers if we wanted to be! A hardtail class and perhaps multi-chainring (or Rohloff)/single chainring FS classes would be interesting...

I realize it's sort of contradictory to make freeriding into a race event, but doing it could be a good thing...harder trails would become more common everywhere if this style of riding could be popularized. Though we tend to think of ourselves here on RM as the mainstream cycling community, we're really a hardcore fringe element. Many mountain bikers have never even heard of downhilling as an event.

I just see racing as a way to bring people of like interests and mindsets together...most of us couldn't care less about winning a weekend bike race in the larger picture of our lives.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

-Mike
 

jhusktrials

Monkey
Dec 29, 2001
223
0
Denver
4 person seems like too few. But all in all that sounds very exciting.
I would reccomend 10 people atleast on the course. If you make it skill oriented you could even get DHer, trials riders, and bmxers to compete.
I would have to agree that the race scene is too based on how much a person trains, and not on how good of a rider they are.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
10,060
62
chez moi
I think we're all pointing towards an enduro style format. Was discussing this with another DH-type :monkey: ... any race is more fun when done on a challenging trail that seems more natural and remote than a groomed DH, DS, 4x, or short track XC course (or fireroad style XC course).

Head to head competition seems way XTREME these days, too....
 
R

RideMonkey

Guest
Wouldn't it be neato if we could pull something like this off and create a series infinitely more popular than what the disfunctional NORBA is providing?

These events would be well suited for ski resorts. We would have DH, Dual (or Mountain Cross if thats what people want), and this new XC format racing.

I like XC racing (not short track). I'm wondering if having XC racing as separate series like we see with the great Winterpark series here in Colorado would not be better? Let sanctioning organizations specialize somewhat so that they can provide better service?
 

-dustin

boring
Jun 10, 2002
7,165
1
austin
Originally posted by RideMonkey
I posted this earlier in the racing forum but though it would make a good front page discussion

Over the years...
so the race would just cover one mile? doesn't that cancel out the "cross-country" aspect of XC racing?
 
R

RideMonkey

Guest
Originally posted by the Inbred


so the race would just cover one mile? doesn't that cancel out the "cross-country" aspect of XC racing?
Multiple laps.
 
First off please excuse any miss spellings,I've just got in from a good night out and can't sleep:D

Some sort of enduro type racing would be a good idea.As The Inbred says even multiple laps would take out the "cross country" aspect of it.Having just had the Commonwealth games here in England and witnessing the MTB racing you can understand why the general public just aren't interested in XC any more.The race was more of just a time trial on dirt than propper MOUNTAIN bike race.Hell,our top XC girl lost out on a gold medal cos she didnt pack spairs to even fix a flat tyre propperly.What was she expecting,a Mavic service car like the Tour??
XC is very much in danger of becoming extinct.I'm not the fittest person and knowing that the courses aren't gonna have any technical sections where I may catch another rider I tend not to bother with XC as much as I used to.How many others must feel the same way?
What is called for is more of the adventure aspect to come into play.Longer distances,less outside support and more of a technical challenge.
Of course this isn't exactly gonna drag in the crowds of spectators either but surely a special section could be included to put on a show for the masses?

As I said just my late night ramblings.
Nite nite :monkey:'s
 

Surly

Chimp
The 10 man start/technical course/2 mile laps sound like a great idea. I don't race, and really have never considered it for the reasons listed above. I have started training to do some 24hr events next spring--mostly because it's a chance to ride with my buddies, and it resembles real mountain biking.
If something like this were available, though, I can name at least 5-10 guys (including me) off the top of my head who would love to compete at an amatuer level. Who wants to help get it started in Socal?
 

Woggle Bear

Chimp
May 8, 2002
57
0
Northcentral Louisiana
The Enduro format is a great idea. I went to a few Moto Enduros last summer and thought that it was what XC racing needed to evolve to. Longer courses with "tests" every few miles. It would weed out the poor riders quickly.

But I still like the 2 mile 10 man technical course. They could be done in almost any park or riding area. We have 6 places here in north Louisiana that would be great for it. It could even be done in a urban setting, stairs, drop offs, jumps, alleys, etc!

That is the problem with racing today. DH/BX can only be done in a few states. XC is limited to places with lots of land that have trails. This format could be done pretty much any where!

WB
:D :D :D :D :D
 

mikec918

Chimp
Aug 22, 2001
89
0
Virginia
I think the biggest problems with Cross Country racing started when we started worrying about weither specators would like it or not.

Screw Norba, The local state and regional race seiries are where Cross Country racing is at. So what If Cross country racing becomes a pure particpation sport with the only one there are the racers, their familys and a few friends all there to have a good thing I do not see that as a bad thing.

Most 10ks Maratons and Tris have very few specators it the racers that are inportant in these events.

Why do you think the 24hr races are so popular. It's not because you might see some Pro racers. Its because it's a chance for you and your friends to push yourselves and have a great time.

When I do a race and see 200-300 racers out there The last thinking I worry about it is , Dam I'm so down because Mtn biking is not on the Wide Wide World of Sports.

I for one would never do a race on a 2 or 3 mile course. Oh yes doing laps around the same 2 mile course for 60-90 minutes oh what fun. Oh I think Down hill and Mtn Cross are cool but they are not for everyone. Why do you think they have 5k 10ks and Maratons. and Sprint, Olympic, half ironman and Ironman races. Its because only 10-15% of people racing have a chance of winning the remainder of us are there for the personal challenge.
 
R

RideMonkey

Guest
Originally posted by mikec918
I think the biggest problems with Cross Country racing started when we started worrying about weither specators would like it or not.

Screw Norba, The local state and regional race seiries are where Cross Country racing is at. So what If Cross country racing becomes a pure particpation sport with the only one there are the racers, their familys and a few friends all there to have a good thing I do not see that as a bad thing.

Most 10ks Maratons and Tris have very few specators it the racers that are inportant in these events.

Why do you think the 24hr races are so popular. It's not because you might see some Pro racers. Its because it's a chance for you and your friends to push yourselves and have a great time.

When I do a race and see 200-300 racers out there The last thinking I worry about it is , Dam I'm so down because Mtn biking is not on the Wide Wide World of Sports.

I for one would never do a race on a 2 or 3 mile course. Oh yes doing laps around the same 2 mile course for 60-90 minutes oh what fun. Oh I think Down hill and Mtn Cross are cool but they are not for everyone. Why do you think they have 5k 10ks and Maratons. and Sprint, Olympic, half ironman and Ironman races. Its because only 10-15% of people racing have a chance of winning the remainder of us are there for the personal challenge.
In amateur racing what the racer enjoys has a lot of relevance. Not so much in professional sports. Professional sports relies on the money it can generate to be successful. The current formula for World Cup and norba racing is not working. Professional racing needs to be as much about pleasing the fans and the sponsors as it is about satisfying the racers. Thats why the racers get paid.

There is nothing wrong with amateur XC racing. But its not really much of a showcase for all this great new technology that is out there.

I do endurace events, long XC, 24 hour etc, yet I would be excited about trying a new technically oriented format.

I'm not talking about racing 2 miles for 60 to 90 miles. Its two miles of very technical riding and thats the entire race. Winners of the heat move up to the next bracket and race again. It would be fun for racers - escpecially those that can't devote the time to train a lot for longer events. It would be great for spectators.
 

mikec918

Chimp
Aug 22, 2001
89
0
Virginia
Originally posted by RideMonkey


In amateur racing what the racer enjoys has a lot of relevance. Not so much in professional sports. Professional sports relies on the money it can generate to be successful. The current formula for World Cup and norba racing is not working. Professional racing needs to be as much about pleasing the fans and the sponsors as it is about satisfying the racers. Thats why the racers get paid.

There is nothing wrong with amateur XC racing. But its not really much of a showcase for all this great new technology that is out there.

I do endurace events, long XC, 24 hour etc, yet I would be excited about trying a new technically oriented format.

I'm not talking about racing 2 miles for 60 to 90 miles. Its two miles of very technical riding and thats the entire race. Winners of the heat move up to the next bracket and race again. It would be fun for racers - escpecially those that can't devote the time to train a lot for longer events. It would be great for spectators.
Nothing wrong with giving people more choices. I just donot want to see these things are replacements for the classic Cross Country Race. As Alternatives they give riders a chance to try new skills or could bring new people to the sport of mtn biking both of which are good things.


I still see the biggest problem of increasing the spectar base of mtn biking is getting people to the races. I think if you took a survey of the NON ride racing population and asked them if the would comeout to watch a MTN bike if you made any of the changes you suggested you would get a 99% NO,,which is the answer we get with the format we use now. Oh and at 2.7 millon if we could get 1% of the population to watch a MTN bike race each year that would be amazing.

Also I dont think Professional Mtn bike racers are that inportant to Mtn biking.

Another thing to think about when watching UCI World Cup and NORBA Pros racing is the Lance and Jan Factor. IE the Camera's follow the best racers who make it look easy. Every Cross Country Race on OLN spends 90% of the time following Roland, so they look easy. I think we might get a better apprichation for these courses if we could see how the other riders were doing.

To all you Free Riders out there how much inpact did some Pro Racer have on you putting 2000-4000 dollars into your ride? Does the fact that the technology in your rides has not been race tested in a UCI or NORBA event have any impact on your purchase.
 

Roasted

Turbo Monkey
Jul 4, 2002
1,491
0
Whistler, BC
I think something just more technical. Test the skills and endurance of a rider. I recently rode with a rider from out east and took him on one of my xc courses out here. On anything flat he smoked me. Once we came to anything technical, rocky, rooty or steep he had no chance of keeping up. He had the lungs but no 'power' or any real skills.

I think to keep with the xc ideal it would still need to be of some distance with 80% pedalling.Don't put anything too technical as it alienates the xc riders as well. Make it so we could have freeriders and xc riders on one course competing instead of another excuse to hate each other.

There are many races in the whistler area which do similar things to this. Our terrain cators to this kind of racing and it is fun to watch and the riders are in unbelievable condition (strong, technical AND have a tonne of endurance). In flatter parts of the country man made could add the technical aspect. Whenever anyone asks the type of riding I do I always say xc/freeriding. I am not insanse enough to be a true freerider but I like the skill required to ride extremely tough and demanding terrain.
 

Roasted

Turbo Monkey
Jul 4, 2002
1,491
0
Whistler, BC
Ok I can't seem to edit so I am gonna double post.

to mikec918:

What a pro rides has nothing to do with what I buy. I don't care about race tested cause I have learned a couple of things talking to my sponsored buddies. They don't get normal parts. Most sponsored riders (including sponsored roadies) get special frames and parts. I speak with the people who ride and destroy parts like myself and find the best value to strength ratio.

For example from experience I destroy deraileurs. I also don't find deraileurs make a huge difference in my shifting once I get to a deore or higher level. At that point it is all about weight. Guess what I am strong enough to not worry about the 300g difference (I even have dh rims on the rear of my bike cause of my size and strengths). What does this mean. I buy cheap and replace often. A deore der is only 60$ while the xtr is 200$. I have 3.5 chances to break my deraileur. Thats a sweet deal imo.

I give total kudos to the xc scene. The have tonnes of endurance. But really there is nothing,imo, for the average all round rider to watch. Red bull is fun but I don't EVER plan to drop 50ft just for ****s and giggles. I am not a dh, 4cross rider so it bores me (except live when they crash), Trials are too slow (skills beyond belief). There is no comprimise on tv that I can find.
 

Foxx

Chimp
Mar 30, 2002
3
0
Toronto, Ontario
The XC courses are way too watered down now. The paths are all manicured of anything remotely difficult, and seem to be more of an endurance test than technical skill.

I think XC racing should be like riding through you favourite singletrack going over or around rock gardens, streams/creeks, climbs, short/long descents, bridges, roots, and whatever else makes for an interesting ride!

maybe they should rename it TRAIL RACING
 

Heidi

Der hund ist laut und braun
Aug 22, 2001
10,083
578
Bend, Oregon
I already posted this under your other post but I totally agree RM. I would show up to a race like the one you described in a heart beat. If you build it, I will come!

Seriously, I have raced on quite a few lame XC courses over the short 2 years I have been racing. If I hadn't already paid my fees, I wouldn't have bothered racing. I race to have fun and a course such as the one you described would be fun for racers and spectators as well.
 

mikec918

Chimp
Aug 22, 2001
89
0
Virginia
Originally posted by Foxx
The XC courses are way too watered down now. The paths are all manicured of anything remotely difficult, and seem to be more of an endurance test than technical skill.

I think XC racing should be like riding through you favourite singletrack going over or around rock gardens, streams/creeks, climbs, short/long descents, bridges, roots, and whatever else makes for an interesting ride!

maybe they should rename it TRAIL RACING
Foxx,

You've pretty much described Virginia Cross Country Mountain Bike Racing. 80-90% wooded single track with logs to bunny hop, short steep twisted rooted climbs and descents.
 

mikec918

Chimp
Aug 22, 2001
89
0
Virginia
Originally posted by RideMonkey


In amateur racing what the racer enjoys has a lot of relevance. Not so much in professional sports. Professional sports relies on the money it can generate to be successful. The current formula for World Cup and norba racing is not working. Professional racing needs to be as much about pleasing the fans and the sponsors as it is about satisfying the racers. Thats why the racers get paid.

There is nothing wrong with amateur XC racing. But its not really much of a showcase for all this great new technology that is out there.

I do endurace events, long XC, 24 hour etc, yet I would be excited about trying a new technically oriented format.

I'm not talking about racing 2 miles for 60 to 90 miles. Its two miles of very technical riding and thats the entire race. Winners of the heat move up to the next bracket and race again. It would be fun for racers - escpecially those that can't devote the time to train a lot for longer events. It would be great for spectators.

One suggest I would make would to have everyone do the course maybe 3-5 times and then have the times averaged with persons with the best total times being the winner. Maybe even have mulitple 1-2 Mile courses each a little different requiring everyone to race on each course. that way you could increase the number of riders racing at one time. Spectars could move from course to course to checkout the action. You coould even run 4, 6,12 and 24 hour races to really test riders endurance aswell as technical skills. By running three, 5 person course and releasing groups of riders at every 3-5 minutes you would could supprt a good number of racer each hour aswell as providing almost not stop action for the fans

Beginners do 3 runs
Sports do 5 Runs
Experts do 7 runs
Pros do 8 runs
 
R

RideMonkey

Guest
Originally posted by mikec918



One suggest I would make would to have everyone do the course maybe 3-5 times and then have the times averaged with persons with the best total times being the winner. Maybe even have mulitple 1-2 Mile courses each a little different requiring everyone to race on each course. that way you could increase the number of riders racing at one time. Spectars could move from course to course to checkout the action. You coould even run 4, 6,12 and 24 hour races to really test riders endurance aswell as technical skills. By running three, 5 person course and releasing groups of riders at every 3-5 minutes you would could supprt a good number of racer each hour aswell as providing almost not stop action for the fans

Beginners do 3 runs
Sports do 5 Runs
Experts do 7 runs
Pros do 8 runs
Head to head action is much more fun. How cool would it be to know that if you messed up one run you might have a chance to rest and regroup and go for it again?

I started XC racing 15 years ago. I'm bored. Time for something new!
 

The Toninator

Muffin
Jul 6, 2001
5,440
16
High(ts) Htown
What’s the problem from a spectator’s point of view? They can’t see the action. We as racers know it’s there but the spectators do not have access to it. So you have to bring the race to the spectators and market it to a TV audience.
Solution
expter/simi/pro put cameras on the bikes/riders like auto racing and set up camera towers (golf, auto racing) near accessible spots with views the course over all (or as much and is can get) and close ups of technical racing action and leave inaccessible areas for the remote bike cams. The cameras would actually be pretty lightweight because they would only need to transmit and would only have to transmit a short distance to a near by remote tower (cutting down on the amount of power you need) and then the remote tower would then transmit that to the a/v command center.

The result is whoring out our love. With more people watching the more advertise pump money in to the media machine the more expose and bastardization of the sport we will see. More people will go to Wal-Mart and buy bike and more traffic will start appearing on our trails and more accidents, more erosion and the more headaches we will encounter.
ON the flipside the more profit potential the more venues that will become available, possibly.

(ps your ideal does sound fun but we have some very technical courses and I would like to race them the way they are)
 

Woggle Bear

Chimp
May 8, 2002
57
0
Northcentral Louisiana
I agree with RM, the head to head action is great. Go to a local BMX race or better yet enter in the crusier class your self. It is as real as it gets. I started racing XC 6 years ago, it was fun but lacked something. I raced a season of BMX in 2001 it was great, tons more fun than XC. Alot more skill involved.
Alot more fun than spinning around on a smooth dirt path looking at my heart rate and worrying about cadence.

Just my 2 cents worth,
WB
 
May 24, 2002
890
0
Boulder CO
I really like the main idea of a 4x XC. I mean this is my last year racing XC as a priority at all. Next year it is going to be DH and Cat 3 road racing. XC has become road without tactics so its even more boring than any road race I've recently done. Some might think I'm weird for being on two opposit ends of the spectrum, but road keeps me in shape (for DH) and DH keeps me motivated and having fun.
 

Foxx

Chimp
Mar 30, 2002
3
0
Toronto, Ontario
doesn't matter if it's XC, 4X MC, DH, whatever, I like it all, but I still wish the XC stuff was a little more interesting like in the beginning. If it gets anymore refined, I may as well go back to road racing.
 
G

Gutty

Guest
Excuse me if this has been covered already,

2000 olympics XC, i couldn't get tickets-sold out. I did not hear one good word about the event from people that went though. Most seemed dissapointed that they couldn't see the riders for more than a few seconds as they rode by.

How would this work ?
Take a mountain X or dual course, make it wide enough for atleast 4-6 guys and give it a 10man start gate. Run the course then hit the track that takes you winding back up the hill for another lap of the MX course. The uphill could be as technical or lame as you like but it still gives the spectator something to watch the whole way through the race. Do as many laps as you deem neccesary to make it an endurance event. Also the jumps could have roll-arounds so those with less skill can still ride the course.
This kind of event would/could also see many different bike types in one race. You could have some guys/girls with the full on XC climber setup of HT with long stem who would excel at the uphill part but may have to do all the roll-arounds for the jumps. Then you might have some people useing a more DS setup so as to clear all the jumps on the MX course but maybe struggle a bit on the up hill. Take the bike that is going to help the most with what skills you have.

I hope all that made sense.
Thats my dribble on it.
 

peter6061

Turbo Monkey
Nov 19, 2001
1,577
0
Kenmore, WA
Maybe this 10 man 4x lap scheme could replace the current short track setup, which I agree is boring as hell.

Why are we worried again though about the mass audience viewing our sport? Why can't we just ride / race / whatever...

How about going back to having stage races where people HAVE to compete in all the events DH, XC, 4X, ST(new), etc,... Maybe that would make each event a little more interesting for those who care to watch.

I raced XC for years and gave it up a few back. Just stopped being fun. I wouldn't say this is a problem that has just begun, but one that began back in the early to mid 90's when the courses started getting used too much, and turned into smooth tracks.

I say, keep XC for those who want it, keep ST if you want, come up with new ideas that may replace current ones, and race whatever you feel like.

For me, I'm out of the XC game. I might do some DH. I'll race a 12/24 hour race. I'd still like to try a 63/100 mile point to point race. I'll race road and CX. And bring on the local unsanctioned "illegal" races like the cruiser downhills. It's all about having fun, not what the people who think I'm weird at work want to see on their TV.

BTW, if anyone is looking for a new idea for an event, check out the WILD 100 on ertc.com. It's a metric century mtb race done as a team, together where you have to navigate your own course between 6 or 7 checkpoints. (There is NO set course) It happened this past weekend in West Virginia. Maybe we just need more organizations hosting their own events. Forget about Norba and UCI, come up with an idea and make it happen. And have fun. :)
 

Ian F

Turbo Monkey
Sep 8, 2001
1,016
0
Philadelphia area
Originally posted by RideMonkey
I'm not talking about racing 2 miles for 60 to 90 miles. Its two miles of very technical riding and thats the entire race. Winners of the heat move up to the next bracket and race again. It would be fun for racers - escpecially those that can't devote the time to train a lot for longer events. It would be great for spectators.
That still sounds like a lot of training is needed to win in a format like that. If you think I'm wrong, go race BMX a few times. Short sprints lasting less than a minute over a technical course. After a few all-out runs you are ready to die.

I can tell you from racing DH, that fitness is incredibly important there as well. I raced much better last year than this year. Why? Because I trained much better last year so I was in better shape.

The problem with spectators and XC in the USA is the sport of cycling itself which is something only other cyclists really understand. The the US, mountain biking is a participant sport, not a spectator sport, and I don't see how that will ever change.

Most spectators at DH races stick around the tech sections. Why? To see the crashes! duh... In mtn-x they want big jumps, but even there the jumps are lame compared to watching a BMX dirt jumping contest or Supercross.

Even Supercross racers are in awesome shape.

Complain about it as much as we want, no amount of increase in the technical aspects of the course with reduce the fitness needed for racing. If anything, making the tracks more technical will make the racing WORSE. How? Because whoever gets the holeshot into the first tech section will be gone, never to bee nseen again. This is why the courses moved to a less tech format in the mid 90's. To reduce the Tomac-factor. The coruses were long and technical. Tomac in his prime had fitness to burn and was also the best DH racer of the day.

Bike racing is boring to watch. Simple as that. Even the most heaviliy attended race in the USA - the First Union USPRO Championships in Philly - is sold on the fact that it turns a good portion of the city in a huge party. 99% of those on the course couldn't give a rat's behind who won. I'll be watching and a guy will be next to me on the thrid lap saying, "Lance is losing! Why isn't he in the lead NOW???" They just don't understand.... :rolleyes:

I'm not saying I don't wish bike racing in the US was more popular, but I'm afraid it's a dead horse...

Now if they sold a ton of cheap beer around the course, that might increase spectator numbers. :thumb:
 

TrueScotsman

Monkey
Mar 20, 2002
270
2
Scotland
Right, time for my tuppence worth;

I used to do XC but now I do DH. A few of my friends are the same. We all seemed to stop XC when it got less technical.

The difference between road and dirt biking is the bike-handling skills involved. This difference should be accentuated.

This is my idea for a revised XC;

2-3 mile laps made up of about 3 or 4 loops so that spectators get to see riders for more than only a few seconds a lap. Number of laps is dependant on class.

Technical Uphills- fireroad climbs are boring and just a fitness test, I propose variable terrain climbs that reqire skill to ascend (e.g. loose surfaces, steep/zig-zag combinations - riders decide whether it is quicker to go straight up the steep bit of take the longer but shallower track around it.)

Muliple-line options- like DH,where adventurous or more skilled riders can opt to take a shorter but riskier line.

25+ Riders- The more riders the better- it encourages closer racing and more line options to be used. Maybe use a moto system where 4 quarterfinals feed the big final comprising the best riders- e.g. first 5 from each moto go through, pus the fastest 5-10 others (this encourages racing for position AND time)

What do y'all think?
 
R

RideMonkey

Guest
Some clarifications:

-I am NOT suggesting we replace XC
-I AM suggesting short track be eliminated.
-There are already lots of great ultra enduro type events in the US - we don't need more of those.
-The short course format would make it DOABLE for different fitness levels. Yes you would have to be fit to win but this would be more accessible to the weekend warriors, full time workers, family people etc.
-This is as much about creating a fun new event for the amateur athlete as it is about creating a better professional sport.
-This is the kind of course that with enough ramps obstacles etc could be built on totally flat ground. Mountain biking becomes more accessible in all 50 states.
 

Heidi

Der hund ist laut und braun
Aug 22, 2001
10,083
578
Bend, Oregon
Originally posted by RideMonkey
Some clarifications:


-This is as much about creating a fun new event for the amateur athlete as it is about creating a better professional sport.
I guarantee a lot of Pro's wouldn't enter it then. They wouldn't want to risk getting for their XC race. I think this would be better as just an amateur race.

I agree, don't take away XC, I like the longer races and for the most part, the Norba Nat courses are pretty fun.
 
Dec 5, 2001
3
0
Boulder
In Squamish, that course is awesome and it traverses extremely technical terrain, I would do that race any day if that were in my area. It includes some serious climbing but if you are a true roadie and lacking technical skills I think you would perish in that event. Sounds like a great idea to me! I used to be really into XC racing and now I can't even bear to watch it, it is very boring to watch I must say.:o:
 

spincrazy

I love to climb
Jul 19, 2001
1,530
0
Brooklyn
Coincidence?

Again, while opening yet another box of bike parts from the brown santa today at work, I was asked by a co-worker if I raced. I gave my pat answer of no, because I don't do dowhill (yet, but I'm thinking I'm too old now) and XC races are boring. I like all of the suggestions mentioned above for the most part, but in the end, I think if I were to race, it'd be Mtn Cross. I like the bmx-style format and it's anything but boring. My .03.
 

RhinofromWA

Brevity R Us
Aug 16, 2001
4,627
0
Lynnwood, WA
What about a ISDE (International Six Day Enduro) or the like the qualifiers they have for motorcyle racing nowadays.

You start in small groups and race to a a point on the course. If you are to early, no penatly. To late from you perscribed average MPH to get to that point, you are penalized (time). Special tests where the fastest on a certain section gets less penalties than the slower riders (have it techinical) so as the guys with the super light Xc bikes might have a hard time and give the guys who had to race to check point on a heavier FS rig and still make it might make up an advantage.

Multiple Special tests and points tallies will define the winner. and it can be done fairly close to a venue with some fancy routing of trails. You get time on the trial in and tire them out then you make them do a mad out sprint thru the tests.

Generally the fastest through the tests wins because the averages between points is makable unless you have a trail side repair. Even then you can make up time if you are ahead of the average MPH when you have the technical.

I dun't know if that made any sense but I am sure you could research it more and give a better example. :( :o: :)
 

indieboy

Want fries with that?
Jan 4, 2002
1,811
1
atlanta
come out east and do some races out there. most of the races here aren't fire road bull****. the ONLY reason why national courses typically have a lot of fire roads in them and are generally lame is b/c they have to cater to a HUGGGGGGGGGGE amount of ppl racing. which means a LOT of traffic and build up if you were to only have single track sections. i personally like short track racing, i don't think it is a glorified road race. look at who's winning the races typically. it's almost a mirror image of who's winning the technical and non technical xc races.
 

Woggle Bear

Chimp
May 8, 2002
57
0
Northcentral Louisiana
"--The short course format would make it DOABLE for different fitness levels. Yes you would have to be fit to win but this would be more accessible to the weekend warriors, full time workers, family people etc.
-This is as much about creating a fun new event for the amateur athlete as it is about creating a better professional sport.
-This is the kind of course that with enough ramps obstacles etc could be built on totally flat ground. Mountain biking becomes more accessible in all 50 states."

I agree 100%. Remember guys and gals not every state has mountains. We flat landers are left out in the cold when it comes to DH and BikerX. Currently we would have to drive 12 to 20 hours to do a real DH race.
Our XC races are done on a 10 mile course with varying terrain, lots of ups and downs, and some semi technical stuff(even the mighty Ned crashed the two times he raced here). It is a great trail, but it still stresses legs and lungs over skill. As it stands any runner or rodie with mega legs and lungs can show up to a race with little off road skill and win a XC race. That sucks. Then they go away telling their buddies that MTB is lame. The format RM is talking about would put SKILL back into the equation. It could be done in every state, even in urban areas.
It could bring racing to more places! The more people that are exposed to our sport the more will give it a try! And that is going to be good for all of us. (i.e. The more people that demand land access to ride the more the politicians will listen.)

Just my .02 worth
WB
 

Roasted

Turbo Monkey
Jul 4, 2002
1,491
0
Whistler, BC
Originally posted by kokothemonkey
In Squamish, that course is awesome and it traverses extremely technical terrain, I would do that race any day if that were in my area. It includes some serious climbing but if you are a true roadie and lacking technical skills I think you would perish in that event. Sounds like a great idea to me! I used to be really into XC racing and now I can't even bear to watch it, it is very boring to watch I must say.:o:
That is the idea I was giving. It is 76k of living hell :)...seriously it uses every aspect of a bikers skillset. Climbing, descents, technical, pack, single track. Definately one of the best races around.
 

1speed

Chimp
Oct 1, 2001
87
0
boulder
I remember races back east where the course was a shorter singletrack course that had some very technical sections. some courses were as short as 3 miles. shorter tech laps with a field crossing usually where the start and finish was. these courses had some tough climbs and super tough dh's. those are fun courses and a racer that tried to walk or run all the tech stuff would not win the race. a course like that is also more accessible to spectators who can move to different areas during the race and see different sections. you could place the manmade stuff in the slower sections to make it even more interesting. I agree that courses need to get more technical again.

I think that calling a one mile course with man made obstacles XC is a little strange. If it is just a course catering more to FS bikes without any real climbing it will only draw a certain type of rider. don't get me wrong, this proposed race format sounds fun to race and watch but it also seems like something you would see at the extreme games... an upside of this I will say is that not every state has east coast (or more tech. style) trails that are more challenging and interesting to ride so this format I suppose would be a great option for those areas lacking in courses.

either way, change is inevitable and new formats may be the best way to breath some new life into mtn bike racing.