The endurance and technical skill of Cross Country Mountain Bike racing is the ultimate crowd pleaser and whether you fancy exploring the thousands of miles of accessible off-road routes, having a day out at a trail centre in the UK or giving your first mountain bike marathon a try. Mountain biking is diverse enough to offer something for everyone.
Mountain bikers come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and ages. Cross Country suits light riders with great endurance and technical off-road ability. Mountain bike racing has categories for all ages and abilities; from fun races to mountain bike marathons to elite competition at world and Olympic level.
Away from racing, the mountain bike scene is huge with trail centres throughout the country offering routes to suit a wide range of ages and ability levels.
Mountain Bike racing takes place in a variety of off road venues. Cross Country races often use parkland, woodland and forestry sites with the terrain chosen to incorporate climbs, descents and technical features. Looped courses are designed and built specifically for events by skilled course designers, with man made technical features such as rock gardens incorporated to increase the technical challenge.
Cross country races vary in length depending on the category of rider, usually from 13 minutes to 1.5-2 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 in excess of 100 riders in a race. Riders must be self-sufficient and can only get mechanical assistance in designated areas.
Spalding Cycling Club welcomes Mountain Bikers of all ages and abilities and club members compete at local cross-country races - most notably the Mud, Sweat and Gears League (www.mudsweatgears.co.uk). Throughout East Anglia with events being held at Thetford Fores, Shouldham Warren, Ickworth House and Hadleigh Farm in Essex which happens to be the 2012 Olympic Mountain Biking venue.
Club Off-Road Leisure riders are held locally at Rutland Water which is the most popular venue around. Please check the club forum for details of such rides and also the Facebook page.