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Similar to a criterium in road cycling, short track cross-county was introduced as a spectator-friendly discipline. It is an endurance-oriented event that features off-road racing on a short circuit. Traversing rough and often steep terrain, a short track cross-country race typically only lasts 20 minutes as competitors start and finish fast.

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Often times, cross country and short track bikes do not feature rear suspension in an attempt to save weight, though it may be a worthy compromise on some courses. Ultra-endurance racing also comes in the form of hour and hour competitions in which solo competitors and relay teams attempt to cover the most distance over a given amount of time. Competitors ride the lift to the top and descend the face of a mountain in an individual race against the clock, only timed on the way down. The rider with the fastest time is declared the winner.

Riders compete on bikes that have full suspension systems which allow them to experience a smooth ride as they descend down rocky trails, jumps and drop-offs.


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Typically speaking, a mountain biker specializes in either endurance or gravity-oriented events, but not both. A downhill rider will often cross over into four-cross and dual slalom competitions. The athletes are also easily identifiable at events as the ones with full-face helmets, body armor, and pads.


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  6. Similar to the slalom events in downhill ski racing, competitors must weave themselves in and out of gates while descending the face of a hill. A course will typically have two identical runs — red and blue — with the same features, including berms, rollers, and doubles.

    After the first heat, riders switch runs and descend the hill a second time. After each rider competes on the red and blue course, his or her times are added together and the rider with the lowest cumulative time advances to the next round, while the other is eliminated. Also referred to as mountain cross, four-cross replaced dual slalom on the international circuit in In the four-cross event, gravity riders are seeded into four-person brackets following an individual seeding run. Once seeded into their respective brackets, riders descend a technical, downhill course with tight turns, berms and jumps.

    Riders start four-wide and descend the course simultaneously after the start gate drops. From there, the idea is simple: the top two riders in each heat advance to the next round while the others are eliminated from contention.


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    4. Short for super downhill, this discipline is a hybrid of cross-country and downhill racing. Competitors start one at a time at the top of a mountain and traverse a long, winding, downhill course that also requires riders to climb sections to access additional descents. Although the course profile is downhill in nature, many endurance athletes regularly contest the super downhill. Super D differs from cross-country in the sense that there is no sustained climbing involved and descending skills are most important.

      The course is built for consistent speed and to compliment an all-around rider. The newest form of mountain biking, enduro is like multiple Super D runs, linking technical downhill trails with flat and uphill sections typically found at a cross-country race. Races have more than one stage, and oftentimes riders must climb fireroads or trails to reach later stages.

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      In enduro events, only the downhill sections are timed. A rider's stage times added together to create an overall time. Competitors typically choose bikes that allow for the bike-handling capabilities required of a downhill racer, but also don't prohibit sustained climbing. Half entertainment, half sport, observed trials feature riders who negotiate an obstacle course on their bike. The goal is to traverse the course on your bike without letting your feet touch the ground. At an observed trials competition, competitors go from station to station where they are scored based on the number of times their feet touch the ground dabs.

      The person with the fewest dabs at the end of the competition is declared the winner.

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      Competitive Cycling versus Cycling as Cultural Evolution: Musing on the Tour de France

      Courses usually feature such obstacles as boulders, rocks, stumps and other natural hurdles in addition to man-made obstacles such as picnic tables, cars, and specially built structures. BMX which stands for Bicycle Motocross racing finds its roots starting in the late s in southern California. Today it is an Olympic sport with participants from countries all over the world. BMX Freestyle is the newest addition to Olympic cycling sports, after growing in "underground" popularity in the s and s.

      A BMX bike has just a singlespeed gear and typically only a single rear brake excepting some Freestyle events , with either a 20" or 24" wheel diameter. You can call a local track director or show up at a local practice or race night and approach the registration booth for guidance on how to get started. Freestyle BMX can be ridden in a variety of places, though skateparks and indoor parks are the most popular locations.

      Contact your LA for more information on local resources and riders. Riders start on a gate and sprint around a track consisting of a variety of jumps and turns. The race is entirely from the start line to the finish line — there are no laps — and the goal is to cross the finish line before your competitors. A typical race only lasts about seconds. Typically, qualifying heats are used to determine who will race in a single main event for the victory. USA BMX, the sanctioning body in the United States, uses four criteria to determine a racer's classification for competition: age, gender, proficiency and wheel size.

      Road Racing - Cycling Virginia

      In other words—beginners. But while Girl is the highest proficiency level in the sport for amateur girls, Intermediate boys—after 20 more wins—move into the EXPERT class; the highest proficiency level in the sport for amateur boys. Broadly speaking, Freestyle includes Street urban trick riding , Park, Vert performed in a half pipe or quarter pipe , Trail flowy dirt jumping , and Flatland tricks performed on the bike without using other obstacles. The course may include ramps, jumps, bowls, and rails.

      Each rider has a predetermined amount of time to complete a run individually, and is judged on a point scale based on difficulty, originality, style, flow, risk, height, and execution of tricks during the allotted time. The standard freestyle bike has 20" wheels. Ready to Start Racing? This is what it's all about.

      Early history of the sport

      The skills. The endurance. The experience. The race. So what do you say? Are you all in? Identify the type of race or event you want to do Consider what type of riding you like to do, or what you want to try.

      Road bicycle racing

      Once you know what type of riding you're most interested in, you should After you've gathered info on the local scene and found people to train with, you're ready to Pick an event or a few USA Cycling sanctions nearly 3, competitive and non-competitive cycling events each year in the United States. But before you can toe the start line, you'll need to Purchase a racing license USA Cycling exists in part to provide excellent event support, from national results and rankings to event insurance coverage.

      There are two ways to obtain race license coverage: Purchase an annual racing license, which covers you in all USA Cycling races and expires on December 31 of the year you purchased it. Purchase a one-day license for single event coverage. Beginning category riders have a lower one-day license fee than experienced riders, who are encouraged to purchase an annual license and support the sport we love. Now that you're official, it's time to Road Racing.

      Get Started. Cyclocross Racing. Track Racing. Mountain Bike Racing. BMX Racing. Regardless of your age or ability, there is a place for you to challenge yourself and compete! Event Details Time Trial Also known as a TT, this race can be done either individually or as a team depending on the event in a race against the clock. Road Race This is likely the longest of the single day race types, and begins with a staggered mass start — where everyone in a specific category starts together.

      Criterium Criteriums crits are another mass start event, but are set up on a closed not open to car traffic course that is typically a mile or less and may include sharp corners. Stage Races A stage race is a combination of the previous events, held over several consecutive days, with one race type on each day.

      Helpful Hints Weather can change over the course of a race or a race weekend. Try your best to hold steady lines when riding in a group. During your first few races, pay attention to how riders are moving through the pack. Take what you learn and practice on your group rides! Longer races generally require less of a warmup than short races, where the pace is hot right out of the gate.