Mountain Bike racing in the UK

How does Mountain Bike racing work in the UK?
e.g distance of races, categories and nature of the courses?

Hi there. I race XCO MTB in the Eastern region of the UK. Information about racing MTBs in the UK can be found at the British Cycling website: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/mtb. Basically, XCO races are 1.5 hrs, usually taking 5-8 laps to complete. Categories range from Junior (age ?), Open (anyone?), Sport (18-39), Expert, Elite, Vets (40+) and Grand Vests (50+). Regional level races aren’t very technical, but National level races will have some ‘pro’ level features. Often they are the same courses (e.g Hadleigh bike park) but black lines aren’t used. The terrain will of course vary by region but here in the East its flat with no sustained climbs.

Thanks for the in-depth response!
I’d be interested in the XCO along with marathon racing although I understand this isn’t particularly big in the UK
What sort of riders tend to succeed the lack of sustained climbs lends itself more to punchy riders?

I don’t ride the marathon events myself but my team mate does. Over a year I think there’s a fair old number across the UK to keep you busy if you’re doing XCO as well.

As far as the most successful rider type I’d say two things: the same pool of riders win all the races regardless of course (in the V40/50s anyway) and often they are excellent cyclocross riders too. Short and sharp, long and flat - they win ‘em all. VO2, W/kg and ftp all in spades seems to be the ticket. :slightly_smiling_face: