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Why The Mountain Biking Phenomenon Is Growing In Popularity

Aug 17, 2007
Mountain biking has taken the cycling world by storm. It wasn't all that long ago when the phrase "mountain bike" would've elicited blank stares. Now you see them everywhere. Mountain bikes are made to handle almost every terrain imaginable, and that's why they've become so popular. Just like SUV's, most people who use them don't have a need for their full range of functions, but it's good to no the capability is there "just in case".

Mountain bikes are nice even for the urban rider because they eliminate the worries one might have when encountering potholes, gravel, and bad road conditions. Mountain bike riders utilize their bikes for a wide range of activities and competitions. A number of races and competitions have sprung up to make use of the mountain bike's many capabilities.

One such extreme mountain bike competition is known as cross-country (or XC) races. Cross-country mountain bike races usually cover about 30 miles and cover a variety of terrains. These races feature a mass start with all the riders taking off at the same time much like a marathon.

If cross-country races are too short for you, there's always endurance (or enduro) racing. These races cover in excess of 70 miles and climb to elevations of 8000 feet and more.

For the real maniacs out there, the only way to go is downhill racing. Downhill races typically have staggered starts to try to minimize crashing, but as you can imagine, crashes are a regular part of such events. The racers fly down the hill at breakneck speeds, the key being to have the fastest time down the slope. Many of these races are held on ski slopes during the warmer months. Such competitions demand that the riders have the utmost skill and experience as it can be an extremely dangerous endeavor. These races aren't for novices.

A competition rapidly growing in popularity is dirt jumping. This will be familiar to BMX enthusiasts as it's essentially the same sort of competition. Such events aren't races, of course. They're judged events wherein riders compete to accomplish the biggest, most amazing jumps involving spinning the bike in the air, doing flips, and even completely letting go of the bike and getting back on before it lands.

Another form of extreme mountain bike competition is bike trials. These events involve navigating unbelievable difficult terrain without touching your feet to the ground. Bike trials require riders to balance their mountain bikes on rails, boulders, posts, tree stumps, and any number of seemingly impossible obstacles. The goal is to finish the course quickly and without having to put your feet down.

If any of these extreme mountain biking competitions appeal to you, start practicing and getting into shape. These events are for skilled and experienced riders only. They're physically demanding and fairly dangerous. They are not for novices. Remember to wear a helmet and pads when attempting crazy stunts on your bike, and take care of yourself if you're going to attempt extremely arduous long-distance rides.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about this as well as cycling training at http://www.cyclinggearplus.com
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