By Jean Miller, Race Team Director

Mountain bike racing has its roots in the U.S. starting back in the 70s but wasn’t really recognized by international race organizations until the 1990s. Cross-country racing was the only World Cup sport at this time. Over the past 25 years the number and types of races have changed as much as the terminology now used when describing the off-road cycling experience…like shred, gnar, stoke, and huck.

Before listing the races the Sorella mountain bike team is participating in 2017, a description of the different types of races would benefit those of us not familiar with the over-ten types of races that have sprung from the early cross country races. Our teams race schedule can be summarized in 4-5 types of races: Cross-country, Gravel, Enduro, Marathon and Stage Racing.

Cross-country (XC) racing emphasizes physical endurance above technical prowess. Usually held on a varied terrain circuit these races are considered technically easy to intermediate compared to endurance or downhill racing. Cross country races typically range from 10-30 miles and are usually a mass-start race. Georgia’s local 3/6 hour race series fall most soundly in this category though some racers can turn the 6 hour solo race into an endurance event. There is also an official Southeastern Cross Country Series (SERC)

Marathon (XCM) or endurance mountain bike races are often considered the toughest form of mountain biking because racers often have to cover more than 40 miles in one race on mountainous terrain. It’s usually not part of a repeated circuit like cross country. The distances can range from 30 to 100 miles which is considered Ultra XCM. Local races which are considered part of the endurance category include the longer races in the Snake Creek Gap time trial series, Cohutta 100/Big Frog 65, and solo 6/12 hours races.

Gravel Races anything like a mountain bike race, but these races are always long, off-road, and grueling. Perhaps a sub category to endurance mountain biking.You will see both cyclocross bikes on and mountain bikes on these courses where mountain bikes have better gearing for mountainous races. Several of our mountain bike team and cyclocross racers will be at Assault on Mount Curahee (Chainbusters) and Southern Cross (Mountain Goat Adventures)

Stage Races consist of several races ridden consecutively, usually over a period of several days. A stage is usually similar in length and structure to a Marathon mountain bike race. The competitor with the lowest cumulative time to complete all the stages is declared the overall winner. In the Southeast, we have the Pisgah Stage Race (Blue Ridge Adventures) which is a challenging five day race in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina.

Enduro is a form of mountain bike racing in which there is a number of timed downhill sections of trail, and a number of uphill transfer stages, which are not timed, but might have time limits to complete. It is a one day stage-race format where the winner is the rider who accumulates the lowest combined time from the various timed sections.

Are you #stoked to #shred some #gnar with the #RadSorellaMountainBikeRacers this year? Check out what we have planned:

  • Jan9/Feb11: Snake Creek Gap Time Trial (endurance): Kim Cross (34 mile), Ellen Carroll (50 mile)
  • Feb 18: 12 Hours of Santos Stef Wilmert
  • Feb 25: Assault on Curahee Mountain(gravel): Brittany Montgomery, Jean Miller, Laina Hamilton, Deidre James, Ellen Carroll
  • March4: Southern Cross (gravel): Cambrie Epperson, Jean Miller, Ellen Carroll
  • March12: Assault on Pisgah Pilot: Brittany Montgomery
  • Apr1: 6 Hours of Warrior Creek (cross country/endurance): Laina Hamilton
  • Apr10-15: Pisgah Stage Race (stage): Brittany Hopson, Cambrie Epperson, Kim Cross, Ellen Carroll
  • Apr15: Blankets Dirty 15/30 (cross country) Deidre James
  • Apr22: Shake n’ Brake (gravel) Jean Miller
  • Apr29: Big Frog 65(endurance): Laina Hamilton, Deidre James, Ellen Carroll
  • May21: Pisgah 55.5 K MTB Race (endurance): Deidra James
  • June3 Race to Sunset Blankets Creek 6 hr (cross country/endurance) Laina/Kim team
  • July19-23: Mountain Biking National Championships (Snow Shoe,WV): Ellen Carol, Brittany Montgomery
  • Aug19: Red Clay Ramble (gravel) Jean Miller
  • Sept9: Pisgah Monster Cross (gravel) Jean Miller
  • Sept16: Fools Gold (endurance) Stef Wilmert, Emily Davenport, Ellen Carroll
  • Chainbusters 3/6 hour series (cross country): Laina Hamilton, Kim Cross, Stef Wilmert, Lara Richards, Emily Davenport
  • Southeastern Regional Championships – SERC (Cross Country): Ellen Carroll
  • Third Coast Enduro Series (enduro): Carol Baldwin, Lara Richards, Brittany Hopson