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  1. #1
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    Why are the races so long?

    I'm in the Southeast. Every MTB 'race' I can find down here is 12 hours/ 8 hrs of something or another. I've only seen one or two races that were actual set mileage on a course. Is this the norm? Riding for 8 to 12 hours sounds terrible to me.

    XC racing really isn't my style, but Id like to try a few for fun. Are these half day races really what the XC scene is like?

  2. #2
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    No. Most "XC" races are in the 1.5-2hr range.

    Endurance races are for old people that can't hang with the fast kids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post

    Endurance races are for old people that can't hang with the fast kids.
    i used to think this untill i did my first endurance race and got lapped by tinker .
    and to the op , xc races are from 1 to 2 hours depending on your ability

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    Because only pussies race for 1.5-2 hours. Real men race for 6-12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    No. Most "XC" races are in the 1.5-2hr range.

    Endurance races are for old people that can't hang with the fast kids.
    yeah?... I beg to differ.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Endurance races are for old people that can't hang with the fast kids.
    Endurance races are for people who want to accomplish something big. Placing most times doesn't matter. They can say that "I finished the __________ race", then people can say "wow, that's incredible you did all that distance!".

    BTW, our state's best endurance racer is 31. He's been bettering Tinker last few years.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    Endurance races are for people who want to accomplish something big. Placing most times doesn't matter. They can say that "I finished the __________ race", then people can say "wow, that's incredible you did all that distance!".

    BTW, our state's best endurance racer is 31. He's been bettering Tinker last few years.
    You hit it on the head. There is a place for the "just happy to finish" crowd in endurance racing. Not that the front of the race isn't fast and competitive.

    Usually the guys who are tearing up 2 hour races are doing enough volume in training to successfully race endurance races on occasion too. They usually finish up near the front there, too.

    I will say that in most endurance sports it's easier to race up (compared to your usual distance) and do well vs. race down.
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    I haven't done my first endurance race yet, but doing a 24 hour with a four man team sounds like an absolute blast to me. Not only the riding, but the hang out time with your buds.
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  9. #9
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    You're in florida? We have a whole XC racing series here in the state. Check out goneriding.com and the FSC series of races. We're in Gainesville in two weeks then the following week we're in Sunrise.
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  10. #10
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    An error in judgement in my part.

    No need to insult people on an internet forum; I apologize to one and all.

    RLTW.
    Last edited by Le Duke; 10-09-2012 at 08:01 PM. Reason: I got all antsy in my pantsy.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Possum Jones View Post
    You're in florida? We have a whole XC racing series here in the state. Check out goneriding.com and the FSC series of races. We're in Gainesville in two weeks then the following week we're in Sunrise.
    Thanks Possum Jones!

    I'll check these out. I actually know someone who just went down to ride in the Alafia race. It's what sparked me looking.

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    You've gotta be overlooking the shorter races in your area. You need to hook up with a local training group.

    To me, these 8 hour/24 hour races are more for bragging rights to most of the riders. Of course, there are always a handful of guys who train hard to win these events. Similar to long distance runners. My dad has been religiously doing marathons for over 10 years now. He trains for a "personal record" not an overall podium finish. When he first started, it was only to prove to himself it can be done. Now it's turned into an addiction! He started doing halfs, then full marathons...then got into mini triathlons. His latest acheivment was his first ultra marathon. I have a lot of respect for what he does. It makes him happy if he does good or bad...it's all for the bragging rights within his group of friends. He told me the other day that "anyone can say they did a marathon, but to say you completed an ultra marathon is a real accomplishment." haha I got a kick out of this. What next? Iron man? .

    Its pretty much the cycle of life. You start small...then slowly work your way up. If your not progressing, you end up at a stand still and may lose the passion for it. If you keep moving forward you'll always have a new goal to achieve. When someone says an 8/24 hour is for the old timers....you may be somewhat right...but only because they've done the 1.5/2 hour races and kept moving forward.

    I don't think age has anything to do with it. It's the competitiveness inside you. I'm 28 and my pops is pushing 60....he will still give me a run for my money on a bike, swim, or run.

  13. #13
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    This forum is out of control.

    I just got negative rep by someone with this:

    "because youre looking in the wrong spot. Next time post such a negative topic without actually asking whats going on around you"

    Why? Because I asked a question? Sheesh.

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    Goneriding puts on some good events. I do Some of the GA Races they put on.

    As far as Endurance for old people, Most XC races I have done are seperated by Class then Age. Funny thing, it seems the over 30 classes are often faster then the younger guys.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    No. Most "XC" races are in the 1.5-2hr range.

    Endurance races are for old people that can't hang with the fast kids.
    I do both sprints and 100 milers. 100milers are a bit more difficult.
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishpitbull View Post
    I do both sprints and 100 milers. 100milers are a bit more difficult.
    I think what Le Duke was trying to say (in a less than diplomatic fashion) is that it's harder to be highly competitive in XC events than finish midpack in an endurance race.

    Just finishing an XC distance race is certainly easier than just finishing an endurance race... but not a lot of racers are there to "just finish" an XC race (with the exception of first-timers and true beginners).

    Then again, "just finishing" a very long race is an accomplishment in and of itself.
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    Sounds like the tri scene, with lots of people doing Ironman to achieve 'something' vs doing the shorter distance events where there can be monstrous competition.

    I for one would love to see 30-60 minute mountain bike races locally on a shorter, highly technical track.

  18. #18
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    I think endurance racing is a nice reward for many years of hammering it out in shorter races. The pace being slower, it's a little safer for the older guys. Like Christoph Sauser or Tinker Juarez, the snap in the legs and aggressiveness may not be there, but they've still got plenty of endurance and skill.

    I for one am looking forward to my 40s! With all those years of base in my legs, I'll set out across the country to do the NUE series. I'll have more money and time to travel.

    But for now, I've got small kids and the state championship XC and road races are nearby and give me plenty to do within drives of less than 4 hours.

  19. #19
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    As stated by many here most long races are for bragging rights and personal satisfaction. True XC races are 1 to 2 hours long. You may find longer XC races is parts of the country due to flat or technically easy terrain, but most are in the 10 - 27 mile range.

    My last race in CAT 2 was 17 miles. My next race is 21. I did do a 12 hour race in the middle of summer that I was able to do 6 10 mile laps in. Some of the guys and gals did the 24 hour race and had over 200 miles!! I think they are crazy..... LOL!
    People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....

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    I just got negative rep too, "Don't Like You" LOL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    I think endurance racing is a nice reward for many years of hammering it out in shorter races. The pace being slower, it's a little safer for the older guys. Like Christoph Sauser or Tinker Juarez, the snap in the legs and aggressiveness may not be there, but they've still got plenty of endurance and skill.

    I for one am looking forward to my 40s! With all those years of base in my legs, I'll set out across the country to do the NUE series. I'll have more money and time to travel.

    But for now, I've got small kids and the state championship XC and road races are nearby and give me plenty to do within drives of less than 4 hours.
    I'm going to agree with this viewpoint, because it makes me feel better about my coming decades
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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    I think endurance racing is a nice reward for many years of hammering it out in shorter races. The pace being slower, it's a little safer for the older guys. Like Christoph Sauser or Tinker Juarez, the snap in the legs and aggressiveness may not be there, but they've still got plenty of endurance and skill.

    I for one am looking forward to my 40s! With all those years of base in my legs, I'll set out across the country to do the NUE series. I'll have more money and time to travel.

    But for now, I've got small kids and the state championship XC and road races are nearby and give me plenty to do within drives of less than 4 hours.

    Maybe you should do a NUE race before you talk down about them.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishpitbull View Post
    Maybe you should do a NUE race before you talk down about them.
    I don't think I was talking down about NUE races. I suppose I was implying that endurance mountain bike racing worked better for older racers. I've never done a 100-miler but I've raced an 85-miler and 50 milers before; I'm in my 30s now. I personally would prefer to do the longer races, but I think I'll perform better with more years of experience in my legs.

    If someone is being a jerk about stuff and harassing people, then I suppose the tone of the conversation should be reported to the moderators and the rep system is something that may be worth looking into. Which one of us do you think is doing that?

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    Last edited by chomxxo; 10-10-2012 at 02:46 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    I think what Le Duke was trying to say (in a less than diplomatic fashion) is that it's harder to be highly competitive in XC events than finish midpack in an endurance race.

    Just finishing an XC distance race is certainly easier than just finishing an endurance race... but not a lot of racers are there to "just finish" an XC race (with the exception of first-timers and true beginners).

    Then again, "just finishing" a very long race is an accomplishment in and of itself.
    I'm quoting myself just to emphasize how reasonable my post was earlier. I received negative feedback for this, too.

    If you have a different viewpoint, please defend it. If you leave negative feedback, please sign it. I'm pretty sure that nothing I typed should have been taken as offensive.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishpitbull View Post
    I do both sprints and 100 milers. 100milers are a bit more difficult.
    What category do you race in for "sprint" races? Just curious, as this might affect your impression of which is more difficult.

    I hope this is taken in the spirit of furthering the discussion, as it is intended, and not as worthy of negative rep.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    What category do you race in for "sprint" races? Just curious, as this might affect your impression of which is more difficult.

    I hope this is taken in the spirit of furthering the discussion, as it is intended, and not as worthy of negative rep.
    Cat 2 upper mid-pack. 2nd year of racing. I think you maybe are comparing your local endurance races to the NUE series, which would be a mistake.

    No neg rep from me has been given by me.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishpitbull View Post
    No neg rep from me has been given by me.
    I believe everyone has been negative reped on this thread.

    I got a neg rep twice for my single comment.

    Now, maybe a third.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishpitbull View Post
    Cat 2 upper mid-pack. 2nd year of racing. I think you maybe are comparing your local endurance races to the NUE series, which would be a mistake.

    No neg rep from me has been given by me.
    I didn't assume it was you, not to worry.

    We have some very good XC racers around here (Cat 1 and above, podium guys) who have done several NUE races. They have placed very well, on the podium (overall) in some cases.

    I can't speak from experience, as I have never done a solo race longer than 65 miles (off-road - much longer in road races, a different thing altogether). I do race against the guys I mentioned above, however.

    I will say this, from my experience - there is nothing easy about averaging 15-16 MPH in the woods for 2 hours. This happens regularly in a competitive Cat 1 or Pro XC field. There are many people who could train for years and never develop the power output to do those speeds for that time frame. Those who can, know it freaking hurts to do it.

    Have a look at running - many competitve 1500 meter guys move on to the 5k, 10k, half-marathon, etc once their absolute speed goes away a bit with age, and do very very well. Racing bicycles is likely very similar. I think that's all anyone was saying.

    Edited to add: There's nothing inherently easier about either format, with XC racing being very difficult (at the front of the higher categories) due to the speeds involved, and with endurance racing being very difficult (at the front) due to the distances and time on the bike (also at, presumably, the fastest one can go for that distance).
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    I didn't assume it was you, not to worry.

    We have some very good XC racers around here (Cat 1 and above, podium guys) who have done several NUE races. They have placed very well, on the podium (overall) in some cases.

    I can't speak from experience, as I have never done a solo race longer than 65 miles (off-road - much longer in road races, a different thing altogether). I do race against the guys I mentioned above, however.

    I will say this, from my experience - there is nothing easy about averaging 15-16 MPH in the woods for 2 hours. This happens regularly in a competitive Cat 1 or Pro XC field. There are many people who could train for years and never develop the power output to do those speeds for that time frame. Those who can, know it freaking hurts to do it.

    Have a look at running - many competitve 1500 meter guys move on to the 5k, 10k, half-marathon, etc once their absolute speed goes away a bit with age, and do very very well. Racing bicycles is likely very similar. I think that's all anyone was saying.Edited to add: There's nothing inherently easier about either format, with XC racing being very difficult (at the front of the higher categories) due to the speeds involved, and with endurance racing being very difficult (at the front) due to the distances and time on the bike (also at, presumably, the fastest one can go for that distance).
    I came to cycling from running D1 track. Any runner will tell you that this is invariably true. As runners get older, they lose their top end speed, and move up in distance.

    You can track the history of plenty of amazing, world class runners. They move up in distance when they either stop winning or aren't as dominant as they once were in the shorter distances. Haile Gebrselassie, Paula Radcliffe, and a LOT of other elite athletes move up as they got older.

    I apologize if this offends you, and I realize my previous statement was a generalization, but it's mostly true. Not a lot of WC racers doing 12/24hr races. Very few of them going after even the marathon races.

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    +1, I agree with this. Not sure why there's necessarily a big argument about it.

    Tinker Juarez rode concrete pools on his BMX bike as a young man, was a world-class XC racer as an adult, and has been for the past decade or so, one of the best ultra-endurance racers out there.

    Christoph Sauser started as a downhill racer and soon became a World Champion XC racer in his prime. His last year of world cup racing was this year, as he's nearing his 40s, and he's moving full-time into endurance, for which he is already a world champ.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I came to cycling from running D1 track. Any runner will tell you that this is invariably true. As runners get older, they lose their top end speed, and move up in distance.

    You can track the history of plenty of amazing, world class runners. They move up in distance when they either stop winning or aren't as dominant as they once were in the shorter distances. Haile Gebrselassie, Paula Radcliffe, and a LOT of other elite athletes move up as they got older.

    I apologize if this offends you, and I realize my previous statement was a generalization, but it's mostly true. Not a lot of WC racers doing 12/24hr races. Very few of them going after even the marathon races.

  31. #31
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    Timely thread for me. I'm a Cat 1 XC racer and just turned 40 in July. I say that because I find as I get older I am less willing to suffer. E.G. There is a local XC race this Sunday and a 24 hour race the following weekend. I've raced a few 24 hour races solo, but I am seriously considering skipping the XC race and doing the 24 b/c it is easier for me. I can keep my 24 pace for hours with no problem, but full gas for 2 hours racing Cat 1 flat out sucks. It is a type of pain that I do not experience in a solo 24 hour race (and yes, I "race" the 24 and expect to finish top 10).
    Finishing top 10 in a XC race requires a much higher level of fitness than finishing top 10 in a 24 hour race. You can gain advantages in 24 hour races through careful planning of logistics, preparation, pacing etc. Plus the mental discipline in a 24 can give you an advantage, whereas a XC race you're in fight/flight mode the whole time.

    I don't know, we're all kind of gluttons for punishment with no real reason to explain why we do what we do.

    But to the op's original question, races are so long because of demand and money. Fewer and fewer people are willing to travel very far for a short race. Race promoters have to keep upping the ante with their product and distances and times are a good way to do that. Same reason why there all these adventure races popping up where you jump over fire and get shocked and all that stupid crap.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    No. Most "XC" races are in the 1.5-2hr range.

    Endurance races are for old people that can't hang with the fast kids.



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    Quote Originally Posted by fourring View Post
    Goneriding puts on some good events. I do Some of the GA Races they put on.

    As far as Endurance for old people, Most XC races I have done are seperated by Class then Age. Funny thing, it seems the over 30 classes are often faster then the younger guys.....
    Le duke is clueless, my 46 year old ass would dishrag him like nobody's business. Check his history. He's a troll!
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  34. #34
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    Jeeze, this thread is going sideways.

    In my state, it's getting harder for me to find XCO races and the new endurance series seems to be doing really well.

    Call it taste, call it fashion, call it whatever you like. The attendance for a lot of the XC races has been dropping, promoters have been closing down or getting burned out, and at the same time, more people go to the endurance races every year lately, those promoters are full of energy, and the scene is growing.

    Personally, I think it's because there's some sense of accomplishment in finishing a 50-mile endurance race, no matter where one finishes. I only did one XC race this season, combination of what's still happening and near and being way busy during the early-season series. It was 12.5 miles. I go that far on a fun ride - the distance is no accomplishment. When I do these, I want to do the races as fast as I can and I try to beat some people. Especially with the shrinking scene, being able to be competitive is a pretty big commitment. I'm happy enough that I finished a bit faster than last year, but my pack position wasn't as good. I'll tell myself that it was the five slowest people who dropped (so 15 to 10) and I gained those two places being stronger.

    No value judgements here in an absolute sense. But I miss doing more of the shorter XC races. When I moved to my current city and picked up XC racing in 2009, there was a pretty healthy scene. Quite a lot of that is gone. I imagine most of the other racers are doing endurance now too, or maybe road. I started racing on the track this summer. Due to some life events in the works for next season, I'm not making specific plans. I'll race what's available to me.

    I don't know if that's what's happening to other people's XC scenes too. But destination endurance races seem to be growing too.
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    What was the question again?

    At the risk of neg rep, IMO, any distance is as hard as you want to make it. As endurance racing has grown, and more XC guys do them, seems like they can win long races just as we'll as the shorter ones. Doesn't seem like there's quite as much of that going the other way. Not that I'm at the front for either.

    I did hour long XC on my SS this spring, and then 5 - 10 hour long races (mostly with gears and suspension) in the summer. Both are fun, just different. Personally if I'm going to drive a long way and/or pay a big entry fee, I at least want to ride for a couple hours. Preferably on a fun course.
    Last edited by ACree; 10-11-2012 at 10:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Jeeze, this thread is going sideways.

    In my state, it's getting harder for me to find XCO races and the new endurance series seems to be doing really well.

    Call it taste, call it fashion, call it whatever you like. The attendance for a lot of the XC races has been dropping, promoters have been closing down or getting burned out, and at the same time, more people go to the endurance races every year lately, those promoters are full of energy, and the scene is growing.

    Personally, I think it's because there's some sense of accomplishment in finishing a 50-mile endurance race, no matter where one finishes. I only did one XC race this season, combination of what's still happening and near and being way busy during the early-season series. It was 12.5 miles. I go that far on a fun ride - the distance is no accomplishment. When I do these, I want to do the races as fast as I can and I try to beat some people. Especially with the shrinking scene, being able to be competitive is a pretty big commitment. I'm happy enough that I finished a bit faster than last year, but my pack position wasn't as good. I'll tell myself that it was the five slowest people who dropped (so 15 to 10) and I gained those two places being stronger.

    No value judgements here in an absolute sense. But I miss doing more of the shorter XC races. When I moved to my current city and picked up XC racing in 2009, there was a pretty healthy scene. Quite a lot of that is gone. I imagine most of the other racers are doing endurance now too, or maybe road. I started racing on the track this summer. Due to some life events in the works for next season, I'm not making specific plans. I'll race what's available to me.

    I don't know if that's what's happening to other people's XC scenes too. But destination endurance races seem to be growing too.
    The XC scene in WA had been in decline for some time though. Head to OR (or capitol forest) for good, old school XC.
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by saviour machine View Post
    Le duke is clueless, my 46 year old ass would dishrag him like nobody's business. Check his history. He's a troll!
    Excuse me?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    What was the question again?

    At the risk of neg rep, IMO, any distance is as hard as you want to make it. As endurance racing has grown, and more XC guys do them, seems like they can win long races just as we'll as the shorter ones. Doesn't seem like there's quite as much of that going the other way. Not that I'm at the front for either.

    I did hour long XC on my SS this spring, and then 5 - 10 hour long races in the summer. Both are fun, just different. Personally if I'm going to drive a long way and/or pay a big entry fee, I at least want to ride for a couple hours. Preferably on a fun course.
    Hard to disagree! My least favorite race format is short track. 20 minutes of horrid Come to think of it... if I never did one again I'd be fine with it.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgatovolador View Post
    Sounds like the tri scene, with lots of people doing Ironman to achieve 'something' vs doing the shorter distance events where there can be monstrous competition.

    I for one would love to see 30-60 minute mountain bike races locally on a shorter, highly technical track.
    We have those locally here in the spring. Tuesday night toonie ($2) races. Local, grassroots, not sanctioned, 3/4/5 laps, run by the LBS. 30-60 minutes. I've got to believe that there's something similar to this in your local area. Check with the LBS's.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkirkpatri View Post
    Tuesday night toonie ($2) races.
    Our local Wednesday night races are 10 bucks. Short, fun, and cheap.

    Funny that jkirkpatri mentions Ironman. >$500 entry fee. You're lucky to do the whole event under 5 grand. That is something big!!
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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkirkpatri View Post
    We have those locally here in the spring. Tuesday night toonie ($2) races. Local, grassroots, not sanctioned, 3/4/5 laps, run by the LBS. 30-60 minutes. I've got to believe that there's something similar to this in your local area. Check with the LBS's.
    I'm in Seattle

    I think next summer I'm going to do crits + start moving towards track. Track sounds amazingly fun.

  42. #42
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    I'm in Seattle too. We used to have Wednesday Night Worlds for $10 or $12 a pop. Was one of my favorite ways to race actually.

    Definitely do track next summer.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by fourring View Post
    Goneriding puts on some good events. I do Some of the GA Races they put on.

    As far as Endurance for old people, Most XC races I have done are seperated by Class then Age. Funny thing, it seems the over 30 classes are often faster then the younger guys.....
    In my area the 40 guys are faster than the 30s and 20s for the most part. My thinking is they know how to train, have the time, have the family life together, and have the coin to drop on the gear.
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  44. #44
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    ^^^
    Around here, the 40+ guys aren't faster, but they aren't slower either. The classes could really be combined and the front of the race would still be a dead heat.
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  45. #45
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    I started with XC and loved it. I switched to longer 12-24 hour solos and loved it. I did RAAM 3 times on an 8 person team and all the hours of training seemed to make me lose my desire to train after a while.
    So after a few years of doddering around with no focus at all I'm back at it trying to get fast at 2 hour XC races. I really love the faster harder workouts and I have fun tweaking with training and technique to shave a few seconds or minutes. I kinda think I like the training more than the racing.

    Bottom line for me is having a focus and enjoying the journey wherever it leads. I've loved everything I was doing on a bike while I was doing it.

  46. #46
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    Done lots of both types. Nearly 40 y.o. now. I enjoy the 18 or 24 team races for the fun aspect. It's still competitive if you make it that way. I like shorter xc races (1 hour or less). The 2 hour hammer fests just aren't fun to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishpitbull View Post
    Cat 2 upper mid-pack. 2nd year of racing. I think you maybe are comparing your local endurance races to the NUE series, which would be a mistake.

    No neg rep from me has been given by me.
    Sorry to pull up an old thread, but...

    Thanks to Francois making rep poster's names visible, I now know that you were lying when you said "No neg rep from me has been given by me".

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  48. #48
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    Maybe it makes more sense to drive 3 hours and race for 8+ hours, than driving 3 hours and racing 1.5 hours.
    I have kids now. So when I get a chance to race, I need to get as much as I can in.
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    Started biking at 50 and thought I would be reasonably fast because I was a quick footed and long time successful tennis player. Not even close to fast in one to two hour events despite hard training. But even with little natural endurance I can train enough to be in the top half on 4 to 6 hour solo races which for a 58 year old is both difficult and plenty rewarding.

    Thev only bike race I could have ever won at an early age would be bmx. But even today I enjoy competing with the faster bunch on most any format.

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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoWal_MTBer View Post
    I'm in the Southeast. Every MTB 'race' I can find down here is 12 hours/ 8 hrs of something or another. I've only seen one or two races that were actual set mileage on a course. Is this the norm? Riding for 8 to 12 hours sounds terrible to me.

    XC racing really isn't my style, but Id like to try a few for fun. Are these half day races really what the XC scene is like?
    If you're in FL (which I'm going the location in your profile), check these guys out. When I lived in Tampa I did the FSC series and it was all multi-lap, shorter races. They also have a few other series that cover other regions of FL, as well as into GA and some other states if I'm not mistaken.

    Gone Riding

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