Mountain biking consists of three specialities:
- Cross-Country – races are held over undulating circuits (with technical descents, forest roads, rocky paths and obstacles) of 5-9 km. The race varies in the number of laps or time according to categories. Cross-country is a mass start race, so getting a good start is vital. The races are generally presented in the form of a Cup series as well as a once of championship.
- Cross-Country Marathon – these events are longer versions of cross-country held over a course of 60-120km. A special feature is that riders from all categories, from enthusiasts to professionals, race together (according to seeding). The marathon event is mostly held in a mountainous region.
- Downhill – a race against the clock in which the rider negotiates a succession of fast and technical passages. The participant must demonstrate courage as well as sharp technical and piloting skills in order to affront tree roots, banked sections, bumps, jumps and other natural obstacles along the way. Speeds reach around 80km/h in the men’s races and 70km/h for women.
Mountain bikers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. Cross-country suits light riders with great endurance and technical off-road ability. Downhill is more explosive, favouring more powerful sprint athletes. Mountain biking has categories for all ages and abilities, from fun races to mountain bike marathons.