Love mountain biking? Like a challenge?
If you are looking for a challenge on an epic scale, then check these out - these are the biggest, the highest, the most challenging and also the most crazy MTB races in the world!
From crossing a continent, to riding up the himalayas, to riding with no gears, there's something for everyone here.
And if getting involved isn't quite your thing, then check out the videos!
[part title="1. BC Bike Race, Canada"]
British Columbia (BC) is known for it’s spectacular scenery, and within mountain biking it’s just as famed for it’s amazing trails. Whistler is arguably the most famous biking location there, but there’s an endless supply of forested single track, and every year the BC bike race gives riders that chance.
Starting in Vancouver and finishing in Whistler, you'll ride through stunning forested trails, island hopping on the way.
It's one of the more accessible and do-able races on this list, and if you fancy and adventure and want to visit Canada, it's one to add to your list!
Date: 28th June to 5th July 2014
About: BC Bike Race
Watch it: BC Bike Race Video
[part title="2. Salzkammergut Mountainbike Trophy, Austria"]
Marathon mountain bike racing is extremely popular in Europe, and this is the crown jewel of difficulty.
You have 16 hours to complete a 210 km mountain bike course through the alps with 7,000 m of elevation gain. It's a well-organized, and well-supported race whose never-ending climbs will test even the best, and bring many others to their knees long before the finish line.
If you're not ready to join the 500-600 fellow riders for this epic race through Austria, you can register for one of the shorter options held the same day. An incredibly grueling ride, the final downhill finish was one of the greatest feelings in the world!
Date: 12th July 2014
[part title="3. The Yak Attack, Nepal"]
At 5,146m above sea level in the Himalayas, this is touted as the worlds highest mountain bike race, and certainly one of the toughest endurance events in the world.
Expect to climb over 12,000m over the 400km 8-stage route. You'll move from arid foothills to snowcovered mountain passes, the temperature can vary between -15c to +30c, and the views will be spectacular.
Date: 3rd to 11th March 2014, 2015 dates TBC
About: The Yak Attack
Watch it: Nepal Sutra video
[part title="4. World Single Speed Championships, Alaska"]
As if mountain biking wasn’t hard enough, how about this for a challenge - a single speed MTB race. Yes - racing with NO GEARS.
Taking place in a different location every year, in 2014 the action shifts to Anchorage, Alaska. The event site describes the racing as 'a sandwich of bikes, beer, badness, madness, rock and old school foolery' and if you hadn't picked it up from that description it's not sanctioned by the UCI.
Rather than the right to wear a jersey, winners of the race get a tattoo commemorating their victory. We say if you work that hard for something, why not!
Date: July 18/20th 2014
[part title="5. La Ruta de los Conquistadores, Costa Rica"]
One of the most loved, feared and respected MTB stage races in the world according to the La Ruta website, and when you look at the race you can see why.
It's the only coast-to-coast race across the American landmass from the Pacific to the Atlantic. The challenge isn't so much the distance - a not insignificant 161 miles over 3 days - it's the climbing. The route takes in 5 mountain ranges, with over 29,000ft of ascending on the way. Of course, the descents will be epic too. You'll be following pretty much the same route as the Spainish conquistadors who first blazed the trail - except they took 20 years to get through.
En route, you can expect pretty much the whole gamut of trails and riding conditions; jungles, singletrack, rain, heat, pavements, volcanic ash, and a load of hike-a-bike sections. The flipside of this is the opportunity to ride through some of the most rich biodiversity on the planet.
One things for sure; you'll finish this race a different person to when you started.
Date: 6/8th November 2014
About: La Ruta
[part title="6. Valparaiso Cerro Abajo Urban Downhill Race, Chile"]
The crazy, gnarly sport of downhill mountain biking is made even crazier in this event in Chile – the course isn’t just down a mountain side; it’s down a mountain side through a town!
Riders jump roads, fly off buildings, and race down tiny narrow streets and stairways with spectators perilously close to the action. A mistake can mean smashing into the side of a building, or landing on a roof. It’s incredible to watch! It also makes for some of the most incredible on-bike camera footage you'll ever see.
Date: 23rd February 2014, 2015 dates TBC
Watch it: Valparaiso Cerro Abajo on Vimeo
[part title="7. Mavic Trans-Provence, France"]
You'll need stamina and skill if you want to tackle this week-long mountain bike race, but in return you'll be rewarded by some incredible riding in wild, rugged and stunningly beautiful mountain terrain.
The Maritime Alps provide the background (and indeed the trails) for this race, and as it's at the end of the season it often attracts some of the big names. Last year, Anka Martin was overall winner in the female category, having battled through some wild muddy conditions, as well as bright dry days.
The riding is varied and technical, enduro style, with long climbs and traverses mixed in with timed descent sections for maximum gravity-fueled fun. It's hard going, but its end point on the Cote D'Azur provides the perfect finish line - a perfect spot for cooling off (and cleaning off!) in the sea.
Date: 20th - 27th September 2014
About: Mavic Trans-Provence
Find out more: Anka Martin tackles the Trans-Provence
Watch it: Trans-Provence Day 4 on BikeMagic
[part title="8. Absa Cape Epic, South Africa"]
A gruelling, amazing 8 day stage race through South Africa, the Absa Cape Epic is regarded as one of the toughest MTB races out there, and with good reason.
718km of riding, and 14 850m of climbing, it’s one of the few races globally that has the UCI Hors Categorie status, which makes it high on the must-ride list of many professional racers. It’s also one of the most televised mountain bike events.
The racing is done in pairs, both single sex and mixed, and must be completed by both members of the team. The route changes every year, and as well as the pros, riders come from all around the globe to participate.
Date: 23rd/30th March 2014, 15th/22nd March 2015
Find out more: Absa Cape Epic
Watch it: Cape Epic route on YouTube
[part title="9. Megavalanche, France"]
One of the most famous mountain bike races out there, the Megavalanche has taken on legendary status, becoming one of the must-ride events on the MTB bucket list.
Located around the resort of Alpe d'Huez in France, it begins with a crazy mass start at the top of a snow covered glacier, with hundreds of riders attempting to stay upright as they plummet down the black piste. There then follows 30km of arm pumping descending, with a little climbing thrown in for good measure.
Date: 12/13th July 2014
About: UCC Megavalanche
Watch it: Dirt TV: Megavalanche 2013
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[part title="10. Enduro World Series, Various"]
Taking the world by storm in 2013, the Enduro World Series is hugely popular, and one of the great things about it is that it gives you the chance to race against the pros. For the Scottish round on 31st May 2014, general entries sold out almost immediately.
The popular format has been around for a while, with variations in different countries, but the unified EWS brings the big ones all together to form a series.
Timed downhill stages are linked together by traveling stages, and the emphasis is on all-mountain skills, self-sufficiency and fun.
Date: Various, but the Scottish round takes place 31st May.
About: Enduro World Series
Watch: Enduro World Series Round-up
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