Have you tried?: Scottish XC races
I wrote about the increasingly popular Scottish XC races for a recent Sunday Mail column. Read the pdf or see the copy below.
PS I do not write the headlines 🙁
Have you tried?: Scottish XC
What is it?: Scottish XC is cross-country mountain bike racing.
Tell me more: The annual Scottish Cross-Country (SXC) series includes six races that take place between March and September.
In 2018, there is an additional seventh race, which is also a round of the British XC series.
Mountain bike riders complete as many laps of about four miles (6km) as possible in a set time.
Most races will last between 30 minutes and around 90 minutes, depending on the race category and age.
The series has races from children aged eight to super-vets (60+).
Last year, a new race age category was introduced to bridge the gap between eight to 12s and youths.
Iain Grant, the chair of SXC, said: “There is a fast growing group of children who want to race in the Scottish XC.
“With this in mind we added a new age category, 12 to 14s, to offer them their own challenge.”
In 2018, again to meet demand, there will be a new “taster” women’s race at each of the events.
Iain said: “We had feedback from many women who said they would like to have their own entry-level race.
“They want to give these sorts of races a try but on a course that is solely for them.
“We have been delighted to organise this and we are hoping to see good levels of interest.”
What can riders expect?: The average SXC race includes a mix of terrain and challenges and each course varies according to location.
There will normally be a mix of forestry tracks and singletrack.
Races are technical in places, although organisers do offer “B-lines” so riders can avoid more tricky sections.
Iain explained: “If riders chose to race the ‘A-line’ they will need to be able to ride more technical sections.
“The A-line route is the fastest way around a course.
“But to cater for those who want to ride in the races but are not as experienced technically there is an alternative ‘B-line’.”
Fitness, strength and technical ability are critical for the most competitive riders, while the “taster” races are more relaxed.
Mountain bike riders aim to complete as many laps on off-road courses in a set time.
Scottish XC races 2018
- March 18: Glentress, near Peebles.
- April 8: Dalbeattie, Dumfries & Galloway
- April 29: Cathkin Braes, near Glasgow
- May 13: XC British Round at Glentress
- June 17: Lochore Meadows, Fife
- September 2: Dunoon, Cowal Peninsula, which is also the Scottish Championships
- September 16: Laggan Wolftrax, Highlands.
Anything else to know?: It’s important to train for a race, including off-road skills and strength and fitness building.
The course for each round opens the day before for practising.
Many riders will spend a weekend in each location for the races so they can do practice rides the day before the race day.
A new organising group took over the Scottish XC series in 2017.
A team of seven, including five from Peebles Cycling Club, aim to grow the numbers competing in the races.
Iain said: “Our aim in 2017 was to grow race entries by 50 per cent, which we did achieve.
“We would like to continue to grow each race and to attract more men and women and well as kids.
“To have a British round taking place at Glentress this year is also a big bonus.
“We are very pleased that we have been able to add this date to the series programme.”
What kit do I need?: Most people ride SXC on a cross-country mountain bike although you can use any pedal-powered bike you want.
Clothing is your own choice but padded sorts will help with comfort, as will gloves.
The essential SXC kit list includes a helmet and bar plugs.