Last week I wrote about 7 ultimate mountain bike races which included both stage race and enduro style formats.
After posting this question on a number of forums, I received some great feedback of additional races to include on the ‘ultimate’ list.
The below represent events that have captured the attention and imagination of mountain bike riders looking for that ideal mtb event scenario – whether that be challenging terrain, amazing scenery, singletrack, quality descents or absolute mental and physical challenge, the previous list and below events should have something of interest.
While I cannot list every mtb race, the below events have been selected by readers as a significant ride to strive for and compete in, for that once in a lifetime achievement. The events below include:
- Trans Provence
- Trans Rockies
- Passportes du Soleil
- Wildside MTB
- Tour Divide MTB
- Croc Trophy
Mountain Bike Races – Enduro & Stage
Trans Provence – France
One of the more impressive endure race formats that have sprung up recently, the Trans Provence is an mtb enduro race with 26 time stages for the ultimate in all mountain endurance riding. This 7 day event covers some 300km of with the time stages of mostly downhill, singletrack sections. The key differentiator with this event is the solo format, whereby a team is not required and the fact that there is a lot of technical singletrack on offer.
7 Days – 330Km /205miles – 10,000m / 32,800ft elevation gain
Trans Rockies – Canada
Now in it’s 11th year the Trans Rockies is held in the tradition of the Trans Alps and Cape Epic – team based, big mountains and challenging riding. The distinct difference with this events is that the Trans Rockies has significantly more singletrack riding on offer that other ‘Trans’ and ‘Epic’ competitors, which is a major drawcard for this event.
7 days – 371 km / 231 mi – 11,350m / 37,238ft elevation gain
Passportes du Soleil – France & Switzerland
An endure style event utilising a fantastic trail network spanning several ski resorts across France and Switzerland. The 80Km circuit allow you to start from a number of different resorts and you 3 days to complete the ride. The circuit allows you to ride a variety of downhill and technical singletrack trails, which are specifically signed for the event, whilst utilising the resorts lift system to deliver you to the top and send you down on trails that with the next resort. This is less a race and more a participative ride through some of best mountain biking that France and Switzerland have on offer. Wade Wallace from Cycling Tips has a report on his 2010 experience here.
3 Days – 80Km / 50miles
Wildside MTB – Australia
The Wildside MTB in Tasmania, Australia is a 4 day, 200 km event that captures both a competitive element, via the timed competition sections and a participative ride via the non-timed sections, giving you the best of both worlds – similar to the European enduro format. The route is held is some of the most spectacular country in Tasmania, starting at the world heritage listed Cradle Mountain and ending in Strahan, on Tasmania’s west coast. Since 2006 the WildsideMTB has been held every 2 years, and has attracted some of Australia’s and the world’s leading mountain bike endurance riders.
4 Days – 200Km/124miles
Tour Divide MTB – Canada & USA
The granddaddy of organised mtb races, this ride is massive. The race is a self-supported, self-policed journey from Banff to the border of USA and Mexico – some 4418Km/2745miles in length, making it the longest off-pavement bike race in the world. The ride has a high attrition rate, and those who complete it, overcome huge physical and mental obstacles to complete one of the great adventure rides of the world. To gain an understanding of the challenges of the Great Divide mtb race, producer Mike Dion competed in the race and produced the documentary Ride the Divide
which provides great insight, especially with regards to the mental strength required to complete such an event. Jill Homer rode in the Tour Divide in 2009 and wrote about her account in her book Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide
again detailing the metal barriers to overcome to successfully complete the event.
27-31 days – 4418Km/2745 miles – 60,960m / 200,000ft elevation gain
Croc Trophy – Australia
The Croc Tropy – another race that is claiming the toughest mountain bike race in the world, which when you consider where this is held, the number of stages and distances, it very well may be true! The croc trophy was the vision of enterprising Austrian to create a tough stage race for mountain bikers. This European connection and the event marketing has created a diverse international field, heavily stacked with European riders, to compete in Australia’s harsh outback terrain.
9 Days – 933Km/580miles – 12,900m / 42,322ft elevation gain
Croc Trophy Website
As we continue to see new events every year in addition to some notable legacy events, there is sure to be healthy discussion on what should be included in a ultimate mountain bike race list post. Feel free to post your suggestions below.
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