Cross Country: The Official Game Rules Briefly
Cross-country is one of the most popular and interesting mountain bike disciplines. Racing in this sport takes place on rough terrain with long ascents and descents, numerous technical and high-speed sections. The cross-country track always includes natural and artificial obstacles.
Today, the discipline is classified as an extreme sports. Every year the routes of world competitions become more and more difficult, and with this the professionalism of the participants and the prestige of the tournaments increase. Cross-country does not stand still, which is why it is included in the program of the Summer Olympic Games.
Cross Country Varieties
Currently, international competitions are held in the following cross-country disciplines:
- Olympic cross country.
Has codification XCO, in Russian – KCO. Racing takes place on a ring road along hilly terrain. The total distance can vary from 5 to 9 km. The track often includes field and forest roads, soil, gravel patches, abrupt descents and steep climbs. Asphalt or paved roads should not exceed 15% of the total distance. All riders start simultaneously, in a group. The average travel time is 2 hours.
- Cross country marathon.
International codification – XCM, Russian-speaking – KKM. This type of race has a long distance – from 60 to 120 km. Amateurs and professionals can take part in the tournament. The marathon is traditionally held in the highlands. Another important difference is that the track should not repeat previously covered sections.
- Cross Country Shootout.
Codification – XCE (Eliminator). The length of the route can be from 500 to 1000 m. It should include many artificial and natural obstacles, such as trees, steep descents, stairs in different directions, bridges, jumps and other elements. Racing numbers are allocated based on qualification results. The first starting number is the winner of the qualification round, etc. The main race is the elimination races.
- Race against the clock.
International codification – XCT, Russian – CKRS. Competitions begin with a separate start. The winner is the rider who has passed the greatest distance from the start in the allotted time.
- Short track.
Has a codifier – XCC (CCC). It is a race along a short ring track of the criterium class.
Also common cross-country disciplines are:
- team relay (XCR, KKKG);
- race from point to point (XCP, KK-AB);
- multi-day race (XCS, KKMG).
To participate in international cross-country races, athletes must have endurance, excellent technique, courage, prudence and be the best in qualifications. Only the best representatives of their national federations get admission to major tournaments, but they also often need to go through the qualifying stage.
Cross-country competitions are held depending on the age category. For example, women under 23 years old belong to the category Under-23 – these are racers aged 19 to 22 years. They have the right to participate in Olympic competitions in the corresponding category, as well as to compete in the World Championship and continental championships on a par with U-23 men. In addition, representatives of this age category have the right to fight for medals in the races of the “Elite” class, even if they have a separate tournament for the U-23.
Competitions in the marathon cross-country are open to all riders who have reached the age of 19 (and older). Here, age is determined by the difference between the year of birth and the year of the tournament.
The main competitions in the international cross-country calendar are the World Cup and the Olympic Games. Next in importance is the Mountain Bike World Cup, which is held annually in several stages (multi-day races). It is also worth highlighting the Masters race and continental championships, for example, the European Championship and the championship of North America. At the same time, the calendar of international mountain bike and cross-country championships is compiled so that tournaments do not overlap.
The multi-day races in importance are divided into 3 classes:
- Horse class (SHC);
- Class 1 (S1);
- Class 2 (S2).
One-day mountain bike races can be of the following classes:
- Horse class (HC);
- Class 1 (C1);
- Class 2 (C2);
- Class 3 (C3).
The International Cycling Union (UCI) is responsible for organizing world cross-country tournaments. In Europe, the European Cycling Union (UEC) is hosting the continental championships. In Russia, national tournaments are held under the auspices of the Russian Cycling Federation.
For this sport, you only need to use mountain bikes with light weight and enhanced durability. In training and official competitions, the main point is the safety of athletes. That is why judges and technical marshals strictly monitor and check bikes for compliance with UCI standards and norms. Important requirements include:
Off-road racing requires a bike with high durability. Since the main structure is constantly supported by the frame construction of the bike, it should be as rigid as possible. The ideal solution would be aluminum frames. For example, bicycles with a steel frame are not allowed on official races.
Here, the minimum requirements are high-quality knitting needles and double rims, which must withstand long-term loads. It is also important to choose high-quality rubber up to 5 cm wide.
- Shock absorbers.
For mountain bikes, they are mandatory, as they contribute to the smooth passage of bumps on the roads. The number of shock absorbers does not play a role. The quality of the mechanisms is important here.
They are customary to use with special shoes for a stiffer grip. In this case, all muscle groups are involved, which helps to maximize the effectiveness of pressing the pedals. Professionals always use special contact pedals for cross-country.
In this discipline, a light and reliable bike is considered the key to success, so you do not need to save on it. High-quality components distinguish a professional bike from an amateur one. Many experts do not recommend even starting to train on ordinary mountain bikes.