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Pinkbike Poll: Are XC Courses Getting Too Gnarly?

Jun 21, 2024
by Dario DiGiulio  

This weekend's World Cup XC course in Crans-Montana is causing quite the fervor amongst athletes and internet experts alike. With some serious features and plenty of embedded tech, the course is pushing riders in ways well beyond the typical tests of fitness. Some athletes are raising concerns about the crash potential in various spots on course, particularly for those not at the highest end of Elite racing. These questions of risk aren't foreign to the gravity-focused side of bike racing, but the conversation is cropping up more and more in the cross country world.

There are plenty of arguments to the contrary though, as modern short travel bikes have become so capable the features become a lot easier relative to old bikes on somewhat more mellow terrain. Geoff Kabush gave his 2 cents on the matter: "If you really want to be scared go try to ride La Beatrice at MSA on a 26in hardtail, small tires at 45psi, and a high post in the wet before they buffed out the entry corner." He put his money where his mouth is last weekend, winning the Back Forty XC race in Whistler, which runs through some seriously technical terrain amidst gutting climbs.


Personally, I think the course looks excellent, especially in the dry. Steep climbs, fun little features, and natural terrain look a lot like the terrain I like to ride on my typical XC laps. That said, I'm not typically pushing every section of track at my absolute limit, so that'll certainly add some zest to the equation. It's one thing to drop into a hard line when you're just rolling through, but pushing towards the end of a race with a field of people around you could hit a bit different.

How should a XC course be biased, skill-wise?


Would you ride this course on a modern XC bike?



Are XC courses getting too gnarly?



Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
212 articles

246 Comments
  • 401 5
 General answer....no.....but more to the point, courses need to be designed for all conditions. Don't build out a badass log drop only to have to close it off due to rain b/c someone decided to build the landing out of cut log segments instead of natural dirt.
  • 131 0
 I think this is the most appropriate answer. XC racers are incredible bike handlers, the difficulty of these courses are perfectly fine but the course builders should have thought about what happens when the weather turns for the worst.
  • 28 0
 @pisgahgnar: I was thinking the same when I saw the features. Isn't there a wood to wood "jump" feature that leads straight into a nice shoot? Seems like a great feature, but a whole different animal when it's wet.
  • 78 2
 I agree with this. I also think there should be regulations against pointless, high-consequence hazards that have little to do with riders' skill. Falling off a rock drop can happen, but it shouldn't happen onto a tombstone rock or an aluminum picket in the landing zone. We don't need slick wood landings. I love when the skill and risk come from natural features - steep singletrack (up and down), roots, natural rock gardens.
  • 120 3
 gnarly yes, dangerous no. there is a difference. make a big drop, big jump, steep lines, chutes, off cambers, etc... but don't surround the difficult feature with razor sharp stones. Make the track difficult, gnarly but not high consequence in case of a crash.
  • 59 0
 Also, don't make it unnecessarily dangerous. If you are manufacturing a course... don't place big jagged rocks for zero reason on the sides of the runout of a drop.
  • 23 1
 Exactly!! The features themselves aren't out of place and the technical difficulty is fine. The added faff to make things more dangerous is the problem. I think the people voicing concern here are similar to the ones talking about the canyon gap at hardline. The difficulty level is ok, but the unnecessary risks aren't. But that's not a poll option.
  • 7 1
 Absolutely this. I wouldn't even say the danger with poorly designed features (=cool looking but can't handle weather changes and/ or is designed with unnecessary risk factors not related to actual difficulty) are the bikes, as the bikes can take it and most of the riders definitely have the skills. It's the also the lack of protection the riders are used to not needing, which isn't in par with tracks like this.

In another post there was critique about the riders/ teams not switching into burlier bikes for tracks like these and I could say the same also goes for different riding gear. But at the same time a lot of the smaller teams not to mention privateers don't have this choice, as most likely they have a very limited arsenal of options available especially on short notice. So another factor is introducing a new track with features like these out of the blue, not really giving at least all the riders a choice but to try and ride it with what they have.
  • 4 1
 @mbray14: I thought the same thing. Looks like you have to check your speed up after the jump to have control into the chute, which is cool, until 20 more people come flying down that jump. It's gonna be a junk show and the riders that can get out front early are going to have a big advantage. Sprint finish isn't really mountain biking.
  • 7 1
 @lurkeris: when these features are raced in DH and enduro the athletes are wearing full face helmets, pads and armour. XC racers are in lycra with a lightweight road helmet…
  • 6 5
 @ChiefSilverback: so….they should put on pads then?
  • 3 2
 Whoever downvoted this needs to raise there psi
  • 3 2
 @pisgahgnar:
geoffkabush
Riding my “XC” bike hearing people say XC courses getting too challenging? Any one saying this has no historical perspective. If you really want to be scared go try to ride La Beatrice at MSA on a 26in hardtail, small tires at 45psi, and a high post in the wet before they buffed out the entry corner. Little bikes are so good these days they have completely flattened any technique advantage. I absolutely want to see courses evolve with the capabilities of these amazing bikes to reward riders with more skill. Back in my day rant finished.
  • 3 0
 Jagged rocks, yawn…. I want gap jumps over shark tanks.
  • 8 0
 @the-smith: with fricken laser beams attached to their heads
  • 3 1
 There are B and even C lines on all those features, no one HAS to ride them…
  • 5 0
 @ridedigrepeat: Swiss Dental Association Rock Garden; crowns-montana
  • 2 0
 @smgishot13: That pad situation is pretty humorous. Whenever I see those areas, where they have fully padded one set of rocks, only to leave an equally or even more dangerous set fully exposed right next to them, I find myself wanting to hear the person in charge try to explain their reasoning.
  • 4 3
 This, more or less.

While I had no problem with anything that was built, per se, it was clear that little thought was given to how rideable the course would be in ALL conditions. Particularly for riders who are pinging heart rates of 170-180 BPM for 80 mins straight.

The fact that they back-tracked and "fixed" some features, closed some lines, etc, implies that the features were at least partly created for "clicks", and that the riders were used as guinea pigs to test its feasibility.

Exactly the same issue that I had with "that canyon gap" at Hardline Wales. The jump wasn't the problem. Using riders as guinea pigs for high profile click-bait was the problem.

In both cases, you can also create truly challenging features without making them inherently dangerous (or even deadly).
  • 3 1
 well then it means its too much. a track on dry is always gripper than a wet trail. I don't really enjoy seeing stuff being so dicy the best mtbers in the world just fall every now and then because bad luck personally, specially in lycra with shit helmets. but I get that I'm in the minority. we'll wait for a bad accident I guess.
  • 3 3
 @Biketechted: not sure if you are saying I think they are too challenging? Not even close. 90% of the downhill KOMs in my local area are dudes racing the Pisgah Stage Race on XC bikes absolutely destroying the descents with times most people can't come close to on enduro bikes. XC bikes, and more so the riders, are perfectly capable of anything these World Cup courses can throw at them.
  • 1 1
 @CamT: whoever wrote this needs to learn to speak (and write) English. Unless you are a foreigner, in which case I'll cut you some slack.
  • 1 0
 @pisgahgnar: I used to ride your local area on the bikes Kabush describes. This is in reference specifically to world cup xc courses. They were getting tame. I like the current improvements.
"26in hardtail, small tires at 45psi, and a high post in the wet" Long live Velociraptors!! Wink
I now enjoy your local area with 7" between my legs and no desire to revisit the old days.
  • 1 0
 @Biketechted: lol I also ride on a 160/170 bike. But, the point still stands. The spandex crew kicks my ass on the downhills.
  • 211 1
 Gnarly and natural > stupid built features
  • 36 2
 I feel like this can be said for courses...DH to XC
  • 20 1
 Yup, aesthetics matter.

Bonus: natural features will stay open in inclement weather.

And hopefully more easily lead to new courses becoming permanent trails...Which we will ride on trail/enduro bikes because we suck compared to the pros lol
  • 7 0
 The track itself seems fine to me from the video and everything seems rideable on a proper hardtail and there seems to be room to bail if things go wrong, which I think is what is important. If it were about fitness exclusively, there is indoor trainer competition for that isn't there? The bit I've seen which is wrong is the fences they built on the side of these wooden bridges. It seems more like they could slide (partially) underneath or get caught when riding too close to it rather than that they'd save you one way or another. If you crash and do get caught in the fence, you may actually cause a pile-up in a dangerous section. Just do away with those fences and just suspend some catching nets to the side just like they do in WC DH under some gaps where coming short could have unacceptable consequences. It is much safer to just fall off and land in the net than hit that fence.
  • 11 0
 Natural long technical sections challenge riders and create differences in speed, big single features don't play much into the race and just increase the risk of big crash.
  • 3 0
 Was it a DH race last year that ended going thru stupid high consequence orange plastic mesh fence tunnel to sharp turn drop onto a 45deg down plywood exit ramp? Stuff like that, poorly thought out and not for mountain biking.
  • 120 10
 XC needs to be gnarly to fend off the roadies!
  • 23 9
 What roadies? If you mean guys like Pidcock or MvdP, I think you'll find they were riding off-road before riding on the road, whether Cyclocross or messing about on MTB as a kid like Pidcock.

A true roadie will struggle on most of the XC courses.....
  • 51 0
 @Starch-Anton: i am not 100% serious with this comment. I do however think you shouldn't be able to win an xc race without being a great mountainbiker first and foremost.

mvdp and pidcok win xc races because on top of them being genetic anomalies they are also exceptional bike handlers.
  • 26 1
 @waldo-jpg: Thank you for bringing up MvdP and Pidcock. Many people still view them as primarily roadies, but they usually have among the fastest - sometimes the outright fastest - downhill split times.

Similarly, some top level enduro and downhill riders occasionally compete in XC races with impressive results (not WC XC, mind you, but locally significant races).

I have immense respect for these well-rounded riders.
  • 15 10
 Anyone who claims to be a “roadie” or “mountain biker” probably isn’t very good at their preferred discipline, let alone riding a different bike. DH racers train on road bikes, riders like Ferrand Prevot and Pidcock rip on dirt because of (not despite) an extensive road background.
  • 5 0
 I've raced against Phil Gaimon on an old school local XC course. He DNFed after a crash. I couldn't see how bad since he was about 20 minutes ahead of me within 15 minutes of the race starting.

@wyorider: definitely going to hurt some feelings with that one (and I'm here for it).
  • 10 0
 All pros whether they are XC, EWS or DH ALL train on road bikes
  • 10 0
 Roadies come to XC and a lot of them do fine. I mean you can’t be a kind of pro without spending most of your life on bikes. I doubt there are any roadies that got their first bike and it was a drop bar and they never left the pavement. To that I think cyclocross racers could be a threat. I watched some videos of them riding full speed in the mud down hill into axle deep ruts on a road bike with knobby tires and possibly the least forgiving geometry in modern cycling lol
  • 5 3
 I view Pidcock and MvdP as having vastly different downhill tech / flow. Pidcock is bounds ahead.
  • 3 29
flag packfill (Jun 21, 2024 at 21:27) (Below Threshold)
 @wyorider: Pidcock is a roadie. He may be fast on a mtb, but he’s a roadie. The man rode his mtb exactly one time before Nove Mesto. If you ride a road bike 150 days and a mtb once for the first half of the year, you’re a roadie.
  • 24 0
 @packfill: there are plenty of "mountain bikers" who ride 20 hours a year and still think they are hot shit.
  • 10 0
 @packfill: could you please elaborate on your definition. Where exactly is the line? Which amount of minutes would he have had to spend on his mtb to be qualified for the label? Crap Opinion
  • 2 1
 @R-M-R: I have a feeling MVP is done with MTB. The more time you spend on a road bike, the harder it gets to transition. Peter Sagan admitted this. When you're young and nimble you can get away with it. Same might happen to Pidcock.
  • 1 3
 @waldo-jpg: oh Jesus, really? Have you ever called someone a roadie?
  • 2 0
 @wyorider: This, 100%.

The ones who complain about it being a "fitness competition" (like any endurance sport isn't?) are always the ones with little fitness and usually also little skill.
  • 3 0
 @JSTootell: Hey now...I'm right here...I can read your comments. And it's 22 hours, thank you (all the gains are after the 20 hours). I'm equally hawt on road, gravel and enduro bikes. ;-)
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Agreed. I've said ad nauseum that I'm not race fan or expert (I've misspoken several times on the topic, and may here again), but I think if you're referring to "road" downhill Pidcock is one of the top, or the top, descender these days. I think that ability to focus no matter which discipline you "switch" to is very transferable. And full send road downhill with nothing but a helmet is respect worthy. Especially here in Europe where issues on one side of the road usually equal some sort of near-death excursion.

Besides, even though I think of myself as a mountain biker, I've been on the trainer and road bike a lot more the last year. And watching a couple of races and highlights, roadies get points for not worrying about 1000+ pounds of bike and rider getting ready to pile on them if just one rider miscalculates while doing 50-60kph (or more) while in the peloton.

I don't know if Schurter has tried road, but had he been adopted by a road team a few years ago to build a portfolio he could have been a beast out there (so says this non-race expert). He probably could still be helpful to a team on a grand tour.
  • 1 12
flag smith888 FL (Jun 23, 2024 at 11:22) (Below Threshold)
 It’s a state of mind. No true mountain biker would be seen dead in a Lycra gimp suit. That’s why they invented gravel, to give mountain bikers a valid way to train mostly on the road without being considered to be roadies.
  • 13 1
 @smith888: Been mountain biking for 33 years, BMX before that. I wore lycra to win a regional XC championship yesterday and will hit the dirt jumps this evening.

But I'm sure I'm "no true mountain biker".

If mountain biking didn't exist, I'd still ride BMX and road. I'm a cyclist. What are you?
  • 81 10
 Tracks are too hard!

Tracks are too easy!

Maybe people just love moaning?
  • 37 70
flag scott-townes FL (Jun 21, 2024 at 12:30) (Below Threshold)
 The PB comments section is filled with ignorant people who will bitch about literally everything. "This MTB course has too many rocks!" "DH tracks are just too fast, its too dangerous!" "Rampage lines are too gnarly!" "Hardline is too hard!" "OMG my favorite rider got hurt, this sport is too reckless!"
  • 18 1
 Track looks sick and has me frothin for a sick XC bike.
  • 17 5
 "some people will bitch about a blowjob"
  • 13 0
 @scott-townes: I don't not agree with you
  • 34 9
 @scott-townes: Oh no... the human Flat Tire has come out of Moms Basement - again - to bitch about people bitching instead of just share a personal insight. While some might say its tracks-gone-wild and others its tracks-gone-soft... Scott Townes bitching is about everyone else here and its probably the single #1 bummer on PB of all time.
  • 17 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: PinkBike should take all the “most active” commenters (define that how you please) and put them together for sort of a discussion series for various bike topics. That’s a reality tv show I would actually watch. Like a bike version of the Kardashians.
  • 7 0
 @joecrosby: I will happily participate and regularly make sarcastic comments.
  • 3 0
 This is actually the answer
  • 5 0
 @dwhere: Only the ones you give.
  • 27 0
 @scott-townes: I like the fact we're at a place now where we don't look at scotts posts before downvoting.
  • 7 1
 @joecrosby: gotta bring back Waki then.
  • 2 2
 @superfrodaddy: Like Jake Phelps, Waki is Still Watching....
  • 5 5
 The moaning never ends. And is the loudest from the folks who don’t ever pick up a shovel.
  • 1 0
 @dwhere: yo momma didn’t!



Sorry, could resist!
  • 3 2
 @watchmen: sounds like Scott is right on the money with that comment.
  • 5 1
 @dwhere: not if it involves that “hawk tuah”
  • 2 0
 @nyhc00: Damnit I need to go watch her again now. Peak evolution.
  • 10 0
 @scott-townes: "The PB comments section is filled with ignorant people who will bitch about literally everything."

Did the mirror respond?
  • 4 17
flag scott-townes FL (Jun 22, 2024 at 4:31) (Below Threshold)
 @BobbyHillbomb: "you're such a condescending a*shole. Goddamn dude, have some self awareness."

Did the mirror respond?
  • 2 0
 "Maybe people just love moaning?"

Yes, but are they moaning too much? Not enough?
Too much and it buries the good comments.
Not enough and it the comments get boring.
What we need is more critiquing of the moaning.
  • 44 1
 I don't think the Crans-Montana track is too gnarly, just poorly designed
  • 19 0
 Seems like the problem is just a couple features. I'm all for incorporating greater technical challenges, especially when there are B- and C-lines for those who prefer to keep it safe. The important thing is to increase the technical challenge without disproportionately increasing the risk.
  • 9 0
 Yeah, I don't think we're questioning the technicality, I think this is a conversation about consequences. A course can be technical without introducing unnecessary risk for professionals. They added pads on top of the vertical rocks and filled in the hole in the rock berm - those are good changes imo.
  • 11 0
 Yeah, the stuff isn't that big but is challenging on an XC bike but as soon as I saw those embedded vertical rocks I thought WTF!
  • 4 0
 The risk assessment should read:

Likelihood 5
Severity 2

Conclusion - go fast pull up.
  • 35 1
 Missing poll option: courses should be more technical without being this dangerous. Shark fin rocks are just danger for the point of danger. You could lay a 12” log straight across the course and filter out everyone who never learned to bunny hop. Instead it’s a five foot drop onto rock spines on aspens.
  • 5 0
 With riders wearing road helmets with full lycra and no armor.
  • 19 0
 Hahaha wtf….

No. More gnar is always good.

Plenty of the XC racers can rip dh as well. Let’s focus the field on people who can actually ride a bike. Don’t need to lose focus of the purpose of XC, but let’s also not make it a pure fitness race with no real mtb.
  • 22 1
 Scott townes told me they are too hard
  • 1 0
 How does this post not have 200000+ likes
  • 24 8
 Nah.

Our small little group likes to think that the world revolves around crankworx and dh racing. The reality is that there's a massive market for cross racing and cross country racing.

They do a better job televising it and since they're setting up laps they can focus on the coverage. It's actually pretty entertaining the way it's going.

They've done a terrible job with EWS coverage and a terrible job with DH coverage. So maybe they can pull of XC racing better since the market is larger and the demand is larger.

Now... saying that. I wouldn't go much gnarlier than they are now. They're already starting to force people into changing what bikes they're riding. You see more droppers. More full suspension. Longer suspension. ETc. They make these things too much gnarlier and it might as well be EWS as the bikes will jump another 20mm in travel.

Leave it the way it is.

You have pretty clear lines with where it is right now.

- Road racing.
- Cross racing/gravel.
- XC
- Enduro
- DH
- Free racing (hardline)

I think the lines are close enough in each of these to have clear lines. Start crossing over too much and you end up making one type of racing or another irrelevant....


I say leave it the way it is. Then once the races are done put the e-mtb classes on it and have them run the courses backwards.
  • 16 0
 "They're already starting to force people into changing what bikes they're riding. You see more droppers. More full suspension. Longer suspension. ETc. They make these things too much gnarlier and it might as well be EWS as the bikes will jump another 20mm in travel."

The difference is that EWS places time limits on the climbs (or just bypasses them via chairlifs), but the climb time doesn't contribute to the results (unless outside the limit, which is rare). The clock never stops on the XC results clock, so even if a XC race used the same course as an enduro, the results would be dramatically different.
  • 7 1
 I'd like to see the eebs racing a hard Enduro style race like the moto guys do.
  • 4 0
 @R-M-R: good point.
  • 7 0
 @onemanarmy: And both disciplines can be better for it! We can ensure Enduro stays distinct from downhill via extensive elevation gain and/or tight transfer time limits, and we can keep XC distinct from road and gravel via technically challenging A-lines, but enduro and XC will still have limited overlap because it's almost impossible to gain more time on a descent than on a climb.

While I enjoy "pure" disciplines, I also find it interesting when a course or format blurs the lines and riders have to make strategic equipment choices. Reminds me of the Downieville format where racers have to use the same bike for the XC and "DH lite" events and gives a clearer picture of how the pros perceive the efficiency vs. control balance offered by their equipment choices.
  • 5 0
 @R-M-R: I like it. Where do I sign my approval? LOL!
  • 2 0
 @onemanarmy: The best answer is to write to the UCI, race sponsors, and team sponsors. The real answer is that we just keep complaining about it on Pinkbike. It's a win either way!
  • 1 0
 Normally I don’t read posts this long but u hooked me and I agree….
  • 1 0
 @rich-2000: I type too much. It's a problem.
  • 4 0
 Don’t forget dual slalom. One of the best Mtb racing formats when done correctly.
  • 16 1
 I'd wager that if the EWS started timing the climbs, we would see these exact bikes DOMINATE. IMO many of the elite XC riders would be very close in a EWS race, we've seen follow-cam on Nino gapping a seasoned enduro athlete w/ half the suspension. XC has always appealed to me in the form of under-biking, I've always appreciated the "door-to-door" aspect of MTB, getting a good result on the entire trail network, not just the KOM to the top or KOM back down.

Maybe XC will be the "new" Enduro (it's already aggressive downcountry). It's fun to watch, I've been appreciating PB coverage of it more and more, thanks!!!
  • 4 10
flag KNBikes (Jun 21, 2024 at 13:35) (Below Threshold)
 I’d take Richie Rude, Melamed, or Moir against Nino, MVdP or Blevins on any descent track
Anywhere any day….and on most every climb against regionally competitive racers with similar bikes. Theres absolutely a glaring difference in the speeds of pro dh racers, enduro racers, and XC racers along same terrain going down and likely going up as well.
  • 20 0
 @KNBikes: Ha! If you're timing anything with an uphill, Nino is going to smash Richie Rude. It wouldn't even be close. I don't think you truly understand the fitness level of the top XC pros. Richie would get pulled in a world cup XC race.
  • 3 0
 @packfill: he said against any regional racer. No way they could keep up with top xc racers.
  • 2 6
flag KNBikes (Jun 21, 2024 at 21:59) (Below Threshold)
 @packfill: yeah my point was top enduro guys will wreck top XC guys on a descent focused race (op of this thread was saying he thought top XC guys could come to ews and win or be close to the top, I’m saying no way) ; similarly top XC guys would win a race against top enduro guys with lots of climbing in the timed stages. But there’s no way these top XC guys on any bike could come and win ews pro enduro stages. And it’s quite an ask for even top enduro riders to compete with top dh riders, a few try like Rude Maes etc but haven’t seen any podiums.
  • 1 1
 @Austink: I agree this is a silly statement. These are top athletes if “regional” racers could compete they would. I don’t pay a ton of attention to racing but this course and the comments me paying attention in fact a month or two ago I was riding at an area here in SoCal and the local high school teams were out practicing all kitted up in Lycra running laps on xc bikes end of the day same kids same bikes same kits went and boosted through jump line like it was a joke. Xc racers can ride for real and they can do it longer and faster than the rest both up and down. No you can’t do it in jeans and most of us shouldn’t be seen in Lycra.
  • 4 0
 @KNBikes: Martin Maes however won a DH World Cup and very nearly world championships a few years back. He might be a little further from the top steps in DH today but these guys are definitely fast.
  • 1 2
 @fjm35: exactly….but top XC riders can come in and be competitive in EWS enduro events? Sorry but that’s just not true…as many people are saying enduro guys would get dragged in a XC race, all top XC guys would get dragged in an Ews race too. That was my whole point. If anyone has reading comprehension, it’s pretty obvious I wrote on “descent focused tracks”…I never thought EWS guys could come in an do 11 laps of uphill sprinting with top XC guys, just like the XC guys can’t come to enduro and rip off 6 blistering stages. I think most people who think the this XC course is “gnarly” need to get a good look at a proper enduro and dh course and then compound that with the credible speed and precision they are raced at.
  • 1 1
 @blueH2Oj: if XC guys could compete in more descent focused disciplines they would too, but I’ve not ever seen I. Recent memory any of them crossing over. So to say XC guys could come to another discipline and be as fast or faster than the current pros in that discipline is ridiculous. Check the original comment at top of this thread, because that idea was put out there. I’m here just refuting it…and if you think Crans course was gnarly, you’ve not been to a regional enduro race lately…I was just at the NAEC in silver mountain and it’s substantially gnarlier than this, Steeper with more jank and a sustained stage 15 minutes of riding down the whole mountain. I never said XC guys have no skills. I don’t think their skills match top enduro guys or dh racers when it comes to pure all out descending while racing.
  • 4 0
 @KNBikes: I don’t think it was too gnarly at all. And I do think that World Cup xc racers can show up at a regional enduro and compete easily. Just like I think and World Cup enduro racer can show up at a regional XC race and compete and possibly win. World Cup to World Cup. No that can’t cross over. Easily but these are pro athletes. And yes I have competed recently in an enduro race at vail lake.
  • 3 3
 @fjm35: if you can find me one XC pro racer that’s crossed over to similar enduro/dh level racing recently, I’d love to hear about that. Amazing story, but I think you’ll be pressed to find any such corroborating evidence.
  • 2 0
 @KNBikes: wow your comments went from confused and unclear, to totally ignorant, to totally stupid.

Martin Maes winning a WC DH being just one example of this.

Also "if XC racers could go and win enduro or DH, they would". XC is a frigging olympic sport. Maybe there are other reasons (like an abundance of big money?) that makes XC racers stay in their field, even though some have the DH capability of downhillers.
  • 16 0
 Some in the gravity community appear to be gatekeeping these features because they can't fathom that someone in lycra is doing stuff they're only willing to do on an enduro bike with a fullface, and it's pretty obvious.
  • 3 7
flag KNBikes (Jun 22, 2024 at 12:24) (Below Threshold)
 I think the XC pros are gatekeeping themselves with 100mm of travel and 17psi in their noodly single ply tires. Imagine what they could do on those features without fear of bottoming susp and flatting tires….yet why if they’re so technically proficient, aren’t there’s bunch of crossover athletes to enduro and dh racing from the XC pros? I’d be interested to hear about any such crossover…..if it’s ever even happened
  • 11 1
 @KNBikes: the point isn't that a WC XC racer has actually moved over to DH or Enduro and been successful, it's that your average Pinkbike bro-dude is mediocre at literally everything, and continues to criticize XC pros (whose paid job it is to be the fastest both up and down the mountain, not simply down) for not running equipment that would sabotage them on the climbs... where 80% of the time gains are to be found.

Ever notice that really skilled riders - pro or not - don't criticize top riders in other disciplines just because they prefer their own? Pros and top amateurs know that anyone at the top of any cycling discipline is a skilled all-round athlete. You'll never hear Richie Rude or Jesse Melamed refer to "roadies" because... they train on road bikes, too . And on XC bikes.

I'll go one further and put it out there that the top Cat 1 racers in our field today (NC/SC regional championships) are head-and-shoulders better technical riders than 85% of Pinkbike posters when on equivalent bikes... and better on their XC rigs than at least 60% of Pinkbikers are on their Enduro bikes.

Finally, you said something above to the effect of "if they could cross over to gravity events, they would". Really? Would they? You see a lot of NBA stars lining up to prove they can be a NFL wide receiver? Best in the world in their field, with more media coverage than Enduro and DH... yeah, I'm sure they're losing sleep over it.

Most of us who are pretty OK at one area of cycling have plenty of experience in other areas. BMX, Slalom, DH, Road and CX for me. All made me a better mountain biker and a better athlete, and I respect all of them.
  • 1 0
 @KNBikes: compared to XC/CX and Road there is simply not enough $$ in Enduro for them to bother racing. Plenty of pro's still enjoy Enduro events after their career ends. You will see them at bike parks and events shredding and having a blast. Even socially.
  • 1 0
 @KNBikes: Even if the descents are as hard as Rampage, the climb is always more important in XC because it takes more time.
  • 18 2
 100mm stems? Live in the present. XC guys aren't even riding those anymore. Nino runs an 80. Hell, the new Epic comes with a 60.
  • 5 0
 Thank you! Came here to say that.
  • 28 18
 I think it’s important to have technically demanding courses at the top level of the sport. To clarify, I’d like to see very challenging “A” obstacles on both the climbs and downhills with “B” lines that require a decent time punishment. I want to see courses that require elite racers to contemplate using aggressive tires with XC bikes, or trail bikes with XC tires. I want courses that make pros consider using actual MTB helmets and back/chest protection. Pros that don’t want this can go make a good living in gravel or marathon instead.
  • 36 2
 so you want xc to be dh? i’m all for technical courses but you’ve clearly never done any serious xc racing if you think it would be a good idea to run chest protection in an xc race. it’s one thing to hit these features but it’s entirely different when you have to hit them while you’re breathing out of your eyeballs after going max effort up a climb.
  • 11 1
 Valid points, though maybe we can skip the chest protectors when averaging 350 W in 30°C!

For me, the ultimate course would have multiple lines that would make it equally competitive on an enduro, trail, or XC bike. Of course it would never be possible to incorporate that much of a spread, but maybe the A-lines could be sufficiently spicy and plentiful that a little more travel and mid-weight tires with sticky rubber could be competitive against a typical XC set-up.
  • 7 10
 @Mtbndcut: Ever heard of motocross? They average heart rates in the 180-190+ bpm range for 35 minutes while going much faster on much gnarlier features on 250 pound bikes with full faces and chest/back protection in 100 degree heat. Oh and they do that twice in a day. Elite athletes will be fine, I’m certainly not suggesting this for amateur level events. I also want to see more tech added to the climbs.
  • 2 11
flag two-wheel-will (Jun 21, 2024 at 13:54) (Below Threshold)
 @R-M-R: In my experience, when you’re riding that hard (350 W in 30C), my exertion level and sweat is so high that I can’t really tell the difference between riding with a little extra protection on or not. Of course this might be different for others and to clarify, the added protection would not be mandatory. It’s more a situation of “There’s a 75% chance that I’ll crash hard on rocks at some point in this race, so I’m going to wear chest/back protection and knee pads so I can get up and keep racing instead of DNFing”
  • 8 0
 @two-wheel-will: I understand what you're saying, but there's ample evidence that heat management is a major factor in aerobic sports in moderate to hot weather. Observe the results for low-speed events (ex. distance running, mountain biking, road riding when the finish is on a major climb) in hot weather vs. cold or wet weather and you'll see athletes with slender builds dominate in hot weather, while athletes with comparatively stout builds can be competitive in the latter conditions.

So yes, you probably feel max'd out on temperature with or without the body armour, but you'll hit that threshold at a lower power with the armour. For this reason, XC athletes will never use significant body armour, no matter how much the course may warrant the protection. If they need to increase the safety margin, their first step will be to use tires with more tread and/or stickier rubber.

For the rest of us, whose salaries don't depend on squeezing out those last few watts, suit up and play safe(ish)!
  • 6 1
 Try going flat-out for an hour to 90 minutes with “serious” protective gear……
  • 6 1
 A race of any kind should be representative of the sport people practice. Of course it should challenge the worlds best,but when it's nothing to do with what the everyday amateur does,it doesn't make sense. XC racing has little to do with what it was a few years ago thanks to the Olympics shortened format and the made-for-TV features. What I don't like to see is the artificial stuff,I would prefer a old school muddy chute to a manicured rock garden,or a rutted off-camber instead of a few dozen berms.
  • 3 1
 I just looked at some old data from a motorcycle practice day years back. I maxed out at 187 BPM.

I promise you that it didn't feel nearly that difficult. I might be doing a lot of physical exertion, but most of that was just heat stress from being fully insulated in race gear.

I've hit the entire jump line at Snow Summit (the jumps have grown since then though) on my XC bike in regular XC gear, I can't imagine a situation where I would where bro gear in an XC race.

Damn, I need to get back on the track again...
  • 3 0
 @two-wheel-will: Okay, so here's a challenge: we will race a "gnarly" XC course. I will wear my normal xc gear, lycra clothes and standard helmet. You will dress up in all your armor.

After I make your heart explode on the first big climb I'll take it easy on the gnar, because I won't be able to see you anymore since you'll be so far off the back.

Well, I'd see you again, while I'm lapping you. That's what cross country racing is all about, make the other guys explode before you do.

If you'd actually ever raced you would understand that point. If you should ever try an actual race wearing your armor, you can only hope the rest of the field is laughing so hard they are unable to ride.
  • 10 0
 This course has a big road section in it.
Add a question to your poll...
Do we want to see large road sections in xc races?

More gnarly XC, less road. It's mountain biking, not CX
  • 3 0
 And no more grass fields.
  • 10 2
 I think many courses are arriving at a sweet spot. This one seems way too dangerous though. If someone of Puck Pieterses skill level is scared while riding the course and skips at least one A-Line because „I‘m not doing that“, I think things might have gone a bit too far.
(Source: Her preride-video on yt, highly recommend, if you like to get a small look behind the scenes)
  • 2 0
 (But of course the main reason for that were the wet conditions)
  • 9 0
 She says on her course ride video about them releasing water for the river gap on race day and how they seem more interested about how stuff looks than how it rides. Which explains a lot.
  • 3 0
 It's not necessarily that this course is too dangerous, but that it isn't designed to deal with wet conditions. I think it's also a problem when courses are built just before they are meant to be ridden. Courses should be built at least a year before a WC race to give it time to bed in, and should be built like a proper MTB trail (except perhaps wider to allow passing and line options).
  • 9 0
 There is a huge difference riding this track at your pace with friends versus riding full gaz for 90 minutes with 70 riders riding full gaz who all wants to be in front of you.
A scary différence. Try it once.
  • 1 0
 /\This

We used to tape race courses, without a continuous tape corridor at every intersection riders would inevitably just wander off the trail on random paths and crash.

The brain is putting everything it has into keeping the pedals turning.
  • 8 0
 I want some sort of blend between XC and enduro. Ride 130-150mm bikes on a gnarly loop with technical climbs and descents, and appropriate features. A race that resembles how most people ride, on the average trail bikes that most people ride.
  • 5 0
 This trail is probably already that. It's just ridden on XC bikes instead of trail bikes because the pros have the skill to ride it on those bikes and they're more efficient than a trail bike. An actual race on trail bikes would mean the trail is a lot more gnarly than what the average rider would ride.
  • 7 1
 I’m kind of conflicted on this. I think where the courses, especially this one, is about where they should stop. This is a solid course, minus the absolutely gorgeous, but also very slippery, log drop. The technical ability to ride on this course is nothing to scoff at. Riding this on an xc bike is sketchy but doable. At race pace, it’s gonna push the riders which I think is great.

However, we need to be challenging the upcoming riders. I just coached a race oriented mountain bike camp. The terrain we were riding day to day is of this caliber. Steep rock rolls, big drops, and on top of all that, extremely gravelly corners. I am a local to this terrain so I have learned to use proper technique to ride this terrain. Many upcoming riders however, don’t. The courses they face all throughout their high school racing careers are mellow races that you could be competitive on a gravel bike with. I think keeping the lower level classes such as Freshman, Sophomore, and JV levels with easy courses. However, once you reach Varsity, the technical aspect of the courses need to be amplified. Many of the kids at the camp I coached wanted to continue to race and potentially be pros. The courses we put them on don’t give them realistic situations that pros are in though. And I’m not saying drop them into a professional level course, just add some bigger drops and jumps and such with time penalty alt lines.

I know that was a long rant but I think it’s important to prepare the younger generation of riders according. And me being someone that just graduated from that I think I can speak a bit more accurately to it.
  • 1 0
 The MN league used to have a slightly different course for the varsity riders. Nothing absurd, but occasionally they would get to ride some features/trails that the elite race in the summer state series would use.

But as more and more kids are involved (and younger ones at that) and insurance/liability/etc keeps coming up it’s gone away from that. That being said, any of the kids who actually want to be better will race all summer at harder courses and events.
  • 5 0
 I have been impressed of some xc guys riding the sh.... out of their xc bikes in gnarly up and downhill sections ober the last years. I want to see those guys on the podium not those that carry their bikes up and down because of no skills. So i like those tracks
  • 5 0
 I like the direction of difficulty but some of the manmade rocks sticking up on this Crans course seem like a high penalty for failure. Technical courses create more opportunities to separate the best from the rest which is a good thing.
  • 4 1
 It is interesting how conservative the line choices the XC racers shoot for compared to Enduro or dh. I think its a calculation based on time advantage; the race is almost always won on the climbs, but you have to be able to keep a decent pace going DH and recover if you can. There is little to no advantage gained by picking up a few seconds with a risky line downhill. That makes the course selection super interesting and fun to both watch and race in. If the DH sections were cruisy, there is no strategic advantage in picking say, a more capable bike, or using a dropper, or having dh skills to pay the bills. Likewise, if stamina was the only differentiator, we may as well just race in Zwift instead.
  • 3 0
 The bikes are awesome, the courses are looking much better but the tires choices seem terrible. I don't know how many times I've watched these events and seen the riders getting flat tires, loosing minutes to save a few watts.
  • 3 0
 You forgot the option of more tech on the last question. Most courses still hav a very little procent of tech if you take the length of the whole track. And make the courses so that it's superslow if you run instead of ride!
  • 8 2
 Love the new tracks and progression—this is where MTB needs to go!
  • 6 0
 A Darkfest / Hardline XC event would be epic.
  • 1 0
 @SimonD - I can assure you that Bjorn Riley in the U23's would absolutely do that event.
  • 2 0
 Some courses will be easier, some harder. The two early season world cups in Brazil for example. Looking at Pucks pre rider lap this course looks a little hard, but maybe ok. Personally I like courses that create close racing.
  • 4 1
 It has nothing to do with what fans think, none of us are racing it.

Also 99% of the votes for “I could ride it on an XC bike” probably can’t even ride/don’t ride/comment and can’t fit in Lycra.
  • 3 0
 XC should mimic the local challenges that are required to traverse landscapes. That changes with region. It should definitely not lean toward "sanitized", nor should it become enduro "gnarly".
  • 4 2
 Maybe an unpopular opinion, but I don't think XC should get too technically demanding. It's certainly good that XC is no longer just roadies hacking around grass fields with cyclo cross bikes, but when it's a discipline where only Jesse Malamed or Richie Rude could win a race that's when it's gone too far.

(That's one of the reasons I think enduro has lost its way, it's become DH-lite rather than having it's own identity.)

Not every MTB race needs to be hardline.
  • 2 0
 I think it’s in a good way ,but I would love to see athletes starting in groups ,25 then 2 minutes later 25/30 then 2 minutes or three minutes 30 and so on ,to give some more of the back athletes to have a change ,cause they lose many many time in the first’s 500 meters or 1 km ,that would be a real show to see some more people showing up. The rest they say is gnarly because the bloody tires ,do people ever try them ,the braking traction is a joke ,and I’m only referring to the back cause on the front it’s more scary,so if they maybe ride a more grippy one they would be almost fine ,cause these riders have all the skills to conquer that gnarly sections ,of course it will be more harder to pedal ,but I don’t want xc to became what was before just fire roads with some holes
  • 2 0
 No, but in this case get rid of the sharp boulders they put between those lanes. It is a shame they are making so many artificial looking obstacles. I would appreciate it if they tried to make the technical features look more natural even if not put there by nature.
  • 2 0
 I'm not sure how many commenters actually race XC events and while I'm no expert, I regularly race XC and Enduro and have done a few Downhill races as well. To me, XC racing should be about the fitness as that's really what the races are intended to measure. I like an XC course which has some downhill technical sections where good riders can distance themselves (this happens to be where I find most of my time) but to make it nearly unrideable for some just seems a bridge too far.
  • 2 1
 Things will even out. Some courses will toe the line and get concerns, commentary etc. which will inform future courses. Most riders seem to be onboard with the shift towards more technicality. This weekend isn't helped by the rain but without my guess is almost every rider will have adapted to the course and figured it out. We just happened to see the select cases where riders were crashing in the early stages of practice.
  • 4 0
 Not a fan of 'man made' gnar, but this wasn't an option. Natural gnar no problem bring it on.
  • 1 0
 It should probably be a combination/variety of track types, some harder and more technical and others a bit faster and flatter. If they all get too steep and hard they become enduro races, and if they all become dull and smooth you might as well use a cyclocross/gravel bike. But a variety of tracks would find the best and most well-rounded XC rider.
  • 2 0
 This course is absolutely on the bubble, if this level of technicality filters down to amateur level it will make XC racing pretty daunting and put alot of pressure on the hosts of the events.
  • 4 2
 The only thing missing now is technical "impossible climb" sections.

Big long climbs are awesome and should be most of it, bit sections of seriously difficult techy climbs should feature as well.
  • 7 0
 If it gets too tech (like stall and hop) they will all just run it on foot.
  • 1 0
 @Snowytrail: as clearly demonstrated in the racing.. especially the women's event
  • 2 0
 After a watch on Stéphane Tempier pov lap it's definitely ok, there's chicken lines where it counts, so no discussion. Natural off cambers etc, very nice track for real mountain bikers!
  • 1 0
 I'm not a big follower of xc, and this looks unusually hard technically compared to the other few events I watched. It makes it a lot more interesting (to my taste).The fact that there are chances of riders falling makes it a lot more exciting !
  • 1 0
 I think the tracks should create the best racing. I don't really care if they have gnarly downhills, because the modern field is so technically capable that no one is putting significant time into each other on a descent. Similar with uphills honestly. It's good to have tough and technical bits to a climb, but if it's too hard and slow then someone just rides off the front and is never caught. The Brazilian tracks created amazing racing. Enough tough descending that you had to know what you're doing, but big wide climbs that allowed the race to stay together. I don't think I've seen attacks go off and come back like that in XC. Very fun to watch.
  • 3 1
 XC Is the 'mountain biking' entry, this is exactly what is required........ You could argue Enduro is a similar idea but for some dumb reason we Dont time uphill on 'enduro' IMO XC is a short travel, proper enduro race.
  • 1 0
 It’s close to the ideal amount of ideal technical challenge for a WC course. The course does seems to be poorly built, berms made of raked leaves and pinecones, transitions missing, log landings. Could go bigger yet with slightly better trail building.
  • 2 0
 Of course asking pinkbike will yield Gravity-based answers. One thing I think is very important: make the difficult stuff safe. There's a difference between a feature that is difficult, an one that is Sketchy and risky
  • 1 0
 Such a complex question. Should XC races be fun? Yes. Should the layman weekend rider find them fun? Yes. Can XC races use to be more technical and fun? Sometimes. Should they fill a void left by enduro? No. Should the technicality be to the level of black diamond? No.
  • 1 0
 How can XC be anything other than 50% uphill/50% downhill? Are you defying the laws of physics?

And Geoff Kabush is right... Modern XC bikes are so much more capable compared to 26" hardtails with rim brakes, 60mm of travel, and 1.95" tires. Some of the old school NORBA courses were pretty gnarly in context.
  • 1 0
 I think the basic idea of this course was great. You had different line choices on the sections which is pretty cool but this rock bob sled think was just stupid. Error had bad consequence. Weather was maybe not helpfull. What I do not like ist that you have the start mostly in town for the loop. So you ride a lot on the road before entering the real xc track
  • 1 0
 I'm sitting here laughing at myself and comparing the old me at 58 to what the young me was like on my rigid mountainbike. Older me thought the course was too rough, winced everytime someone fell off, got out of breath watching riders go over the bridge! Younger me would give it a go on my rigid bike. Verdict, getting old sucks, hell yeah do the roughest of courses while you can.
  • 1 0
 I'd like the trails to be relatively mild because I don't want my XC bikes turning into Enduro bikes. They're already going that way with 120mm travel and 65ish head angles, with seat tube angles creeping up too. My home trails don't need all that and there's a cost to it; you end up with a dull-handling bike that doesn't like to turn or pedal on flat terrain.
  • 1 0
 I like a good mix, most of the tracks lately seem great. Last weekend overall seemed like a good course the only issue was for TV viewing the slow speeds made it a bit boring.
  • 2 1
 Finally xc tracks are look like legit trail tracks, also xc bike are capable then ever, course does not look to gnarly, 100mm stem and absence of dropper is what looks gnarly.
  • 2 0
 Why are trails built for races? Seems like there are lots of great trails that are ready to be raced on. Honest question. Teach wise pinkers.
  • 2 0
 They need a compact loop that is easily accessable for spectators and TV cameras that look artificially spectacular for casual viewers who have never seen xc racing.
  • 4 1
 The complaint seems to be that the course is dangerous. Technical and hard doesn't equal dangerous.
  • 2 0
 Line options. Let them puzzle it out…risk vs reward and all that. More strategy, less simply legs and lungs (though still the prerequisite to even get to this level/win).
  • 5 1
 XC racing is getting amazing.
  • 1 1
 More masonry than loamdigging here. Compared to normal mtb’ing in the woods alone, does it make more sense for these guys to push the gnar stuff since they’re surrounded by medics to splint their open fractures and resources to nourish them and get them evacuated in a timely fashion?
  • 1 0
 @smooresmooree Pinkbike Instagram Pole: Too Gnarly or Just right? Answer- Yes, No, Not Sure....I'm gonna hit 'Not Sure' as I'm not sure what the 'Yes' or 'No' is answering. Yes it's too Gnarly or Yes it's just right?!
  • 3 0
 I'm wondering how you get anything else but a 50/50 split climbing/descending on a loop?
  • 1 0
 I raced the Downieville Classic for years on a 2013 Anthem 29er and rode the same bike in Santa Cruz. Now on a 2021 Epic Evo and it’s amazingly versatile. Raced it at the Sea Otter Classic Enduro. Single quiver.
  • 1 0
 It's really getting hard to make fun of XC racers these days. That course is proper tech in places (remember that it's way larger in person) and here they are on short travel bikes, fast tires & no pads riding it.
  • 1 0
 1990 XC World’s in Vail. This is Bailey’s Bailout, the ride around of the big drop on the DH course.
www.instagram.com/reel/C8cYrSSJ75y/?igsh=MXQ3YnQ2bWppcmwybQ=
  • 3 2
 Love that XC is getting further from road/gravel but if they’re contending with enduro level features there should probably be a conversation about full face helmets.
  • 2 1
 While I don't think full-face helmets would be necessary, it would be great for product choice if manufacturers were forced to create XC-appropriate full-faces. I'd go full-time full-face if there was a lightweight category at, say, 500 g with max'd out ventilation. The Specialized Gambit is close, but it seems a bit unrefined to me.
  • 1 0
 I’d love to see the return of stage races where racers had to do different disciplines in the same race. Maybe XCC, XCO, a dual slalom and DH over 3-4 days.
  • 1 0
 @wyorider - dont let Bjorn Riley hear you say that, he would 100% sign up for that.
  • 2 1
 Entertain me, dirt roadies!

The sillier the better for me. Whoever made the three-tiered instagram background patio landing is my hero. It’s 2024 let’s go out in style!
  • 2 0
 Back in the old days "cross country" was just mountain biking....pedal up...ride down. Wait...that's what I do now.
  • 1 0
 XC world cups should have some amount of gnarly descents, this isn't a high school nica race series. Surprised this question was even brought up
  • 1 1
 If it forces the racers to move on from the Aspen from Maxxis then I say the gnarly courses are the right move by race organizers. The racers who choose more grip will be rewarded.
  • 2 1
 This conversation is ridiculous. It’s a f’ing mountain bike race. “Too hard” is not a thing unless it’s truly unrideable
  • 1 0
 I watched the World Cup XC riders at Snowshoe last year. Mad props for riding the first chute on rooty pebbles in the masses. It’s was carnage in Lycra.
  • 3 3
 Pinkbike sucks. Quit moderating free speech. Saying something is too expensive or saying the music is bad is not offensive and does not deserve to be deleted. Lame lefties.
  • 1 0
 watching XC racers hit technical features is like watching your nephew/niece from a flatter part of the country ride a mountain bike on elevation for the first time.
  • 1 0
 Technical features for the climbing part can show the bike handeling with less consequences when it goes wrong. Wouldn't mind some stairs to go up like CX.
  • 5 3
 IT’S CALLED.
MOUNTAIN BIKING!
  • 1 0
 It is after all cross country and in Switzerland apparently the country looks like this.
  • 1 1
 I think there should be even longer climbs and enduro style descents. And they should start using more protective clothing and equipment.
  • 1 0
 They already added a dirt bypass of the drops and added a big piece of plywood to one side of the drop.
  • 1 0
 I remember after the '96 Olympics hearing the question, "Are XC trails getting too tame?".
  • 1 1
 Cx is as gnarly as dh was 30years ago. And dh 30 years ago was so lame we bmx'd instead. Things are progressing as they should.
  • 2 0
 Manmade looking stuff is lame
  • 1 0
 “causing quite the fervor amongst athletes and internet experts alike”….whats an “internet expert”??
  • 1 0
 a nicer way of saying "Lippy dipshits on the internet whos biggest ride achievement is never racing, never building, never supporting the community but Oh! they saw (insert pro MTB name here) on a shuttle ride once back in 96 and haven't shut the f*ck up as the self appointed arbiters of All things MTB since then"

just with less words
  • 1 0
 If it's too scary you can always slow down.
  • 1 0
 Is WCDH not Gnarly enough...?
  • 3 0
 A lot of it isn’t. That’s why all the “bike park” complaints happen.
  • 1 0
 @somebody-else: personally I think WCDH should be at the level of Hardline, which by comparison would stop XC looking too gnarly. The bikes are more capable than ever so the tracks should match this. This is mountain biking, not off road TDF.
  • 1 0
 @rojo-1: it’s pretty sad that dh gets chiller and xc gets gnarlier.
  • 2 0
 No next
  • 2 2
 Love it. If you don't have bike skills you should get bodied by a mountain bike course, otherwise stick to road racing!
  • 2 2
 Sad how the vibe on the course is just morbid fear and no stoke... cheer up guys you're riding bicycles!
  • 1 1
 On one hand people go on about progression and on the other Hardline is too hard and XC courses too gnarly.
  • 1 0
 Wait. These are real questions? You are serious?
  • 2 2
 teach those roadies how to use a dropper post and they'll be fine on these tracks.
  • 1 0
 A 60/40 option would've been my pick.
  • 1 1
 They’re being paid to be professional athletes, I’m sure they’ll figure it out
  • 1 0
 courses should be build in a way that danny mc askill could finish top3!
  • 1 0
 How about more emphasis on technical climbing? Fitness and technique.
  • 1 1
 Xc racers, your bike is not burly enough? Get a bigger one ! And proper tire.
  • 5 5
 XC courses without tech are just road races
  • 2 3
 I just long for the day when they take some fashion tips from Palmer. Ditch the dodgy looking Lycra
  • 6 0
 You mean like all the baggy gear DH racers wear now?
  • 5 5
 If downhill riders cared about being fast, they would wear tight skin suits. Currently, it's just fashion based.
  • 3 0
 @matyk: the rules prevent them from wearing body suits, but Fox is getting them as close as they can whilst still being UCI ‘legal’!
  • 4 4
 This is how you keep roadies out of XC racing.
  • 3 2
 This should be waaaaayyy higher.

XC racing is mountain biking, the ability to redline and bike handle should not be mutually exclusive.

Modern XC bikes are extremely capable as well now with 2.4" tires and modern geometry, even this course is far from the limit of these bikes still for a capable gravity athlete.
  • 3 3
 No. Keep Lance out of XC.
  • 2 2
 Any racer afraid of gnarlier courses can race CX and Gravel.
  • 1 0
 seriously, and if your good enough to race at a world cup you definitely should have the skill to ride gnarly descents
  • 3 3
 They can race road bikes if they don't like it.
  • 1 1
 Ich freue mich! Den Roadies im Starterfeld wird die Luft wegbleiben.
  • 1 3
 No denying the quality of these riders but my petty and pointless moan is how they look. Why dress like a roadie with little to no protection.
  • 1 1
 Might want to ask MVP after Japan Olympics.
  • 1 3
 Maybe they should have some travel, some tread and some knee pads... If all XC is about is stamina then they really are just failed roadies...
  • 4 4
 Click bait! Naughty PB!
  • 1 4
 I expect better from Dario than this. Gotta chase those metrics I guess.
  • 2 3
 Completely rideable on a drop-bar gravel bike. Simple on a xc bike
  • 4 7
 Take the roadies out of mountain biking.
  • 2 5
 stop road riders coming in and out the sport make it harder
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