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USA Cycling Announces 2019 National Mountain Bike Calendar

Jan 23, 2019
by Sarah Moore  
Santa Cruz rider Kiran Mackinnon

PRESS RELEASE: USA Cycling

USA Cycling announced the national mountain bike calendar for the 2019 season today. The Pro Gravity Tour (GRT) and Pro Cross Country Tour (XCT) will feature 12 events across 10 states. Spanning March to June, the GRT schedule this year will include 8 days of gravity competitions, while the XCT will feature 20 days of racing.

The GRT and XCT are comprised of the top mountain bike events in the U.S. and track the standings for elite riders in their respective fields. Most events will also carry amateur categories as well. Individual calendar champions are crowned at the conclusion of the calendar.

The GRT calendar focuses on four of the best gravity races across the U.S. with events from coast to coast. The addition of the Breckenridge Epic as well as the Soldier Hollow Bike Festival and the Missoula XCS to the XCT calendar marks a return to mountain bike stage racing in the pro calendar.

bigquotesWe’re looking forward to a great season of competition in both gravity and endurance mountain bike racing here in the US. This collection of high-caliber races allows our athletes to prepare on US soil for the upcoming 2019 World Championships taking place in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada. Tara McCarthy, Senior National Events Manager, USA Cycling


Pro Gravity Tour (GRT)


Pro Cross Country Tour (XCT)


The 2018 GRT individual champions were Samantha Soriano (Littleton, Colo.; COMMENCAL Junior Cartel) for Elite Women and Kiran MacKinnon (Santa Cruz, Calif.; Santa Cruz Bicycles) for Elite Men. The 2018 XCT individual champions were Erin Huck (Boulder, Colo.; CZ Racing) for Elite Women and Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo.; Specialized Bicycles Factory Racing Team) for Elite Men.

USA Cycling works with race directors from across the country to create various calendars and series that feature bike racing across several disciplines and ability levels. Inclusion on these calendars often includes event support, rankings tabulation and additional promotion. For a full schedule of events and updated standings throughout the season, click here.


57 Comments

  • + 30
 DH is alive and thriving in the Maxxis ESC, we won't let it die in our region. No licenses required.
  • + 17
 Please send help - we're dying out here! - The West.
  • + 7
 @endlessblockades: NW cups are the shit. Love that series.
  • + 2
 @mustbike: I love the PNW and plan to die there amongst the roots and rocks. I mean retire there. Far away from any Cali gentrifiers, mind you. I’ll hire an accent coach to help me. I’ve lived up there 3 times and y’all can spot a southerner as fast as I can spot the undercover at the BART station. Cascadian Fern Metal
  • + 4
 Not going anywhere up here in the PNW with the NW Cup either. Keep on rockin ESC!!!
  • + 2
 @endlessblockades: Nw Cup is on fire as always
  • + 1
 @jgibb83: That's what I hear. I'm not buying that story below DH is dying - it's just mismanaged by some programs/venues.
  • + 21
 Am i missing something? It says the GRT will have 8 days but i count only 4 events and 10 days if you count everything. What the F#@k did i renew my USAC license for if thats all we get? No New Mexico, Wyndam, Mammoth, or places like Utah. Hell I know our race promotor has been wanting to do a Usac event at Bootleg Canyon but appears like DH is going away to enduro. Better start pedaling boys or hope someone brings back NORBA!
  • + 13
 I'm guessing Saturday Qualifiers/Sunday Finals, which is pretty misleading.

Greater cost, less riding, fewer events. No wonder Enduro popularity is exploding while DH founders in the US.
  • + 2
 The "NORBA Hates you" campaign was so successful.
  • + 3
 USAC is a joke
  • + 1
 @CantClimb: NORBA was started by a couple of Fat Tire Flyer hippies in Marin but got a bit out of hand at the end. A reliable event manager for many, many, years though.
  • + 23
 wow only 4 GRT's?! Downhill isn't dead yet, but USAC is trying as hard as they can to kill it.
  • + 4
 Right? No wonder why there aren't more Americans going to world cups when we barely have enough venues to get the points needed. It costs a ton of money for a race series to have a Pro Grt at one of its events, that definitely plays into it but still... this is what we are paying for as USAC fees continue to rise.
  • + 6
 Agreed, the USAC international license is now a whopping $235!!! Just to race 4 venues, and the USAC rule (that they selectively don't enforce) that a licensed athlete cannot participate in non-sanctioned events. Everyone switching to broduro is the wrong answer, because it's the masses that have the power to change the system, not be afraid or defeated by it. Broduro is the acquiescence of our numbers. Nothing against Enduro (or trail bike riding as I still call it) cause people are enjoying bikes, that being said, the movement is unfortunate
  • + 2
 who remembers junior awards at nationals?
  • + 2
 @g-monster: People follow opportunity, most don't have the time or inclination to fight the system. Few events or venues, specialized equipment, bigger time commitments, higher risks, and higher costs all add up to decreased participation in DH and increased enduro.

The same thing is happening in the motorcycle world, for a lot of the same reasons. Off-road/GNCC/Hare Scramble events are packed, MX has a hard time filling gates.
  • + 13
 So no NM or CO on the GRT ?
  • + 7
 How can Tamarack be picked over Angel Fire?
  • + 5
 Or California? To be honest I'm more surprised they didn't try and put one on that new 300ft Texan park
  • + 9
 Winter Park, CO is holding the USA MTB Nats events this year.
  • + 2
 @MX298: Haha I live in Idaho and don't know how Tamarack is even on the schedule.... they have okay trails but not Pro GRT quality race courses.
  • + 3
 @reed1: I'd kind of disagree, it is a lot different than any course on the schedule and creates a nice variety where different strengths come into focus. I personally really enjoy Tamaracks pro course, its loose and really fast but Angel Fire should DEFINITELY be on the schedule.
  • + 2
 @Holstermx26: I just feel the Pro GRT should be the best and hardest courses especially if there are only 4 races. Weren't most of the racers on trail bikes??
  • + 1
 @reed1: been to both Tamarack and Angel fire and like you said not pro level . . . . But I love The area and Idaho in general!
  • + 5
 @MX298: Because Angel Fire didn't apply? The track at Tamarack last year was legit. It used a portion of their trails and a bunch of fresh stuff just for the race. We're lucky they are willing and able to do that as it is hard to find legit DH tracks in bike parks where "flow" and engineered trails have taken the place of raw trail.
  • + 1
 @reed1: In 2017 a ton of people were on trail bikes and it wasn't a great dh course but they put in a ton of work and made the course rowdier and pretty awesome in 2018 majority was DH bikes on course. They really took good feedback from the racers and was a really fun event to attend.
  • + 5
 @olympicdirtsociety: remember 2017 a DH bike beat all the trail bikes! ! ! ????
  • + 1
 @reed1: Windrock has some of the hardest tracks around!
  • + 9
 So just to be clear. It's not USAC that is deciding where to put a GRT, it's the promoters choosing to take on the added expense in order to facilitate UCI point opportunities. It's not perfect by any stretch yet, but trust me, there are conversations going on behind the scenes that could make a difference. In the end, I believe it will be up to the promoters and (potential) sponsors that will make a National Series legitimate. Fortunately, regionally downhill is still growing, which is a good sign.
  • + 10
 The issues are not related to the UCI costs but the added layers that USAC adds in their money grab. We hosted ProGRT's from the first season they existed up until 2016 I believe. USAC adds about $5k in costs while the UCI adds about $1800. We approached the UCI to inscribe our entire series but without USAC. Unfortunately that didn't work...lol
  • + 4
 @Eastern-States-Cup: olympicdirtsociety is one of the NW Cup organizers if I recall correctly. The two of you are doing TONS to make opportunities for DH racing in the US, Thank you!

Rider ire in this thread anyway is directed at USAC - for making it prohibitively difficult to host a sanctioned event, whether due to cost or additional administrative burden.
  • + 4
 All you people are out there whining on the internet, it's falling onto deaf ears. Want DH to grow? PARTICIPATE. I was at Bootleg Canyon for race 1 of the DVO Winter Gravity Series. There were about 75 Men there to compete. The 24 Hours of Old Pueblo happens just down the road from me in a month. They sold their race out in 5 hours and expect 4,000 people to be out in the middle of the desert riding the easiest XC around. As a sponsor, I know where my money would be going.
  • + 1
 I think DH is growing...However DH racing is not...least I don't think. I've been racing for the last 12 years or so and last year was the most dismal I've ever seen...looks like 2019 is shaping up to be the same. I think part of the reason is how much USAC charges the promoter to host a USAC event AND the license and race fees have increased exponentially over the past decade. I remember race entry fees being literally half of what they are now and the annual license fee...for what you get...is outlandish. DH is thriving IMO because of the bike parks. Seems to be new ones cropping up every year and the existing ones appear to be growing year over year. People are coming out to ride but nobody wants to pay these exorbitant licensing fees then have to pay upwards of 120 bucks per event on top of that...especially when there is nearly nothing to show for said entry fee....and the perks with the USAC license are pure hot garbage. Lastly...USAC seems to pander to the XCO crowd. Making the fees sting even more for the DH crowd. We seem to be the red headed step children of USAC...It's like one of those cheesy ski movies from the 80's...the DH crowd is the ratty underdogs and the XCO crowd are the preppy DB's.
  • + 5
 Typical USAC schedule, most races out West and afraid to call it a National Championship Series. Should just stick to road stuff or just stick it in general.
  • + 2
 For XC racing, this is progress. Add in Nationals and the Snowshoe World Cup, and there are ten significant races offering UCI points in the US this year. Much better than the last few years. Strange what is happening with Sea Otter -- an HC race on a Thursday, followed by a big 30-mile loop race on Sunday that offers only C3 points.

I don't have any inside knowledge, but my guess is that the marked increase in UCI point opportunities this year for XC racing is part of the build up to the Olympics, in the hopes the US can earn more than just the one spot (Howard Grotts) we had for men in 2016.

I predict that DH won't get as much love as you might want from USAC and most other national cycling bodies in other countries until it becomes an Olympic sport (which, obviously, it should be).
  • + 7
 USAC HATES YOU
  • + 2
 USAC doesn't pick the venues, the venues decide to be apart of the series. The reason you don't see other venues in the calendar is because they didn't want to be apart of the series. These races, typically loose money at the promoters level. Sponsors literally help offset the loss. Downhill bike production is down 25% year over year over year. This is why you see big companies like YT dropping the best talent. It's because margins are tighter and the economic climate of the bike industry is becoming more lifestyle and less race oriented. These are the facts, it's not USAC's fault. They work their butt off to try to make racing happen and do the best with what they have, which is a depressing level of membership and general low buy in from cyclists. In general the climate for cycling is changing especially racing. Even non-sanctioned event attendance is diminishing. At the end of the day, racing is taking a hit because lifestyle and traveling and bike parks and all the other things outside of racing are taking a larger priority on the majority of people's minds and their decisions. These are the facts.....
  • + 4
 No love for Mammoth this year? That blows. Does that article state where the US Nat Champs are? I must have missed that.
  • + 3
 Yet the article uses Trevor' Lyden's Mammoth DH picture.
  • + 3
 That's the good news for me anyway. Nationals nearby in Winter Park, CO.
  • + 2
 @vetprowanab: Oh cool. I couldn't find that on the USA site at first glance.
  • + 3
 @endlessblockades You're going to get love it just hasn't been announced yet. Here's a hint: "ask Clay Porter"
  • + 2
 This was Mammoth's choice
  • + 2
 @olympicdirtsociety: So, R.I.P. Downhill racing at Mammoth? Or is it just not a ProGRT stop for the time being? I mean the MegaKami and Enduro was fun and all, but it's starting to look like E-duro is about to take over at the expense of traditional DH. I will only forgive them if they bring back DS.
  • + 1
 @endlessblockades: Don't know everything, but suspect it's just not a Pro GRT. Mammoth should always be a DH destination IMO. But what do I know?
  • + 1
 @olympicdirtsociety: Agreed and I hope so! I love my annual trip down to freaky high altitude volcano-land.
  • + 1
 @endlessblockades @olympicdirtsociety : There was talk about Mammoth trying to get a World Cup with that new course they built for Kamikaze last year. Kamikaze is growing into it's own deal, they probably didn't want the added expense of making it a ProGRT for very little return.
  • + 5
 FUSAC!!! Fuck USA Cycling !!!!
  • + 4
 Maybe that New Balance guy will turn things around...
  • + 5
 Yea, I am sure he got up at 4:00am to watch DH world cups!
  • + 1
 If you have not already, check out the Downhill Southeast Series (DHSE) it gets bigger and better every year! Also if you have not raced at Windrock yet, you are missing out!
  • + 2
 BRING BACK NORBA!!! #fusac
  • + 2
 this is so sad they dont care about dh at all do they
  • + 1
 4 races for DH that is so sad? Seems like DH is loosing ground big time.
  • + 1
 Lame
  • + 0
 ????????‍♂️

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