Video: How To Make XC Riding & Racing More Fun

Sep 16, 2021
by Pinkbike Originals  

Upcountry, downcountry, cross country, it doesn't all have to be a struggle, might be but lets at least make it fun! Christina and Tom teach you the basics on how to have fun during that uplift with some XC style techniques.


  • 82 8
 How to make XC fun:

Get a longer travel bike and more difficult trails

  • 3 1
 Nailed it!
  • 3 2
 Might as well wear full armour and full face helmets while they're at it.
  • 35 1
 Never really got into XC racing, but a long ride that climbs and descends multiple mountains is my idea of heaven. Sure, the downhills are fun, but getting to the top of a long climb and looking out at an amazing view - a view you earned by getting there on your own power - has always been a feeling I wish I could bottle. The challenge is the point of it. Without that, I don't think I'd enjoy mountain biking nearly as much. Seems the sport is moving more and more toward just going downhill, and the pedaling stuff is looked down upon. Shame.
  • 13 0
 @pixelguru Cresting a tough hill climb is always a good high!

How to make XC more fun. Easy, do it more often.
  • 1 0
 "More and more towards downhill" is a bit of a confirmation bias when you're on a pinkbike -- an enduro/DH focused website.
  • 3 0
 People want to bypass the challenge, in search of the downhills, with pedal assist!
  • 4 0
 @iliveonnitro: Is it? I honestly thought it was just a mountain bike website. Maybe I've been in the wrong place this whole time.
  • 3 0
 I never really appreciated the big, long climbs until I moved to Whistler. All the best trails star atop these big climbs so I'm quite happy I finally gave in and "learned to pedal" after a good season of bike park riding. It's a nice change of scenery.
  • 1 0
 @iliveonnitro: Every time I go to my local pedal up bike park (Skypark in southern California) I see more and more eBikes. It's an easy pedal, but more and more people are buying eBikes and a short travel trail bike is more than plenty.

(My trail bike is a 170mm coil E29)
  • 38 1
 I don't get it. Isn't this just mountain biking?
  • 10 35
flag pablo-b (Sep 16, 2021 at 13:14) (Below Threshold)
 Thats mountain biking for when you get old and are afraid of everything
  • 3 1
 I'm not sure if I should be offended by this video, lol
  • 5 0
 @pablo-b: Wait, that's me! sad emoji inserted here.
  • 8 3
 It's funny how mountain biking is split off into several disciplines that all mean the same thing: XC, Trail, All Mountain, Enduro. The only one that is truly on it's own has always been Downhill.
  • 14 0
 @pablo-b: you’re young and insecure now. Someday you’ll be older, less insecure, a tad bit wiser (doesn’t seem like it’ll take much) and ride a touch more carefully. It’s not as bad as you think it will be.
  • 1 15
flag pablo-b (Sep 17, 2021 at 0:21) (Below Threshold)
 @dancingwithmyself: we got ourselves a psychologist over here. watch out bois. Loic Bruni: INSECURE
Greg Minnaar:IN-f*ckING-SECURE. Dark fest riders: InSeCuRe and young. Its not that its more fun. Its not that words like suffer fest are rarely spoken in DH or freeride. Plus I never spoke about riding recklessly, do you know how precise you have to be to ride DH as fast as you can without crashing? I would count that as riding carefully.
  • 18 0
 @pablo-b: still don't get it. I love racing enduro, and doing really sketchy stuff. I also like climbs and mellow trails, commuting, heck even curly bars on gravel. I'll ride 170mm, 120mm, 0mm, whatever bike I've had access to since I was a kid, wherever I could, and before all the labels.

But shuttling or uplifting to ride the same tracks down is boring for me after a few runs. It's the same with alpine skiing/snowboarding. And I'm not at really into watching or doing huge jumps/stunts etc, but I follow the DH WC avidly, because it's racing. I also follow the XC WC, and normally enjoy that more.

I really get that others have other preferences. Of course.

When I ran my first enduro race many winters ago, without ever having ridden a bike park/shuttled/uplifted, I did rather well, and better as the day went on, climbing the lists, because my normal riding (call it XC if you must, event if it was on trails much like in the race) had me in decent shape, and my skills were OK.
In no way was I as crazy or skilled as the guys running parks or DH all the time, so the only advantage I had was that I still had some juice left in my limbs after the stages and climbs back up. I beat quite a few of the guys who would leave me in the dust on a DH run.

So I'll be a dick about it, and toss all the labels overboard and call it mountain biking.
  • 1 2
 @knutspeed: “I, I, I”…..
  • 3 0
 @knutspeed: dude ,all good. Its 100% all mountain biking(except gravel). My first comment was half joke half my opinion. The labels are just helpful to categorize types of riding i guess. I like them. I personally dont enjoy the "milder" types of riding. Thats just me. I dont care about endurance stuff...
  • 1 0
 @KK11: sorry, not native english. Still don't get it.
  • 1 0
 @knutspeed: yup. Same. Have done all disciplines over 30 years of riding and it’s all mtb to me. Like you, happy on an XC, trail DH or even my commuter bike.
  • 40 9
 That’s some serious GCN style crap.
  • 29 3
 Welcome to Outside
  • 19 1
 How to enjoy XC racing: enjoy suffering.

How to enjoy "XC" riding" just call it trail riding you dingus.

How to ruin mountainbiking for people around you: be a dick about what subset of mountainbiking you like and shit on everything else.
  • 18 1
 hey now......I used to be `with it.' But then they changed what `it' was. Now what I'm `with' isn't `it' and what's `it' seems weird and scary to me.

It'll happen to you!
  • 1 0
 " "
  • 6 0
 @sdaly: copy paste, not taking the time to proofread my Simpson quote
  • 16 0
 You thought you got smoked at the local enduro races? XC races...hold my beer
  • 10 0
 Holy cow is this true.. and getting dropped is so much more visible.
  • 11 0
 I love XC. Basically once you put in a little time and get decent at climbing, it's all a blast. And as far as the pro level of the sport—I don't understand how you can watch a World Cup race and not love it. Most of the men's races these year have been bar-to-bar battles from the gun to the line. They are absolutely ripping the whole time.
  • 2 0
 The XCO coverage has really gotten me more keen on the discipline as a whole the last few years! I find myself using those riders for inspiration all the time on the xc singletrack around home. Never will I be that committed to red-lining though hahah
  • 10 0
 Haven't been here in a I remember this a real feature??? Teaching people how to have fun? Naming a riding style? This industry has become so lameFrown still love the sport, but the media, industry,
  • 9 0
 Better XC bikes. Spur and Epic EVO are on the right path. Then ride all your favourite trails on these bikes and enjoy the speed, efficiency and extra distance you can do relative to a trail/enduro rig. Plus it’s more fun to ride closer to a bikes limits.
  • 11 0
 Oh man that crash in the intro around 35 seconds. Did Tom walk away from that? That was BRUTAL!
  • 10 0
 Can't realy take this video serious when you are not riding XC bike... Big Grin
  • 4 0
 no 100mm fork? no HT? 69 degree HTA?! come on people
  • 12 3
 Play Fantasy XC and be a d**k about it.
  • 9 0
 Make XC more fun, get fitter.
  • 6 0
 push your elbows out really wide and make braaap sounds in the corners!
  • 7 1
 How to make XC more fun: Roids and IPA
  • 3 0
 But if I wear goggles, a hip-pack, and strap a spare tube to my frame, doesn't that make it enduro? Or if I ride around town with a frame pack aren't I bikepacking? Is there a category called down-country bikepacking enduro?
  • 1 0
 That's a discipline I can get behind! Has a nice ring to it...
  • 4 0
 I think what some consider xc/trail riding, others with their full face & knee pads considers the same trails as enduro.
  • 1 0
 Good shout, all in what you make of it!
  • 1 0
 Don't worry, riding more relaxed when older is not a death knell.

The bonus about taking care of yourself when younger is that there's a better chance to ride with less nagging injuries. I'm hoping to be MTB'ing up to 75. I at least have to get as far as Ned Overend (age 66 and counting).
  • 3 0
 Tom's cheesy smile right after he says, "have a good time getting it up...and down". Awesome.
  • 2 0
 Seriousely, why should I do this XC thing, if it does't even give me any excuse to buy another bike?
  • 3 0
 Oh my god. Straight up Joey content. Here we go....
  • 3 0
 Take away the plank of wood
  • 5 3
 Love how Tom pronounces
  • 23 4
 Ah, you mean how the rest of the english speaking world pronounces it.
  • 6 3
 @bigtim: Sounds so much cooler than the way I pronounce it,
  • 11 2
 @bigtim: Americans discovered aluminum, so they get the naming rights. It's the rest of the rest of the world that added the second "I" to make it sound like the rest of the "ium"s on the periodic table.
  • 1 0
 @riderseventy7: Going to have to investigate this, but I like the sounds of it haha
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta: Disregard what I said as I was incorrect. I was going off something I read in some book aaages ago. I just had a bit more of a read around and found people have been aware of "alum" for well over a millennium and had been using if for dyes, some medicinal reasons and for tanning. 1825 was when it was first extracted in its pure form from ore in Denmark. Its name has gone from Alumium to Aluminum, and now finally onto Aluminium which was made to bring it into line with the other 'iums.
  • 2 0
 It might suck...or hurt so good...err... OK. LOL
  • 2 0
 yaba daba dooo
  • 4 4
 How to make XC fun? Simple. Use an ebike!

Ok, its a joke people... calm down with the hate!
  • 1 3
 XC racing kind of mimicked mountain biking circa 1990. But I don't see how it really emulates what most recreational riders experience these days.
  • 3 3
 Can Tom and Christina just fall in love, already?
  • 2 0
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