Pinkbike Poll: Should We Get Rid of XC Eliminator?

Jan 28, 2014 at 4:37
by Matt Wragg  

One of the factors that will always prevent mountain biking from being a truly universal sport is getting fans to the track to watch the action. Our sport by very definition takes us out away from the world. This is great for us as riders, but not so good for people that want to come and watch the racing. If you want to watch a mountain bike race you have to really want to go and do it. You need to travel to the venue, hike out to the best spot to watch the riders, then usually wait for several hours for the riders to come past you. For Serious Sports Fans, that's not a problem, ask the people who camp on the peaks of the great climbs of the Tour de France weeks in advance of the race, just to have the perfect spot for that one moment. But any mass market is made up of people who don't care so much, people who would like to fit a couple of hours of race spectating into a weekend filled with necessities, like childcare, DIY and grocery shopping. People who maybe don't know so much about the sport, but would be excited to see it, if it was there for them.

Lea Davidson finished the season strong in fourth place.

It's no accident that the most-attended variant of motocross is Supercross. The success of the format lies in its accessibility. It is there in the city centres. You don't have to get cold, wet or muddy to watch it, you are never more than 100 metres from a cold beer and those god-awful garlic fries, and, maybe most-importantly of all, they put on a show. Even though the racing is barely half of your time in the arena, you aren't left waiting for something to happen, with the fireworks, entertainment and Kevin Windham sending insane transfer lines it's a complete show. Supercross takes motocross and packages it up for the masses.

XC Eliminator tried to adapt mountain biking for that same kind of audience. Its roots are in Italy, in the small, Tuscan town of Massa Marittima. As part of the Sram XX Cup they organised a side race through the town. The idea was simple, they taped out a shorter course right through the heart of the town and the riders went off in fours, head-to-head. By all accounts it was a great race, exciting, dramatic and right there for the residents of the town to see. But when it was brought through to World Cup racing something was lost in translation, the spark died.

Julie Bresset in the lead at the beginning of the second lap.

The problems seem to be many-fold. Some of the courses we have seen were nothing less than embarrassing. Asphalt courses through towns have nothing to do with mountain biking and simply should never have been included. Even when the courses were better, like with Hafjell last year, it still looked dull on the broadcast. Making mountain biking look dramatic for a television audience is something DH is still trying to get right, so it should come as no surprise that technical XC racing looks less than exciting.

Then there are the riders and the status of the sport. Talk to someone like Marco Fontana and he will explain to you that over a race weekend he has to control virtually every calorie he burns, everything goes towards the one race, the big show: the Olympic XC. Everything else is preparation for that. So asking him to burn however many hundreds or thousands of calories sprinting around a short course is a big deal, potentially compromising the race that really matters, is just never going to work. For the stars like him to commit to Eliminator, it would have to become the main show, and is this what we want to show to the world to represent mountain biking? A sport that bears virtually no resemblance to what any of us do out there on the trail.

Tree laps to go

In gravity racing, none of us should be surprised by this, anybody who remembers the early days of dual and 4X racing will know exactly where he is coming from. In the late 90s when gated racing emerged, virtually everybody took part and it wasn't uncommon to see riders like Peat, Palmer and Gracia winning those races. In fact Gee Atherton's second-ever World Cup win was at 4X, not DH and this was as recent as 2007. As downhill began to grow up and move away from the party image and towards the serious, total commitment sport we have today, more and more riders opted to skip the gated races, marking the beginning of the end for the discipline. It wasn't the nail in the coffin, by any means, but losing those stars from the racing was a huge blow from which it never recovered. To go back to Supercross, the fans want to see Villopoto, Stewart, Reed and the other superstars racing, all sports need icons for the fans to cheer on, and if the best riders aren't there giving it everything, it fails as a sport for the fans.

Surely the best thing for mountain biking is to quietly sweep XC Eliminator under the carpet. There is still a fundamental problem of access for the fans that we need to address, but this wasn't the solution. For the sake of everybody involved, let's admit that it was a nice idea that didn't work and look for a better answer...


What should we do with XC Eliminator?




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126 Comments

  • + 82
 Can we also add this to the list of definitive things to kill with fire? : www.pinkbike.com/news/Redalp-Launches-New-Enduro-Bike.html
  • + 5
 yesss I have no idea what they were thinking on that beast!
  • + 26
 The Redalp is basically a construction girder with a Van RC; I think it'll take more than fire to do one of those in.
  • - 3
 Shouldn't the UCI be on top of that list, closely followed by 4x?
  • - 19
flag DimS (Jan 31, 2014 at 2:19) (Below Threshold)
 Κλαίω για το redalp!!! χααχχααχχαχααχαχχα
  • + 22
 Wouldn't it be more logical to either respond in English or go to a Greek site?
  • + 35
 cryin' laughing for the redalp! ahahhahahahaahahhha (better?)
  • + 22
 @bonkywonky The UCI but not 4X!
  • + 8
 Before you kill the redalp . pls give me what's attached to it. kill the frame enough. spare the rest for me.
  • + 2
 I like to race XC but eliminator just isn't right...
  • + 2
 That Redalp...
  • - 1
 Fuck off B-Rain, if you actually put out any decent wattage then you'd understand why XC Eliminator is so appealing.
  • + 67
 This is a frankly pointless idea for a poll here. It will only tap into the 90% of Pink Bikers prejudice about XC. Any one else who actually has an opinion about this will be drowned out.
  • + 54
 Nothing wrong with XC - everything is wrong with XCE
  • - 7
flag yesok (Jan 31, 2014 at 3:39) (Below Threshold)
 I race XCO. I think XCE is absolutely awful, even 4X is more interesting - and that's saying something.
  • + 10
 Not here for an argument, I like xce and I think it is more spectator friendly than xco. Just wondering why this unpopularity exists so strongly? What are people thoughts on CX then? Not arguing just curious. Cheers
  • + 25
 an XC rider bashing 4X - my god does it get any worse?
  • + 14
 If you guys think 4X is boring go watch earthed 5. Fn gnarly!
  • + 4
 i think if you followed a skiing mindset and looked at the formats that are drawing audiences and progressive athletes that run on practically the same slope, the smart money would be in a DS/4X hybrid. slalom with a mogul section. xce is embarrassing...guys chasing each other on the lawn around your house. i think elite riders deserve better as well as the spectators.
  • + 3
 XC guy here...XCE doesn't work, unless you were going to put it in an arena environment...kind of like what they've done to the motocross trials at X-games with rock/log/pond sections. Even then, its a different discipline attracting different athletes.

Here's a valid spectator comparison...spectator MTB to spectator FIS...comparable disciplines (XC=XC, DH=DH, etc.), comparable spectator access (hike up a slope, along the undulating track, or congregate at the start/finish).
  • + 1
 ^exactly!
  • + 1
 Never heard of this. Sounds like a cool idea if you could find a suitable course. I mean it is hard to beat the coolness of the down hill racing in urban South American mountain towns.
  • + 41
 Didn't the DH finals get moved to saturday for 2014? Seems a perfect time to bring back either 4X or Dual Slalom for sundays. I'll bet a lot of the top DH racers would be more willing to get back into doing it like they used to since the DH finals would have already happened. Especially slalom since there is so much less of a chance for injury than in 4X. Just look at Sea Otter, half the field in slalom seems to be big name downhillers.
  • + 0
 I miss the days of Palmer drinking and shooting champagne off the podium! Bring it back!!
  • + 3
 Back in '08 there was a pro-only series called the Jeep 48 Straight that was aired on the CBS Sports Spectacular. It was a giant slalom event with some pretty burly jumps and beautiful berms. Everybody (Peaty, Minnaar, Palmer, Carter, etc.) who went to interbike that year showed up to the Utah round because they were on back-to-back weekends. The event was as flawless as you can imagine a slalom-only race could be. I raced it - I crashed out - I had a blast. It was an awesome time!

When it aired on TV, I literally fell asleep during the broadcast. I raced in it, and I was still completely bored when seeing it on TV. The only MTB worth watching on a screen is Wold Cup Downhill, and they still have some bugs to work out. Mountain bikes and TV don't mix. It's like watching someone chop wood. Why watch a bunch of people working really hard? It's not entertaining - at all.
  • + 3
 The sad thing is, if you look really hard, you can find competitive wood chopping on TV...
  • + 13
 Actually it was UCIs way of still keeping a spectator friendly cycling sport at World Cups. They said they couldn't afford to build 4X tracks anymore (hard to believe with the kind of money they make) so they started letting nerds pedal around in a circle on the lawn. Big surprise that it didn't catch on and bring crowds to the events. Bring back what the spectators want 4X or DS you cheap bastards.
  • + 11
 I heard that some of the racers really like it. Xc is about laps, the tdf is not about laps, it is about long drawn out stages with lots of very little happening, the key points are rammed with spectators. There is no point comparing an xc race to the tdf, they are completely different. Take the eliminator, improve it over the years, and see where it can progress too. Technical climb, technical descent, some fast and flowing stuff, couple of minutes lap, complete a few laps, make it a time trial and set the grid for the main race, just an idea.
  • + 6
 I agree with you on this one, this discipline is young, fresh. It's inventing itself, let the organizers experiment a bit with what would work and what not. Yes, there have been races who where just boring, but, Hafjell and Vallnord as an example showed how it could work. And i think the uci should use it more to bring mountainbiking to the masses, show how diverse our awesome sport is. What's the wrong with that!?
  • + 6
 Exactly. Such a young discipline shouldn't be discounted for having some start-up problems (such as course builders not realizing that having one extremely steep climb at the very start of the course with almost no room to overtake after that first climb will just hand the race to the best climber on a silver platter - Yes, I'm talking to you Houffalize XCE 2012).

But the whole point of having an additional discipline is that it can develop it's own big names, right? Let's compare to roadies as the author does: Lots of road racers also do Sixdays. But you won't see top-guys like Cavendish or Kittel competing there, no way! The risks of injuries are just too big and their teams won't allow it. And vice-versa: The guys that are allowed to compete in Sixdays are not the same ones that take home 5 stagewins or the yellow jersey in a big stage-race. Case in point: Cavendish wanted to partake in the recent Rotterdam Sixday, but wasn't allowed by management. Two of his teammates were allowed to, and they won the overall (as they also did last year).

Isn't the beauty of cycling the very fact that it's a very versatile sport with many different disciplines for everyone to enjoy (either watching or practicing)? Downhill and Enduro are spectacular, yes. People that frequent Pinkbike like these, yes. But let's not knock off other disciplines just because it's not your thing. Give XCE time to prove itself. I'm sure riding putting motocross tires on an old bicycle frame and throwing yourself off a mountain without brakes wasn't an instant success either. Imagine that decades ago, some newspaper called Purplehorse would have held a poll about downhill cycling: I bet the majority of people would have said it's crazy, dangerous, uncivilized and should be banned. Let's be happy that didn't happen, that the sport had the opportunity to evolve, and let's not make that mistake this time.
  • + 2
 But the article is based on a format that will bring the general population out of their homes to watch a mountain bike event, and XCE will never achieve this, it's incredibly dull to watch and the viewing figures stand by this. It has a tough act to follow replacing 4x, which today without the UCI still has higher spectator figures than XCE, and also the failure for it to get accepted as an Olympic event surely compounds the UCI's mistake in introducing this sport.

At the end of the day, the general public want to be entertained, take DH/4X/BMX Supercross for example, edge of your seat racing, XCE can never emulate that, even with potential changes to the format, it will only attract XC fans, and will never attract the masses.

I am interested to see where this sport goes in the future, as the UCI will not withdraw the event, thus admitting their error for introducing the sport in the first place.
  • + 3
 Houffalize 2012 could have done with more downhill overtaking possibilities, but that climb was fine! Brutal to watch. Lopes won it, so that makes him the best climber ;-).

I think the format could be really exciting, but the dull courses have to go. No more grass or town crits. I think the course requirements would have to include multi-line technical climbing and descending and a limit to length. Ideally, riders from all disciplines should have a shot at doing well.

I do not care if the top XCO riders save their legs. Thanks to the XCE discipline, we now know some riders like Federspiel or Gegenheimer that have awesome short duration power and great skills.
  • + 0
 I think this reiterates my point to a degree, you clearly find XCE interesting as you're a XC rider, and enjoy watching the climb, where as myself a 4x rider couldn't think of anything worse than watching 4 guys fall over each other climbing up a hill. The ultimate question to the sports sustainability, is whether it will ever attract the non mountain biking general public, which is the whole point in these events anyway, to increase money being spent in the mountain bike industry and line the UCI's pockets, but i struggle to see how it will, it just isn't exciting enough, but i would be very interested to hear the view point of a neutral.
  • + 1
 Jeroen, I agree. The climb was a choice. Fine, and pretty spectacular. But that choice should have been followed by at least some possibilities for overtaking after that. Now, after the climb the rest of the race was just killed dead. I'm not knocking the choice for a steep climb in the beginning at all. Big respect for somebody who can make that climb his b*tch straight out of the gate! I'm saying: If you build a course like that, then follow it up with a course that allows overtaking and/or multiple lines so there's a raison-d'être for to the rest of the race ;-)

And you're right: That fact that other guys/galls get a change to prove themselves in a different discipline is great! If we were to always knock down every new cycling discipline, there would only be a small handful of top-riders in the world. And they would all be riding on tarmac.
  • + 2
 Steve, do you really believe anybody thought downhill mountainbiking was a spectator sport that would attract the viewing masses in the beginning? It actually sounds a bit boring: Driving a bicycle down a mountain, what's the big deal in that? That is: Until we make it exciting! And look where it is now.

XCE can definitely evolve, it probably should. Maybe it should be more like 4X? Maybe it should be more of an Enduro-eliminator? Maybe it should have more spectacular uphill battles? Maybe there should be a little less respect and more contact between the riders? Maybe it should have bonus-seconds for certain achievements (eg landing a big jump, knocking over a flag somewhere on the course, intermediate sprints, fastest uphill)? Who knows? But there is no way you can say for certain it will never be spectacular and never attract a crowd. Not after only 2(?) seasons and very little experimentation anyway.

I'm always so amused by people that come form what was originally a niche and are now knocking on other new niches. You're completely missing the irony that your sport was originally a niche as well. Your niche took time to evolve into what it is now. At least give other niches the same change you had.
  • + 1
 DH has always been an exciting sport from the beginning though, even from the days of the riders wearing spandex and riding short travel bikes, big jumps and fast track etc. But i must admit from a spectator point of view it's not the best, pretty much like watching a WRC stage, you only get a glimpse of the action, but the TV coverage makes up for that. Pretty much a pointless discussion, as we both sit on opposite sideS of the fence, as i spectator, i want excitement and action, people flock to Supercross and and BMX Supercross events for this very reason, watching 4 guys balance awkwardly in a so called gate, and climb a hill, will only attract XC fans in my opinion. There is no irony involved, 4x and dual have always been an exciting spectator sport though, the very first 4x race was awesome to watch, hence the reasoning for 4x Pro Tour being created after being dropped by the UCI, something i can definitely not say for XCE, if it is dropped by the UCI, it will most definitely die. But like i previously mentioned, it's not a neutral discussion, you support XC and i support 4x, only time will tell what happens with XCE.
  • + 2
 Steve, There's obviously a difference in what different people find "spectacular". I completely agree that DH and 4X can be spectacular (and I should support my countrymen Anneke Beerten and Joost Wichman, right?). I'm questioning if it's been that way from the early early start, but that's a moot point anyway, since that's decades ago and not really relevant for this discussion. In any case there's no denying that every single sport has evolved over time in some way.

I'm merely saying, and it's fine if we disagree on this, the overtaking on the inside lines on the climb in the Hafjell XCE looked pretty spectacular to me as well. Not downhill-SPEED, but a massive athletic effort AND smart strategy. That's why I'd suggest to give XCE some time to find it's own "WOW factor", possibly (or likely) with some adjustments to the format. As far as I'm concerned there's room enough for multiple disciplines. Dang shame the UCI seems to think otherwise.

But then again (getting back to arguments from the article), I do also really enjoy watching the climbing in the Tour, Vuelta or Giro. It's not about speed or technical skill, but it's about seeing the pain these athletes are in, knowing first hand how hard it is to pull yourself up a >20% incline, and realizing how much faster and fitter than me they are. And I actually enjoy a climbing effort myself, either on the road or in the dirt (maybe you have to do it yourself to appreciate it?) ...... So there might be something wrong with me after all! ;-)
  • + 1
 Wade's Excellent Adventure: time bonuses for cleaning a technical section, no dabs. This would definitely shift the focus to technically capable riders, but would make single sections of track a _lot_ more interesting to watch. This should be both up and down hill, maybe the down for hitting a particular line, or, as you said, hitting a gap. Oh and there's the chug a beer bit at the end of Wade's. Not sure if that should make it in though.
  • + 6
 Do what you want with XCE nobody gives a FK. They drop 4X an my opinion the euro cup has been an improvement on the anything the UCI ever did. So drop XCE if you want but hands off 4X!!!!!
  • + 5
 I think with a bit of imagination it could be made into something interesting.

Then again, since watching this video I have to laugh a little every time XCE get's mentioned.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ8qj86D-eU
  • + 3
 get's =gets. I'm ashamed of myself.
  • + 1
 I'm also ashamed of myself.
  • + 3
 I like to watch XC eliminator, because it's full throttle from start to finish. but, the courses look more suited for cyclo cross than mountain biking. I would like to see more rock gardens, skinnies, some boulders, teeter totter etc. They certainly need to do more on the courses to make it mountain bike worthy. But I like the Idea of XC eliminator.
  • + 1
 It basically is like a very short cross race.
  • + 3
 I like urban downhill races and inside a shopping mall events. This is a good way to attract viewers who do not care so much. It is even interesting for riders, but we should remember that mountain biking belongs to mountain areas, natural areas, and there should be a feedback mechanism to prevent changing all mtb bikes into vehicles like road bikes and arena gadgets like freestyle mx. I think the gist of mountain biking consists in riding a vehicle that can go wherever. It is hard to take the audience in places where riding provides the ultimate fun. Sport camera and Pinkbike-like-ways is the answer for keeping it commercial, and still genuine.
  • + 3
 Even DH took a few years to figure out what tracks work and what is boring. Give XCE a couple years for the track builders to figure out what works. If you could have all the riders in each heat finishing within 5 seconds of each other it'll be exciting. If it is still boring in 2 year time....burn it and bring in up hill races using the same format as DHI. Perhaps an idea is to start awarding positions to the riders who performs best in all 3 disciplines, XCO, DHI and XCE. That way riders can choose to iether specialize or go for the overall title. It will not attract all the top riders, but it will create a new category of rider. If you want to make it even more interesting, make them ride all three disciplines on the same bike!!!
  • + 4
 Like a triple crown, that would be cool. I think in the 90's Julie Furtado and John Tomac came close to winning titles or did win titles in DH and XC in the same year. But the DH courses have become way too gnarly for a 19lbs, 4 inch travel hardtail and racers being racers, someone is bound to get seriously hurt. A 6 inch, square edged rock isn't really rollable with a bike like that.. well maybe a 29er could do it, so not one bike. Let the triple crown riders ride DH on thursday or friday so the course can be fixed for the actual DH. Give a million dollar bonus to the overall triple crown winner (the UCI have that kind of coin and Red Bull or Monster would surely love to sponsor that) and I'm sure everyone and their brother would sign up for it. I think you're on to something there..
  • + 1
 The thing is Tomac and Furtado were doing both on the same bike, because that's really all there was 20 years ago. Now guys are winning WC XC on full suspension, and DH bikes have over 200mm of travel. The premise you seem to be pushing - best all around rider - is a the center of enduro. Clementz and Graves would be near or at the top. The question is whether you have to do all events on one bike, like Downieville.
  • + 8
 bring back dual slalom
  • + 1
 Agreed! Look at the Sea Otter Classic dual slalom, that pulls in a huge gathering of people and is way more exciting to watch.
  • + 4
 They had no problem killing Four Cross, what on earth possessed them to replace it with Four Cross' inbred cousin? KILL IT WITH FIRE! We can use Pat McQuaid as kindling.
  • + 2
 Why, because 'you' don't like it? In your own mind there's only room for downhill, because that's what 'you' like? Shit, you don't like it then don't watch it, don't even ever think about it. Me, I look at it like this; bikes have pedals, chains, etc., in other words a drive train. It gets used a lot in XCE, so that's real bike riding. Downhill bikes? Jeez.... I've never understood the point of a bike that can't be pedalled properly. I don't go around suggesting we get rid of enduro, just because it's a different form of biking, so don't suggest getting rid of XCE. FYI downhill riders, I like all forms of mountain biking, including downhill and including XCE, and Enduro I love. I like that Red Bull TV show all three disciplines , and women's races as well. I see anyone riding with a cap that gets tucked over the top of their ears? What's that? Urban rebel statement? Dreamworld life maybe? Open your eyes Pink bike; all forms of bike riding are great, aren't they? Or aren't you appreciative of the bicycle? Look up, take a breath, see what's around you and consider what others like and appreciate about the bicycle, pedals and all.
  • + 0
 Whatever
  • + 2
 I wonder if its still worth it in any of our sport's disciplines to design events with onsite spectators as a primary consideration. It seems to me that spectating is something we do mostly online now. If I have a whole Saturday free I am going to spend it riding my own bike, not watching someone else ride theirs. I say let XCe die, and for the spectators focus instead on remote cameras and wilder more remote trails. In other words go the opposite direction of XCe. Maybe have bike mounted video streaming, heart rate or wattage feeds, stuff like that. Then when we get to work on Monday we will all tune in to the past weekend's race instead of doing our work. Sponsors get their product seen, XC is shown for what it really is, we get relief from the Monday blah and everyone is happy.
  • + 1
 ^ I agree. Why water down the sport just for spectators? Yeah, they bring money to the sport, but who said bigger is better? We don't want something like F1 racing where millionaires and billionaires create teams and play politics with the sport ultimately sucking the fun and competitiveness out. Just look at how the UCI has handled the sport. I hope the Enduro World Series does not get absorbed into the UCI, and if the creators have their way, they'll keep it that way.
  • + 2
 Just lose this crap and bring back 4x or DS. Those events are more spectator friendly as most spots on side of the track you can see most of the track. Unlike DH where you pick the gnarliest spot to watch people go flying by or wrecking. I was luck enough to check out the 2010 WC at Windham Mt NY and the 4x was awesome, the track was packed along the sides and people loved it. I have been to many DH races and that day of 4x was some of the best racing I have ever seen.
  • + 2
 Windham was way ahead of its time, a really exciting natural 4X track with a fantastic crowd! The guys there really built something special with that track, they used the natural rocky hillside and put 2 great big kick ass jumps near the finish. Loved that place.
  • + 1
 Did you race? It's a shame that was the only 4x event they did there. Then UCI killed 4x. I know it's blasphemy but I had more fun watching the 4x event then I did watching the DH.
  • + 1
 4x was an awesome side show to make a weekend of WC racing a real treat. We wait long enough for each round as it is. XCE sucks ass and so do the morons that swapped it for 4x, they have to be roadies that can be the only explaination, total dickheads
  • + 2
 First they will realize that they need a gate for the start, then the tracks will become more dirty and at least they will build jumps on XC Eliminator tracks...
Then it´s 4X againWink
  • + 1
 And let's call it Enduro.
  • + 1
 How about slalom/4x arena style in the off months, like winter in the norther hemisphere ? Doesnt get in the way with DH during the summer. And for the XC guys, XCE indoors in the same arena, same night. Dont need a lot of space for either. And all can be seen by everyone of the course plus be close to beer. Plus more would come spectate cause what else are you going to do in winter. Perfect past time during the colder months for a cyclist.
  • + 2
 Its a good idea because it allows other non-star riders to shine and get noticed, as well as up their world ranking so they don't always have to start last in the XC Olympic races
  • + 1
 Pure and simple, XC eliminator is NOT mountain biking. At best it's a bizarre cross between 4X and a fat boy crit, but without any of the excitement of either.

Pretty much the ONLY reason it exists right now is that it's "Olympic Friendly" How so, you ask? It fits in a stadium. The Olympics sniffed it last year and then stepped back, but that was just enough hint of the possibility of potential Olympic gold--and the resulting $$ that national federations can claim for potential Olympic sports--to keep this undead bastard creation alive.

Burn it with fire and make it go away.
  • + 1
 Honestly,
Why is so much time spent thinking about how to appeal to the masses? Like already stated, I use biking to leave the masses and get away from the kind who would just spectate. The whole idea of having a massive onslaught of spectators who are more interested in Garlic Fries and $9 beer, is repulsive to me. Ignore the fact that any area worth riding would frown on any amount of spectator damage from a huge crowd. Companies like FOX, Kenda, Maxxis, Specialized already have huge marketing budgets. Have them segment their $$$ for development of the sport through a broader based marketing approach, If they don't feel that the sport is already sufficiently lucrative.
I ride in mostly state parks who would cringe if a promoter tried to utilize state land for private profit. The BLM does however issue permits for racing events of all sorts in remote areas.
  • + 3
 I think they should replace it with dual slalom. More excitement and just as much accessibility. And looks more fun to people that are new to the sport.
  • + 1
 I personally think the issue is with it being an XC event a lot of the general public are attracted to fast exciting adrenaline sports they want to see athletes on the limit risking it all to win and doing something amazing they couldnt do themselves. You just dont get that with an XC event its just too drawn out and boring to watch for the average sports fan. This is not a dig at xc riders as I am sure you guys like XCE and I too enjoy riding it but I dont want to go watch an event or watch it on tv. Id much rather go watch some motocross or DH. I think maybe everyone is wanting something from XCE that it will never be IMO without major changes. People will accept watching a slow climb if there is a fast paced technical downhill section after it with maybe some jumps(which is basically enduro) but if you are wanting it to draw big crowds I dont think it ever will and it will forever be a support act to DH as 4x used to be, The future of mountain biking is DH and enduro and these are the two disciplines that should be promoted more. XCE shouldnt be left to die it should be just for the hardcore fans who enjoy it.
  • + 2
 hate to wake you all up, but wiht out xc xco and xce downhill wil bel dead fast because most bike factorys cant life selling only downhill bike so comments like kill it with fire are stupid
  • + 3
 None of the photo's are from XCE. I think it's an okay idea, but the courses need to get a little radder. It's to similar to a one lap short course XC.
  • + 1
 I get why it's there, instead of seeing 50 yards of a 20 mile race at a time, you can see up to 100% of it in a lawn chair with a cow bell and a beer bong and a game of shots played with holeshots and crashes and the winner...That would make it more interesting for sure. I've seen a few of these and they are kind of interesting if you appreciate XC, especially the climbing and fitness for that, but I like gravity more. This replaced 4x, which replaced the dual slalom. 4x did become kinda boring because of the "first rider to the first turn wins" kinda thing. I always thought 4x should be a BMX gate, 8+ riders, super wide combo corners and alternate lines with jumps. The old NORBA 4x race I saw had one open corner and nearly every moto had action in that corner. The guy in third would commit to it and cutting down in front of the leader and succeed or fail miserably. It was awesome. I think 4x needed creative track builders, but they seemed to be built by flowy type thinkers.

My ultimate race would be the Kamakazi DH. 20 riders. Hitting speeds of 50mph. A course filled with doubles and triples and the odd quad for the guy with the biggest nutz in his satchel.. Well, that might be supercross. But how awesome would that be? Really?
  • + 5
 Bring back 4x and Dual Slalom. Both rule!
  • + 2
 I guarantee that the people who sit here bashing XC are the kind of riders that 15/20 years ago would think mountain biking (even DH) is 'Gay' before the advancements of the long travel bike.
  • + 2
 What is it with all you tossers? Classic single minded pricks thinking anything that requires fitness and 29" wheels is gay, its makes me ashamed to be part of this sort of mountain bike community!
  • + 12
 Deal with it, you yellow bellied lycra bandit.
  • + 1
 What about cyclocross races? Don't they bring XC to the wider audience because of shorter laps? And if they want maximum show, why did they took out 4x races?

To me XCE is a kind of joke which no professional athlete would take seriously (if he wants to focus on XCO the next day) - only would-be or retired racers, and I see no point in keeping it alive. Maybe local races are OK to provide an adrealine rush for bored XC guys, but not at the world cup...
  • + 2
 I like XCE - especially the fact that second place rode a 26er last year!There are problems with running it alongside the XCO though - its too similar and the big guns aren't riding it.
  • + 1
 I think that XCE adds the diversity to XC that flat stages or the spring classics add to road cycling. XC courses for the most part demand very specific talents from the racers but lack other certain ones just like the explosiveness thats seen in XCE. Furthermore, the WC season is so short compared to road cycling so sponsors and riders have very limited spotlight AKA publicity, therefore having an effect of the amount of financial means the sport gets. Therefore the fact that Fontana and schurter are NOT racing in XCE is a good thing both for them because they stay at the discipline theyre good at but also because we allow spotlight to flow to other talents and lets other riders get the spotlight they deserve while increasing publicity for sponsors. Which in turn may have a good effect on MTB in general and even on cycling in general because we may see a decrease in riders leaving MTB only to go to road cycling which has huge problems of its own. Kulhavy decided to stay in MTB and maybe in the future not every Evans or Hesjedel will need to leave their roots in order to advance their career. All of these decisions have effects and outcomes and we must not forget that sports in general compete for financial means just like anywhere else.
  • + 1
 XC and DH share many sponsors so any increase in publicity for XC is good for DH. Dual-slalom and 4cross lacked many things and cannot be compared to XCE. Just look at the technical needs like equipment and course: DS/4C- specific bikes, specific course. VS. XCE- same bikes as XC and versatile course that can be anywhere.
  • + 3
 I'm an XC racer, and I think that Eliminator should die in a fire. Bring back 4X racing!
  • + 0
 Ask Brian Lopes what he think about XC Eliminator, after he was killing the other guys on it, the UCI modified the rules to avoid him winning more heats, so, if this is the kind of events that UCI will promote, best stay just with what they have.
  • + 3
 well it was good fun watching brian lopes cream his opponents with proper bars and a dropper post.
  • + 4
 XCE is just embarrassing.
  • + 2
 I really don't see what's wrong with it. Don't see what all the hate is for, it's pretty entertaining...
  • + 2
 XCE is super fun to watch after your race run is over, you are drinking beer, and not in the race.
  • + 3
 It was supposed to relieve 4x... Kill it with fire!
  • + 3
 Turkeys voting for Christmas?
  • + 2
 So man close minded people
  • + 0
 XC is something you do, nothing to watch. To watch give me Downhill, 4x and the "Rampage"
When I was younger I ride XC and Marathon and I can understand "Its not interesting"
  • + 1
 They take out 4x then bring this in. I don't get it. Just bring back 4x - it's WAAAAAY better.
  • + 2
 Not a clue what that is so lets just kill with fire...
  • + 1
 The third and fourth options mean basically the same thing... Mountain bikers are very enthusiastic people.
  • + 2
 I didn't join Pinkbike to answer questions about XC. Wrong venue.
  • + 2
 This shouldn't be a poll rather a petition
  • + 1
 Why would anyone on pinkbike care either way?
  • + 2
 N A P A L M !
  • + 0
 Pumptrack Challenge is the most compelling MTB spectator sport. Pumptrack Challenge for the Olympics! XD
  • + 0
 Somewhat skewed poll results, given the Pinkbike demographic, but:
KILL IT WITH FIRE
  • + 0
 Oh yes, just a 'little' skewed.
  • + 1
 Please add another two polling options: What is XCE? and Does anyone care?
  • + 1
 Bring back Dual Slalom!
  • - 1
 I'm amazed the question has even been asked. F**k it off.....it has no place in modern mountain biking!!
  • + 1
 N/A
  • + 1
 Eliminate Eliminator.
  • - 1
 XC blows. Head to head XC might be all right.
  • - 1
 Only worth watching for the comedy value!
  • - 2
 XC is boring to watch no matter the format. XC races should be replaced with 4X!!!!
  • + 0
 wtf is xc eliminator?
  • - 1
 If the riders wear lycra then kill it
  • + 1
 You need to ride more.
  • + 0
 and riding more will do what?
  • + 1
 Aggressive defence of the banana hammock by SaptainCrappy ...
  • + 0
 Charty, your mummy's call from downstairs. Off you go now. Good boy.

Poah, Endurance gets you to the finish line first, power gets you off the start line first. To do that you gotta ride more. Long rides call for a good chammy. So whats wrong with wearing a chammy under your baggies? Why wouldn't anyone if it keeps your arse comfy on epic 8 hour AM rides like the North Shore Triple Crown tour through Shoreplay.ca, (props). Long rides in wet, grinding cotton leads to friction burns, ingrown hairs and skin infections. While it's a natural fibre which breathes, when dry, it's also a magnet for bacteria when sweat and skid marks collide.

Scotland's a democracy, so if that's how you wanna roll, enjoy.
  • + 1
 I don't do 8 hour epic rides, I'm not a fitness freak, I don't race but even when I do feel the need for some padding (I don't generally) they would be under baggies.
  • + 0
 You've never done an epic, worn a chammy, or raced, but a sport where riders "wear lycra should be killed".

Congratulations. Your grave is 6' deep. You can stop digging and lie down now.
  • + 1
 I have worn a chammy and have raced in the past but I don't race now and my saddle is comfy so don't need a pad. and yes it should be killed off - boring as fuck
  • + 0
 Who is "WE"?
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