XCO – Cross Country – Video Guide here
Cross Country is part of the Olympic programme. Cross-country races are held over undulating circuits (with technical descents, forest roads, rocky paths and obstacles) of 5 to 9 km. The race varies from 1 h 45 minutes to 2 h 30 minutes depending on the category.
The start straight is 350m long, with a short, sharp climb called Red Face Hill at the end. On the first lap there’s a bottleneck on this lefthand turn. After Red Face Hill, riders meander on forest track to Noogies Knoll, which starts with a hairpin right into the first big climb of the first loop. The bottom section is short, but it’s one of the steepest sections of the track, with five switchbacks taking riders to the top. This leads into Kim’s Corner – a short, technical descending section with a number of step-like drops. A forest road, and two short sections of single track, take riders into the top section of Pick Up Stix. This consists of a left berm into a right berm into a short off-camber section, which has two-step downs that are positioned on a steep slope. After Pick- Up Stix, some flowing, descending single track leads into the top of Rapid Rocks, a hand-made rock garden and the most technical section on the first loop. Riders then cross a stream down to a new section called Buckjump Alley, four rocky mounds of soil with multiple lines. After Buckjump Alley, riders will enter Feed/Tech Zone 1.
Riders face the largest climb of the course up to Switch Back single track. The first portion of Switch Back is contoured, with the second half made up of short and tight switchbacks. The track continues to climb into the top of The Amphitheatre, the highest point and one of the signature features of the track. This is made up of
switchbacks, berms, bridges rocks and drop-offs. The course then goes up a short, sharp climb to the top of Sharka’s Playground, where riders have three options of either a bull run, or one of two chicken runs. The bull run consists of a partial-spiral log staircase, and the first chicken run goes past the bull run on the right, off a small step-down, over a small gap jump, into a sharp le, and drops down into the main track. The second chicken run is the same as the first, but instead of the gap jump it goes le, over some log rollers. The track descends down the Amphitheatre Extension to the bottom of Shale’s Climb, which goes into Tree House Rock Garden. This has three main lines through (or over) the rocks. Riders uncomfortable with this obstacle can choose a B-line, taking them around the section. There is a short portion of single track between Tree H ouse Rock Garden and the Corkscrew, which itself is a steep, bermed descent into a short, rocky section. From the bottom of the Corkscrew it’s 150m to Feed/Tech Zone 2, and a completed lap. On the last lap, riders continue past the feed/tech zone to the finish.