27 July 09:49 (BST)

A guide to mountain biking at Glasgow 2018

GLASGOW - New to the exhilarating world of mountain biking? Here are a few pointers to help you appreciate one of the most adrenaline-fuelled events at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships.

What is mountain biking?
This cycling discipline requires fitness, bravery and bike control at speed. It is physically draining and requires huge endurance as cyclists must climb and descend, navigate around trees, roots, branches, rocks and streams, and negotiate single-track and technical sections which can involve tight turns and difficult terrain.

What is the format of the Glasgow 2018 competition?
Two titles are up for grabs as 140 cyclists (80 male and 60 female) contest men's and women's cross-country events on a single day of competition (7 August). 

Mountain biking at Glasgow 2018 is a mass-start event. Riders are gridded at the start line in order of current international ranking. All riders start at the same time and will complete one lap of the start loop before proceeding to complete a set number of laps of the main circuit.

Technical assistance is permitted in the designated zone only. Riders may change wheels but must complete the race on the frame with which they started.

What are the most noteworthy aspects of the Glasgow 2018 mountain bike venue?
The European Championship course in Glasgow is located at the 5.5km-long Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails, which attract riders from across Scotland. The course staged mountain biking during the 2014 Commonwealth Games and competitors at Glasgow 2018 will face new features, including a new start/finish loop and:

  • 'Nae Bother' - the first ascent, which is steep and narrow
  • 'The Jouk' - a rock garden with step-up jump
  • 'Air Space / Highland Jig' - a fast, undulating section with jumps leading fast into the finish

If riders are closely bunched during the last lap, whoever is first to reach the top of the ascent has a good chance of staying in front all the way to the finish. It is all downhill from there, with a narrow trail which makes overtaking difficult. The only points where a rider could realistically be passed (unless they take major risks) are near the tech/feeding zone or on the finish stretch.

How long does it take to complete a lap?
Based on previous trials, expect lap times of between 11 and 13 minutes and a race duration between 90 minutes and two hours. The number of laps depends on the time taken to complete an individual lap. This may change due to adverse weather conditions (dry trails are fast, wet trails are slow).

The first rider to complete all the laps is the winner.

Delayed riders will be withdrawn by officials at the bottom of the final descent (before the last left turn). The '80 per cent rule' will be in place, which means any rider falling more than 80 per cent behind the leader's lap time will be disqualified.

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