Get your Winter XC race on!

The chill of the early morning ride is starting to bite as autumn begins its slow march across the northern hemisphere. Your Sunday morning ride buddies are, like the October mercury, starting to fall away and you begin to plan and look toward next years sun drenched glories.

I know many riders, who as winter approaches, put away that speedy carbon road machine and break out the trusty mountain bike, always there and ready for those cold and dark, early morning commutes. The evenings of TT and Crit racing are replaced with near constant fettling and half-hearted turbo efforts. The hardy few remain to plough through the endless winter training mileage, as they look to push for club bragging rights come next spring.

Well, why not make a break from the norm and put that mountain bike to good use!?! Why not give that winter commuter a new lease of life and give it the chance to earn its stripes!?!

The Cross Country Mountain Bike scene has Yo-Yo'd over the last 2 decades. But in the last few years XC racing (in all it's guises) has definitely seen a growth in popularity and resurgence in numbers! With events and race series spread around the country and new XC marathon 'challenges' springing up like never before, now is a great time to dabble in the muckier side of bike racing.

Like their road based brethren, XC MTB racers enjoy their endless summers (been bloody nice this year!) as the bulk of the XC race season mirrors that of the road campaign. But as the road season finishes, the XC racers begin to brace themselves and launch headlong into their autumn/winter racing term. Well established series like the Gorrick Autumn Classics, Merida Brass Monkey seriesFully Sussed Soggy Bottom Series, OffCamber XC series, Red Kite Events Winter XC Series and the Thetford Winter XC Series attract riders and mud-seekers from around the UK. If a little winter distance is more your cup of tea then why not try the Kinesis CrossMountainRed Kite Events Frozen Devil, The Spam Winter Challenge and the Dyfi Winter Warm-up.

The challenges arise from not only your fellow racer, but from the perils of winter racing. During these winter races, the legs and a few grands worth of kit will only get you so far... it's time for smart racing to rule the roost! It's about mental focus and the ability to understand your steeds every squeal and crunch. The freezing temperatures, biblical rain storms and hurricane force winds will break man/woman and machine; the determination, grit and skills needed to fight for the race finish will in grain itself onto your racing palmares and ultimately make you a better rider – true fact!

[caption id="attachment_876" align="aligncenter" width="470"]Huw Thomas taming the winter weather Huw Thomas taming the winter weather[/caption]

Convinced?? Want to know where to start??

Well, over the coming months, hopes to bring you all the information needed to get you out and racing. From winter kit reviews to essential training advice, UKXCNews will - with the help of hardy weekend warriors and race seasoned pro's - endeavour to provide a selection of useful winter XC MTB racing tips, all designed to help you make those first pedal stokes toward winter XC MTB glory.

But... we also need you!!!

Are you already taken with a little winter XC racing?? Fancy blogging about your adventures for UKXCNews?


We are looking for a few passionate people to write about their winter XC racing campaign, and to help spread the joy of Cross-Country Mountain Bike racing to others.

Submitting your stories couldn't be easier... simply type it into an email, send it to (with a few pics if you can) and we'll do the rest.

If you have any specific questions regarding winter training and racing then please don't hesitate to get in touch –