Is mountain bike XC racing alive and well?
I have to say that the numbers sure seem to be healthy and alive and well here in the Midwest this season for XC mountain bike racing. The numbers appear to be up which is a good thing. Whether it is the weather, growth of racers, or what - it is what it is.
Sunday's race in the Minnesota Mountain Biking Series held in River Ralls had a grand total of 348 racers toe the line. Single Track Attack had 276; Buck Hill had 301; Great Hawk had 339; Red Wing had 347; Mankato had 354; Freewheel had 322.
WORS - well, WORS is WORS being the largest series in the country. They are averaging 650 - 800+ per event. I've only been to one this year and it was crowded!!
The opening race weekend for Psycowpath this year saw a record 350 racers in Nebraska. Now that's more than the usual number because of the TT and Fat Tire Crit on one day counting as separate races and the XC on Sunday being made up primarily of the racers who had done the duo TT and Crit the day before. However, going through the races that involve more driving time the numbers were healthy: Maskenthine had 91; Ponca had 108; Tranquility had 137; Platte River had 139; Manawa rescheduled to Swanson had 147.
Our very own little series here in Iowa - the IMBCS - is doing well this year with numbers up a bit from some of the previous years. Sylvan Island had a whopping 243 racers toe the line; little old Camp Ingawanis had 56 at the 1st race in May; Moorehead had 59; Summerset had 70; Beverly had 103; Seven Oaks had 57 plus whatever the CAT 3 numbers were (I haven't seen them); Manawa rescheduled to Swanson had 147. Sylvan Island, Sugarbottom (had 154 last year) and hopefully Lake Ahquabi (had 155 last year) have emerged as the largest racer turnouts on the Iowa schedule. Wouldn't it be nice to see the Sylvan Island success carry over to Sugarbottom and Ahquabi with numbers approaching 200?!!? That would be sweet indeed.
What about an upcoming regional race back home in the Black Hills?
The roster list for the Dakota Five-0 has 721 on it scheduled to toe the line on Sunday, September 2nd. The registration for that race filled up within 4 hours back in April and they took a certain number from the wait list (and there is still a long wait list). It's nice to see this event grow as there were fewer than 200 racers the last time I raced it.
The bottom line is that there is a good draw here in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin for XC racing with numbers that appear to be trending to the upside. Not huge growth, but a percentage of growth is showing. Perhaps with the kids races, first timer classes, beginner classes, additional maverick classes, comp classes, older age group classes, etc... more people are choosing to participate and have fun.
Let's hope it continues...