Off road endurance cycling events have held a place in the hearts of American cyclist for decades. Requiring stamina, technical skills and a will to endure, these endurance cycling events can take many forms such as 24 hour mountain bike races, point to point endurance races and gravel grinders. All off road endurance cycling event participants share a common love of turning those cranks in the dirt for long periods of time and often alone.
The 6, 12 & 24 hour category of mountain bike racing are considered timed endurance races and take place on a closed course that usually falls in the 10 – 15 mile length.
Beginning with a mass start, riders attempt to complete as many laps as possible in the designated time (for example 24 hours) on mountain bikes. In the longer events, such as 24 hour races the riders are required to use lights to enable them to race through the night. Competitors consist of solo riders or teams with multiple team members such as 2, 4, 5 or 10 person teams. Teams are only allowed to have 1 team member racing at a time. A team member would ride a lap and then pass a baton to the next team member who would begin their lap. At the end of the designated time the teams with the most laps in each category win the race.
Point to point endurance races challenge the riders with a course that goes from point A to point B.
These events have mass starts and can utilize a combination of dirt roads, double track & single track courses and are usually ridden on mountain bikes. Point to point endurance events can include single day races and multi day stage races that have a designated course for each day. The first rider to cross the finish line is declared the winner.
Gravel grinders are off road cycling events that have mass starts and are held primarily on gravel or dirt roads but can include some pavement.
Gravel grinders can be ridden on gravel bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes or cyclo-cross bikes and the distance can vary from 25 miles to several hundred miles. Gravel Grinders utilize gravel & dirt roads as well as some pavement during the event. The first rider to cross the finish line in a gravel grinder is declared the winner.