A Guide to the best Mountain Bike Racing Series in the US

While mountain biking has been around since the 1970’s, it still has more of a grassroots feel compared to road cycling. Road bike races have formal institutions like the Tour De France while the downhill mountain bike race series’ are more regionalized. So, what does that imply for mountain biking fans? It means you can see professional caliber racing in your own neck of the woods! Here’s a guide to the best Mountain Bike Racing Series out there across the US.

What’s downhill mountain biking?

best Mountain Bike Racing Series in the US Cascadia Dirt Cup Oregon Mountain Biking Enduro

Kim Hardin ripping past the hecklers on the final stage of Day 2 in Post Canyon, and took home another top step on the box, matching her husband, Nick Hardin with back to back wins at the opening round of the CDC. – Image courtesy of: Race Cascadia

Before we jump into the racing series’, we want to first explain the differences between each mountain biking discipline.

  • Cross-Country – The most popular of all the mountain biking events. It involves competitors racing point-to-point via a defined course where the person with the fastest time wins. The XC trails can range from fire roads to winding narrow single-tracks.
  • Downhill – This is THE event for adrenaline junkies. People who feel the need… the need for speed! It involves jumping off cliffs, rock gardens, and everything a mountain trail can throw at them. Full-face helmets, body armor and chest protectors are the normal uniform for these competitors.
  • Enduro – A combination of downhill and cross-country into one event. This is the all-mountain event. Click here to read the full explanation of this awesome event.

Ultimate Guide to the best Mountain Bike Racing Series in the US

Now that you’ve got a grasp on the different types of events, let’s talk about what are the best racing circuits in the US. This list does NOT contain any of the one-off races, but rather the true regional race competitions out there.

The Northwest Cup – Pacific Northwest

Race Type: Downhill

The Pacific Northwest is home to what many consider to be the most prestigious downhill mountain bike racing series in the country. With over a decade under its belt, the series covers 7 races over 5 venues.

best Mountain Bike Racing Series in the US Washington Mountain Biking mud

Action from round 1 of the Northwest Cup downhill race in Port Angeles, WA – Image taken by: Ty

Dry Hill (Port Angeles, WA)

April 14-16, 2017

GRT Dry Hill (Port Angeles, WA)

May 12-14, 2017

Mt Hood Ski Bowl Bike Park (Government Camp, OR)

May 26 – 28, 2017

Tamarack Bike Park (Donnelly, ID)

June 16 – 18, 2017

Silver Mountain Bike Park (Kellogg, ID)

July 14 – 16, 2017

Stevens Pass Bike Park (Stevens Pass, WA)

August 4 – 6, 2017

Cascadia Dirt Cup – Pacific Northwest

Race Type: Enduro

The Cascadia Dirt Cup is the Northwest’s premiere Enduro mountain bike race series and not just for the races, but as an incubator for the NW MTB community to grow. How? This Enduro series does it by making each event available to all levels AND by donating their proceeds to local trail stewards. In addition to the funding, they also contribute over a 1000+ hours of trail work through the Work-Eat-Shred program. A great series with a great cause!

Post Canyon Enduro (Hood River, OR)

May 20, 2017

best Mountain Bike Racing Series in the US Cascadia Dirt Cup Oregon Mountain Biking Enduro

Riders getting real squirrely trying to navigate the chunder on Preston – Image courtesy of: Race Cascadia

North American Enduro Cup (Kellogg, ID)

June 24-25, 2017

Capitol Forest Enduro (Olympia, WA)

July 21, 2017

Chuckanut Enduro (Bellingham, WA)

August 27, 2017

Ranger Creek Enduro (Enumclaw, WA)

September 16, 2017

Intermountain Cup – Utah

Race Type: Cross-Country/Endurance

The Intermountain Cup or I-Cup is a great event for beginners and pros alike. For beginners, the course is approximately seven miles long or one lap. At the other end of the spectrum, the elite racers are tested with a three lap, 21 mile race. The major events happening this year are as follows:

best Mountain Bike Racing Series in the US Utah I-Cup Solitude Ski Resort Summer

Chris Allaire Memorial at Solitude part of the Intermountain Cup (I-cup) – Image taken by: Brian Thomas

Rage at Snowbird (Snowbird, UT)

July 1, 2017

Olympic Park (Park City, UT)

July 15, 2017

Allaire Solitude Cup (Solitude, UT)

July 29, 2017

Snowbasin (Huntsville, UT)

August 12, 2017

Powder Mountain (Eden,UT)

August 26, 2017

The Leadville Race Series – USA

Race Type: Cross-country

The Leadville 100 mountain bike race has been held in Colorado since 1983 and is considered one of the TOUGHEST mountain bike races in North America. It’s also considered one of the hardest to get into. Similar to the Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom, there are now qualifying events that racers can enter all across the United States to gain entry to this hallowed race.

best Mountain Bike Racing Series in the US Leadville 100

The Silver Rush 50, one of the stage races to get into the Leadville 100 – Image taken by: Tyler Ford

Wilmington Whiteface (Whiteface, NY)

June 3, 2017

Lutsen 99er (Lutsen, MN)

Jun 24, 2017

Silver Rush 50 (Leadville, CO)

July 8, 2017

Tahoe Trail MTB (Northstar, CA)

July 15, 2017

Leadville Stage Race (Leadville, CO)

July 28-30, 2017

THE LEADVILLE TRAIL 100!!! (Leadville, CO)

August 12, 2017

Barn Burner (Flagstaff, AZ)

September 9, 2017

The Lost Sierra Triple Crown – California

Race Type: Cross-country, Downhill, Enduro

The Downieville Classic has been around for years and is considered one of the 10 best mountain biking races in the world. This classic as of last year has become part of the Lost Sierra Triple Crown brought to you by the Sierra Buttes Trail Foundation. A mixture of gravel and pavement, it’s a true test of every discipline in one race series.

Image Taken by: Mike Riepe (Flickr Account: mikeriepe)

Lost & Found (Lake Davis, CA)

June 3, 2017

Downieville Classic

August 5, 2017

Grinduro

October 7, 2017

As you can see, each of these races you can enter as a rookie or an experienced rider. So, plan a trip and become part of your region’s mountain biking community. And as always, let us know if we should be adding a biking series to this list.

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