A Guide To The Best Mountain Bike Racing Series In The US

Downieville Classic Recap 2017 Mountain Bike Downtown Plaza

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.  She 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 else 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 match-up.

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 8 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

GRT Dry Hill (Port Angeles, WA)

Apr 13 – 15, 2018

Dry Hill (Port Angeles, WA)

May 4 – 6, 2018

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

June 1 – 3, 2018

Silver Mountain Bike Park (Kellogg, ID)

June 22 – 24, 2018

Stevens Pass Bike Park (Stevens Pass, WA)

July 13 – 15, 2018

Tamarack Bike Park (Donnelly, ID)

July 27 – 29, 2018

Whitefish Mountain Resort (Whitefish, MT) *New for 2018*

August 24 – 26, 2018

Stevens Pass Bike Park (Stevens Pass, WA)

September 7 – 9, 2018

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 also 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!

Chuckanut Enduro (Bellingham, WA)

April 21, 2018

Post Canyon Enduro (Hood River, OR)

May 19, 2018

best Mountain Bike Racing Series in the US Cascadia Dirt Cup Oregon Mountain Biking Enduro
Riders getting real squirrelly trying to navigate the chunder on Preston – Image courtesy of: Race Cascadia

Capitol Forest Enduro (Olympia, WA)

June 9, 2018

North American Enduro Cup (Kellogg, ID)

June 30 – July 1, 2018

Raging River Enduro (Snoqualmie, WA)

July 29, 2018

Mt Bachelor Volcanic Enduro (Bend, OR)

August 25, 2018

Tiger Mountain Enduro (Issaquah, WA)

September 15, 2018

Intermountain Cup – Utah

Race Type: Cross-Country/Endurance

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

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:

Three Peaks Classic (Cedar City, UT)

May 19, 2018

Battle at North Fork (Liberty, UT)

June 23, 2018

Rage at Snowbird (Snowbird, UT)

August 4, 2018

Powder Mountain (Eden, UT)

August 25, 2018

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 2, 2018

Lutsen 99er (Lutsen, MN)

Jun 23, 2018

Silver Rush 50 (Leadville, CO)

July 7, 2018

Tahoe Trail MTB (Northstar, CA)

July 14, 2018

Leadville Stage Race (Leadville, CO)

July 27 – 29, 2018

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

August 11, 2018

Barn Burner (Flagstaff, AZ)

September 9, 2018

The Lost Sierra Triple Crown – California

Race Type: Cross-country, Downhill, Enduro

Downieville Classic Recap 2017 Splash Kaboom Redbull
No matter how graceful you are, it all ends in a SPLASH! – Image taken by: Local Freshies

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.

Lost & Found (Lake Davis, CA)

June 2, 2018

Downieville Classic

August 4, 2018


September 29, 2018

As you can see, each of these races is open to you 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 add a biking series to this list.

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