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Cross Country Training

XCO (Cross-Country Olympic) MTB racing is a mass-start event that takes place on a closed dirt circuit with a typical duration of 45-90 minutes, depending on your racing category. The skill level and racing style required will depend on the terrain and the geographic location, however, in almost all cases an XC MTB Race is a dynamic race. Due to the relatively short duration, an XC racer will experience attacks, breakaways, and a wide variety of efforts. To best prepare you for these demands, the XC Training approach will focus on Threshold, VO2 and Anaerobic efforts in order to build a wide range of strengths and abilities, helping to create a very well rounded racer.

Race Style


Whether the course has long, sustained climbs, or extended flat sections, or your strategy will have you going for long breakaway efforts, a more sustained approach can be very effective in XCO racing.

Base: General Base I, II, III

Build:  General Build

Specialty:  XC Marathon


If the course is extremely varied in its elevation profile and steep, or if you plan on utilizing a punchy, aggressive race strategy, you'll be well-prepared with this option. This style of racing requires strong VO2 and Anaerobic capabilities, as well as a high level of repeatability. To build these characteristics, the optimal training approach would be:

Base: General Base I, II, III

Build: Short Power Build

Specialty: XC Olympic



As with all mountain bike racing, bike handling skills can save you a lot of time out on the course. The ability to carry speed through corners and attack technical sections with confidence can provide a huge amount of "free speed", allowing you to use your watts when they matter the most.

Below is a video we made with Lee McCormack that can help you hone your skills become a more capable bike handler.


Not quite the perfect fit?

Short Track TrainingIf your XC races are typically under an hour, then the Short Track Racing approach would be ideal.

XC Marathon Training: If your races tend to be over 2 hours, then XC Marathon would be an excellent choice.


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