The Race is described as ‘XCO’. What does that mean?
‘XC’ equals cross-country and ‘O’ equals Olympic. For us XCO is a multi-lap race in the most undulating terrain we can find. XCP is point to point racing like the Al Adaid Desert Challenge and XCE is an eliminator race run in heats where the fastest riders progress to the next round.
Do I need to be fast?
No. Because MTB races usually run in laps you are never very far from the event HQ and most races run according to a fixed time rather than distance. Furthermore, MTB in Qatar attracts a wide range of abilities so you may find others of your standard regardless of speed.
Should I enter the open category or my age group?
XC racing in Qatar is run in age categories but there are also Open categories to enable the faster and fitter riders of any age to compete against each other. In your first season it is your choice whether your race against your age group peers or in Open but success in your category could see you promoted. Full rules are available for each event.
Women have two caregories to choose from: Open and Weekend Warriors. Again open is for the fastest while WW accommodates the less fast.
What equipment do I need?
The must haves are mountain bike and helmet and some way to carry water: bottles or hydration pack. Eye protection is also recommended. Optional extras? Given the rocky terrain, you may want the protection of full-finger cycling gloves, elbow and knee guards.
Tire choice is personal preference depending on how much grip you feel you need but you’ll find tubeless tires have a definite advantage over Qatar’s rocky ground and thorny flora.
Hardtail or Full-sus?
You want to know if your bike should have front and rear suspension? That’s your decision!
Or Fat Bike?
Fat bikes certainly have an advantage in the sand, but most races aren’t held on sandy courses. Without a fat bike, setting very low tire pressures can help.