The collegiate Mountain Cycling season is in the early fall, ranging from August to October.
In mountain bike, there are several events. Short Track Cross Country (STXC) is a timed, fast race held in a closed course that features several obstacles meant to string out the pack. Beginners race 30 minutes, elite women race 45 minutes and elite men race 1 hour. Cross Country (XC) racing is a distance race usually held through wooded trails. Beginners may race anywhere from 5 to 15 miles, elite men and women may race between 20-100 miles. Dual Slalom (DS) is an event where two riders face off in a controlled, separated downhill course at the same time. The fastest of the two down the hill wins. Down Hill (DH) is when a rider does a solo run of a wooded trail on a mountainside. The person with the fastest time on the course wins. Mountain bike equipment is discipline specific, DH bikes feature dual suspension with large shock travel, and DS bikes are typically hardtails. For those events, full face helmets and other protective gear must be worn. For XC and Short track cross country trail bikes that are either dual suspension or hardtails are used. Lightweight road and mountain bike helmets are used. For all disciplines, mountain bike pedals are used with either stiff or flexible shoes.
Collegiate races are typically weekend-long events hosted by universities. Race weekends have several events, including a Cross Country, Short-Track Cross Country, Downhill, relays, and Dual Slalom. The best finishing riders in each race earn points individually and for their university squad. These point totals are tallied throughout the season, and the team with the highest point total wins the conference omnium. Individual points are used to determine individual conference champions and which riders qualify for Collegiate Nationals. The team that has most riders in high placements wins the Team Omnium national championship and the rider that wins the individual event is named National Champion. In collegiate MTB, eight events are held at Collegiate Nationals: Men’s and Women’s Championship STXC, XC, Down Hill and Dual Slalom.