MTB Stage Racing: Tips and Perspective

by Lauren Costantini, Sacred Rides Boulder




“Would I like riding my bike day after day as part of a stage race?” Well, I think there’s no better way to travel than a mountain bike stage race – journeying through unknown trails and meeting new friends from around the world.

Photo: Bikes are locked and loaded… (Icon Media Asheville)

I just completed my second mountain bike stage race: the Pisgah Stage Race near Asheville in North Carolina. For the 200 participants from 15 different countries in the 10th running of the race, the roots and rocks of Pisgah National Forest on repeat for 5 days gave us all some epic racing through terrain as steep and challenging as it is stunning.


The fully-supported, expertly planned, mainly singletrack courses each day add up to an unforgettable experience. While this is a test of fitness and determination, both the Pisgah Stage Race and BC Bike Race are approachable for nearly every level of rider, with a timed enduro section every day for the rippers out there!

Every evening, we were treated to an amazing dinner of local delicious food with beer and wine, as we watched the slideshow and a sweet race video of the day’s race while swapping war stories and becoming quick friends.

PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE! The best part of stage racing is the people: I showed up to Pisgah this year on my own, not knowing a single person at the race, but left with many friends from all over the US and the world. Camping, eating, and racing day after day with a group of people who love mountain biking allows fast and lasting friendships to form.

The diversity of riding in stage races is also a favorite component – each days course has a different ‘personality’ at many stage races, with some days showcasing more climbing, more technical descending, more singletrack, more enduro, or more miles. But every day presents stunning views and landscapes that one doesn’t have on their hometown trails.


Photo: Icon Media Asheville

The skills and fitness required in stage races vary, with BCBR and Pisgah being  the most technically-challenging stage races out there. Others, such as Cape Epic, require a higher level of fitness versus technical skills. If you’re gunning for the podium, a lot of training leading up to the race is needed. But if you’re in it to simply enjoy a great mountain bike ‘vacation’, just put in some long back-to-back rides with a good amount of climbing (similar to what you’ll be facing in the race) in the months leading up to the race and you’ll do just fine. I like to do some upper-body work in the months leading up to a stage race since the trails are usually more technical than in Boulder, which can really take its toll by Day 5 or 7. Pushups can do the trick if you don’t have access to a gym!


Read on for more great adventure and photos here


About Lauren Costantini:

As a former Pro mountain bike and cyclocross racer, I’m thrilled to share my knowledge and love of the Majestic Rocky Mountains and incredible trails around Boulder, Colorado! I love riding 2 wheels of any style: cross country, downhill, all-mountain, fat biking, touring, or commuting to the coffee shop.

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