What is Mountain Bike (MTB)?

Cross Country (XC)

Mountain bike racing offers many ways to have fun while challenging the individual physically and mentally. Various events are provided in Ontario to suit all abilities and experience levels. Cross Country (XC) is probably the most recognized category. The endurance-based activity is classified by unpaved roads, technical single trails and uneven terrain. The framework of the race is based on the ability level, the duration, and the complexity of the course. On the international level, a race typically contains 100-150 riders, who compete on the rough terrain throughout several laps for roughly two hours. They may be individual or mass start events, and depending on the type of start, either the rider with the fastest time or the first rider across the finish line wins. Cross country races may also be held in team relay format, where each rider on a team completes a set number of laps. Again, the winning team can be determined by either the fastest team time or the team whose rider first crosses the finish line.

Among the most prestigious cross-country events other than the Olympic Games are the UCI World Championships and the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup circuit.

Homegrown: Several riders from Ontario like Peter Disera, the Holmgren’s (Ava, Isabella and Gunnar), Canadian Champion Jenn Jackson, and Emily Betty were competing on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup circuit during this season.


Similar to a road criterium short-track XC was implemented as a spectator- and media-friendly discipline, where riders are competing on a short circuit. In comparison to the classic XC races ST’s last just 20 minutes.


These off-road events last usually longer than common XC events. The UCI, as the international governing body defines the minimum distance for an ultra-endurance race as 100km. In Ontario, most ultra-endurance races are hosted as 4-hour, 8-hour or 12-hour competitions with solo competitors or as a relay to cover the most distance over a given amount of time.


This style of race is one of the many gravity-based events in cycling. As the name already tells the story, riders descend toward a finish line at a lower altitude than the start line in individual timed events. The fastest rider wins the race. Same as BMX riders’ Downhill riders wear a full-face helmet, gloves, goggles, long sleeves, and durable pants with pads for their safety. Knowledge bites for everybody: the most advanced technology was created in this category. The full suspension mountain bikes were first introduced to Downhill to allow the rider to experience a smooth ride as they descend rocky trails and drop-offs. Usually, a rider specializes in either endurance- or gravity-oriented races. Nevertheless, sometimes riders will cross over into other disciplines.

Homegrown: Downhill races in Ontario were hosted by Blue Mountain (Collingwood), Horseshoe Valley (Barrie) and Kelso Conservation Area (Milton) in the past.

Dual Slalom

Similar to slalom events in downhill ski racing the dual slalom events in Cycling contains two identical courses that riders have to face in a head-to-head race. While starting side-by-side at the starting gate on top of the either red or blue course, riders will try to finish the course in the shortest period. After the first so-called heat, the competitors switch the course and ride the second heat. The accumulated time will define the winner of the race.


The cross between endurance and downhill mountain biking events involves typically 3-6 timed stages. Riders are just timed in these extremely technical (vary in length, difficulty, and steepness) while the transfers (the connection between the stages) are mostly characterized by uphill pedalling, walking or climbing.

How do you get involved?

With their feet on the pedals and their head in the clouds, cyclists in all parts of Ontario enjoy the freedom of feeling the fresh air on their skin. If this is the feeling you are seeking, you came to the right place. Our members are drawn from all areas and backgrounds, with riders from under five years of age up to forty plus. By becoming a member at Ontario Cycling (OC), you are joining the cycling community, and it will get you access to several activities and member benefits. Get your membership and license here. If you are new to the sport of Mountain Bike racing, please select the entry-level/novice category unless you have a previous race license with another cycling entity (proof required before the license will be issued).**

Regional Sanctioned Events

Regional level events have the same categories as Ontario Cup (OCup) events. Events previously classified as citizen-level events now fall within the regional level of sanctioned events. Please confirm with the organizer as some categories may change due to the number of riders participating.

Ontario Cup

Ontario Cups are raced at the highest provincial level against riders of their age or ability group. The people and families involved are usually interested in bikes, competitive sports, and their children’s physical and mental health. Ontario Cups also pride themselves on offering equal opportunities to both sexes and top-class competitive sports to all members. It is common for the whole family to be involved. The family nature gives the race day far more depth and dimension than just a simple race – it is an Event with an outstanding atmosphere.

In Mountain Bike, several Ontario Cups are hosted and merged as the Ontario Cup Mountain Bike Series. Throughout the races, points are awarded to all categories, except youth ability categories. The best rider will be honoured as a series champion at the end of the season.

Only riders who purchased their racing membership through Ontario Cycling are eligible for OCup points. Riders who upgrade during the season will not carry their accumulated points into their upgraded category. OCup points earned will remain in the class they were awarded within. DNF riders (riders who do not finish) are not entitled to OCup points.

* DH riders can only purchase two Non-Member Permits each year. Note: DH One-day permits only for Ontario sanctioned DH races
** New members MUST select an entry-level/novice category unless they have a previous race licence with another cycling body (proof of this is required before a licence will be granted).