(Photo: Sedona MTB Festival)
The mountain biking community knows how to have a good time.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from, if you’ve got the bug for riding, you’re probably all about new challenges, big atmospheres and good vibes. Mountain bike festivals exist all over the world for this reason — and we just can’t get enough.
Time to explore the best of the fests.
Let’s do this.
The States is home to all manner of microclimates, landscapes and backcountry riding spots that pack a real punch. And let’s not forget, this is the birthplace of the sport as we know it.
Americans certainly know a thing or two about mountain biking, and with all of this going on in their backyard, it’s only natural that festivals just keep popping up all over the country.
Showstopper events are everywhere you look. From the Pisgah Fest (CO) in the east, to the Tahoe Mountain Bike and Brew Fest set in a dense National Forest right in the heart of California — the sheer variety of the US calendar is impressive.
Here’s two of the best…
SEDONA MTB FESTIVAL
Sedona’s 4-day fest welcomes brands, riders, spectators (and basically anyone up for a good time) to the northeast of the red rock state of Arizona. Held annually in early spring, the festival sees world class riders take on over 200 miles of superb desert track.
Sandstone buttes tower over the flags, marquees and stages that make up the main festival hub, as crowds descend upon the Red Rock Ranger District of Coconino National Forest.
The Sedona vibe isn’t one you’ll forget. And with a packed schedule of riding, live music, bike demos – plus a few surprises along the way – there’s something for everyone.
SEA OTTER CLASSIC
California’s Sea Otter Classic demands your attention for one simple reason: it’s widely hailed the biggest mountain biking event on the planet.
Pulling in hordes of MTB enthusiasts since its inception in 1991, the Classic now welcomes over 80,000 riders, amateurs and fans every year. Its diverse programme embraces everything from downhill and dual slalom to enduro and cyclocross.
So whether you’re planning to race with the best, ride for fun, or simply soak up the atmosphere, you’ll never be short of something to get stuck into.
This epic Monterey festival has it all. Enough said.
Europe’s influence on mountain biking culture is massive.
Spawning some of the best riders on the scene today, it’s famed for its stunning alpine regions and intricate trail networks. The location for 4 of the 8 Enduro World Series events in 2017, you just can’t argue with its credentials. And when it comes to festivals, Europe has a unique feel.
Over the years we’ve watched stellar events go from strength to strength. It’s great to see. And as more and more riders make the journey, Europe’s premier festivals are only going to grow on the world stage.
Why not try these for size?
SNOW BIKE FESTIVAL
Snow Bike Festival may be done and dusted for 2018, but there’s no reason you can’t start planning for next year. Based in the Swiss resort town of Gstaad, the festival is built around an immense four-day mountain bike stage race on snow.
Riders go face to face with the cold, and shoulder to shoulder with competitors, on a course that stretches for over 100km through snowy alpine territory.
Even if you’re not racing, there’s loads to do and see in the region. With easy access to ski slopes, the sights and sounds of the famous promenade, and a lively night scene lighting up The Village night after night, the festival sees fans flocking in from all over.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself up until the early hours!
ARD ROCK FESTIVAL
Yorkshire grabbed the headlines back in 2014, when it hosted the first two stages of the Tour de France. Now home to the aptly named annual stage event Tour de Yorkshire, it’s fair to say road cycling is a big deal in this part of the world.
Step off the tarmac for just a moment though, and you’ve got hundreds of miles of dales and moors, mighty hills and empty reservoirs. This place was made for mountain biking — it’s also where you’ll find Ard Rock Festival.
Celebrating everything that makes enduro riding so addictive, Ard Rock’s schedule highlights include sprints, timed circuits and a “40 country mile epic ride with 3500m of combined climbing and descending for those who like going the distance”.
REST OF THE WORLD
We couldn’t resist adding one more event to the mix…
CRANKWORX WORLD TOUR: ROTORUA AND WHISTLER
Born out of Whistler, Canada, Crankworx exploded into one of the biggest mountain biking events on the planet. These days it’s taken shape as a World Tour that also stops off in Rotorua, Innsbruck, Les Gets, and yep you guessed it, Whistler.
Festival or no festival, if you’re looking outside the USA and Europe for your fix, Canada and New Zealand have to be on your radar — and Crankworx is the perfect excuse to go explore the best of the north and southern hemispheres.
Probably the fastest up and coming mountain biking destination anywhere, Rotorua is known for its 17 lakes, the famous Mount Ngongotaha, the Whirinaki and Whakarewarewa Forests and the 30-metre tall Pohutu Geyser.
If you’re going to Crankworx Rotorua this year be sure to check out the Redwoods Downhill, which is a brand new event for 2018. It’s going to be insane!
And what to say about Whistler? The training ground for an entire generation of pro riders, this place has everything. The mountain bike park is massive. Offering everything a thrillseeker could want, it’s the ideal stage for the Crankworx finale.
The variety on the tour programme is next to none. Get yourself free entry to everything, from sprints to dual slalom and pump track, then watch the best riders in the world battle it out for glory. With both kids and adults events scheduled, this is 10 days of intense competition.
FEST IS BEST
So many festivals, so little time.
Events like Crankworx and the Sea Otter Classic bring together large groups of the global mountain biking community, to share their passion, celebrate the best of the sport and revel in the good times.
We’ve only just scratched the surface of the mad world of mountain biking festivals. The calendar year is packed with high-octane events from start to finish. So get inspired, and jump head first into the party. You won’t regret it.