Mountain biking is a cycling sport when a bike is taken off-road on rough terrain. Popular spots for mountain biking include trails laden with tree roots and rocks in the mountains or desert.
The origin of the sport dates back to the 1970s with off-road riders from Mount Tamalpais to Cupertino in Northern California on the fringes of cycling. The first National Off Road Biking Association nationals were held in the year 1983 outside of Santa Barba, Calif. The first International Cycling Union (ICU) race was held seven years later in 1990. The sport made its Olympic debut at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
The NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) is helping to expand mountain biking at the high school level. Since its founding in 2009, the association has been developing inter-school biking programs across the U.S. It has been responsible for developing many athletes through their coaching programs and further popularizing the sport.
There are four main categories:
• Cross Country – Endurance races several miles in length that take place on marked laps. Courses tend to combine climbing, descending, and technical sections.
• Downhill – A one-at-a-time time-trial race from the top to the bottom of a steep, rocky path.
• Four Cross – a race featuring four riders at a time on a downhill course with BMX-like obstacles.
• All-mountain/Enduro – lengthy endurance races in which riders compete by time trial down steep paths, but then must climb back uphill for the next timed launch point.