Although grassroots racing in the US will be organized similarly in 2007, the structure of elite-level mountain bike racing will get a makeover.
No longer will top racers target the NORBA National Series, as it has been known for years. Instead a new, expanded National Mountain Bike Calendar will replace the old series, which typically consisted of six to eight major races. USA Cycling has announced a partial version of the National Mountain Bike Calendar, but will publicize the complete version soon after the new year begins.
In the meantime, elite racers can begin some planning. There is significant overlap between the grassroots American Mountain Bike Calendar (AMBC) and the National Mountain Bike Calendar (formal acronym still to be announced). Although somewhat confusing, both series span the entire country, but the AMBC consists of more local events. The National Calendar will include large regional and national events and will be divided into three sections: gravity events like downhill, Super D, and four cross; cross country events; and ultra-endurance events like marathons, 100 milers, and 12-hour and 24-hour races.
Two key national events are the two UCI Category 2 events happening April 29th in Greenbriar, Maryland, and May 12th in Callaway, Minnesota.
Lest any confusion remain with the names of mountain bike series, USA Cycling used to own and run a National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS). The name and the series still exist, but Tom Spiegel and Jeff Frost co-own the rights, and in fact, the name now refers to only six events, all of which are expected to be part of the National Mountain Bike Calendar.
Independently of USA Cycling, Granny Gear Productions hosts its own national series of 24-hour races, and last year an affiliation of 100 mile race promoters formed to run a 100 miler race series; however there has been no official word about the continuation of the latter series for 2006.
The AMBC series, as announced by USA Cycling, consists of the following races for 2007. Races with an * denote events that are known at this time to also be on the Mountain Bike National Calendar. Other events are expected to join these National Calendar events.
To see Cyclingnews' newly released full calendar of UCI and various national mountain bike events, click here.