Looking for a new challenge that is as grueling as a 24 hour mountain bike race, but much more fun? Then enter the world of mountain bike stage races! (Yep, this is the off-road version of the Tour de France!)

Mountain bike stage racing brings together all the best parts of regular mountain bike races but adds the challenge and variety of a stage race, all in one weekend!

Stage races are few and far between, though, so it’s understandable if you’ve never heard of one. The only one I know of is the VisitPA Stage Race and Festival Weekend held each year in Marysville, PA, by High Speed Cycling and the VisitPA Mountain Bike Team.

(I’ve been there before; read my 2006 race report and also see my video from the 2005 race for more info.)

Why You Should Do a Mountain Bike Stage Race:

— Just one flight/drive for four or more races! (Great value in these days of $4/gallon gasoline.)

— Everything is in one place, and you can camp there!

— Mountain biking is fun, and the vibe is always friendlier than a road race!

— Test yourself in multiple disciplines. Along with a regular XC race, there is a short track XC race, a night time trial, and a mass-start hill climb!

— A camp fire, sing a longs, and beer!

— It can double as a family vacation!

(Some of those reasons won’t apply to all multi-day races, like the Trans Rockies, La Ruta, or Great Divide race, but they do apply to the VisitPA Stage Race Weekend!)

Great! How do I register?

Itching to try this MTB Stage Race thing? Then head to Marysville, PA for a fun-filled weekend on the farm! I’ve had a blast every year, it’s worth the trip!

Talk to Kuhndog for the details.

Dangit, I live in California! What do I do?

If you can’t make it over to Pennsylvania for some sweet East Coast singletrack, talk to your local race promoters and tell them you want a mountain bike stage race weekend because they are the coolest race ever!

You can also browse online to see if there are more stage races in your local area.

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