The mountain biking section of the club is quickly growing and encompasses cross country (XC), downhill (DH) and everything in-between. Traditionally we have been quite XC focussed with the majority of the year’s races being cross country events, but over the last year we have been to a couple of Mini DH races in the Forest of Dean and are looking to expand this area of the club. All trips and races are well subsidized by the club, and riders of all abilities are welcome; please join the OUCC MTB facebook page which is where we organise most of our rides.

XC Racing: Most of the XC races that we enter are part of the Gorrick Cross Country race series, taking place in Michaelmas and Hilary terms. The number of races that we attend really depends on the number of people who want to take part, but is generally 4 per term. Again all levels of ability are welcome and don’t worry if you haven’t raced before. There are various categories to enter depending on how fast you are. If there is an event that you want to enter we are open to ideas, for example there has been some interest in 12 hour enduro XC races etc so basically if enough people (at least 2 or 3) want to go, it will happen.

DH and Gravity events: We have entered Forest of Dean Mini DH races in the past and will continue to, provided there is enough interest. We would like to enter some gravity enduro events too and again if you have any events that you’re interested in just let us know and we will try to get a group together.

Training: Most of the term-time training rides we do are to the local woods, which are a 15 minute ride from the town centre and have plenty of trails running through them, mainly bridleways. There are also some short downhill trails and jumps at one end of the woods which are really good fun too. Throughout the winter we run turbo sessions at the Iffley Road Sports Complex to keep up fitness when the days are short in the lead-up to the Varsity Race. There is a week long summer mountain biking trip each year, usually to Wales. This is always loads of fun and the focus is on having a good time and getting some good riding in before term begins. We are looking to get some additional, shorter, trips going over Christmas and Easter too.

Varsity: The yearly Tab shoeing takes place in 5th or 6th week of Hilary, and is in the form of a XC race. This is the main event of the year. The teams are 6 strong and the final result depends on the cumulative time of the fastest 3 riders from each team. Last year we organised it at one of the Gorrick Spring Series races, so this year Cambridge will organise it. The teams are selected based on fitness and commitment to training with the club. Coming in the top three at the Varsity Race is one of the criteria for getting a Half Blue.

Get involved! If you are even vaguely interested in riding mountain bikes please do get in contact, there is provision for every kind of rider and we are always looking for new members. Joining the Facebook page is a good move, or drop me an email at william.wheeler@chch.ox.ac.uk