Southern California has long been recognized as having some of the best mountain biking trails in the world, and this shows in its racing calendar. There are no shortage of excellent races for mountain bikers to test their skills, especially in spring when the climate is ideal. Here are 5 of the best MTB races in SoCal.
Sea Otter Classic
The Sea Otter Classic has been held in Monterey each April since 1991, and is now sponsored by Volkswagen. It is now a massive 4-day bicycling spectacular, with 10,000 competitors and 50,000 spectators. It has every type of MTB race, including circuit, dual slalom, cross-country, downhill, and speed and style.
12 Hours of Temecula
Riverside County hosts the best endurance race in Southern California each June. There is a three race team, as well as a solo series, with 6 and 12 hour categories. The 2012 races were at Vail Lake Resort on 21 January, 9 June, and 10 November. There are 23 racing categories, so the Temecula So Cal Endurance offers something for all riders.
The Idyllwild Spring Challenge
The Idyllwild Spring Challenge is held each May in the small town of Idyllwild, in the San Jacinto Mountains. It’s a very popular race due to the beautiful scenery and sublimely flowing singletrack. The race includes a 1 mile 13% gradient climb, followed by technically challenging singletrack. If you only do one race in So Cal, make it this one.
This grueling 24 hour MTB race was held in Laguna Seca in Monterey from 8-10 June 2012. The annual event attracts big names, with earlier competitors including Ned Overend, John Tomac, Tinker Juarez, and Susan Hayward. It also has an 8 hour category. The 2012 course has 1,500 feet of climbing in 10.7 miles.
Enduro Stuff Cup
New in 2012, the Enduro Stuff Cup took place in the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park and Laguna Niguel Regional Park in May. It is the first time a race has been held in the parks. The course received great feedback from riders, who liked the technical singletrack, scenery, and set-up. Later races in the series will be at Irvine Regional and Santiago Oaks regional parks on July 14; O’Neill Regional Park on 25 August; and Caspers Wilderness Park in November.