Current XC/Endurance Race Scene (not during Covid)?

Hello, it seems at this point everything is canceled except maybe Gore so its hard to get a feel for the current state of the race scene in NS.

When I first purchased my bike (2008) I immediately started attending the XC and Endurance races (despite lack of skill and fitness) and enjoyed competing. Was just wondering if outside of covid if there still are quite a few races usually in NS and NB during a normal summer.

I can’t remember all the races I did (but I think I did the majority of the calendar), some that stood out were my first Vic Park in the rain, 8 hours of Gore, 5 hour Hillsborough (Funds park area), Upper Clements (the only one I was able to find results for still while googling), another XC race in the valley somewhere (remember driving up a long gravel road up a mountain and there being a radio station car there from the station The Hawk I think which I believe is a valley station… maybe that was around Kentville), a race in PEI that was at some sort of sports park and another XC race in the rain in NB that started in the parking lot of a school or some other large brick building.

I have been approaching my return to riding with the intention of still planning to race so have been focused on XC related gear however while out riding it seems the majority of people I see are out on Enduro style bikes that compared to my little 90mm travel fork HT, look like they are made for jumping out of an airplane. Since I haven’t encountered any racy types on the trails and the calendars have been wiped clean I was curious if there still was a healthy race scene in the region.

The scene has shifted. I found there never was many longer endurance races. These days not many people I ride with even have an XC bike anymore. Only those who race regularity, and I can only think of two people.

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I haven’t done much XC racing locally for the past few years, mainly because I got into stage racing then other things started to take my time in summer. I think the XC scene has been reasonably healthy, though. Here is/was the planned, pre-covid 2020 XCO calendar in Nova Scotia. BNS Race Calendar – Bicycle Nova Scotia

An Upper Clements race hasn’t happened for a long time. And there hasn’t been a Wentworth endurance event for a long time (I used to love that!). But there are great newer courses such as Keppoch.

If you were racing XC in the 2008-2015 period, we were probably in a lot of the same events.

There are still lots of folks riding on shorter travel bikes, but perhaps not many hardtails. The longer travel bikes have become more efficient pedalers than they were 5+ years ago, so are better all-round trail bikes than they used to be. Personally, I find 120-130mm to be a sweetspot - and have ridden it for 100km races and everything else. As always, it’s more about the rider than the bike!


Thanks, thats good to know.
Based on the events on that calendar anyway between those races and stuff like Gore/Empire? and maybe stuff in NB, there would likely be more events going on than I would have time to attend these days. Maybe there will be a bit of a surge in XC along with the general surge there has been in cycling with Covid. I have seen a lot of online places related to cycling and heard from Cyclesmith that they have had a lot of things sell out earlier in the season than they normally would so for example trying to track down a new pair of shoes was tough as so many were sold out for 2020 in my size with the 2021 stuff not coming out till late August. If there really has been a surge in sales and interest in cycling it will be interesting to see if that will also equate to a surge in people looking to race.

I don’t picture a big surge in xc events or attendance any time soon, or ever. Sorry, dude.

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We haven’t seen 90’s numbers since the 90’s eh

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I think that I was the last person on earth who intentionally bought a xc hardtail for general purpose mtbing, and that was three or four years ago.

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I know guys who race, however the majority of people are riding Trail 130/120 29rs or 120/100 29rs as race bikes. For me personally I raced Elgin on a 130/120 and was able to pass a lot of full XC bikes on the decents and even on the rougher ATV trails. Before covid I was intending to buy an XC whip but it would have been a Norco Revolver 120. I really do think trail bikes bridge the gap between hardcore XC rigs and all mountain performance so you can do a bit of both.

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Yeah I went HT at the time back in 2008 because it seemed like/the advice I got was that something like the stumpy HT was kind of your entry level race worthy xc bike. As someone who is super light in terms of body weight I’ve always loved the idea of having a lightweight HT XC bike (Scott Scale RC 900 Pro for example or RM Vertex carbon) but remember even back in 2008 it being suggested to me that for the ~5lb gain to FS I would probably gain more with increased traction in rough stuff by being able to keep my back wheel in contact with the ground better while pedaling than I would lose due to the extra 5lbs in bike weight of going to FS. I feel like getting used to a 29er or a dropper post would be the bigger jump for me than having a bit of cush in the rear.

Yeah it seems like along with 29 and FS, a 120mm fork and a slightly slacker head angle is becoming more standard with bikes like the RM Element or the xc/trail bikes like the Epic Evo, Scalpel Si and Trek Top Fuel (correct me if I’m wrong on any of those). I was a bit worried about whether the blend of FS complication with the tiny rear shock (thinking especially of something like a supercaliber) would be more vulnerable than a HT (sounds like maybe slightly more high maintenance) but have been watching some XCO clips and the stuff those guys are flying through seems to answer that question lol.

Those Grey/Red Revolver FS1s look pretty sick!

Current calendar is being updated on a monthly basis, most of the race dates are just being pushed back vs fully canceled but that’s in an ideal world. Things are definitely going in right direction though.

The number of XC races was on a down swing over last few years and is starting to pick up again with a few new races (supposed to be this season).

For a lot of people now the thought of owning a unforgiving aggressive body position bike just to go fast isn’t really a great option with the trail bikes that are on the market. For a lot of people that can afford two bikes I think XC rigs complement long travel rigs And keep you honest about your riding ability. A lot of the benefits of Xc bikes also come at a higher price tag, if a entry level Xc bike weighs the same as a trail bike then what’s the point. And generally the super light Xc bikes are expensive and not an option as a secondary bike. This is just a few of my thoughts.

I definitely won’t be switching away from XC, would be nice to get more people out and make the racing more exciting.


Still love XC, although I’ve shifted away from a hard tail. A modern xc bike is a pretty capable trail bike now; even a hard tail now has a slack head tube, short stem, low BB. I have a Scott spark RC and it rides well as a light trail bike.

Biggest thing you’ll find different is 29er wheels and modern geometry.

Something like a rocky mountain element is the perfect bike to get if you want to race but still want a fun bike. Full race bike, 120mm front travel and has loads of adjustment when it comes to geometry.

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Yeah I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about modern geometry, going from a 70.5 head tube angle, 26" wheels, 3x9 drivetrain, aluminum frame and hardtail to a modern XC bike is going to be a pretty dramatic shift.
I have been thinking I might prefer something with a steeper HTa like the Spark or Blur over something more slack like the Yeti SB100 or Kona Hei Hei CR.
The thing that I found less appealing about the Element Carbon 50 (which is kind of in the price range I’m looking at) was the weight, being a kg or more heavier when compared to an Oiz M30 (with carbon, bar/stem/etc upgrade package), Blur S, Scalpel Carbon 3, Spark RC900 Team (not 100% sure this one is in my price range as I can’t seem to find prices for Scott bikes online). Have also toyed with the idea of doing a build up from a frameset, not sure how much extra that would cost but would be a cool experience.

Although XC racing is the main goal I will probably end up buying a smart trainer and maybe a used or cheap CX bike before I get a new XC bike in the spring.

New age bikes are capable. I’m certainly a fan of the numbers of the norco revolver fs120 the new yeti sb 115, YT Izzo. For me being able to be comfortable, climb decently and descend and traverse quickly are important. Plus more all around fun to not be on a sketchy unstable platform like my old bikes were.


The YT Izzo is looking like my next addition to my YT family.

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I do believe it will be my next bike. It will do my marathon races and group rides nicely

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