Olympics Mountain Biking: that's it? (Beijing 2008)

Mountain biking is a relatively recent addition to the summer Olympics, but their definition of the sport might differ from yours. It definitely differs from mine, since I mainly bike on hiking trails in the actual mountains and I've dragged the bike up to 10,064' (Mt. Baldy) and around 13,000' (White Mountain Peak).

On the other hand, the Olympic version involves a near-sea level man-made course in a park; in the current case it's the Laoshan Mountain Bike Course somewhere near Beijing, China.

An aerial view is here and the official site is here. There are apparently only two events: the Women's on Friday August 22, and the Men's on Saturday August 23.

There are some pictures of the course here, and that includes an elevation change chart. Unfortunately, it only starts at an elevation of about 200', and tops out at an upper elevation of around 500'. While there are lots of ups and downs, the maximum elevation gain is probably around 500'. And, based on the pictures, it doesn't look like there are too many rocks other than ones that were obviously planted there as a bit of an obstacle. Going up those would probably be too much for me, but going down them probably wouldn't be. And, I'm hardly in the top percentiles of riders.

Of course, the riders will be racing through this so perhaps asking for there to be big obstacles is too much. And, our own president George Bush spent an hour on the course (picture here) and said "it was really, really difficult... That's why I'm an amateur and they're Olympians". Also, as a reminder of certain other things (link):

After an early wakeup call, the president headed straight to the Laoshan Olympic mountain-biking course, passing iconic Tiananmen Square along the way, as wife Laura went on a tour of the Forbidden City. Bush, a regular biker, had been itching to get back to the course that he tried out with Chinese Olympic hopefuls in 2005 during his last visit to Beijing.


United States
August 18, 2008 – 10:25pm