Cross-Country (XC) cycling is the most common form of mountain biking.   It is defined by the terrain on which it is performed.   XC courses consist of a mix of rough forest paths, single-track, smooth fire roads and even paved paths connecting other trails.   Within Cross-Country cycling there are some racing disciplines, such as XCE (Cross-Country Eliminator), XCO  (Cross-Country Olympic), XCM (Cross-Country Marathon),  Gravity Downhill and Enduro racing.

The Olympic Cross-Country (XCO) discipline of mountain bike racing consists of lap racing around a short circuit.  It became an Olympic Sport in 1996 and requires high levels of mountain biking skills and high levels of fitness.

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