What is Mountain Bike Orienteering?
Mountain Bike Orienteering (MTBO) combines orienteering and cross-country mountain biking, adding a thinking component to a XC race where the trails are ridden blind. The athlete gets the map one minute before the start, and the controls must be visited in order that are marked on the map. The athlete must find the best route to each control to get the fastest time around the entire course. The course is designed so the athlete can always ride on the trails, but in some countries, shortcutting through the terrain is permitted, thus adding additional course planning and route choice components.
MTBO is in rapid development and each year the World Championships see new nations starting elite level sport. More than 30 nations participate in MTBO, the most recent addition being Indonesia.
Major championships are easy to follow online with live results and intermediate controls linked by radio signal, so an athlete can be followed online. GPS is readily available, and often allocated to the top 15 athletes in each category, so they can be tracked in real time on the internet and in the event arena.
More information on MTBO can be found here. We have collected some of the best YouTube videos of MTBO.
The IOF has numerous MTB orienteers featured as their athlete of the month.
Erik Skovgaard Knudsen