Ever wonder what the difference is between the four EFTA Series? You’re not alone! It’s one of the most frequently asked questions we get. Below we hope we can demystify the NECs and, at the same time, help you discover a series that is right for you.

You will find that two series can be taking place at the same race. For instance, you could have an XC race and a marathon. In that case, the marathon would be a longer distance race like a 6-hour race, while the XC will be shorter, say around 1.5 hours. Another example is a headbangers race and a single-speed race. Same course, same length, just some poor sucker is racing with one gear.

NECS XC Series
This is cross country (XC) racing at its finest. Singletrack, tight corners, smoother trails, maybe even a bermed turn. The big differentiator in these races is they are not super technical. You will not see rock-gardens a half-mile long or root sections with a topography of the Alps. Hardtail or full-suspension, it’s your call. Either bike will be fast and fun, and you will likely leave the course with a smile on your face and wanting more. You’re not going to be happy unless you’re going Mach 2 with your hair on fire.

NECS Headbangers Series
These races are like doing 10 rounds in a heavyweight boxing match. You are going to get smacked down, but hey, your tough and enjoy a challenge. The Headbangers Series was created for the rider that thinks “new school” MTB courses are too soft, too flowy, and/ or too short. Headbanger races are for lovers of chunky tech, body english, wide bars, and knobby(er) tires. These are races that give a rider with solid technical skills a chance to shine, or for folks still learning how to handle the tricky stuff a chance to hone their skills in a fun, competitive environment. Roadies cringe, whimper, and head back to the pavement at these races, while technical riders excel blasting over the rocks and roots. The world meets nobody halfway. When you want something, you gotta take it.

NECS Marathon Series
Go big or go home is the theme of the marathon races. Long format in the 5 – 6 hour range. Designed for the folks that can’t get enough time in the saddle. These races take place on both XC and Headbangers courses, so pick your poison carefully. Stock up on food and water because you are going to be riding long after everyone else has packed it in for the day. It’s a badge of honor to say you raced double or triple the distance of the regular race. You like going into that deep cave of pain and coming out on the other side. Mental and physical toughness are the two things that will help you cross the finish line in a Marathon race. A lot of people ride a race to see who is the fastest. In this race, they ride to see who has the most guts, who can punish into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish even more. Many have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there; it comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.

NECS Seriously Shreddy Single Speed Series (SSSSS)
This one should be pretty self-explanatory, one gear folks plain and simple. You must choose but choose wisely based on the course and conditions. You trust the quality of what you know, not quantity. Quad and calves scream in pain, but the single speeder doesn’t care. They are tough; some say they are insane. Single speeders hold up that one gear as a badge of honor. Under their breath, at the starting line, they say everyone with gears is weak. If they fly by you during a race, try and not get too deflated, it takes a certain type of crazy to race with one gear.