As my young son Ben has got a little older his interests have diversified from competing in running based events, to include competitions that involve mountain biking, downhill cycling and multi-discipline events such as triathlon. Whilst I still much prefer to see him compete in cross country and hill running events for which he demonstrates considerable talent, Ben quite naturally wants to try something that offers additional challenges and I have to say he is pretty adept at this sport too. My own problem with mountain biking events is the sheer cost involved. Anything that involves competition cycling seems to warrant a ridiculous price tag, not only in terms of equipment, and that is certainly prohibitive, but also in terms of entry fees for cycling based events. Typically an entry fee for his running amounts to £5.00, there are normally between 20 and 50 competitors and the only equipment you need is a good light pair of running shoes.
The last major cycling event Ben took part in commanded an entry fee of £40 (UKP), most are nearer £80 (UKP) In any event I don't want to discourage my son as he obviously enjoys it but really, a competitive bike costs upward of £2000 and that's without the safety paraphernalia that goes with it. Ben uses a beaten up low end mountain bike with inadequate suspension, a borrowed bike for downhill stuff and outperforms nearly all his piers with far more exotic equipment through considerable talent and endurance borne of his cross country running.