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V-Shaped Rut
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all. I'm kind of a typical PacNW rider. Baggies, berms, park, IPAs, that type of thing. But I'm working on getting fit for an XC event. Watched Dylan Johnson's youtube channel and it sounds like 5-10 hours with a mix of Z2 endurance riding and Intervals is a pretty decent way to go.

Now I ride a lot of park, and no one wants to sit on a damn trainer or gravel bike when they could be hitting gaps, step downs and working on their steeze. I happened to get a free month of strava summit and looked at the HR breakdown of a 1:40 park session, hitting some big lines, pushing up the walkup, bullshitting at the top and repeat.

Can you believe this? It looks like I got a solid 50+ minutes of Z2 work in! Now I know what you're thinking. It's not helping specificity, I could get 1:30 of Z2 in on a real training ride so it's inefficient, etc. But park > boring training rides amirite? :D

Thoughts? Is it a crackpot theory to think something like:

M: Park
T: Intervals
W: Rest
T: Park
F: Interval
S: Rest
S: Longish trail ride

Is adequate race/epic event training? Also, thoughts on IPA as a PWO drink?
 

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Rides all the bikes!
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I don't drink alcohol, so can't speak to that.

But my Enduro is my training bike. If I am doing more XC focused training I take less breaks and pedal harder on climbs. But being my long bike, I still get to have all the big fun on downs. I like big gaps, drops, etc. But though I can get more air than most believe think is possible on an XC bike, it is still way more fun on a long bike.

Bare in mind, the bike park I frequent the most is not lift assist. So it is real easy to get in pedal efforts up to the top. The trail network closest to my house is actually loaded with large jumps as well, and big climbs.

I don't consider lift assist to be XC training. That is just play time. You can call it technical training, sprint efforts, whatever. But not what I call endurance work. And yes, I do that too. Now, I have done a non lift day at the lift assist park. I pedaled to the top, then rode down the park trails. That was XC training.
 

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V-Shaped Rut
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't consider lift assist to be XC training. That is just play time. You can call it technical training, sprint efforts, whatever. But not what I call endurance work. And yes, I do that too. Now, I have done a non lift day at the lift assist park. I pedaled to the top, then rode down the park trails. That was XC training.
Per the OP, it's not lift assist. There is a pedal trail, usually though we're sessioning lines and use walkups.

Is the xc event xco (1.5 hrs-ish all out) or xc marathon?
XC marathon, 4+ hour with lots 'o climbing.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Depends, we built some new DH trails around here last year and to actually have enough speed to clear most of the obstacles, you have to pedal your butt off and your HR skyrockets. I can't ride them "slow" or "easy" at all. It's great training IMO, especially when you combine it with max-effort climbs to get to the top, but if you are just rolling down everything and not riding at this level, it obviously won't do as much for you. The steeper the stuff, the less you have to pedal, the less you are really working hard. Yes, holding off, holding your body rigid off of jumps and drops is also hard work, but not in the way that will make you faster everywhere else.

If it's legit park, then I'd say I doubt it. It might help skills and marginally help, but what's probably doing it for you is the intervals combined with a good long ride. It would probably be better to be in the gym on those park days...but riding is fun.
 

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Is adequate race/epic event training? Also, thoughts on IPA as a PWO drink?
In the XCM world of endurance training the schedule you laid out will leave you less than ideally prepared. If you are looking to "just finish" the XCM event, then you'll likely have enough fitness and it will just be a mental game to keep pushing. A bigger concern (have a more dramatic effect on your results) will probably be getting your hydration and fueling dialed along with learning how to pace the event. If you doing nothing else, I'd recommend experimenting with this on your longer trail rides. Having proper gear will also be beneficial (comfort wise) but not required.

However, if you're looking to maximize your potential and finish time for your XCM event you're going to need some structure and planing in your training. This will look dramatically different than what you've been doing or plan to do. Too much regarding that issue to discuss here, but just realize you're leaving plenty on the table if you continue with your schedule.

Lastly, the beer is doing nothing beneficial (likely negative) as PWO recovery. Sure it's mental recovery, which may be what is needed, but don't think it's actually doing you any good (likely controversial statement on this forum ?). Just ensure you're getting some good protein and plenty of healthy carbs at some point post workout to keep you fueled and topped off for the next day.
 

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Park day = active rest day, as stated above.

You said "lots 'o climbing" so consider using the full climbing trail on your park days.

Suddenly, you're getting hill repeats combined with fun repeats!
 

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Is it good training? Nope.
Is it more fun than riding a trainer ride? Absolutely.
Is it more fun that a trail ride? Depends on the person.

For fun, I tracked a park day on my Garmin. From a HR perspective, it looked like I did a decent amount of work. In reality, I didn't feel like I did any cardio work at all, but did feel like I did some gym work. So, it's not like you aren't getting a workout at all riding park, but it's not what you are looking for. Plus, riding park isn't teaching your brain how to keep pushing the pedals when it gets hard. That's more valuable than people think at times.

Beer is definitely a worthwhile recover drink. I'm not sure how that is even a debate! Carbs, hydration, how can it not be? ;)
 

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Park day = active rest day, as stated above.

You said "lots 'o climbing" so consider using the full climbing trail on your park days.

Suddenly, you're getting hill repeats combined with fun repeats!
^^This. We have a small park here and we rode to the top for about 1/3 of the runs. The lift here is super slow, so we actually beat everyone to the top. I would treat it more of a Gym day than anything. Active recovery for sure.

That zone 2 HR is not the same zone 2 on the bike. Because I can lift in the gym at zone 2 and it wont contribute to my base cycling fitness and may even detract from future performance depending upon what I do.

What if you rode to the park? Maybe get a ride back with your Bros? ;)
 

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As an older 50+ XC racer type, I like visiting our local bike park, check it out:

https://www.facebook.com/ogdenbikepark/

I ride trail there from my house which takes about 40 minutes, do a few laps on the blue lines (and easier black features) while keeping all the climbing in Zone 2/3. (there's no lift chair, just an uphill jeep road).

I think it's great training for skills and aerobically not much different than general lower zone XC trail riding. I just wish our park had more drops into transitions which are popping up in some XC races.
 

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V-Shaped Rut
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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
^^This. We have a small park here and we rode to the top for about 1/3 of the runs. The lift here is super slow, so we actually beat everyone to the top. I would treat it more of a Gym day than anything. Active recovery for sure.

That zone 2 HR is not the same zone 2 on the bike. Because I can lift in the gym at zone 2 and it wont contribute to my base cycling fitness and may even detract from future performance depending upon what I do.

What if you rode to the park? Maybe get a ride back with your Bros? ;)
Sure death riding to the park from my house, it's country roads with 55mph limit and dump trucks! BUT, you do bring up a good point as there is an XC trail that connects to the park. I could do a pre-ride on it.

The climbing trail isn't long enough at the park for any significant pedaling. We're talking like 75' of vertical gain, haha!
 

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Hit Tiger and do 3 loops one day a week. Round One, to the top, OTG down. Round Two is then only a half climb back to the top, repeat for Round Two. Round 3, take East Tiger down.
Your HR might be in zone 2 because hike a bike isn't easy work, but it's not get you the consistent riding you need.
 

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V-Shaped Rut
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hit Tiger and do 3 loops one day a week. Round One, to the top, OTG down. Round Two is then only a half climb back to the top, repeat for Round Two. Round 3, take East Tiger down.
Your HR might be in zone 2 because hike a bike isn't easy work, but it's not get you the consistent riding you need.
Tiger laps was my go to the last big XC type ride I did. NOTG first, OTG next (cause tired) and the last lap take the fireroad down, haha! But it's also nice to do joyride to NWT and add on legend + the climb back up.
 

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Put me in the camp of "it depends". It depends on the trails and the layout of the park. It also depends on what you are training for.

I think any XC training program, these days, requires a certain amount of time in a "park" or jump trails. It's an excellent skillset to have and the crossover to modern XC is huge, the pro tracks are obviously getting more technical but so are the amateur ones.

With that said, for it to be effective, if it's lift assisted or super flowy w/no pedaling, it should be seen as a recovery day.

If you can climb up and put in a solid sweep spot or interval session, do it...you'll drop your friends.

Also I find the transition from climbing at a high effort into descending fast is a crucial aspect of racing well....aka no BSing with the buds.

I think something most XC guys can do to up their game is try out a few enduro races. It's not necessarily park, but certainly has some of the elements. Big day on the bike in many cases, focused descending, climb as hard as you want and work through how to ride jumps, berms and drops which most XC guys are not great at doing....at speed, under duress.

Last few Enduro's I've done my HR on the descents, for several minutes, is in the high 170s, same as it is for XC. Hang on, focus, full body workout and pedal out of every corner, it's not easy. I'm much better off for it technically too....
 

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Something else I wanted to add, when I cramp, which is often in races 2.5hrs +, its usually on the downhills.

I've talked to several folks about this. Static position on a bike while resisting upward movement from drops, roots, rocks etc. is drastically different than pushing down on a pedal even up over technical terrain. Same or similar muscles, very different activation pattern.

I don't know how to train for it in the gym, maybe wall sits or "negative" box jumps (jump off a box and land in a squat then step back up).
 

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Something else I wanted to add, when I cramp, which is often in races 2.5hrs +, its usually on the downhills.

I've talked to several folks about this. Static position on a bike while resisting upward movement from drops, roots, rocks etc. is drastically different than pushing down on a pedal even up over technical terrain. Same or similar muscles, very different activation pattern.

I don't know how to train for it in the gym, maybe wall sits or "negative" box jumps (jump off a box and land in a squat then step back up).
I don't tend to cramp up, but I also often find the downhill sections of a XCM-length race to be the crux because my lower back just hurts too much. Last weekend, after about 25 minutes of aggressive descending, I had to dial it way back for the last third of the descent so I could stay seated and keep my back straight. I was thinking that the answer was more core strength, isn't more core strength always the answer? That could justify more park riding in a training plan, assuming you had the discipline to treat it as a workout rather than just having fun.
 
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