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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey,

so after 25 years of bmx racing, family commitments have taken over and getting to the track to train has become more and more difficult. and no matter how fast and strong i am, without the skill work, not only does it not matter, but it's dangerous....

BUT.. i still have the desire to compete. there are about 5 different mtb trails all within 10 minutes opf my house, unlike bmx tracks which are all at least an hour. so i can make the move over to mtb and be able to train easier.

a week and a half ago i entered a race at a college close to my house. i had 7 days prep,4 on the road, 3 in the woods. i entered the beginner class, which was two 6 mile laps.

i had two goals
1-- finish.. riding for an hour plus giuves lotsa opportunity to want to quit. something you don't deal with in a 50 second bmx race.

2-- have consistent lap times. i didn't want to go out hot and die. what good is a 30 minute lap if i cant finish the second lap?

i finished in 1 hour 29 minutes, good enough for a 13th out of 17 in my cat. not too bad i think, for a first race with little prep time.

so which brings me to my actual question...

how does one train for such races? just log tons of miles on the bike? any strength training at all? squats were huge for bmx, usefull for xc mtb?

thanks in advance, and sorry for the long intro

dave pawlowski
 

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Welcome to a great sport! Coming from BMX - you should already have mad skills technically. You need to build a base first, and sounds like you have a road bike? If so, a road bike is the best way to build a base. There is a sticky on this forum about XC Racing with a link to training. Read that as it can tell you more than I know!!

Have fun!
 

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Ride lots.

Weight training won't do you much good unless it's specifically aimed at injury prevention (and therefore keeping your butt in the saddle for longer). The best strength training is lifting yourself up mountains by pedaling a bicycle; but in truth it isn't strength training, but power training.

XC is an endurance sport first and foremost. Look at the elite XC racers, they tend to be ectomorphs. For training, gradually increase the length and frequency of your rides. When you feel that you've "topped out" as far as training volume is concerned, then maybe you can start to think about building in specific forms of intensity training. But for now, just riding (not just tooling around but really riding at moderate intensity for extended periods of time) is the best training. Keep it fun and enjoyable, put in a good dig here and there, according to taste.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks guys.

i also had another question, forgive me if it sounds stupid.

climbs... still trying to figure these out. they are a deffinite weak spot for me. in the race i hammered down on the flat portions and technical spots, really working my strengths from bmx(sprinting and bike handling) then just walked every climb, using that time to get mt breathing back under control.

i've been told two different things, one was to granny gear it up, kinda a step above walking, using that time to catch breath. someone else told me to hammer up the hills, then pedal light and recover on the flats.

which one is it? or is it just personal pref. ?
 

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im new as well but ive been hammering it up the hills and recovering on the flats and downhills. Some nice deep breaths on the downhills have really helped.
 

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Probably no real correct answer but I reckon you are better off using the granny up the climbs. You'll eventually be stong/fit enough to do the climbs faster while not needing the descent/flat to recover and so the granny is good practice in the meantime.

Work to your strengths and try to minimise the pain from your weaknesses till they aren't.

Plus, walking hills is not manly:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
haha, i was at the trails a few days before the race, and a couple guys showed me the loop. i was just hammering down and climbing the hills, but killing myself in the process. they told me to granny up, or walk if needed for the race, then figure out how to do it later.

they said "it's a race, and you don't get any extra points for riding everything, finishing is what counts"
 

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Break a standard Hill down into 3 different parts: Beginning, Middle, End. Seeing as you are going to have mad downhill technique, I would:
Beginning: Find the right gear, drink some water, look ahead, plan your attack
Middle: Grind away, but save some energy to hammer it at the end
End: Hammer down, you want to pass people right before the downhill so you can use your BMX skills to the max!!

Remember to use the full pedal circle to apply your work load - pull up as much as you are pushing down.
 

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My teammate yelled at me to attack the short hills the other day. Take as much speed into them as you can, and hammer them out. Obviously "short" is subjective. When you're climbing a hill, you're putting energy in the bank - gravity helps you go down, so you get some of your effort back on the other side. Effort on a descent frequently just gets transformed into heat when you brake before the next turn, and a greater portion of effort on the flats gets transformed into heat from your tires deforming, or by the dampers in your suspension.

I'm a big fan of my granny ring. On a good day, I don't go all the way to my 34t cog any more, but... climb however is physically efficient for you on the longer climbs. If you're a good spinner, it's not too hard to spin past someone who's out of the saddle. On the other hand, if you're good out of the saddle, you can sometimes walk off on someone who's spinning like a rabid hamster. We're all different. Alternating helps too, on longer climbs.

Of course, the people who win do all three fast. :D Sometimes walking or running is faster than riding.
 

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s4lnj said:
how does one train for such races? just log tons of miles on the bike?
Yes! And when performance plateau's (after many, many months) you can start to add more structure (if you want, many don't and do just fine). But the bottom line is Miles Build Champions.

Ride hard, ride lots, and have fun. Take an easy week now and then, but the more frequent and consistent... the better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
thanks everyone!!!

TunicaTrails said:
BMX races last only 50 seconds?
about that, give or take a few, depending on the track. certainlly an all out sprint sport.

here's the 2005 world's pro race. it was the first race i found on youtube, no special reason for me picking this race

i had asked my college track coach for help to get preped for the xc mtb race, he laughed and told me that if i wanted a challange this was it, because a race like this is about as opposite as it gets for someone like me. lol.
 

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Here is my take on XC racing...from a perspective a bit closer to you as I just started biking two years ago so pretty new to it as well.

1. Stop eating so much...what most of the world thinks is the perfect weight is to heavy for XC biking. Dropping 10lbs is huge in the climbs.
2. Learn to love your "Pain Cave". Most XC races are as my friend JMS described "dirt criteriums" but harder. My heart rate averages about 180 during an 1:45hr race..with max only being in mid 190's...that means that you are at the top end pretty much all the time.
3. Learn to maximize your strength which is I imagine going down with your background. That means making sure you get in front of those who are slower then you before the downhills. Then just descend at the edge of disaster and carry your speed into the next up. This is where you can gain ground.
4. Ride...alot. And get a road bike as it helps tons with getting more hours in.
5. Expect to get better fast to a certain point then for it to get much harder. Things take time.
6. Have fun...you arent going to be pro(maybe I wrong but 25 years of BMX is a long time so I bet you are a bit long in the tooth for pro aspirations) so dont take it to seriously. Part of the fun is travelling to new places for cool races...even if winning is not gonna happen.

Luck to you! It is a blast! (at least when the pain stops)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
okie--

thanks for the info.

2004 was my last season as a pro in bmx. in 2003 i started my family, and just couldn't dedicate as much time training as needed. i took the 05 season off in order to reclass back down to expert in 06.

i know that pro ranks are a thing of the past, but i still enjoy competing.
 

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Finally my first post after lurking forever. Rode with OP the other night. He has great skills through the technical stuff!! Stick with me and we'll get you zoomin' up the hills as fast as you were at going down. PM me Dave.
 
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