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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so a friend & myself ride Mtn bikes a couple times a week, road bikes a couple times a week & an Orange Fitness Theory class twice a week if it’s too wet to ride.
My question is when will we feel like we are getting better on the trails? We just feel like it is so hard almost every time out.
Should we always ride in the granny gear or should we use a harder gear to make us stronger.
We don’t ride thru the winter & have been riding again for prob a month.
We prob both need to lose 15 lbs or so.
Thanks!
 

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Up In Smoke
Dirt Roadë
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Interesting topic though. I've always wondered, with the correct coaching how long would it take to be competitive at the Elite level here in America if you were basically starting from scratch?
 

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U sayin' Bolt ?
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If it feels hard every time out, you are doing it wrong.

Especially as we age, frequent "hard" workouts don't net much progress. You want to spend 95% of your training time in a zone where your mind is relaxed. Then you can focus and absorb your body's natural feedback, progressing your form, breathing etc. Improving is not just a matter of slogging the pedals, you have to enjoy and thrive. Train your mind and your body will follow.

Have fun.
 

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Cycologist
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You're in Tennessee; there's no reason you can't mountain bike year round. If you go all winter without riding, you lose a lot of fitness that then has to be regained.
 

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¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 🚲
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Ok so a friend & myself ride Mtn bikes a couple times a week, road bikes a couple times a week & an Orange Fitness Theory class twice a week if it's too wet to ride.
My question is when will we feel like we are getting better on the trails? We just feel like it is so hard almost every time out.
Should we always ride in the granny gear or should we use a harder gear to make us stronger.
We don't ride thru the winter & have been riding again for prob a month.
We prob both need to lose 15 lbs or so.
Thanks!
Are you using any apps like Strava to track your climbing times? You need something to actually measure with.

If a specific hill climb takes you 10 mins now and you average 2.2 mph, you can set a goal to do it in 9min and 30 seconds. When you get back to that hill again you will be thinking about improving your time and will start to push yourself more. It is that pushing of ones self that helps you to build your muscles and better your times.
 

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jcd's best friend
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3,412 Posts
Don't think too much into it. You learn as you ride. If you go riding and focus strictly on progression every single session, you will forget how fun it is to ride your bikes. You won't know if you are getting better on the trails. Only you and your friend can decide that. Many riders stop at different levels of progression based on their comfort zone.

If you want to measure how much you've learned, try harder trails and see how well you do. If anything, you will add new experience to your current experience which allows you to grow. You can also ride with faster riders to check yourself too. Just don't do everything they do if it's out of your comfort zone or ability.
 

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monster member
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If you mean you're scared sometimes and want it to get easier, then yeah, that gets easier with experience. I mean, you have to enjoy trying to get through technical sections, but as you try it you'll get better and it'll be easier. For downhill, you learn to trust the bike more, especially if you have momentum built up. At speed, the bike Wants to stay upright.

If you mean it's just hard to keep up with some other riders, I don't know. Maybe those guys are real fast. Just ride with a group that is near your pace and enjoy riding. (Basically like others had said.) Not all of us were blessed with big lungs, strong hearts, or efficient oxygen processing (whatever that metric is called). I use granny gear all the time, but live for the downhill sections.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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34,613 Posts
Ok so a friend & myself ride Mtn bikes a couple times a week, road bikes a couple times a week & an Orange Fitness Theory class twice a week if it's too wet to ride.
My question is when will we feel like we are getting better on the trails? We just feel like it is so hard almost every time out.
Should we always ride in the granny gear or should we use a harder gear to make us stronger.
We don't ride thru the winter & have been riding again for prob a month.
We prob both need to lose 15 lbs or so.
Thanks!
It takes time (every body will progress differently). And you'll fall backwards anytime you have extended time off from riding.

I coach a youth team, and we had them riding all winter long. Sometimes it was spin class indoors. Sometimes it was gravel because the trails were wet. But we only took a few weeks off for the holidays. my own fitness is better than it has been for quite some time. But mountain biking is about both fitness AND bike handling skills. You can exhaust yourself from poor bike handling skills on technical trails even if you can smash our a century ride on the road no problem. So you're going to have to work on skills AND fitness, and ensure that you work in enough rest days, too.

And just as a fitness coach can help you maximize your workouts to achieve the gains you desire efficiently, a skills coach can help you achieve improvements in handling skills more efficiently by directing your practice and progressions.
 

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I've been out a total of 13 times in the last couple of months. When I started I wanted to try as many different trails as possible, but the last time out I really felt like I was improving a lot. I found a trail that was rated blue and it had Strava segments. So I kept riding it back and forth. There was also another shorter trail that was pretty steep and had some tough (for me) switchbacks. So. I kept doing those trails over and over and the last few times I could really feel myself getting into the flow. I also found that staying out of the granny gears was much better. Keep your momentum up and use a higher gear.
 

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Wanna ride bikes?
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15 responses and nobody smells a troll?

For future reference it resembles a moldy mushroom scent with a hint of pine.
 

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Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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15 responses and nobody smells a troll?

For future reference it resembles a moldy mushroom scent with a hint of pine.
I spotted him right off. He was under the bridge next to the big boulder and in between two discarded beer bottles.
 

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#1 tip I tell my son if he is calling a section hard for fitness reasons. You are better off taking the section in “chunks” but DO NOT walk any of it. Stop and rest then ride as much as you can. Walking sections not only robs you of the physical training but also the bike handling aspect of our sport.

Stick with it. You *will* get better it just takes time. Kind of like watching your kids grow. You don’t see the growth every day, but in a year you’ll look back and think “Damn, look at how much better I am!”
 
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