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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im 35 years old, I'm 5' 10 185 lbs, I have motocross racing experience (intermediate) I'm getting over the whole moto thing and the money it takes to compete, I have always loved to mountain bike and have been dong it since i was a kid (not competitively) So, i just started to up my ride time to get ready for some races in may, I live near a lake that has some really good technical stuff, my training loop is 16.2 miles and I climb about 1800 ft, @ 1 hr 40 minutes. I'm also going to other places with similar rides six days a week, last week I logged 10.2 ride hrs and climbed about 9500 ft. I'm on track to do similar this week. is there any tips anybody can give me to become a faster racer? what do you think of my regimen? I'm not real fond of riding on the street, my uncle was killed in an accident on the street and where i live everybody is texting while driving, the small amount of street riding i have to do to get to the trails is sketchy enough. I have vastly reduced my beer intake, and in this week and a half I already feel very strong, but i still struggle with long climbs and leg fatigue, thanks in advance.
 

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Sounds like a decent enough training plan to me. You may want to work in interval workouts once a week.

Pick up an indoor trainer and a sufferfest video called revolver. That will help you build the sprint speed.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
how hard should I go everyday, my legs are BURNT, should I alternate mellow with full bore? I found a riding buddy who is a avid sport class racer, I can hang with him but it takes everything i have.
 

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keep riding with your buds till you can stomp them. ride solo and easy twice as much as you ride hard. you'll start to figure it out. saddle time. I mean tons of it.
 

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Ride more, but don't overdo it

Just kidding a bit in the title, but other posts in this thread have touched on it.
Ride as much as possible
Don't overdo the hard intervals and structure.

One successful approach:
indoor cycling training: Triathlon Forum: Slowtwitch Forums

For context, the author of that post is a premier national level road racer with a real job.

The only thing you need to adjust for mountain bike racing success is to include trail time.

The aerobic engine is usually the limiter, so working on that is where the payback is.


Im 35 years old, I'm 5' 10 185 lbs, I have motocross racing experience (intermediate) I'm getting over the whole moto thing and the money it takes to compete, I have always loved to mountain bike and have been dong it since i was a kid (not competitively) So, i just started to up my ride time to get ready for some races in may, I live near a lake that has some really good technical stuff, my training loop is 16.2 miles and I climb about 1800 ft, @ 1 hr 40 minutes. I'm also going to other places with similar rides six days a week, last week I logged 10.2 ride hrs and climbed about 9500 ft. I'm on track to do similar this week. is there any tips anybody can give me to become a faster racer? what do you think of my regimen? I'm not real fond of riding on the street, my uncle was killed in an accident on the street and where i live everybody is texting while driving, the small amount of street riding i have to do to get to the trails is sketchy enough. I have vastly reduced my beer intake, and in this week and a half I already feel very strong, but i still struggle with long climbs and leg fatigue, thanks in advance.
 

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Every Monday is a rest day. Alternate long easy workouts(2hours zone3) and hard shorter workouts(.5-1hour zone 4,5)
This is just a simple version.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm sorry, what are the "zones"? Thanks for the input, I'll examine all that was said here when I get a chance.
 

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Interval training is key as mentioned above. Beyond establishing a good base fitness level (which it sounds like you already have) repeating the same moderate workout or even trying to go longer distances at a moderate pace will provide little benefit in racing. Intensity is the key and a couple times a week you need to work in short painful rides incorporating intervals that push you to your max for pre established set periods of time with a brief recovery period in between. Also, try to determine the amount of time required to complete the longest race you will be competing in and use that time as the longest training ride you will do. For XC racing 2 - 2.5hrs is about the longest race in the MASS series here in the NE mid Atlantic therefore my workouts won't go much beyond 2.5 hrs. and instead I will focus on higher intensity during that time period. Finally I hate to say it but lose weight. Given your moto background I'm sure your familiar with the importance of power to weight ratios and MTB racing is no different. At 185 lbs. on a course with a lot of climbing you will not be able to hang with guys weighing 30 lbs. less. Most races are won or lost on the climbs.
 

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There are different definitions of aerobic training zones, some based on power measurement, some based on heart rate measurement.

I have dabbled in those approaches in the past and have since abandoned them as being excessively complicated for the weekend warrior that I am.

Here's a crude working definition of zones:
Zone 1: easy, can easily hold a conversation, like a brisk walking pace.
Zone 2: still able to converse, but working and perhaps perspiring a bit more. Friendly pace for group rides.
Zone 3: now you're breathing more heavily, but not hurting. You feel like could do this for an hour (or more) without killing yourself. You can still converse, but you're actually breathing hard enough to make those conversations less interesting.
Zone 4: no more talking, you're breathing more heavily. if you're in condition, you can sustain this pace also for quite a while. This is the pace at which a group ride becomes quiet 'cause everyone is pedaling.
But you're still not killing yourself.
Zone 5 and above: You're breathing like steam engine, not talking, killing yourself, and wondering why minutes seem like hours. Unsustainable. The harder you go, the less duration you can tolerate.

Tempo is about Zone 3 or low Zone 4 on this crude scale. This is where to spend your time on "work" days.

Zone 2 is good if you're tired, either mentally or physically.


I'm sorry, what are the "zones"? Thanks for the input, I'll examine all that was said here when I get a chance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you very much for that explanation, I would say i'm in zone 3-4 most of the time.

so with interval training, can I use the same hill climb over and over and sprint up it as hard as i can go, rest and repeat? say 1/4 mile accent? for let's say one hour? Please forgive me, I need things explained in very simple terms, I did a search on this subject and the conversation got to mitochondria, and vo2 index and I was completely lost.
 

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Don't get hung up in the physiology details, although the study of those details can be interesting.

As for intervals, everyone has a preference on what to do.
Perhaps many of those approaches end up at roughly the same performance result.

Hill repeats are great, as long as you don't incur mental burnout.
For myself, hill repeats and other intervals are tough to sustain long term. In short doses, they can be effective. For what it's worth, I hate repeats, just because they're too much like work. You want to come up with a basic routine that makes you work, but doesn't make you hate riding your bike. XC riding can be about the most fun aerobic exercise there is, and we all need exercise.

My preference for outdoor tempo training is to find a 15-30 minute circuit, and do it a 1 to 3 times at tempo pace. It's actually fun if you have a good trail circuit where you can do tempo (without bothering other trail users who might not be compatible with manic XC riders). I'm fortunate in having a local circuit that takes me about 20 minutes, has about 300 feet of climbing per lap, steep climbs, rocks, a jump, and some fast flowy stuff. Very much like a local XC race. The bonus is that riding an XC bike like this is very much an interval workout - up, down, up, down...without having to do "intervals".

But, depending on your terrain, riding an XC bike can be very fatiguing after a number of days. That's where an indoor trainer comes in. You can dial the effort down on days between XC sessions while catching up on your TV watching or music listening or whatever. Trainers are also weather-, traffic-, and mud-proof.

The idea is to come to a simple, sustainable, hopefully daily, effective aerobic training practice.

These are just suggestions, not necessarily a prescription for everyone. I hope there's something helpful in all that stuff I just wrote.

Thank you very much for that explanation, I would say i'm in zone 3-4 most of the time.

so with interval training, can I use the same hill climb over and over and sprint up it as hard as i can go, rest and repeat? say 1/4 mile accent? for let's say one hour? Please forgive me, I need things explained in very simple terms, I did a search on this subject and the conversation got to mitochondria, and vo2 index and I was completely lost.
 

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I really think a first year racer, especially one who is "newer" to regular mountain biking just needs time in the saddle. Eat well and look to improve basic fitness and skills. Your basic training loop will be totally fine for now. Each time you ride, try to improve on at least one thing. That could be your time on a climb or cleaning a rock garden. You just need to find the passion right now. Worry about "real" training when you know you are hooked on racing.
Something else you could do, is work out a race simulation loop somewhere. Try to include everything your normal race venue would have: climbs (ST and DT), flowy singletrack, techy features. Try to keep the length about the same too. Then every few weeks time yourself on it. Don't worry about comparing your times to other racers so much at this point; make it a self-improvement process.
 

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Make sure you get plenty of rest at night, and diet is very important. The better you eat, the better you'll perform. Educate yourself on nutrition, and read food labels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
your all very kind with this advise your giving, thanks. about my weight, I was 197, now i'm 183 so i'm doing pretty good, but I can definitely lose more, In HS waterpolo I was 165. My loop by my house is about 3.5 miles with about 350 ft of climbing segmented up in various hill climbs, it has a rock garden, gnarly technical climb and downhill, jumps, dropoffs, sand straightaways and even a little stream crossing, I made the loop with my son specifically to train for a race. so basically I get out of what your saying is I should go as hard as i can on the climbs, because they are segmented up? that's sort of interval training? I do see the need for a indoor trainer, do you guys use the spin machines or do you use the things that your bike goes into?
 

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Your loop sounds nearly perfect.

While some may differ, I don't go out of my way to drill the climbs. Climbs on an XC bike tend to be hard without putting any special effort into making them hard.
For basic aerobic training, I'd just do the laps at a fast-ish pace that doesn't kill you. You want to be able to repeat the laps. The hills will be hard without going out of your way to kill them.
As a bonus, if you time your laps, you'll learn what kind of pace you can handle and how it feels to sustain the speed and effort. This is good to know for actual pin-a-number-on races.

The trainer situation is whatever works. Spin bikes can work, if they can be adjusted to fit you properly and you can use sort of the same kind of pedals and saddle you use on your bike. Bolt-on trainers work well. All you want is something that provides wheel resistance. Doesn't need to be fancy. The main thing is that it should be set up so you can just use it when you have time, without having to do the setup before every ride.

I think the most important parts of an indoor setup are video entertainment and a big fan to cool the rider. Personal preferences may differ in this regard.


your all very kind with this advise your giving, thanks. about my weight, I was 197, now i'm 183 so i'm doing pretty good, but I can definitely lose more, In HS waterpolo I was 165. My loop by my house is about 3.5 miles with about 350 ft of climbing segmented up in various hill climbs, it has a rock garden, gnarly technical climb and downhill, jumps, dropoffs, sand straightaways and even a little stream crossing, I made the loop with my son specifically to train for a race. so basically I get out of what your saying is I should go as hard as i can on the climbs, because they are segmented up? that's sort of interval training? I do see the need for a indoor trainer, do you guys use the spin machines or do you use the things that your bike goes into?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
ok awesome, thanks.

I rode 14 miles tonight, after riding everyday since sunday, I felt great, I felt really strong, I think my training loop is working pretty good, I was staying in front of a sport class racer the whole time, not saying it would be that way if we were racing, he would probably step it up and whoop me, but i felt really good, I'm so stoked on riding, it's the ultimate high, every bit as fun as MX racing, a little different, but just as fun. Also I'm really impressed with this site and how people are so willing to share their knowledge, thanks again.
 

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how hard should I go everyday, my legs are BURNT, should I alternate mellow with full bore? I found a riding buddy who is a avid sport class racer, I can hang with him but it takes everything i have.
If you're riding six days a week you need to allow some time for recovery. Going flat out every day will wear you out eventually.

On some of the riding days you could consciously try and just ride at a slower pace, taking it easy and enjoying the ride, so that you're giving yourself a chance to recover from all the hard work that you've been putting in.:)

How you organize the gentle and hard days is up to you. Doing hard rides on back to back days can be useful for improving so you wouldn't always want to alternate hard and easy days.

Eg: This is what I'm doing this week. Two hard days on Wednesday and Thursday followed by a couple of days at a lower intensity to try and recover for Sunday.

Monday: steady endurance ride
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: endurance ride pushing hard on climbs and at end
Thursday: interval session built into endurance ride (very tough)
Friday: gentle recovery ride

Saturday: steady endurance ride
Sunday: road club ride (long ride at quite a fast pace)
 
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