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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm really new to the sport of mountain biking (I got my bike about a week ago). I have been looking around my area (Provo, UT) at the reviews of some of the trails. There are a few beginner trails, but many of them say they are "intermediate technical" level. My question is how will I know I am ready for a more intermediate trail? And how do I go about practicing? Its winter, so many of the trails are covered in snow, but there are a few that should be good for all season riding. Just curious what everyone did when they first started out to get better at their mountain biking skills!
 

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R.I.P. DogFriend
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Go with other people that understand that you may have to walk some sections or take a moment to size up a section before attempting it, or watch someone else do it and see if you feel like you can make it too. Lots of people enjoy helping newer riders.

Make sure they know it may take longer than it usually does. If the people you ride with can't deal with that, find new people to ride with.

No shame in walking if you feel the need. Best to live to ride another day. Be safe and make it about fun and the rest usually takes care of itself.
 

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Best way to practice is to hit the trails. Don't be afraid of falling, either. It's going to happen no matter what. If you see something that looks like more than you want to handle, follow Jeff's advice and don't be afraid to walk it. But at the same time, try not to get too psyched out about things, because then you'll never ride them. :)

Being 19, I'm not too afraid of much right now...if I see a techy descent, 9 times out of 10 I'll go for it. Probably 6 out of those 9 times I'll fall. But I learn from those mistakes and keep on going. Every time I hit that tech section, I'm that much better because I fell and got right back up. Eventually, I master said tech section and go find another one to work!

Moral of the story: just get out on the trail and ride. The learning process isn't the quickest in the world, so don't be embarrassed. And again, have the humility to walk a section if you need to. When you come to some chunk though, try to ride it! If you fall, you fall and you learn. :thumbsup:
 

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meow meow
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find a big rock and figure out how to ride over it. seriously it helps your bike handling and line choice making. and set up two cones and try to ride in tight and slow figure 8's around them. and the biggest help: ride with good riders.
 

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ventanakaz
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srebeccan said:
I'm really new to the sport of mountain biking (I got my bike about a week ago). I have been looking around my area (Provo, UT) at the reviews of some of the trails. There are a few beginner trails, but many of them say they are "intermediate technical" level. My question is how will I know I am ready for a more intermediate trail? And how do I go about practicing? Its winter, so many of the trails are covered in snow, but there are a few that should be good for all season riding. Just curious what everyone did when they first started out to get better at their mountain biking skills!
...when i first started riding i road with guys that had better skills than i did and now they won't even ride the stuff i ride, just ride with better riders and you'll become a better skilled rider. remember to have fun and don't ride beyound your ability...ralph
 

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I don't know how this has worked for others, but I have progressed more when I ride the trails that are a little over my head. Walking through a tough section, I see the path that I could take and make it through it so I turn around, go back, and ride it that way and it works. I see the way someone else rides through or over something and I try it. Most of the time it works, sometimes I fall, but I always learn something and eventually I get it. And the things that are too tough to try become goals. I try to work out just what skills it would take to get through them and then I have something to work on for "next time".

Just trust your gut. It knows how to keep you alive and in one piece. It helps to know how to land in such a way as to minimize the damage :D .
 

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SSOD
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1. Find better riders and learn to follow their lines until you can start to see them yourself.

2. Don't be afraid of falling, the quicker you start attacking tech/ off camber stuff the quicker you will learn how to- momentum is usually your friend so lay off the brakes.

3. Just go out and ride and begin to build your confidence, balance and strength will come with experience but confidence is just as important.
 

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Just try them. Trail difficulty ratings are very inconsistent, so there are a lot of "intermediate" trails that are actually pretty easy. Worst case scenario is if you see somthing that looks too scary, you get off and walk. It's doubtful you will do a whole lot of walking on an intermediate trail though (except maybe uphill if you can't handle the climbs). The great thing about mountain bikes is they have very good braking capabilities, so you can always keep it at a speed you feel comfortable. Braking technique on steep stuff is the #1 skill new riders should work on. If you have a local park with a really steep hill, practice going down that very slow, or even try some stairs. If you've got that down, there's not much you won't be able to ride.
 

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srebeccan said:
I'm really new to the sport of mountain biking (I got my bike about a week ago). I have been looking around my area (Provo, UT) at the reviews of some of the trails. There are a few beginner trails, but many of them say they are "intermediate technical" level. My question is how will I know I am ready for a more intermediate trail? And how do I go about practicing? Its winter, so many of the trails are covered in snow, but there are a few that should be good for all season riding. Just curious what everyone did when they first started out to get better at their mountain biking skills!
Don'y worry if it is too hard just get off and push around, if it is really too hard turn around....

Ride lots of trails

Ride in winter

Ride lots every where all the time.
 

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Trying not to kill myself
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trailville said:
Just try them. Trail difficulty ratings are very inconsistent, so there are a lot of "intermediate" trails that are actually pretty easy.
I agree. When I was a beginner myself and now when riding with others who are new to the sport, it usually all comes down to speed. An intermediate trail might be ridden fairly easily by a beginner at a 3 or 4 mph pace. But the same trail becomes a lot more challenging at a 10 or 12 mph pace. Just go as slow as you feel comfortable with until you get to know the trail. I'll usually stop and assess the risk when approaching unfamiliar technical feature that looks like something I might not be able to clear. If I've got some room on the trail to bail out if things go badly, I'll go for it most of the time. But obviously you don't want to be learning to navigate switchbacks on the side of a cliff or anything like that. It's always better to walk a section than end your day in the hospital.
 

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It really depends on where you ride, too. The Advanced loop at the closest trail near me would be an easy Intermediate at best in a lot of places.

Usually there's nothing "dangerous" on intermediate trails. Like everyone said, ride with others, take it slow but not too slow, don't be afraid to dismount and check something out.
 

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GotoDengo was reading my mind, what trail are you thinking about trying? I might be familiar with it (SLC resident) or if not I can suggest you try asking the question at www.utahmountainbiking.com forum or the notoriously unhelpful Utah MTBR forum. There's no easy way to describe a trail that is labeled one way or another unless you have a pretty broad level of experience with other trails that are above and below the rating you're asking about. If you're worried about the trail, remember you can always walk technical features until you get comfortable with them and you can try finding other trails around you that are rated easier to get an idea of what the next level up might be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow! Thanks for all the tips. I'm not too scared of falling...just falling in front of other people. lol. I have a three day weekend this weekend but its supposed to snow 2 of those three. :/ I am definitely going to get out there on Monday though.

zebrahum--I don't have many trails in mind just yet. I am thinking about hitting the Mountain Ranch Bike Park this weekend or maybe Lambert park. I am mostly going off of the winter trails at utahmountainbiking.com I'm looking forward to it warming up a bit so I can explore a little more.

Again, thanks everybody for the input. I plan on working on my bunny hop this weekend too. Should be fun.
 

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srebeccan said:
Wow! Thanks for all the tips. I'm not too scared of falling...just falling in front of other people. lol. I have a three day weekend this weekend but its supposed to snow 2 of those three. :/ I am definitely going to get out there on Monday though.

zebrahum--I don't have many trails in mind just yet. I am thinking about hitting the Mountain Ranch Bike Park this weekend or maybe Lambert park. I am mostly going off of the winter trails at utahmountainbiking.com I'm looking forward to it warming up a bit so I can explore a little more.

Again, thanks everybody for the input. I plan on working on my bunny hop this weekend too. Should be fun.
You should post up a question on utahmountainbiking or the Utah forum here asking if either of those are clear of snow. The last thing you want to do is ride the trails wet, you'll damage them very badly. Either ride them early morning when they are frozen or wait it out until they are dry. From reading recent posts, it seems like none of the trails are "dry" and most of the trail riding people are doing right now is on frozen or snowpacked trails.
 
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