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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am relatively new to the concept of training and racing, so bear with me.

I am hoping to do some XC racing this year, in the Beginner class of course. I figure the race lengths are probably 10 - 16 miles long on average, with the longest being 22 miles.

To establish some base fitness, I've been doing 2 road rides (on the road bike) every weekend averaging about 32 miles each, which works out to be about a 2 hour ride for me.

Should I be focusing on miles or on hours for my training rides ? Suggestions ?
 

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I'm a unitard!
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Definitely hours. Since terrain can vary on the road and the trails, hours is what you need to go by.

What I've always heard is that your longest base period ride should be about twice the time of your longest race.
 

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Yup, terrain is waaaay to varied to try and gauge your training purely by miles. A sustained effort over an hour on a flat desert road could take you 25 miles while, that same effort in the mountains could take you only 15 miles.

However, I would think that you would want to do some longer rides than 32 miles if you plan on racing mtb for 22 miles.
 

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Time to go farther
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Like everyone else said, focus on hours now. I've been riding and racing for a long time and I only track miles, not hours now. But I'm pretty aware that planning a 10 hour MTB day will be less miles than a 10 hour day on the road bike. Which one I choose depends on the training purpose for the ride.

I'd also agree that you want to stretch your long ride out to about 4 hours if you can. A 22 mile MTB race for a new rider could be well over the 2 hour mark and riding for a longer time, even on the road in training, will force you to improve your hydration and nutrition and make sure you bike is comfortable.
 

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the quality of the miles you ride is far more important than the quantity. if you ride for x number of miles at a granny pace, not very good in the big picture. if you ride x number of miles and add intervals, hills, high rpm, big gear, etc...., you will get much more bang for your effort with much less miles than all the miles at a granny pace.
 

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Definitely focus in hours on the bike relative to mileage. The 2x the time of your longest race is a good rule of thumb to work up to. Riding on the road will build form so I'd stick with that for most rides but go out and have some fun on the mountain bike for your shorter, higher intensity rides.
 

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Tech geek and racerboy
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dirtdirt223 said:
if you ride x number of miles and add intervals, hills, high rpm, big gear, etc...., you will get much more bang for your effort with much less miles...
Sure, if he wants to peak in April. Dude, concentrate on hours and put on some base. Your long workouts this time of year should be fairly easy pace, and only difficult because of the length time on the bike. Throw in some shorter, quicker workouts too so you don't get too flat or bored, but mostly go fairly easy. Unless of course you plan on doing your peak events in April. Then do what dirtdirt223 said.

Go get Joe Freil's book "The Mountain Biker's Training Bible" for a lot of good background on training. He goes by hours, too.
 
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