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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a beginner mountain biker. I have a Specialized Enduro and ride around the So. Cal. area. I've been riding with some friends from my church, but they are very advanced riders, and sometimes I can't hang with them.

I think my biggest problem is that I am out of shape. I lose my breath far more quickly than everyone else in the group - and I think this is mostly because I spent the last 7 years in higher education.

So, I've been trying to tackle this problem - and I bought a new roadbike, to help me with the cardio. But anyway, my question is - does anyone have any suggestions on how I can become a better ride and more physically fit so I can keep up with my buddies?

Thanks, I appreciate any tips or advice.
 

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I'm in the same boat as you, except I'm still in grad school. Anyways, the best bet is to just keep on doing what you're doing. I've been so out of shape this past year, and have finally decided to give mtn biking a serious go again. I had given up a few years back after my bike was stolen only a month or so after I had gotten it. Try to ride as often as possible. Also, try and experiment and do as many new things when you're out riding by yourself to build confidence. Basically what I've been doing is trying to bike longer each day than the day before. If my route takes me near a hill, I practice sprinting up it. Basically, you just need to keep on at it. A good diet and weight training wouldn't hurt either, as it would shed the extra pounds even faster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
getalot681 said:
I'm in the same boat as you, except I'm still in grad school. Anyways, the best bet is to just keep on doing what you're doing. I've been so out of shape this past year, and have finally decided to give mtn biking a serious go again. I had given up a few years back after my bike was stolen only a month or so after I had gotten it. Try to ride as often as possible. Also, try and experiment and do as many new things when you're out riding by yourself to build confidence. Basically what I've been doing is trying to bike longer each day than the day before. If my route takes me near a hill, I practice sprinting up it. Basically, you just need to keep on at it. A good diet and weight training wouldn't hurt either, as it would shed the extra pounds even faster.
Thanks..what do u think about road biking? Do u think that will help and be enjoyable?
 

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I'm no pro obviously, but I'd think that if your main goal is mtn biking, then you'd be better off training on a mtn bike, not a road bike. There are going to be biking techniques that you'll need to use specifically when on the trails that you won't be able to practice on the road bike. The road bike will definitely be good for just getting in shape and endurance training, but mtn biking is more stop and go, which is much different for your muscles. If you really want some time on the road bike, I'd say spend 70% of your time training on the mtn bike and ther rest on the road bike.
 

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bikinglawyer said:
Thanks..what do u think about road biking? Do u think that will help and be enjoyable?
I just recently got a road bike and I'm seeing the benefits. You will hang a lot longer on the MTB from the endurance you build, and you'll find that you don't loose your breath as fast, that you can climb longer hills and that you can generally spin longer.

With the gained endurance, you'll be able to focus your MTB ride on cleaning sections, rather than just "haning in there", you won't be quite as sloppy further into the ride because you will feel better.

You'll also pick up valuable skills on how to spin a smoother circle, how to ride a straiter line, and in general, how to keep going longer without having to rest.

FWIW: I find I can ride a lot longer on the road. I can get to the bottom of my reserves several times in a ride, and recover. When on the MTB, once you've cracked, it is much harder (IMO) to fully recover.

Still a MTB'er at heart, but I am enjoying the benefits of training more on the road bike.

To get an idea of a fun day of a road ride, go to the SS forum, and look at the "bikestock" post by Striker. That was a fun day and included both bikes for us!
 

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Well,

If you're gonna opt for the weight training, I would do more endurance training rather than pure 'strength' training. For instance, high reps, low weight. Maybe opt for calisthetics instead of weights.

I don't know too much about mountain biking, but I do know a thing or two about training. And weight training (with heavier weights) will more than likely hurt your endurance than help it. So although you'll get bigger bunny hops, you'll be able to do less of them.

Alexi
 

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bikinglawyer said:
I'm a beginner mountain biker. I have a Specialized Enduro and ride around the So. Cal. area. I've been riding with some friends from my church, but they are very advanced riders, and sometimes I can't hang with them.

I think my biggest problem is that I am out of shape. I lose my breath far more quickly than everyone else in the group - and I think this is mostly because I spent the last 7 years in higher education.

So, I've been trying to tackle this problem - and I bought a new roadbike, to help me with the cardio. But anyway, my question is - does anyone have any suggestions on how I can become a better ride and more physically fit so I can keep up with my buddies?

Thanks, I appreciate any tips or advice.
You Have PM. :cool:
 

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bmateo hit it pretty squarely on the head. The road bike will help tons with the cardio piece. I've been a serious mountain biker for over six years and picked up a road bike about three years ago, and though I am first and foremost a mountain biker, I've really come to enjoy road biking as well. The road bike will give you overall cardio fitness and help you learn how to spin. This will allow you to focus your attention on learing other skills while on the mountain bike.

It is generally easier to increase cardio fitness on the road than it is doing mtb rides. On the road you can get in long stretches of somewhat constant power output, whereas on a mtb trail there's usually lots of variation in your power output due to terrain and obstacles and mtb rides are usually fairly short. I go out and pop off a 20 mile road ride at lunch a few times during the week and do longer (60+ mile) rides on the weekends. The cool thing about road bikes is that you don't have to drive anywhere to get in a ride. It makes it easy to work in an hour bike ride at lunch. You can do road rides on your mountain bike, but they're much more enjoyable on a road bike. Virtually all of the upper division mtb racers to a lot of training on the road.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
FreeRangeChicken said:
bmateo hit it pretty squarely on the head. The road bike will help tons with the cardio piece. I've been a serious mountain biker for over six years and picked up a road bike about three years ago, and though I am first and foremost a mountain biker, I've really come to enjoy road biking as well. The road bike will give you overall cardio fitness and help you learn how to spin. This will allow you to focus your attention on learing other skills while on the mountain bike.

It is generally easier to increase cardio fitness on the road than it is doing mtb rides. On the road you can get in long stretches of somewhat constant power output, whereas on a mtb trail there's usually lots of variation in your power output due to terrain and obstacles and mtb rides are usually fairly short. I go out and pop off a 20 mile road ride at lunch a few times during the week and do longer (60+ mile) rides on the weekends. The cool thing about road bikes is that you don't have to drive anywhere to get in a ride. It makes it easy to work in an hour bike ride at lunch. You can do road rides on your mountain bike, but they're much more enjoyable on a road bike. Virtually all of the upper division mtb racers to a lot of training on the road.

Hope this helps.
Thanks bmateo and freerangechicken. That was exactly the information I was looking for.
 

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If you think you'll enjoy road cycling then it seems like a good solution, but getting a road bike just for the sake of getting better a mountain biking seems to be a rather unnecessarily complicated solution to your problem. I'm no training guru, but I think if you are a beginner then there's more to getting better than just cardio fitness. When you ride the trails you get to practice your bike handling skills as well as improve your fitness.

Besides, roadbiking will mean
1)dodging cars
2)no bumpy stuff to ride over
3)wearing lycra
;)

I found the best way to keep up with people who are better riders than me is to just keep riding with them. Just don't get discouraged. I've noticed it really forces me to push myself so I can keep up. When I'm riding by myself I set my own pace and don't push myself as hard.

Another thing I've noticed and more experienced riders have told me is that beginners, including myself, is tempted to just spin up the hill in granny gear when it's feasible to do it in the middle ring. Granny gear is less painful but it doesn't make you stronger. I keep trying to tell a friend I just got into mountainbiking to try to climb in the middle ring but he just won't do it.

I think this is mostly because I spent the last 7 years in higher education.
I know what you mean. I just graduated from law school this May and just finished the bar last week. Right now I'm enjoying the freedom of being a jobless bum and riding 5 days a week. :cool:
 

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sage advise

- does anyone have any suggestions on how I can become a better ride and more physically fit so I can keep up with my buddies?

Thanks, I appreciate any tips or advice.[/QUOTE]

To quote the Greatest Cyclist of All Time, Eddy Merckx, a Man who would Win It All -- Tour de France, Giro de Italia, World Championships, one-day classics, 6-day track races -- and didn't have to concentrate his whole season on just one race to do well, unlike a certain loudmouth texan, when asked how to become a better cyclist: "Ride Lots."
 

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Lunges and squats will build up your legs. Do that when you're not riding.
 

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I've been mountain biking for many years... I’m only 21 but I’ve been biking for like 10 years. I road, BMX, singlespeed, XC, and ride ALOT of urban/freeride so I basically know the benefits of all different styles of biking. Buying the road bike was a good decision. Although it won't help out become a better mountain biker directly it will help you gain confidence and be better physiologically to tackle the task of keeping up with your friends.

Trying to keep up with someone who is better than you at biking is extremely hard even if you are in amazing shape. I ride trails around my hometown and I can get through them a lot faster with minimum work due to my experience riding. Where as when I was younger and in better shape, the same trails would kick my butt and I’d be tired.

What I would suggest is do all hill climbs on your rode bike. This will give you the power to blast up hills and the confidence to hang with your friends. Also, do Squats and Squat-thrusts. I just started to do those and its like someone strapped an engine to my back. I can get up almost anything. I kept snapping chains on my single speed going up enormous hills that my friends couldn’t even do on there 20 something geared bikes. I think if you worked on your power in your legs that would help greatly to keep up with your friends on the up hills.

As for going down hills, that is just pure balls. You have to just be comfortable on your bike and learn how to blast down hills. Or be a crazy damn fool like I and just go like a bat out of hell and get hurt a lot… that works too. But anyhow if you work on the power of your legs that will help a lot, and take that rode bike on very hilly rides, because flat road biking for me didn’t help very much.
 

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Just ride

I agree w/ everyone, you just need to put on miles. I used to MTB and was pretty decent as a weekend warrior. Then I quit for a few years.

Got back into road biking last year and then got a singlespeed that I use to commute and for at least one sprint ride a week (15 to 20 miles), on a slightly hilly course. I'm also planning on racing CX this year too. I've started to take my CX more and more on the singletrack and to me, it's WAY easier for me to tackle the fireroad hills than it ever was on the MTB granny gears. I'm sure part of it is due to the lower bike weight, but I'm sure a lot of it has to do w/ the SS'ing. I can tackle hills on the singletrack w/ my dual ring CX that I had trouble w/ on my triple MTB. My SS is a 44T:18T, so the gearing pretty aggressive for steep hills, but it's good for the flats.

As was stated, it's much easier to ride out your front door w/ a road bike. Making it easier to put in miles whenever you have time.
 

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Try running your trail

bikinglawyer said:
I'm a beginner mountain biker. I have a Specialized Enduro and ride around the So. Cal. area. I've been riding with some friends from my church, but they are very advanced riders, and sometimes I can't hang with them.

I think my biggest problem is that I am out of shape. I lose my breath far more quickly than everyone else in the group - and I think this is mostly because I spent the last 7 years in higher education.

So, I've been trying to tackle this problem - and I bought a new roadbike, to help me with the cardio. But anyway, my question is - does anyone have any suggestions on how I can become a better ride and more physically fit so I can keep up with my buddies?

Thanks, I appreciate any tips or advice.
Not only is this great cross-training, it will also allow you to take in the details of the trails so you can anticipate better.
 
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