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  1. #1
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    I guess I can only get better at this.

    Hi, I'm Ed and I'm a noob.

    Mountain biking is quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm so sore right now. I literally fall every 30 feet or so...into rocks, down cliffs, into cacti. My body aches.

    I ate dirt within my first mile and continue to do so. I think I need to find some easier trails to help me get accustomed to the bike a bit.
    Hey guys, lets go play bieks!

  2. #2
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    No sport was as painful to learn as snowboarding for me. The tumbles down the mountain on the first few days beat and bruised the hell out of my body, could barely stand the next day. Rock climbing was a distant second (mostly just sore muscles).
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post



    I ate dirt within my first mile and continue to do so. I think I need to find some easier trails to help me get accustomed to the bike a bit.
    Good idea.

    Where are you located? Might be a good idea to ride along with some others a few times.

  4. #4
    My other ride is your mom
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    Stick with it.....I fell more my first 6 months than in the last four years....it just takes time.

  5. #5
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    I'm up in the NW Valley. I live near West Wing Mountain and have fooled around on a few of the hiking trails near the house.

    Tonight I ventured over to Deems and did better on actually mtb trails. I still suck though. I'm awful on switchbacks and going down hills with loose rocks.

    Hoping to go out with a few friends this weekend and hopefully they'll have some pointers.

    I started with a fixed gear road bike, then a road bike all summer thinking I need to build leg muscles before I could ever attempt anything on a mountain bike. I'm happy I did that but it's no where near as easy as I thought it would be.

    Fun times though!
    Hey guys, lets go play bieks!

  6. #6
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    Stick to it, It is my second year with MTB and I am still working on my switchbacks skills,, The more you ride, the better you get, no doubt about it.
    Gera
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  7. #7
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    Hang in there bro. It gets better. A lot better.

  8. #8
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    keep with it. It takes time to learn to ride and get comfortable with what your bike can and cant do. It was pretty ugly for me at the beginning as I was basically only able to ride flats and that was questionable sometimes.

    Take it slow and as you get more confident, you will go faster and really start to enjoy it. That is, however, when the problems start.....spending money on upgrading the bike is a slippery slope....

    And don't ever think you will get to a point where you wont crash. I still crash pretty often....I can just brace myself better for whats about to happen.

    oh and good switchback skills I think are one of the hardest things to get used to. I have been riding for 2 years and I am just scratching the surface of getting used to it. Today was the first time I was actually able to brake a little, put my inside foot down and keep going without coming to almost a full stop at the switchback. This was by accident cause I thought I was going to crash, but hey Ill take it.

    The issue I found with loose rock when I started riding was that I wanted to go really slow and not crash but I found the opposite is true. The faster I go, within reason (and it takes time to get to know this), the less you'll have issues.

  9. #9
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    McDowell has some very good beginner friendly trails. Pemberton is a great one to work on the basics without worrying about killing yourself.
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  10. #10
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    Desert Classic has a good mix of beginner stuff too.
    Vincit qui patitur
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    No sport was as painful to learn as snowboarding for me. The tumbles down the mountain on the first few days beat and bruised the hell out of my body, could barely stand the next day. Rock climbing was a distant second (mostly just sore muscles).
    I learned to snowboard in Northern Michigan on glorified hills...I think that made things a bit easier. I was also about 15 years younger and falling didn't seem as painful. I just remember that if I fell it was going to be nice and easy and land on my butt or it was going to be hell and I was going to flip over 3-4 times.


    Thanks for all the words of encouragement everyone. I'm definitely not giving up and hope to find some easy trails this weekend. I think the best thing I can do right now is just become familiar with the bike and handling it. I guess I expected that it'd be just like riding a road bike only offroad and I could just ride up the side of the mountain and back down again but I found out quickly thats far from true.
    Hey guys, lets go play bieks!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
    I'm up in the NW Valley. I live near West Wing Mountain and have fooled around on a few of the hiking trails near the house.

    Tonight I ventured over to Deems and did better on actually mtb trails. I still suck though. I'm awful on switchbacks and going down hills with loose rocks.
    Might want start on the Sonoran trails. North and south. These are on east side of I-17 and are much smoother than Deems. Deems is fun, but not good for someone just starting out. I have been riding with a new guy on Sonoran North and south. I have done 3 rides with him and in 40 miles we have ridden he has only 1 fall. It is not that he is that great, but the trails are smooth and I have been coaching him from mile 1. This helps prevent any bad habits from developing.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", '06 Rocky Mtn Switch 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    No sport was as painful to learn as snowboarding for me. The tumbles down the mountain on the first few days beat and bruised the hell out of my body, could barely stand the next day. Rock climbing was a distant second (mostly just sore muscles).
    I will agree to this, when I learned to snowboard ~6 years ago I ate it about 200 times that first day, but eventually got the hang of it, and then crashed really hard a few times too...never was I in that much pain the days after.
    Mountain biking was way easier, however the crashes do hurt more, but you learn to fall better.

  14. #14
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    I can't think of a better way to go through life than on a bike. So much instant gratification, such a sense of accomplishment, never ends. Also, get to see parts of the world you just can't access otherwise. Good choice in hobbies.

    If you aren't falling, you aren't trying. Words of wisdom from my father. Gets better, no doubt.

    Other trails? Competitive loops at the White Tanks are good for beginners, with a difficult section (there is an alternate trail) at the North end of the loop. I hear Emery Hendersen section of Black Canyon Trail is beginner friendly. FINS in Goodyear has many beginner friendly sections, and is well mapped.
    “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”
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  15. #15
    How much further ???
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    If you stick with it, you will get better. When I started a few years ago I had to take a break every 0.5 miles to catch my breathe and get my heart rate down. A few years later and 30 lbs less I'm riding in my first Arizona Endurance Series event which is a 50 mile ride with 8100 vertical feet of climbing. If you stick with it you will be amazed at what you will be able to do. Hang in there!
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
    Hi, I'm Ed and I'm a noob.

    Mountain biking is quite possibly the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm so sore right now. I literally fall every 30 feet or so...into rocks, down cliffs, into cacti. My body aches.

    I ate dirt within my first mile and continue to do so. I think I need to find some easier trails to help me get accustomed to the bike a bit.
    You think this is hard, try extreme bocce.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  17. #17
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    Well, at least you're not doing base jumping where a crash = death.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Might want start on the Sonoran trails. North and south. These are on east side of I-17 and are much smoother than Deems. Deems is fun, but not good for someone just starting out. I have been riding with a new guy on Sonoran North and south. I have done 3 rides with him and in 40 miles we have ridden he has only 1 fall. It is not that he is that great, but the trails are smooth and I have been coaching him from mile 1. This helps prevent any bad habits from developing.
    Agree with Joe here. It really helps to build up some base of endurance as it is amazing how clumsy you can get when you are tired - which makes any kind of technical features more difficult. Since Sonoran is basically a dirt sidewalk, you can get your legs and lungs in shape. You'll also get lessons on cornering at speed. There are also a few select places to practice some switchbacks on some of the summit climbs. Don't give up.

  19. #19
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    Hitting Sonoran on Sunday...sounds like the perfect spot to find my mountain legs.
    Hey guys, lets go play bieks!

  20. #20
    Who took my gears?
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    Also, I have to ask... Are you riding with clipless pedals (the kind that attach your shoe to the pedal), if you are I suggest taking them off and riding with flat pedals, until your skills improve and you decide to put them back on (Mine are yet to make it back on the bike). I have seen too many beginners be encouraged to ride clipless pedals and be turned away from the sport because they are falling too much.

    Oh, and I totally agree with the Sonoran North/South loops. You will love it out there! Just be ready to climb!

  21. #21
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    I have platform and clipless. Just got the clipless. I'm used to clipless on the road bike so figured clipless on the mtb wouldn't be too bad. I currently have the float adjusted way down so they're really easy to get out of. The hardest thing is clipping back in when going up hill. I'm getting better though.

    I'll probably switch back and forth for awhile until I get my bearings. It does feel weird to not be clipped in though - feels like my feet are flying everywhere.
    Hey guys, lets go play bieks!

  22. #22
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    Did not realize you had clipless experience on road... However road clipless and mtb are two different beasts. On the road you probably clip in and out a few times, and it is predictable (at a light, etc), not really the case in mtb! This is a sensitive subject I know, I just wanted to check to make sure that was not the problem. Also sounds like you do not have good flat pedals (the ones with pins) and sticky rubber shoes (like 5.10's). It really does make a difference. Anyhow, sounds like this is not really an issue for you.

    Personally, I think clipless pedals are WAY overused in MTB. I see value in them, but certainly not for beginners. Anyway, I really don't want to turn this into a clipless/flats debate, just ride what you are comfortable with. It sounds like you are on the right path to picking up an awesome sport! Keep at it!

  23. #23
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    I don't recommend riding clipless in Arizona.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I guess I can only get better at this.-cactus.jpg  


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
    I have platform and clipless. Just got the clipless. I'm used to clipless on the road bike so figured clipless on the mtb wouldn't be too bad.
    Clipless will increase the falls per mile alot. I use them and love them, but they make it harder for anyone new to mtn biking as it adds an extra layer of effort before you can put a foot down. My friend who is just starting is on platforms and I will not even consider suggesting clipless for a long time. He has to be very comfortable on the bike first. Nearly everyone falls alot when switching to clipless. Once you get used to them you don't fall any more, but that takes time.

    Getting back in when going a up a hill is easy in my spd's Get one foot hooked up and start pedaling. Keep pedaling until that other foot finds its way in. Just don't stop. This a very much ham-fisted approach, but works when you need to focus on the trail ahead. On road bike where I used single sided SPD's I have the luxury of "finding the pedal" or flipping it over as coast along at low speed. I can wait to go full bore once I get clipped in.

    I think you will like Sonoran as is good transition from road bike to mtn bike. Lots of climbing which you should be good at since you road bike, but few rocks to toss you off track. However lots of turn where you need to get up off the saddle and flick the bike from one side to the other. Plus a number of little dips and steep ups to learn front to back weight transfer. Plus enough rocks to keep you honest at times.

    Overall road biking is about pedaling. Mtn biking it all about balance. Front to rear and side to side. Pedaling is a means to end. I will spend 90% of road ride seated, but probably only 50% of mtn bike ride seated. Most descents or places I am not pedaling I am standing to let the bike absorb the bumps or to move my weight to allow the bike to make the turns or front to rear balance.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", '06 Rocky Mtn Switch 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdennis View Post
    Did not realize you had clipless experience on road... However road clipless and mtb are two different beasts. On the road you probably clip in and out a few times, and it is predictable (at a light, etc), not really the case in mtb! This is a sensitive subject I know, I just wanted to check to make sure that was not the problem. Also sounds like you do not have good flat pedals (the ones with pins) and sticky rubber shoes (like 5.10's). It really does make a difference. Anyhow, sounds like this is not really an issue for you.

    Personally, I think clipless pedals are WAY overused in MTB. I see value in them, but certainly not for beginners. Anyway, I really don't want to turn this into a clipless/flats debate, just ride what you are comfortable with. It sounds like you are on the right path to picking up an awesome sport! Keep at it!
    Yeah, the platforms I have are just flat cannondale ones...more for a commuter bike or parking lot testing. And I was just using some flat skate style shoes, but they weren't very grippy. I'll probably keep an eye out for something better. I know chainlove throws some up from time to time.

    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    I don't recommend riding clipless in Arizona.
    Ouch, I haven't had any run-ins with the larger cacti yet, just the little fuzzy ones. They still scrape the hell out of the legs though.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Getting back in when going a up a hill is easy in my spd's Get one foot hooked up and start pedaling. Keep pedaling until that other foot finds its way in. Just don't stop. This a very much ham-fisted approach, but works when you need to focus on the trail ahead. On road bike where I used single sided SPD's I have the luxury of "finding the pedal" or flipping it over as coast along at low speed. I can wait to go full bore once I get clipped in.

    I think you will like Sonoran as is good transition from road bike to mtn bike. Lots of climbing which you should be good at since you road bike, but few rocks to toss you off track. However lots of turn where you need to get up off the saddle and flick the bike from one side to the other. Plus a number of little dips and steep ups to learn front to back weight transfer. Plus enough rocks to keep you honest at times.

    Overall road biking is about pedaling. Mtn biking it all about balance. Front to rear and side to side. Pedaling is a means to end. I will spend 90% of road ride seated, but probably only 50% of mtn bike ride seated. Most descents or places I am not pedaling I am standing to let the bike absorb the bumps or to move my weight to allow the bike to make the turns or front to rear balance.
    That's my approach too...get one in and mash until the other ones manages to get in. Some times its hard to get going at such a high cadence. I've learned spinning uphill seems to get me there most efficiently. Can't really stand and climb like on the road bike and if you don't spin fast enough the momentum slows and the wheel just spins out. I just bought the cheap m520's nothing fancy, but it is nice to have the dual sided entry. I have spd-sl on the road bike which are nice, but I also unclip maybe 4-5 times per ride.

    I'm looking forward to Sonoran. I plan on lowering the saddle quite a bit in hopes that I will be forced to stand more. I think once I'm able to find my center of gravity, switchbacks as well as descending at speed will get much easier.
    Hey guys, lets go play bieks!

  26. #26
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    Have you guys tried eggbeaters? They're pretty easy to get out of when you realize you're going down. Not sure...but they may have a model that's platform on one side and clip in on the other. I've used them for years and love them.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
    ...That's my approach too...get one in and mash until the other ones manages to get in. Some times its hard to get going at such a high cadence. I've learned spinning uphill seems to get me there most efficiently. Can't really stand and climb like on the road bike and if you don't spin fast enough the momentum slows and the wheel just spins out. I just bought the cheap m520's nothing fancy, but it is nice to have the dual sided entry. I have spd-sl on the road bike which are nice, but I also unclip maybe 4-5 times per ride.

    I'm looking forward to Sonoran. I plan on lowering the saddle quite a bit in hopes that I will be forced to stand more. I think once I'm able to find my center of gravity, switchbacks as well as descending at speed will get much easier.
    Ed, I don't have much advice for you when it comes to riding technique. Since I can't see you ride I can't say where you might need to change up what you are doing. What I can say is that standing and climbing works well for alot of riders and most single speed guys have to do it. However front to rear balance is critical when doing this since if you put too much weight on the front wheel the rear will slip. They key is the right balance to get enough weight on the rear tire. I try to sit for most climbs, but there are places where you need to clear a rock ledge where you must stand so you can get the balance right. You will need to shift back to unload the front pop the wheel over the ledge and then move forward to unload the rear to get the rear tire to climb the ledge while you keep applying power. Standing is the only way to quickly transfer the weight to allow this to happen.

    Anyway I bring this up only to say that weight balance is very critical on mtn bike. Much more so than a road bike. Also different techniques are needed for different trail elements you run into. It takes time to build these skills up.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", '06 Rocky Mtn Switch 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  28. #28
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    The ABSOLUTE best thing I've done to improve my riding, ESPECIALLY switchbacks and tight turns, was working on my balance. Learn to trackstand. You can practice anywhere, any time and when you get that kinda balance it will improve just about everything you do on a bike.

    Think about it... when you fall off or have to get off your bike, why? For me the answer most of the time was NOT because I didn't have the strength to keep pedaling but because I didn't have the BALANCE to stay upright while pedaling REALLY slow. If you can keep that balance then you'll have to get off your bike less. ESPECIALLY in tight turns and switchbacks.

    I chose this video only because she's fairly attractive. Skinny tires but the principle is the same

    VolerTV: Trackstand Tips - YouTube

    Find a couple others that may have different tips but learn it. Then come back here and let us know how much ass you're kicking out there

  29. #29
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    One thing I used to do for balance was a balance board. They make actual ones, but I just used a spare long board deck and a big diameter (6"?) PVC pipe section from Home Depot. Board perpendicular to the pipe. Roll back and forth while watching TV. Track stands became second nature after that.
    “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by tysonnemb View Post
    One thing I used to do for balance was a balance board. They make actual ones, but I just used a spare long board deck and a big diameter (6"?) PVC pipe section from Home Depot. Board perpendicular to the pipe. Roll back and forth while watching TV. Track stands became second nature after that.
    Never thought about trying it OFF the bike!

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    Don't worry about it. Mike's been riding 15 years and still sucks at it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blatant View Post
    Don't worry about it. Mike's been riding 15 years and still sucks at it.
    I've been riding closer to 24 years and still suck. So I've got PLENTY of experience!

  33. #33
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    Crashing is highly overrated. It doesn't build skills. It builds downtime. If you don't want to crash, cross train with push ups and wobble board. Always ride clipless. Your junk will thank you in the chop. Eggbeaters are the only clipless. And never, ever ride Sunset Mt above Westwing. It's not for us.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by papatini View Post
    Always ride clipless.
    He can ride whatever he feels comfortable on... Pedals will have absolutely no bearing on his skill and just may increase the number of times he falls. I no longer see any upside to being clipped in.

  35. #35
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    He can ride how he wants - fact. Always ride clipless - opinion. Thanks, Master.

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  36. #36
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    Haha, its not like I'm trying to fall on purpose.

    I did Sunrise by the school a couple of times at night. I don't think its technically a mtb trail, but there is a strava track there. It's across the street and I can knock it out in 20 minutes. Sucky, but I just wanted to get my bearings a bit.

    I think Sunset is the other mountain...I think that would be near impossible for me to attempt on a bike. Its a workout off the bike.
    Hey guys, lets go play bieks!

  37. #37
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    One thing discussed in another thread is to think about your gear combos and work on being able to pedal in higher gears. Often times the slow-speed-falls happen when someone is trying to climb up a technical or steep section in a very low gear at slow speed, there is not much stability here and you tend to fall over or stall easily, and since you have no stability you have nothing to push against to get out of your clipless pedal, and fall. Try to push harder gears and realize the absolute "easiest" gears on a mountain bike demand expert balance and are often NOT the way to go through a technical uphill section, it might be counter-intuitive, but often the only way to make some real technical hard uphill sections is in the middle ring, not the granny ring. Otherwise you just stall out and have slow speed falls.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  38. #38
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    Quickly as you can, snatch the pebble from my hand.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    One thing discussed in another thread is to think about your gear combos and work on being able to pedal in higher gears. Often times the slow-speed-falls happen when someone is trying to climb up a technical or steep section in a very low gear at slow speed, there is not much stability here and you tend to fall over or stall easily. Try to push harder gears and realize the absolute "easiest" gears on a mountain bike demand expert balance and are often NOT the way to go through a technical uphill section, it might be counter-intuitive, but often the only way to make some real technical hard uphill sections is in the middle ring, not the granny ring.
    More sound advice. I'm learning to do this now because I must. I replaced my rings and went from 22 to 24 small ring. I've found myself in a situation where I need to downshift, and usually would, but now I'm pedaling more in that gear and only shifting when I REALLY have to or when I know I'm outta trouble in a section and can go down one just to give the legs a break.

    And I found out a long time ago that the technical uphill sections with rocks and ledges to climb are MUCH easier in a larger gear. You need half a revolution to be able to get you up on a rock and in too small a gear a half a revolution may be enough to get you started but not finish the climb onto that rock.

    Now, I'm still not convinced that the middle ring is such a big deal but I understand the reasoning why. I just have never found a situation where that extra torque can actually be felt AND put to use by my worthless legs. Weak Legs === Week Legs no matter what gear you are in. Maybe sometime in the future I'll be strong enough to feel good about it. By then I'll likely be turning a 28 tooth little ring, though.

  40. #40
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    I need to apologize for my roadie mentality when it comes to spinning. On a road bike, its quite simple, make sure your cadence is around 90 and just keep going...spin to win!

    After reading what you guys said about pushing a higher gear and also what I read last night in a book I'm reading about mtb technique (yes, I'm an uber nerd reading a book about riding a bike) it seems there is a lot of benefit to pushing a higher gear...which also seems to make sense with the aspect of mtbing being more about balance.

    I'm heading out to Sonoran within the next hour. Today I practice everything I've learned in this thread so far. Here's hoping its a productive day!
    Hey guys, lets go play bieks!

  41. #41
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    I switched to Mallets, they are easy to clip/unclip. I can use the platform, then clip in once I get going or after the obstacle.

  42. #42
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    I guess I can only get better at this.

    If anyone cares, I did much better today. Sonora Trail is nice for a noob, gained some confidence but still fell a couple of times, once into a cactus. To be fair, I fell because I tried going uphill in too big of a gear and couldn't unclip in time...I'm an idiot.

    Gonna start looking at other pedal options, thanks for the tips.

    Also going to pick up those sun ringle charger pro's on sale at price point. Tubes suck.
    Hey guys, lets go play bieks!

  43. #43
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    You are in a desert too, so I will share my own little tip I had to learn early as a noob.

    Sand sucks. Literally. It grabs you like glue. It you see it/ know it is coming, SPEED UP. The ONLY way to get through sand is with speed and, to a lesser extent, the right tires. If your paths are giving you lots of trouble in sandy spots, find a wider tire with a less aggressive tread. You want to 'float' over it with speed and a tire that won't grab the stuff. Most tires seem to be meant for more forest-y type environments, so you will need to do your research to find ones right for you. I wouldn't worry too much about that until it comes up, however. Just remember to use speed to get past the sandy spots, and they will be cake!

  44. #44
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    Re: I guess I can only get better at this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bikemaya View Post
    You are in a desert too, so I will share my own little tip I had to learn early as a noob.

    Sand sucks. Literally. It grabs you like glue. It you see it/ know it is coming, SPEED UP. The ONLY way to get through sand is with speed and, to a lesser extent, the right tires. If your paths are giving you lots of trouble in sandy spots, find a wider tire with a less aggressive tread. You want to 'float' over it with speed and a tire that won't grab the stuff. Most tires seem to be meant for more forest-y type environments, so you will need to do your research to find ones right for you. I wouldn't worry too much about that until it comes up, however. Just remember to use speed to get past the sandy spots, and they will be cake!
    Good advice here. I learned this one the hard way many times when I was a newb. I'd actually slow down when I saw or knew sand was coming, and every time the bike would dig in and get squirrelly on me. Finally said screw it and hit a sandy wash doing about mach 5, floated right over it. A lot of becoming a better rider is a mental game. Sometimes (within reason of course) you just need to ignore that little voice in your head that's begging for you to slow down, and power through/over a section. Time in the saddle is your best friend as well, more time equals more confidence. Keep at it and good job with the improvement already!

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skeeter97 View Post
    Good advice here. I learned this one the hard way many times when I was a newb. I'd actually slow down when I saw or knew sand was coming, and every time the bike would dig in and get squirrelly on me. Finally said screw it and hit a sandy wash doing about mach 5, floated right over it. A lot of becoming a better rider is a mental game. Sometimes (within reason of course) you just need to ignore that little voice in your head that's begging for you to slow down, and power through/over a section. Time in the saddle is your best friend as well, more time equals more confidence. Keep at it and good job with the improvement already!


    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

    That's really it. Slowing down and unclipping for a technical section is almost a guarantee you'll crash, vs. speeding up and having enough stability (gyroscopic motion) and momentum to get through the section with the better control of being clipped in.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCTJ View Post
    I don't recommend riding clipless in Arizona.
    your hands are going to be your first line of defense in a fall.
    rocks, paper, and scissors will all kick the crap out of 'gel'
    some good think leather will not only help protect you in impacts, but also assist you in removing any spines that do penetrate the glove (knock on wood).
    in a crappy glove the spines already have a better grip inside your hand than they do within the glove material.

  47. #47
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    I guess I can only get better at this.

    I do pretty well in sand my hardest time comes with loose rock going uphill along with switchbacks going downhill...or a switchback down into a wash and then up the other side. For the most part, loose rock and technical turns at the same time tend to be my worst enemy.

    This is where I usually curse the 29er and wish I had smaller wheels for easier maneuverability. I know it's possible with the 29er, I just have to learn to ride it better.
    Hey guys, lets go play bieks!

  48. #48
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    Do you have the tension on the pedals all the way tight? I can't see having a hard time getting out of SPDs with regular SH-51 cleats, I have a hard enough time keeping my foot IN the pedal on big climbs. But getting out is as simple as moving my foot out, basically any motion to rip my foot out equals my foot coming out, and I have my tension fairly tight.
    Road pedals are different, you need a bit more side kick to get out, but SPDs are so so easy.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpeshulEd View Post
    I need to apologize for my roadie mentality when it comes to spinning. On a road bike, its quite simple, make sure your cadence is around 90 and just keep going...spin to win!

    After reading what you guys said about pushing a higher gear and also what I read last night in a book I'm reading about mtb technique (yes, I'm an uber nerd reading a book about riding a bike) it seems there is a lot of benefit to pushing a higher gear...which also seems to make sense with the aspect of mtbing being more about balance.

    I'm heading out to Sonoran within the next hour. Today I practice everything I've learned in this thread so far. Here's hoping its a productive day!
    There are times to spin a 90 RPM and times to crank in big gear. The more technical the climbing the more important to be high torque low RPM gear as each pedal stroke gets your farther. There times to use super low granny combo and spin fast. The challenge is learn when to use each technique.

    Having ridden sonoran many times there are pretty much no places that need high gear technical climbing move on that trail system. That area is perfect for high cadence spinning.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", '06 Rocky Mtn Switch 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhxBenK View Post
    Do you have the tension on the pedals all the way tight? I can't see having a hard time getting out of SPDs with regular SH-51 cleats, I have a hard enough time keeping my foot IN the pedal on big climbs. But getting out is as simple as moving my foot out, basically any motion to rip my foot out equals my foot coming out, and I have my tension fairly tight.
    Road pedals are different, you need a bit more side kick to get out, but SPDs are so so easy.
    Yeah, I have the tension quite high - I pop out of them quite easily...I'm just an idiot. It's those slow motion "I'm about to fall, I should unclip now...no wait, I'm going the other way, need to get my right foot out not my let foot ...oh ****" moments.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    There are times to spin a 90 RPM and times to crank in big gear. The more technical the climbing the more important to be high torque low RPM gear as each pedal stroke gets your farther. There times to use super low granny combo and spin fast. The challenge is learn when to use each technique.

    Having ridden sonoran many times there are pretty much no places that need high gear technical climbing move on that trail system. That area is perfect for high cadence spinning.
    The first hill climb is steep and I didn't get into a low enough gear. I wasn't planning ahead. After that one, I did a lot more spinning.

    Sonoran was great for me as nooby, I could work on shifting on less aggressive hills, the downhills weren't as loose and I could gain some confidence going down them at speed. I made a nice 11 mile loop around the area which took me a couple of hours. I'm by no means fast based on my strava segment times, but at least I'm not dead last.

    I have few other suggestions for trails to check out and will be doing those in the upcoming weeks.

    Again, thanks to everyone for all the tips and suggestions. You've all been very helpful.
    Hey guys, lets go play bieks!

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