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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
    Elitest thrill junkie
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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

    You're turning black metallic.

  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
    Reputation: Maadjurguer's Avatar
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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
    Specialized HR 29er

  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
    Pivotal figure
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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
    Vincit qui patitur
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    Desert Classic has a good mix of beginner stuff too.
    Vincit qui patitur
    2012 GT Karakoram 3.0
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    2014 KONA Process 153
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    2012 Access TCL

  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
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, 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.”
-Grant Petersen

  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
    Go Speed Racer
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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
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, 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!

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