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  1. #1
    Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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    New question here. Resting on the bike

    I have heard this expression but can't seem to find much information on how to do it.
    My goal is to start competing at some level in some XC events in 2012, I have seen evidence in my strength and stamina improving.

    I still find myself having to stop to lower my heart rate / breathing after longer steep climbs, although my break time is much shorter I still beat myself up for having to stop at all. Some of the people I have spoke to about competing say "when you can ride for (number varies) miles without stopping your ready"

    While riding and feeling winded or tired I have tried to lower my cadence and concentrate on relaxing my upper body and pay attention to my posture for better oxygen recovery but cant say it makes me feel much better. I was curious if you guys have any additional tips you could pass along that work for you?
    And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. -- Abraham Lincoln

  2. #2
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    Find a lower gear that lets you keep moving but lets you catch your breath & lower your heart rate a bit. You need to plan ahead for those breathers though since it can be tough to find a suitable spot once you've blown up. When you tried the resting thing before were you feeling really tired or just a bit winded? Once you dig deep it can be very hard to recover without stopping. Another technique is to stop riding but keep walking as you catch your breath. It does help psychologically at least
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  3. #3
    My other ride is your mom
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    Stop expecting things to hurt less.....riding strong at any level will always hurt...you just get faster. As for rest, Ken above nailed it....I'd add to his point by reminding you to look up more so you know what you're getting yourself into and can plan for those rest areas. I think newer riders, based on my personal experience, tend to focus only on the first 10 feet of trail and neglect to take the bigger picture and digest it. Knowing that you have a spot where you can dial your tempo back up ahead will help you plan for it as Ken suggests.

  4. #4
    Bloodied but Unbowed
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    Here's my neophyte perspective on this. I've started doing this a bit. I do not necessarily decrease the cadence, in fact, sometimes I increase it, but using a lower gear like Ken points out so overall there is less effort. It depends on where I am at. There are times the only choice (I believe) I have is to stop, so when I am at that point that's what I do, but lately the resting on the bike thing is my goto position. My issue is there are not enough lower gears to get to some of the time. I love my granny!

    Seriously, I have been trying to pedal in higher gears when I feel I am able in order to have at least one lower to go to when needed.

    On a longer climb, especially one with little technical parts that preclude resting, I look ahead for flatter areas of the uphill and work to getting there and using those as my rest.

    Bottom line, for me, I am not going to push myself cycling so hard that I risk not being around to continue to enjoy it, but being in the declining portion of the curve I may have a slightly different perspective. I know there are many people much older than I pushing themselves much harder, but I am betting they are conditioned to do so, whereas I am not.

    So, that may just be an excuse to let myself continue to be in lesser condition for a longer period of time, but I'm good with that.

    Sounds like you're really progressing. Keep at it!

  5. #5
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    There's a couple different ways to rest on the bike. One way is active recovery where instead of just taking a complete rest day away from the bike after a hard week or few days of training, you can do a "recovery spin" which involves spinning very easy (heart rate below 110, less than 100 watts, similar effort to walking) for 45-90 minutes in order to increase blood flow and warm up the legs to help flush out waste and byproducts formed during the past few days of vigorous training. Doing a recovery spin the morning after a hard race in combination with staying well hydrated will help you recover significantly faster.

    As far as recovering on the bike during a hard ride or race without stopping, well, part of it is training, part of it is knowing your body and part of it is experience.

    You can train your body to recover faster from hard efforts by doing short intense intervals with very short recovery times in between such as doing a set of 8 30 second all out efforts with 30 seconds of rest in between. Not blowing up in the first place is important too and that involves knowing when to hold back that last little bit. It will take you 2-3 times longer to recover from blowing up than if you had held back and gone just a bit slower. Knowing the trail or race course is important too so you know if you need to hold back a bit on one section so that you will have the energy to push on the next section that may require a harder effort. Be efficient. On a long, steady climb keep your upper body relaxed including your shoulders and face. If you can sit, sit, let your undercarriage carry your weight instead of your legs. If the trail permits you can use a bit of road riding strategy and draft the guy in front of you and save a good 30 percent of your energy. This will allow you to catch your breath, grab a drink and recover a bit so you can put the hammer down again.
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  6. #6
    Blood, Sweat, and Gears
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    Great info, thanks. I get winded and my heart is pounding that makes me feel like I need to stop it's really not that I feel necessarily tired. Some times on long steep stuff I get a bit of the lactic acid burn in my legs but normally not something I can't work through. I will try to plan better rest goals for myself on terrain that I am familiar with in a larger gear like suggested. I am definitely my own worst critic but I have been taking less and shorter breaks so I know I'm improving but I just want it now
    Last edited by Fletch 1; 06-14-2011 at 06:10 PM. Reason: Spelling
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer View Post
    Stop expecting things to hurt less.....riding strong at any level will always hurt...you just get faster. As for rest, Ken above nailed it....I'd add to his point by reminding you to look up more so you know what you're getting yourself into and can plan for those rest areas. I think newer riders, based on my personal experience, tend to focus only on the first 10 feet of trail and neglect to take the bigger picture and digest it. Knowing that you have a spot where you can dial your tempo back up ahead will help you plan for it as Ken suggests.
    I have to rest on the bike all the time , I look for places everywhere where I can back off abit and get my heart down alittle .

    This morning going up Bees Knees I blew up way to early ( Im very old and it just happens )
    I had to keep going until a short down hill section and I drug my brakes all the way down and made it take as long as I could so I could try and get my heart rate down and keep the puke from coming all the way up....it got in my nose some and burnt

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fletch 1 View Post
    Great info, thanks. I get winded and my heart is pounding that makes me feel like I need to stop it's really not that I feel necessarily tired.
    I found that when I climb in a higher gear I don't have this issue too much. I started trying to climb in my middle ring as much as possible so I'm not pedaling at 5000 RPM causing my heart rate to go through the roof.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by woahey View Post
    I found that when I climb in a higher gear I don't have this issue too much. I started trying to climb in my middle ring as much as possible so I'm not pedaling at 5000 RPM causing my heart rate to go through the roof.

    That a good point that I hadn't really thought about. I just assumed I should be on my smallest ring for climbs which on my Spec Epic Comp 29er is a 22 maybe I should use the middle 32 to avoid spinning to fast? I get the smaller ring from a leverage stand point but maybe I raising my heart rate & breathing rate when I really don't need to spin that fast? The other thing I have observed and a friend of mine says the same thing, I seem to get more winded when I HAB?
    And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. -- Abraham Lincoln

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fletch 1 View Post
    That a good point that I hadn't really thought about. I just assumed I should be on my smallest ring for climbs which on my Spec Epic Comp 29er is a 22 maybe I should use the middle 32 to avoid spinning to fast? I get the smaller ring from a leverage stand point but maybe I raising my heart rate & breathing rate when I really don't need to spin that fast? The other thing I have observed and a friend of mine says the same thing, I seem to get more winded when I HAB?
    I noticed that I was working more to do less in my granny ring more often than not. Don't get me wrong, I still use it, but try to reserve it for when I need it. Not only do I not get winded as easy but I also have a little better stamina and keep a better pace. Usually if I do get in my small ring, I am in my 4th gear.

    HAB is definitely more work than riding it. Measure out a normal stride and a pedal stroke (hold a brake to keep from coasting)- the pedal stroke is usually even or a little longer than your stride (depending on gear, crank length, ect.). Also, during that pedal stroke you're not trying to drag up a 30-40 lb deadweight on wheels that just wants to roll down the hill. So I get more winded HAB than pedaling too!
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
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  11. #11
    Break it, Fix it, Ride it
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    I'm no racer, so when I recover in a climb or after, I'll try and do the closest crawl to a trackstand I can do until I get enough umph to give it more. If there's a little downhill, I'll ride the brakes as already mentioned. When I toss my cookies, I just try to miss the top tube.

    I've also been riding a 1x9 for the last 6 months and don't miss the granny at all. I find that climbing with power gets me to the top faster and without spinning my legs like a cartoon, which always made me blow up. I mean, they call it granny so grandmothers can ride up hills. I'm a grown a$$ man, dammit!
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fletch 1 View Post
    That a good point that I hadn't really thought about. I just assumed I should be on my smallest ring for climbs which on my Spec Epic Comp 29er is a 22 maybe I should use the middle 32 to avoid spinning to fast? I get the smaller ring from a leverage stand point but maybe I raising my heart rate & breathing rate when I really don't need to spin that fast? The other thing I have observed and a friend of mine says the same thing, I seem to get more winded when I HAB?

    The thing to remember too is that when you do the fast spin in the tiny gear thing your heart and lungs are doing most of the work whereas pushing a bigger gear puts more of the workload on the muscles in your legs. when one system is fatigued you can rely a bit more on the other to get you up the hills.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kelstr View Post
    get my heart rate down and keep the puke from coming all the way up....it got in my nose some and burnt
    Puking going up? Damn.. Im not riding hard enough... not even close!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHNIPE View Post
    Puking going up? Damn.. Im not riding hard enough... not even close!
    Or not drinking hard enough the night before.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHNIPE View Post
    Puking going up? Damn.. Im not riding hard enough... not even close!
    My poor little tummy does not hold food well any way ( Im Diabetic ) but generally I can push alittle for along time and be ok, its just the old Bees Knees does not really have any easy spinning parts to it because its so long and steep and you really have to push hard in order to climb the thing .

    I generally puke alittle every time I climb it but its getting less and less as I learn where I can cheat and rest alittle even if its just for 2 seconds at a time .

  16. #16
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    One thing you can learn from the roadies is to not be shifting gears so much and learn how to pedal one gear at different RPMs. So when climbing for example climb in a gear that you can on the steepest parts, but then when it levels out a bit, don't go upshifting to a harder gear to increase your speed, spin the same gear a bit faster, but easier, keep a similar speed and do your recovery there.

    In essence, push on the steeper parts, recover on the less steep parts, don't shift as much.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    One thing you can learn from the SS'ers is to not be shifting gears so much and learn how to pedal one gear at different RPMs. So when climbing for example climb in a gear that you can on the steepest parts, but then when it levels out a bit, don't go upshifting to a harder gear to increase your speed, spin the same gear a bit faster, but easier, keep a similar speed and do your recovery there.

    In essence, push on the steeper parts, recover on the less steep parts, don't shift as much.
    edited...for my pleasures. Great advice.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by woahey View Post
    I found that when I climb in a higher gear I don't have this issue too much. I started trying to climb in my middle ring as much as possible so I'm not pedaling at 5000 RPM causing my heart rate to go through the roof.
    Quote Originally Posted by mtbkracr View Post
    The thing to remember too is that when you do the fast spin in the tiny gear thing your heart and lungs are doing most of the work whereas pushing a bigger gear puts more of the workload on the muscles in your legs. when one system is fatigued you can rely a bit more on the other to get you up the hills.
    This is a distinction that not many people make and something I keep trying to drill into the Mrs' brain when hiking. When you are hiking or riding you are doing two things: cardio & resistance training.

    Hiking with the Mrs when the trail comes to some steps or rocks to get over she slows down to a crawl. And then wonders why her legs start to burn. Because she's going slower she is emphasizing the resistance portion of the workout and her legs get tired quicker.

    I try to go up and over them at the same speed as when I'm hiking flat trail. This puts more emphasis on the cardio portion because you are working at the same speed. I also do this 'cause my knees are not in great shape and it takes some of the work off your knees.

    Think about it... Grab a set of weights and do some random exercise, lets say a forearm curl. Do your curl as fast as you can and let me know how many you can do. Then the next day do it again but do it real slow and tell me how many you do. My experiment has always show that doing them slow is harder on the muscles and I always do less. But I'm not breathing as heavy as when I do them fast. That's why you pump slow to build muscle and faster to build mass.

    On the bike I've found the exact same thing works for me. Of late it seems I'm always in a gear 1-3 higher than I think I should be. I follow guys and watch their feet whirling around and I'm sitting there at 2/3 or 1/2 their cadence and I feel fine.

    I feel that this method does two things: 1. makes my legs stronger because I'm going slower and working the muscles harder; 2. keeping my cardio in check because I'm not spinning like lightning. OK, 3. keeps me in a gear for climbing over obstacles.

    That's what works for me and everyone has their strengths and weaknesses so YMMV.

    As for resting on the bike... that's tough. I've done like others and just went as slow as possible, hopefully on a DH section where I can sit and relax, but for the most part I'm of the opinion that if you aren't able to push then it's time to stop and break. And I don't mean balls to the wall push. You know the difference between lollygagging there with the cranks turning beneath your feet and actually pushing. But, breaking is not an option for races, not if you want to do well anyways, so you'll need to know where you can lollygag. Unfortunately, that's where your competitors will be pushing hard because it's an easy section of trail. Catch 22...

  19. #19
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    Progress

    I just returned from a short night ride but most of it was climbing, I kept many of the tips above in the back of my mind and I have to say it seemed much better. I think not going into granny gear automatically and instead selecting a gear that I could power through a climb from start to finish without leaving my seat and maintaining a fairly quick cadence really helped. I think one of the biggest improvements came from raising my seat height about 1/4" even though I thought it was set correctly. I also was concentrating, trying to at least, on my posture and picking my resting spots better. Somewhat reminds me of when I first learned to swing a golf club, there is a lot that occurs in a short amount of time and sometimes changing little things can have a huge impact on the end result. Still very much a work in progress but I really appreciate everyones imput. Highly encouraged and addicted.......
    And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. -- Abraham Lincoln

  20. #20
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    Good job!

    Glad things have worked out for you and you're managing to make some improvements. Yeah, the hardest thing to get n00bs out of the habbit is instantly dropping into the granny ring as soon as they see a hill - Spinning high cadence when you're not yet fit kills you quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fletch 1 View Post
    I just returned from a short night ride but most of it was climbing, I kept many of the tips above in the back of my mind and I have to say it seemed much better. I think not going into granny gear automatically and instead selecting a gear that I could power through a climb from start to finish without leaving my seat and maintaining a fairly quick cadence really helped. I think one of the biggest improvements came from raising my seat height about 1/4" even though I thought it was set correctly. I also was concentrating, trying to at least, on my posture and picking my resting spots better. Somewhat reminds me of when I first learned to swing a golf club, there is a lot that occurs in a short amount of time and sometimes changing little things can have a huge impact on the end result. Still very much a work in progress but I really appreciate everyones imput. Highly encouraged and addicted.......
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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