1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    cardio and endurance

    do i have to jog or get a road bike to improve my cardio and endurance? the reason i ask is on the trail i'm like a sprinter i guess is the best way to describe it, when i'm going i'm hauling tail the best i can, but i have to stop alot to rest my legs or catch my breathe, Hills really get me. Been biking for 4 months now, mainly only get too on the weekends but trying to ride up and down the yard during the work week to maybe improve on this. What is the best way? I tried treadmill but that lasted 2 days then i was bored from running in place, don't care for riding on the roads cuz people i don't know in things that can run me over i don't trust. Or will i slowly get better just riding my local trails on the weekends and what i can during the week in the yard?

    for more info, today on the trail and was their for about 2hours and 15mins. I rode 9.82 miles and it says that actual trip time was 1hour and 14mins so for one hour i was out their resting, not all at once of course. avg mph was 7.87

  2. #2
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    If you are a weekend warrior it may take more time but you'd get better so just keep at it. Many times I see the new(er) riders make mistake on the climb as they try to attack a climb faster than they should and bonk out in the middle of the climb.

    If you have to stop and rest several times in the middle of the climbs set a new goal of cleanning a climb without stopping, you can approach the climb at slower pace pick easy gear and just spin it up. Get comfortable with the slower speed on the climb.

    Before you know it you can do it at faster and faster pace without stopping, allow your body to adjust and find ways to deliver fresh oxygen rich blood to your muscle. Even if you feel like you head is about to explode try to control your breathing stead in and out instead of panting would help a lot.

    Learn to shift properly, shift early and often to get in a comfortable cadence(rpm) and just spin it. Have fun.

  3. #3
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    Yes, you will get better with time and Yes, road riding will improve your endurance.

    Quote by someone,
    Those who only ride trails have no legs, and those who only ride road have no soul.
    Round and round we go

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Yes, you will get better with time and Yes, road riding will improve your endurance.

    Quote by someone,
    Those who only ride trails have no legs, and those who only ride road have no soul.
    that is true i have soul n no legs

  5. #5
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    Nothing will help you mountainbike endurance like a road bike.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  6. #6
    Just Ride
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Nothing will help you mountainbike endurance like a road bike.
    I hear that around here time and time again. I really should pick up a road bike.

    To the OP um, apparently a road bike will help! But FWIW, I ride only trails. I plan to get a road bike, not sure when. Your endurance will slowly improve overtime. Being as how you only ride weekends, it's just gonna take longer.

    Mine has improved immensely just this year alone. I started riding last year about this time (june/july) and I noticed some subtle increases by the time I put the bike away for the winter around mid december. Did a few rides in the snow last winter and about died. Then this year I got an early start on riding regularly as spring came in march! So I've been riding at least 4 days a week every week since mid march. So...3 months? Some weeks I managed to ride everyday.

    First few rides were god awful painful! Second ride I was like "why do I do this to myself" third ride "oh yea, it's FUN!!!" I had to take breaks a few times through the trail to have a heart explosion. A rather short 6 mile loop, with lots of short but steep climbs. I tend to push myself. Not to improve necessarily, but because I just don't like going slow. I enjoy speed! Anyway, it's ok to take breaks when needed. Now I can blast through that same 6 mile loop in 35 minutes, no stopping and I can actually breath at the end of it all. Also I've been doing 2 back to back laps at a 7.5 mile loop that is a little tamer. For 15 miles nonstop. Not much by some standards around here, but it's pretty damn good for me! Ex smoker and all.

    I'd make it a point to never allow yourself to stop on a climb. And never walk a climb, if you can avoid it at all costs. Power through it. It'll hurt at first, but take it slow and eventually you'll be able to push a higher gear up the same hill that gave you problems before. Or spin it faster, either way. Also try and squeeze in a few rides during the week if you can swing it.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  7. #7
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    When people say do more road riding that's because it is by nature more marathon type, longer, steadier output riding. That can be done on a mtb given the right terrain. This type training will improve stamina/endurance.

    When people say mtb training, or trail riding, that type training can also be done on a road bike given the right terrain and/or timing of power output. Mtbing is just by nature good at building strength/speed/power, i.e. interval type training.

    This of coarse has nothing to do with learning/honing skills, just conditioning, and IMO road riding is a good way to fill in the gaps that regular mtbing leaves in getting into great mtb condition. But IMO, the best way to be better/stronger at mtbing is by mtbing. Take an avid road rider mtbing and you'll see my point, because unless he does regular interval type training on whatever type bike, you'll be stopping to wait for him to get his legs and lungs back. The same way an avid mtber will be holding back a road rider on the road after a certain time/distance. It's all about conditioning, and the better your condition becomes, the more precise your training needs to be to improve.

    Look into both aerobic threshold, and anaerobic threshold training if you really wanna stay ahead of the pack.
    Last edited by theMeat; 06-24-2012 at 04:22 AM.
    Round and round we go

  8. #8
    Save Jesus
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    Eat better for more endurance. This will require some research and trail and error to find what works best for you.

  9. #9
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    Gaspin - cross training is useful, and road cycling is better than running. Also, actually running is much less awful than a treadmill.

    I think that an hour of mountain biking is more productive than an hour of something else until you hit several hours a week of mountain biking. And you need to spread them out some - working out three times a week is a pretty good start. When you add cycling workouts beyond that, you're probably adding stuff like recovery rides, which are useful but are, IMO, diminishing returns.

    Learning to pace yourself on the trail is important. If you have the endurance to ride for a bit over two hours with stopping and starting and spiking your effort all over the place, you probably already have the endurance to do it continuously, at a more reasonable pace. The way I calculate it, you were averaging 4.4 mph. I bet you could get that up to 6 mph pretty quickly just figuring out your pacing. Don't blow yourself up, and recover on the bike. Once you've got that working for you, and some regular mid-week exercise, you'll be up to a legit 7.9 pretty fast.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    You could always grab a trainer and spin watching some tv. always seem to be a few on craigslist for dirt cheap.
    while not the most exciting thing ever it lets me get some exercise when i get home late from work or the weather sucks.

  11. #11
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    some pretty good advice. learning how to recover on the bike has been helpful. instead of getting to the top of a hill and then stopping, if you just drop it down to the granny, and coast/spin lightly through the flats or DH if you can.

    also, at 2 hours and 15 minutes you might want to start thinking about replenishing some calories. i will go with only water for a ride up to about 2 hours, maybe a gatorade as well, but if i know i'm going to be out over 2 hours i'll usually bring some type of granola bar or something.

    not saying you need food to ride that long, but its something to consider

  12. #12
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    Not sure what bike computer or tracking device you are using. But I found that having a heart rate monitor hooked up to the bike computer really helped me out. Once you get your training zones worked out, you can get a hard number on the screen to gauge your level of effort. Some days I find I can't get the number up into a good range. But on other days, when I am feeling really good, I'll find I am pushing too hard and need to use the HRM to slow down my effort to avoid overdoing it and running out of steam mid-ride.

    Then like yesterday, I was not feeling that great after getting over some sort of 24 hr. bug, but I decided to go out riding. I found that my heart rate was running higher than normal for the level of effort I was doing. But I just rode by the HRM and did a good hour long climb in the middle of the ride, keeping the HR in the low to mid 4 zone the whole time (using a 1-5 zone system). It was one of my slower times up that climb but I actually felt good the whole time, made it all the way up w/o stopping.

  13. #13
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    Whether road biking is a better workout than mountain biking depends on where and how you ride. I certainly don't think that you need to do both to get into shape. Road biking is much easier on your body and therefore more conducive to long cardio rides. Neither do you need to jog or go to the gym. It may help but it's not necessary.
    Go as slowly as necessary to make it to the top of the hills you ride. Then start over. If that's boring stop riding hills and start riding mountains. That's why it's called mountain biking.
    Start tracking vertical feet and set weekly climbing goals. Increase the goals every so often. You will either need to know your terrain or invest in a computer that tracks climbing. How much do you need to climb? That depends on your circumstances. Maybe a weekly goal of 3000' is a good start. If that's easy try 5000'. If 3000' seems impossible aim for 1500'. It doesn't really matter where you start out as long as you track your climbing and set yourself increasing weekly goals.
    Start by getting a clean bill of health from your doctor, by the way.

  14. #14
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    When I was younger I would road ride my MTB on the street every day afterwork. 13 mile sin 45 minutues. It was all flat land power riding. I would ride at that limit of what I could crank out.

    Now that I am older I don't get the time to drag the bike out every day. I can however get to my local gym 2-3 times a week and ride the bike there for 45 mintues hard. Gym works better since I can do it the same time every day rain, shine, hot or cold and don't have to worry about my 6 year old wondering why daddy came home and is leaving again.

    Anyway. That 45 minutes is not super long, but I ride very have. A solid 160-175 bpm heart rate for the entire time. I build strength and endurance this way as it feels like a hard climb on the mtb for entire time. I could probalby run intevervals on that bike too, but like to just crank out the solid pace. Then when I hit the trails I run at pace that I can handle all day long. At least for me after about the first 15 minutues I can settle in and run pace I feel like I can all day. Same on the trails where the first 15 mintues or so is the hardest and when I can bust through that I can ride seemingly all day. I still need to rest on the top of some big climbs, but my resting is maybe 2 minutes to catch my breath and be able to focus on the downhill. I find that if I don't rest on some I am out of focus and sloppy on the downhill. Better to rest a bit than not ride the downhill well and risk a crash or just not have fun.

    Even so 4 month is not enough time to really build riding endurance. You need more time for your body to respond.

    The other thing is age and nutrition. When I was in my late 20's I was the same weight as now. I however ate poorly. Lots food not good and lots of beer on the weekends. Just like and late 20's single guy. Well now I am in my late 30's and I can't drink Iike I could. I am too old. However I am now eating alot better and am a strong rider than ever.

    I used to run 15 miles think it was long. Now 15 miles is a warm up. 20 miles is a typical distance and I have some 30 milers planned once have enough time in the day. I feel like I can ride for 4-5 hours with some breaks for food and be just fine. I probalby will try a long day like this in the fall. Seems like I can ride much longer now than when I was younger. I am not as explosive in charging up smallish climbs, but I feel like I can ride for longer distances.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaspinForAir View Post
    do i have to jog or get a road bike to improve my cardio and endurance?No but it will help the reason i ask is on the trail i'm like a sprinter i guess is the best way to describe it, when i'm going i'm hauling tail the best i can, but i have to stop alot to rest my legs or catch my breathe, Hills really get me. Been biking for 4 months now, mainly only get too on the weekendsThere is the problem but trying to ride up and down the yard during the work week to maybe improve on this. What is the best way? I tried treadmill but that lasted 2 days then i was bored from running in place, don't care for riding on the roads cuz people i don't know in things that can run me over i don't trust. Or will i slowly get better just riding my local trails on the weekends and what i can during the week in the yard?

    for more info, today on the trail and was their for about 2hours and 15mins. I rode 9.82 miles and it says that actual trip time was 1hour and 14mins so for one hour i was out their resting, not all at once of course. avg mph was 7.87
    If you ride 5 plus hours a week (really any cardio) the improvement will be fast and noticable....

    Find a place to ride close by that is safe. then do so.

  16. #16
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    I don't like to ride roads either, but with the amount of rain and storms we have had lately the trails have been closed. So I have been riding the roads. If you don't want to fork out the cash for a road bike you can get some slicks for your mtn bike. That's what I have done. Works better than not riding at all.

  17. #17
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    Weekend warrior means that you will need more time to build up a better threshold of endurance. If you can get out and run or cycle even once during the week then you will be better off. More is more better as long as you have recovery time built in to your workout schedule.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  18. #18
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    It takes about 2-3 months of constant training to build good endurance if you are a type 2 body, which it spuds you are. I have the same body type, I can powerlift and sprint, but endurance kills me... You need to try and up your reps, as in more times per week, and you will train your body to last, rather than hold energy for short hard bursts. Just keep at it, and remember, dont stop, it only take a month to lose endurance if you are a type 2 body!

  19. #19
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    lol His name is "gasping for air".

    Do you weight train during the week ? You should will help you increase power and stamina.
    Plenty of high intensity workout you can do at home for small periods that will boost endurance.

    As its been said. Eat right. Your body needs proper fuel for its activities. Proper nutrition and hydration are the foundation of any exercise improvement.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by manmythlegend View Post
    lol His name is "gasping for air".

    Do you weight train during the week ? You should will help you increase power and stamina.
    Plenty of high intensity workout you can do at home for small periods that will boost endurance.

    As its been said. Eat right. Your body needs proper fuel for its activities. Proper nutrition and hydration are the foundation of any exercise improvement.
    depending on OP condition, genes/what works for them, and of coarse goals, weight traing might be bad. I agree with you, but if only getting bike faster was the goal, I'd not weight train. For someone new to fitness anything they do will help.
    And yup, from what I've learned works best for me is diet is at least 60% of the equation, especially with gains.

    If you're not "Gaspin for air", that just means you could be pushing harder, and should be if you wanna see gains.
    Last edited by theMeat; 06-25-2012 at 12:13 PM.
    Round and round we go

  21. #21
    Flying in High in the Sky
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    P90X

    End Thread.

  22. #22
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    Learn to pace yourself on the trails. You say you are a spinter; not the best plan for a longer ride> I like to think that endurance is analogous to a small hot water tank. If you turn up the hot water full blast, you will run out quickly and have to wait a while for it to recover and re-heat. If you keep the water warm, it will last much longer before needing to re-heat. Think of your ride intensity as water from that tank, and you may find you will do better overall.

  23. #23
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    Perhaps consider riding with an experienced rider or group. If you're new to trail riding, then it might be helpful to see how others pace themselves. When I started out, that's how I figured out where my riding needed improvement.

    Like yourself, OP, I was gassing after climbs. But as I learned how to attack the hills more efficiently (build momentum, choose the right gear, get out of the saddle) and my fitness improved, within months I saw myself going a lot faster with smaller and smaller recovery periods. There's no way I would've made that kind of progress trying to figure it out all on my own.

    Often, getting around a loop quickly requires good technique, as well as, a strong engine.

  24. #24
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    Put some effort more times per week and jog 3-5 miles 3-4 times per week. You cant get lazy and. Toast when joggingas we do when we sit on our as)Sss while peddling.
    Better 2 ask 4 pardon than 2 ask for permission. Recall that nxt time U feel you have 2 ask ur wife if U can buy something

  25. #25
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    Slow down until you can ride all the way without stopping. Every ride shouldn't be a serious of short efforts followed by rest, repeat. If you're doing the same thing every ride, that's what your body will get used to. If your goal is not to stop, slow down and don't stop.

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