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
    shocks, pegs... lucky!
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    Stamina building tecniques

    aside from the obvious (ride more or run on a treadmill for 10 hrs) I'm looking for some techniques or excersizes I can use to evable me to ride faster and harder for longer.
    Any suggestions
    The kids love spinning their wheels... it's the best ;-)

  2. #2
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    Riding just 5 to 7 hours a week, will work wonders. Commuting even if you have to drive part way in.

  3. #3
    shocks, pegs... lucky!
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    LOL i really can spell
    The kids love spinning their wheels... it's the best ;-)

  4. #4
    shocks, pegs... lucky!
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    thanks, any gym suggestions or do you think that will be enough?
    The kids love spinning their wheels... it's the best ;-)

  5. #5
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    Certainly it is a start and worked for me. They say an expert will spend from 10 hours a week to up to 15 hours per week, in the build phase.

    They also include some gym work.

    Do core exercises and streaching.

    But ride and ride.

  6. #6
    shocks, pegs... lucky!
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    thanks for the advice
    The kids love spinning their wheels... it's the best ;-)

  7. #7
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    riding is pretty much the most effective way. running on the treadmill can help you work on your cardio but imho it's just plain boring. you could try a combination of speed and incline settings on the treadmill to work different areas of you legs and work harder overall. most important though is keeping your heart rate where it needs to be for a prolonged period of time. also important is to not overtrain as it can be stressfull on your body. people get in this balls out training mode and it's just rediculous because the gains are minimal when you are overtraining. don't forget to allow your body time to rest and rebuild itself, wonderful delicious sleep is your friend.

  8. #8
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    Ride to get a sustained, elevated heart rate or perceived rate of exertion. If you're riding like you would just for leisure (kind of like how we'd just get out and ride bikes for the heck of it as kids), you may not be doing much. Make the ride a training effort instead of just a ride. Get some roadworthy tires and ride road for some good base miles to work with your cadence and PRE. Make some of your rides an effort to ride a sustained, elevated cadence. In other words, to go faster, pedal faster rather than changing to a higher gear.

    Some yoga poses like thunderbolt/chair pose and the warrior series keep you in positions where your thighs are maintaining a sustained effort. Those help, too. For weight stuff, I don't know since I don't do weights, but I'm thinking maybe some training with lower weight and higher reps will help you train your legs for extended efforts. Going through things like leg presses slowly might also help as well. Instead of just cranking the weights up and down and such, draw out the effort to make your legs take longer going through the motion. Just a guess...

  9. #9
    local trails rider
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    What sort of targets do you have?
    Do you want to win races, or ride fast because you enjoy it?

    I have seen lots of training program where you get lots and lots of low intensity training (low HR) then work up to periods of higher intensity and extreme effort. On trails it may be hard to find opportunities for sustained low intensity workout.

    Personally, I prefer the "getting fit without training" approach: go out and ride as often as is convenient, sometimes go faster than you are used to. The word "tr*in*ng" is not allowed: it is all riding.

    In cycling it is good to have strong muscles in the torso but cycling does little to develop those. Doing something to your abs and back will probably benefit you anyway.

  10. #10
    shocks, pegs... lucky!
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    What sort of targets do you have?
    Do you want to win races, or ride fast because you enjoy it?

    In cycling it is good to have strong muscles in the torso but cycling does little to develop those. Doing something to your abs and back will probably benefit you anyway.
    Trying to go faster for longer on trails... I eventually want to get to the point where I feel confident enough to enter a race or two... but for the sort term its riding faster that my goal is set for
    The kids love spinning their wheels... it's the best ;-)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenZhu
    Ride to get a sustained, elevated heart rate or perceived rate of exertion.
    . In other words, to go faster, pedal faster rather than changing to a higher gear.
    so would you recommend i keep my gears at a lower setting and keep it there? I usual stay in the range of between a 2-2 to 2-5. Should i just stay at one setting for the entire ride?
    The kids love spinning their wheels... it's the best ;-)

  12. #12
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    I like to ride with someone who I know is faster than me and try to keep up. Just the other day, one of the guys I ride with was commenting on how much faster I had got over the winter.

  13. #13
    I just let one RIP
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    Put your bike on a trainer two or three times a week and use the Spinerval or CTS workout videos. You'll want a heart rate monitor and a cadence sensor on your bike, but you'll notice a huge difference in just a couple weeks with those videos.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by loungesuitlarry
    so would you recommend i keep my gears at a lower setting and keep it there? I usual stay in the range of between a 2-2 to 2-5. Should i just stay at one setting for the entire ride?
    Well, I wouldn't exactly recommend anything. I was tossing out ideas, but you'll have to research it more and decide if it is something that works for you. Personally, I ride about 2-5 or 2-4 most of the time. If I'm really out on the flats, I'll maybe ride 2-6, 2-7, or even jump up to the third chainring. It just kind of depends on the terrain and what your cadence is like.

    I've read that a standard cadence is about 60 rpm, but that some beginners might shoot for 80 rpm at times. Again, you'll probably have to research it more to get a more authoritative consensus.

    I try to tackle most hills (dirt road, mind you.. not singletrack) at 2-4, but will go to 2-3 or 2-2 depending on how steep or long it is. I personally prefer to go about one gear lower with a higher rpm for longer climbs.

    I can say, however, that I personally have found that is has paid off for me. I road a trail today I haven't ridden since probably last fall, prior to my more committed road riding. It's about 4.5 miles and last time it took me a little over an hour. Today it took me 42 minutes. I think I rode 2-4 the whole time. In fact, I just realized I never touched the shifters the whole ride except once when my chain popped off. I conquered a lot of the hills I had to walk last time. The only ones I walked were the ones where the cobblestones were so bad that I could just feel my Spidey sense tingling about the impending thread of the rocks flying and my bike bucking me. I discovered that my fundamental problem with mountain biking as opposed to the more cyclocross style I enjoy (fire roads, dirt and gravel roads, etc.) is not that I am unwilling to challenge myself, but unwilling to challenge the laws of physics. Maybe if the trails here weren't practically all loose cobblestones ranging from fist-sized to baby-head-sized I'd have a different opinion.

    That and my health insurance doesn't take effect until this Tuesday.

    At any rate, working with a higher cadence versus a higher gear has helped me in terms of general stamina. Give it a shot and see what works for you.

  15. #15
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    Hurt my knee & wrist 3 weeks ago so I've been doing streets in that time (as I heal up)... riding using your suggestions and focusing on keeping up my cadence for the entire ride. Average distance is about 18 miles and the difference I'm seeing is amazing, not much the first two rides but then... it became easier and easier every time after! I'm already at the top of my 2nd ring (2-8). now i'm going on to the third!

    Thanks for the suggestions!!!!
    The kids love spinning their wheels... it's the best ;-)

  16. #16
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    Hi Larry,

    I really think cross-training will speed up the conditioning for your cycling. Suppose you have time to ride 2-3 times a week, of solid mt. biking time, you should spend one day running and one day hitting the weights. There are just some muscles that you cannot strengthen and improve on the saddle. Core exercises for your torso, which is essential for your handling, can be done in a gym or at home. Then there are a number of things you can do for your legs to help with muscle endurance, NOT cardiovascular endurance. Things like squats, deadlifts and lunges. Most cyclists are too stubborn to recognize that. The running will continue your cardio improvement but bring your other minor muscles in your legs in play. Give cross training a try, you might like it. Good luck and have fun!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by onegymrat
    Hi Larry,

    I really think cross-training will speed up the conditioning for your cycling. Suppose you have time to ride 2-3 times a week, of solid mt. biking time, you should spend one day running and one day hitting the weights. There are just some muscles that you cannot strengthen and improve on the saddle. Core exercises for your torso, which is essential for your handling, can be done in a gym or at home. Then there are a number of things you can do for your legs to help with muscle endurance, NOT cardiovascular endurance. Things like squats, deadlifts and lunges. Most cyclists are too stubborn to recognize that. The running will continue your cardio improvement but bring your other minor muscles in your legs in play. Give cross training a try, you might like it. Good luck and have fun!
    thanks for the advice, prior to my most recent injuries i was a gym rat as well i usually target different group different days of the week and rode on weekends, I thing stamina was my major problem, although I admit that my legs can always get more of a work out...

    the best thing that being out of the gym for a few weeks did for me is to help me balance out my cycling to weight training ratio. b4 it was weights and cardio 4 day and riding one.. i'm now going to try 3 and 3....

    would you think thats reasonable or am i over doing it
    The kids love spinning their wheels... it's the best ;-)

  18. #18
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    One of the things I've learned, being the gymrat that I have been for so many years, to improve in mt. biking, you'll have to let the "muscle bound" mentality and routine go. Just as a reminder, the heavy, short reps and numerous upper body sets will need to step aside for more reps and shorter rest in between sets. Stick with exercises that will HELP your cycling, the rest will fall into place. The byproduct of training hard for biking is looking great.

    I like the 3 and 3 routine, that sounds like you'll become a very strong rider and still keep a good physique. The only concern would be if you're getting enough recovery time in between. One day off is hardly going to be optimal. I recommend 3 rides and 2 cardio/weights for now and then see how you improve in 3 months. You can always change, no biggie. Nutrition is another topic to keep in mind too. If done correctly, you'll be a monster rider by the end of summer!

  19. #19
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    if you can stand gym stuff, spin classes are a great way to build biking legs esp. in the off season. They won't make up for nice long rides though, but it's a good augment.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by loungesuitlarry
    Hurt my knee & wrist 3 weeks ago so I've been doing streets in that time (as I heal up)... riding using your suggestions and focusing on keeping up my cadence for the entire ride. Average distance is about 18 miles and the difference I'm seeing is amazing, not much the first two rides but then... it became easier and easier every time after! I'm already at the top of my 2nd ring (2-8). now i'm going on to the third!

    Thanks for the suggestions!!!!
    I'm glad it helped. I've been kind of stagnant since I've focused on getting some classes done the past few weeks, but I've tried to get out at least on the weekend for my full route which is about 20 miles. What I usually do on those days is take it easy as a warm up for the first 15 minutes or so... which generally puts me at the beginning of the county road that I like. Then for about an hour I ride that dirt/gravel road.. usually at about 2/5 on the flats.. sometimes 2/6.. and 2/4 on the climbs. If it gets a bit rough pushing in a higher gear, I drop down one gear and try to maintain the same speed by picking up my cadence.

    A couple of weeks ago I tackled one offroad trail that I hadn't ridden since the beginning of last fall. Last time I rode it it took me about an hour and I was 2/2 much of the time if not slipping onto the first chainring for some of the climbs. This time around I was 2/4 the entire time. That's not a huge jump, but it is an improvement when you consider that was for everything.. climbs and all. I actually didn't realize that I hadn't shifted gears the whole time until I was done and crossed the river to the parking lot. Then it dawned on me that I hadn't messed with my shifters once. I also rode it this time in about 43 minutes.

    On the weekdays when I go shorter distances due to time constraints, I try to keep up a higher cadence for a harder workout in the shorter time. It's been working for me and I'm glad it's paying off for you, too.

    As a bonus, it helped me break a weight plateau and get from hovering around 225 to 219.

  21. #21
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    on your bike, do intervals of sprints and cool downs...such as sprint 30 sec then just cruise 1 min, repeat.. 15 min or so
    "He can make even a global summit meeting seem like a kegger." M. Dowd, NY Times, 19 July 2006

  22. #22
    Riding into the sunset
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    Try spinning classes at the gym. I know not many guys do it, but it's great for the legs/core and it's exactly like riding a bike....only you don't go anywhere. lol I've been doing spinning for 5 or 6 months now and it's helped a ton with keeping up with the other riders and keeping my legs in shape for the uphill climbs and stuff.

    So go try it, if you don't like it, just go riding several times a week. ^_^

  23. #23
    Rokken with Dokken
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    I wish I had the discipline to do weights and spin classes and what-not, but going to the gym bores me to death. So for me, it's been ride, ride, ride.

    I started mountain biking about a year ago. At that time, I'd have to stop many times during a 10-mile ride to catch my breath. Earlier this year, I did a 10-mile ride without stopping. Lately I've been doing 20-milers without taking a break and I feel like I could go even farther. I usually get out at least three times a week; more if the weather's good.

    What helps me is using my bike computer to push myself. Each time out, I try to better my average speed from the previous ride. Whatever speed I'm at, the computer tells me if I'm above or below the pace (as I'm sure most do), so I'll know if I need to pick it up.

  24. #24
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    That's one of the things I do as well... trying to beat my previous time for a ride, or at least get close to it if it's just a rotten day.

    If you don't like weights, you might try bodyweight exercises. You can develop a solid foundation with push ups (even if you're starting on your knees), sit ups, crunches, and pull ups. If you can't do a pull up, you can always mount the bar lower where you can use your legs to help take some of the weight off, or even put your feet out on a chair so you're mostly lifting your upper body. Just mount it in a doorway that doesn't get used much and make sure it's a bar you can remove when you're done. Obviously you don't want to have to limbo your way into your office or something.

    Yoga works really well for some people too... the "power" yoga geared toward more poses with strength building properties. I tried weights and body weight exercises before yoga. I don't care for weights. Body weight exercises were okay, but can be pretty rough. I actually made significant gains in development when I started yoga. Of course, a lot of the poses are kind of like body weight exercises. Going from downward-facing dog to upward-facing dog and back is essentially a "dive bomber."

  25. #25
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    i do one leged(sp?) lunges. just do lunges on one leg while trying to stay balanced using the other. do about 25 reps per leg and three sets a day, this stregthens all of the major muscle groups in your leg and the stabilizer groups.

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