6'5", 255lbs. 46 yrs young. Have been riding a couple weeks. I have a GT Karakoran 2.0. Yes, my but hurts. I have a bike path, fireroads, and some singletrack all nearby. Out of shape pretty bad. Think my legs are pretty strong, but after hitting the singletrack hills I noticed I am horribly out of shape. I went today and rode a 1 mile loop, 3 times, bettering my times each time. Should I continue with this method of training or should I spend more time on longer rides on fireroads? Give me a program you would recommend. What would you do? Thank you.
I'd recommend longer rides on paved paths, roads and fire roads, work your way up to the point that you can easily do a 20 mile ride. Mountain biking, as I'm sure you've discovered, requires both fitness and finesse. It's easier to build your skill set if you're not out of breath and your legs aren't burning.
Consistency is more important than intensity.
Give your self a day or two to recover between rides. Embrace the fun of riding over the exercise you are getting. You dont have to work up motivation to have fun. Push the miles you are doing and the intensity of those miles some, but be sure not to over do it at first. To much suffering will leave you less inclined to ride.
Going downhill is fun. The only way you get to go down is if you go up first. Climbing starts as pure suffering. Think of the downhill you will gain and endure. Push the bike if you have to, no shame in it. Eventually you will hit a point where you can spin out in your granny gear and climb *almost* any grade. At that point ANY trail is your playground, and you will even start to relish the challenge of a climb.
Im 6'2" 220lbs. The guy i ride with weighs 170 and is a beast. I beat him to the top of a 45 min climb by several minutes last weekend. =)
Stick with it, ride for fun above all else, and you will eventually be a strong rider.