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  1. #1
    I'll take you there.
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    At what gear setting, mph, or endurance time do you know you are ready for XC?

    Some of you have read my story in the Passion forum about getting stranded at Sprague Brook.. and part of that being a lack of skill and endurance level.. and it was kind of traumatizing, but I've gotten mostly over it and am actually thankful and better for it.. anyhow..

    I have been riding paved and gravel for a month since now, I've moved up gears and I go to a Bally's version of Spinning called Reaction Cycling, where I work my ass off. 3x a week.

    My bike is 3 gears in the front, with 8 gears in the back, it is an SRAM system. I ride on the middle front cog gear & on the top (8th) gear in the rear, and can do 13 miles of that without too much issue, on paved & gravel, with climbs and drop. Its my usual loop and takes me less than an hour, every day.

    Today I'm going to try the 3rd front gear and see how far I can get.

    What I want to know is, exactly what level should I head out into the pure woods dirt tracks without worry? .. time wise, gear(cog) wise, or endurance wise?
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  2. #2
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    have to be to work soon so I can't read your passion post (it's a bit long haha)...

    for gearing... ride in what gear is comfy... and keeps you around a 80-90rpm cadance (amount of times your leg goes in a full circle... sometimes you'll go higher and sometimes lower... don't be embarrassed to walk sections you're nervous about

    and enjoy yourself
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  3. #3
    I'll take you there.
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    I did front deraileur at gear 3 and rear at gear 6... upwind.. and at gear 7 downwind.. so I'm only 1 away from maxing.

    You say to keep it 80 or 90 rpm for optimum performance?

    My sigma computer has the cadence meter, I just didnt set it up and was just running the regular front wheel one.
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  4. #4
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    Looks like a bad experience is causing you to over react in the opposite direction. I don't know anything about what qualifies one to ride on trails or not, but I can tell you I am nowhere near your level of fitness and I'm doing it. (Granted I try to pick easy and short trails).

    I'd say go for it, just make sure you have enough daylight to walk the trail in needed.
    1998 Gary Fisher Big Sur, Yeah I'm retro!

  5. #5
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    sounds like you had a major adventure on that 1st ride... i'm sure one you won't soon (ever) forget... for some reason I can hear you telling that story for decades to come

    everyone is a little difference... but you get the most efficiency somewhere between 80-100... sit and just spin... rather then mash... you'll last a lot longer out there riding that way to boot... typicaly most trail riding will be done in the middle ring up front... and drop to the granny gear (smallest up front) when things get a bit steeper.

    anyway that being said... see if there isn't some local club around you (i'm lucky to have a great one) and if someone would show you around at a fat boy leasusurly/slow pace ... take it easy and as you saw from your last ride... give yourself A LOT more time then you think you need... at least till you've gotten to know the trial and how much time it takes... also a few tools and a cell phone is good stuff to bring with you
    - Surly Disc trucker
    - '82 trek 560 roadie

  6. #6
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    Don't worry about what gears you're using, just use whatever works for you in the terrain that you're riding at the moment. You won't find much use for the big ring up front in the woods, at least not on the trails that we have around here.

    Find yourself an easy trail to start on and make sure you have plenty of daylight to finish it. If you could find someone to show you around that's even better.

    You're ready now, no extra conditioning is needed. Riding paved paths will help with your endurance, but it's not really anything like riding in the woods. The only way to improve that is to ride in the woods more.

  7. #7
    I'll take you there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by donalson
    sounds like you had a major adventure on that 1st ride... i'm sure one you won't soon (ever) forget... for some reason I can hear you telling that story for decades to come

    everyone is a little difference... but you get the most efficiency somewhere between 80-100... sit and just spin... rather then mash... you'll last a lot longer out there riding that way to boot... typicaly most trail riding will be done in the middle ring up front... and drop to the granny gear (smallest up front) when things get a bit steeper.

    anyway that being said... see if there isn't some local club around you (i'm lucky to have a great one) and if someone would show you around at a fat boy leasusurly/slow pace ... take it easy and as you saw from your last ride... give yourself A LOT more time then you think you need... at least till you've gotten to know the trial and how much time it takes... also a few tools and a cell phone is good stuff to bring with you
    I've been going at my training with a "no pain no gain" mentality, if you dont mind that kind of "cheesy" saying.... I started out on the 2nd front gear and 6th rear gear for the whole ride, and now its hard for me to believe. The thighs in my legs over the past 2 months have both tightened and expanded in a uniform cylindrical pattern with good definition... I do stretches and lunges at the beginning and middle of my daily 13 paved miles.

    I tell myself that I've only dropped a bit more than 10 lb because I've built sizable muscle in my legs that weighs a lot more, but honestly I'm not sure. I feel my riding strength progress, my endurance increase and my mashing power rise.. but the weight loss has been smaller than anticipated. I think I have some unskillful expectations, but its hard not to, when theres no realistic ones to measure against that I know of.

    I'm pushing hard and its pushing back, but I still dont know if I'm ready. I see what you guys are saying, and there are easier trails than Sprague Brook out there, I just havnt found em.. and I havnt talked to the local club much, which I intended to since I got the map for Sprague Brook from them.. but after what happened, I felt I'd just ... 'humble' ... myself again, so I've been pushing it, not sure when to get back in contact with em and see if I can ride a long.. but as it stands, theyre a bunch of strangers, with the exception of maybe the 2 ppl whose names I cant remember that I met in the parking lot in my story...

    ...just the thought of that happening again and with an audience...
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  8. #8
    shh. don't tell the wife
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    Once I can hold 30km/hr over 100km, regardless of headwinds and hills (my roads have heaps of both) on the road bike I know I'm ready for the XC trails.

    The intensity needed for really steep technical sections will still hurt, but at least I know that I'll be good to go when I stop and the top and armour up for the way down.
    All you need is love... but Scotch'll do in a pinch.

  9. #9
    I'll take you there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jitenshakun
    Once I can hold 30km/hr over 100km, regardless of headwinds and hills (my roads have heaps of both) on the road bike I know I'm ready for the XC trails.

    The intensity needed for really steep technical sections will still hurt, but at least I know that I'll be good to go when I stop and the top and armour up for the way down.
    So thats 18.64 mph, over 62 miles? I'm not up to that yet.. thats gonna take some work for sure. But I'm also not on a road bike. I'm doing 15.2 mph average, on 13 paved miles with climbs and drops, on a mountain bike, the last time I tested (in front gear #2).. I'll need a new test for front gear #3 that I'm riding now.

    I think I'm going to try and contact wnymba.com to see if I cant group up with someone or go to a meet and learn something.. maybe see some easier trails or how to do certain actions to navigate forest trails that I dont have skills for yet.. like riding over large logs or along thin bridged gaps.. and I was still freaked out, out of my mind, when I rode 12 inches from the side of the ravine drop that I didnt even see till I was riding up on the trail at good speed.. so I'm gonna need to build confidence there. Just a lot of stuff to learn.
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  10. #10
    shh. don't tell the wife
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    I guess I could have been a bit more specific.

    Average elevation gain on a ride is 2,500ft and winds usually push 20km/hr.

    I have no idea what that would mean on a fat tyre bike, but it'd be slow
    All you need is love... but Scotch'll do in a pinch.

  11. #11
    I'll take you there.
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    I'm getting a general gist from the thread that I should just go out to an easy trail and give it a try, and maybe hook up with someone from the local bike club. And that I'm over-complicating something here.

    If the clyde board mod himself (donalson) says that I can stay in gear #2 and do the trails, then I have a feeling that I can deff do them. (at least some)

    I'll report in with any progress .. hope I can actually find the ppl and the trails, otherwise I dont have a real contingency plan than to wing it again .. and we all know how that turned out the first time. .. I'll be sure to bring a camera this time.
    Be excellent to each other.

  12. #12
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    You already know some of the things not to do, like start out too late on an unknown trail, without much of a plan, or even a flashlight.

    Learn from your mistakes and go out and try again. I know you had a pretty traumatic experience, but I think you're over complicating things. Stop worrying about what gear you typically ride in on the road, that doesn't really mean anything. Use whatever gear you feel comfortable in, even if it means you're on the granny ring most of the time. Do yourself and your bike a favor though, don't cross chain, ie; if you're in the small ring up front don't go down further than the top 3 or 4 largest cogs in the back, same thing in reverse for the big ring up front.

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