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  1. #1
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    New question here. Is Road Riding making me weaker?

    A couple of months ago I picked-up a used road bike to help improve my spin / overall fitness. Me I am turning 50 this year and have been riding mbikes for 25 years. This is my first road bike. I am starting my training for 52 mile event with 12K climbing taking place the first week of April.

    I have been doing road rides on the weekends (50-80 miles with 4-5K of climbing) and riding my single speed one night during the week (15-18 miles 3-4K of climbing). At lunch I go to the gym 3-4 days a week and do weight training.

    On New Year’s day I decided to take my geared mbike out for a 25-30 mile ride. Ended up riding 28 miles 5K of climbing. My plan is to increase my weekend and weekday rides every week through March.

    At the end of the ride I was struggling with the climbs! Am I losing my “masher” strength to being a better spinner? Should I ditch the road bike for a while and spend more time on the mbike?

    All advice appreciated!

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I have found that if I don't really hammer on the road bike, it is not nearly as intense as mtn bike climbing. The steepness of mtn bike climbs is always greater than road climbs at least around here. Heart rate monitor is helpful here to make sure you are working hard enough on the road.

  3. #3
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    If your road bike doesn't have a Standard Double crankset on it, put one on it. Also, road riding is only as challenging as you make it. The true benefit of road riding is that you can do interval training with more consistent intervals due to the non-technical nature of road riding in general. Do hill repeats if you are working on your climbing. Make sure your bike doesn't have too easy of a bailout gear. I haven't met anything on the road I couldn't climb with a 39-25 combo.
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
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  4. #4
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    On just every mtb ride I take in just about every locale, there is some of what I would call "high torque, low cadence" climbing required. Not always true on the road bike. Best to train on both, IMO, as road and mtb both offer their own respective conditioning benefits.

    But given a choice of only one, choose the mtb. It is, after all, what you are planning to race, and your course sounds like it has pretty big climbing demands.
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  5. #5
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    Is Road Riding making me weaker?

    Fixed gear.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  6. #6
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    Those long road rides killed my mtb power... Too much focus on the slow twitch survival mode... Interval training is key...

  7. #7
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    If you really want to get stronger then try trail running on the same stuff you love to ride, running really works those out of the saddle muscle groups. I understand running is not for everyone but that's because it's such a hard sport, plus people tend to try it on the road or boring fire roads and yeah as MTBers we all know how much fun that is.

    But you asked about road biking so here it is

    Road biking won't train your mashing muscle group unless your mashing on the road bike, what it will do if ridden with other people faster then you is open your lungs and threshold. Not all Mtb climbs last more then 10mins so its hard to train for such a segment regularly. On a road bike it's easier to find longer sections of road to pick a pace and cadence on and stick with it over 30 mins. I can't ride more then 10mins solo on my road bike before wanting to shoot myself in the head out of boredom, but with other fast friends it becomes a great friendly challenge of cat and mouse which make it tolerable.

    If your focusing on a single speed Mtb like I have been then use the road bike for recovery rides as well as some hard sustained efforts. I'm not sure what your local trails look like but my stuff is so steep I have to give 100% on every climb just to crawl my way to the top. So easy days or tapering before a race or event aren't really possible on the SS. I can however head out with my group of road riders and spin away and burn my lungs without ever really felling like I'm damaging my legs.

    Like other have said road biking is only as hard as you make it but if you take into account the effect of drafting in a group then it become much easier to find several other riders for you to train with that are close to your level.

  8. #8
    Dirty South Underdog
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iamrockandroll13 View Post
    ... road riding is only as challenging as you make it. The true benefit of road riding is that you can do interval training with more consistent intervals due to the non-technical nature of road riding in general. Do hill repeats if you are working on your climbing. Make sure your bike doesn't have too easy of a bailout gear.
    This.

    I've trained to podium finishes at several 100s and stage races doing 90% of my training on the road and the other 10% riding my SS on techy singletrack. You have to put in the intensity if you want to see benefits.
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  9. #9
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    Funny because I thought riding my SS during the week would help maintain my power…….not so much.

    Tomorrow I am taking out my geared mbike and planning on a 40-50 mile ride (8K climbing). This should be a good test to see if I was just having an off day on my last ride or if I need to make some changes.

    Thanks all for the input!…….you have given me some good ideas.

    I may try and switch every other weekend mountain / road.

    Increase the intensity with interval training on the road bike.

    Trail running sounds like fun and will give it a try.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeZee View Post
    A couple of months ago I picked-up a used road bike to help improve my spin / overall fitness. Me I am turning 50 this year and have been riding mbikes for 25 years. This is my first road bike. I am starting my training for 52 mile event with 12K climbing taking place the first week of April.

    I have been doing road rides on the weekends (50-80 miles with 4-5K of climbing) and riding my single speed one night during the week (15-18 miles 3-4K of climbing). At lunch I go to the gym 3-4 days a week and do weight training.

    On New Year’s day I decided to take my geared mbike out for a 25-30 mile ride. Ended up riding 28 miles 5K of climbing. My plan is to increase my weekend and weekday rides every week through March.

    At the end of the ride I was struggling with the climbs! Am I losing my “masher” strength to being a better spinner? Should I ditch the road bike for a while and spend more time on the mbike?

    All advice appreciated!

    Thanks

    Vision Quest, Huh????
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej View Post
    Vision Quest, Huh????

    Ding Ding Ding....we have a winner!

    Rode the Counting Coup in the past on a single speed. This year the VQ (with gears :-0)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeZee View Post
    Ding Ding Ding....we have a winner!

    Rode the Counting Coup in the past on a single speed. This year the VQ (with gears :-0)

    VQ on the SS for me. I usually work the event....this year I get to ride.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
    The carbon is way more durable than most people.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej View Post
    VQ on the SS for me. I usually work the event....this year I get to ride.
    Sweet.....

    Wave when you pass me :-)

  14. #14
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    As said, if you're just doing long road rides without some intensity thrown in, you'll loose your power. I did lots of road riding when I was training to do Leadville, but I got in with a good road crew who loved to do sudden jumps, hammer out the hills and generally have what I consider fun on the road. If you're riding solo road, then you'll really have to work hard and concentrate and throw various forms of intervals into the rides - decide you're going to jump up and give maxx effort to that pole 150 meters away, you're going to hammer this hill in a specific gear, basically simulate race type activities of jumps and break aways.
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  15. #15
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    Rode a 50 miler today with 6K climbing on the mountain bike. Felt much better on the hills!

    Sounds like I need to increase my intensity on road rides and more intervals.

    Thanks all and I will report back in a couple of weeks.

  16. #16
    I like mtn biking, too
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    The only purpose of training on pavement for me is that on trails sometimes I'm busting my lung up a sudden steep hill when my training plan wants me to be in HR Zone 1 or 2, i.e. - in the rest period between intervals. Most roads seem to have steadier, more gradual grade changes, which is better for following specific HR or power zones/interval workouts.

    Quote Originally Posted by RojoRacing53 View Post
    I can't ride more then 10mins solo on my road bike before wanting to shoot myself in the head out of boredom
    Werd! I think it's important, if you call yourself a mountain biker, to regularly go ride technical trails and leave the HR monitor/power meter at home. (unless you're training for Leadville).
    Never use your face as a brake pad.
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  17. #17
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    Just got done cranking out a quick 42 miles with my local Sunday road ride group. I just stayed at the front and pulled them along while maintaining a pace I felt I could hold for about 30mins. Sometimes the whole group would come by me but mostly it would only be one or two riders who would pass me while everyone else just stuck behind me. I'd rest for a minute or so and go back by to the front for another 5-10 mins until someone felt ambitious again.

    It ends being a great 2hr tempo ride and give some of the faster riders in the group a chance to measure they level against mine since I'm kinda the local fast guy. There was some *****ing from behind in the group, probably the guys who like to have sprinting battles after the group slows for a bit to recover. I don't give the sprinters any time to fully recover so they can get a little *****y sometimes.

    I don't think today's ride is going to help me mash up any hills but it will help me recover quicker between climbs on my next MTB ride.

  18. #18
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    One statement that is absolutely true across multiple disciplines of racing is this: You cannot get faster by training slower.

    Yes, road riding will help with your overall endurance, but you need to have some intervals in there or you'll wind up being a supremely fit slow rider.

    I've also always been kind of fond of this:
    "Mountain bikers who don't ride road are slow. Roadies who don't ride dirt are d*cks." - Unknown

    Not an absolute truth, but you get the idea.

  19. #19
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    This thread is becoming my go to place for awesome quotes

  20. #20
    AZ
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    Mountain bikers who don't ride road have no legs, roadies who don't ride mountain bikes have no souls.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ View Post
    Mountain bikers who don't ride road have no legs, roadies who don't ride mountain bikes have no souls.
    This G rated version is just as true!

  22. #22
    zrm
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    Some pretty foolish and ignorant generalizations being tossed around in a couple posts regarding who has soul or how is *****, etc. Same old tired, childish "us against them, I'm (we're) better than you (them) drivel.

    Whether you're riding pavement or dirt, it's all about how you train. The bike is just a tool. It tends to be easier to do specific blocks at specific intensities on the road which is very useful for whatever your training goal is. You can do the same on an MTB if the terrain is suitable, but generally a road bike is the better tool.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Some pretty foolish and ignorant generalizations being tossed around in a couple posts regarding who has soul or how is *****, etc. Same old tired, childish "us against them, I'm (we're) better than you (them) drivel.

    Whether you're riding pavement or dirt, it's all about how you train. The bike is just a tool. It tends to be easier to do specific blocks at specific intensities on the road which is very useful for whatever your training goal is. You can do the same on an MTB if the terrain is suitable, but generally a road bike is the better tool.
    "Lighten up, Francis." - Sgt. Hulka

    What I said was meant to be taken tongue in cheek. I guess I'm not liberal enough in the use of emoticons...

  24. #24
    I like mtn biking, too
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    I think we're all in agreement here about the usefulness of road training for building specific physiological systems that aid in your general cycling fitness, but there are trail-specific handling/technical skills that require practice that you just can not do on the road. For that you need to also add in specific mtb-skills workouts into your rotation. There is nothing anti-roadie about that, jokes about losing your soul aside, it's pretty normal and non-controversial. If you don't ever ride your mountain bike, what's the point really of entering a mountain bike race, or posting on mtbr, for that matter?
    Never use your face as a brake pad.
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  25. #25
    What It Be ?
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    Find a tough local group road group, strong roadies are nothing to laugh at. Getting dropped makes you stronger....hows that for a quote haha.

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