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  1. #1
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    Which demands more physical/mental/bike skills road or mountain biking?

    I, like many of us here, own and ride both road and mountain bikes. I was wondering what others thought to which discipline is more physically/mentally/bike skills demanding.

    Each have high demands on cardio, leg strength, mental toughness, bike handling skills and strategy to win races. However, each also has its own unique demands like spints, maneuvering through a tight pelaton, varying road conditions or huge steep technical climbs, tight courses, varying track conditions, mud...

    So, in your opinion, which demands more physical/mental/bike skills road or mountain biking?

    Considering your answer, the second part of my question is;
    If we were to put guys like Armstrong and Ulrich against guys like Brentjens and Meirhaeghe (without performance enhancing drugs) in an evenly mixed road / technical XC course, who would win and why?

    Tequila

    I have posted this in the Road Bike Review forum as well. Click below to see the feedback over there.

    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...196#post223196
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  2. #2
    govt kontrakt projkt mgr
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    I think they're about equally as demanding---however for me mountain biking is the toughest just because of the pure stamina and strength that trail obstacles require to successfully and fluidly navigate.

    Well I know in the dirty duo a few years back at Rocky Hill Ranch Lance thoroughly got trashed on the mt bike segment by a local mt bike racer but he still won the event because he cranked out 5.5 min miles running the hills.

    I think a mostly mountain biker wins most of the time on a mt bike course over guys and gals who mainly ride road and vice versa on a road course.----mostly:-)

  3. #3
    jrm
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    Uneven vs. even and moving vs. not moving surfaces

    Quote Originally Posted by tequila joe
    I, like many of us here, own and ride both road and mountain bikes. I was wondering what others thought to which discipline is more physically/mentally/bike skills demanding.

    Each have high demands on cardio, leg strength, mental toughness, bike handling skills and strategy to win races. However, each also has its own unique demands like spints, maneuvering through a tight pelaton, varying road conditions or huge steep technical climbs, tight courses, varying track conditions, mud...

    So, in your opinion, which demands more physical/mental/bike skills road or mountain biking?

    Considering your answer, the second part of my question is;
    If we were to put guys like Armstrong and Ulrich against guys like Brentjens and Meirhaeghe (without performance enhancing drugs) in an evenly mixed road / technical XC course, who would win and why?

    Tequila

    I have posted this in the Road Bike Review forum as well. Click below to see the feedback over there.

    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...196#post223196
    For me this is what make the two different

  4. #4
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    They both take everything you got.

    Quote Originally Posted by tequila joe
    I, like many of us here, own and ride both road and mountain bikes. I was wondering what others thought to which discipline is more physically/mentally/bike skills demanding.

    Each have high demands on cardio, leg strength, mental toughness, bike handling skills and strategy to win races. However, each also has its own unique demands like spints, maneuvering through a tight pelaton, varying road conditions or huge steep technical climbs, tight courses, varying track conditions, mud...

    So, in your opinion, which demands more physical/mental/bike skills road or mountain biking?

    Considering your answer, the second part of my question is;
    If we were to put guys like Armstrong and Ulrich against guys like Brentjens and Meirhaeghe (without performance enhancing drugs) in an evenly mixed road / technical XC course, who would win and why?

    Tequila

    I have posted this in the Road Bike Review forum as well. Click below to see the feedback over there.

    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...196#post223196
    I don't know about Ullrich, but I know Lance rides cross and likes it. You put him on a course that's mixed road and dirt and he's gonna tear off and hurt anyone who tries to follow.

    Racing on dirt, XC or even cross requires less strategy than road, with the lower speeds there's less drafting which means sprinting is also less a factor. I don't have any real xc racing experience but think it's reasonable that it runs more like a time trial in terms of riding your race.

  5. #5
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    Mountain biking for me.

    I love to ride both and have no bias to asphalt or dirt. All in all, road riding had made me a better mountain biker, especially in the winter training aspect. Mountain biking has made me a better road biker especially how the steep hill climbs has improved my sprinting.

    I find mountain biking more physically demanding and requiring more bike skill. I've never had to get off of my road bike to push up the remainder of a climb. I've had my butt handed to me more often than I'd like to admit on a few climbs in the Kananaskis. Mountain bike climbs have pushed me to the puke threashold more than road bike sprints/climbs. Skill wise, on the road, I've never had to land that 4 ft ft. drop or bang my chainring heaving bike and self over logs/boulders. I've also been on trails that ran along cliff edges that was a "You fall, you die" situation. Although, come to think of it, a fast moving Chevy would ruin your day real quick too but it isn't dependant soley on bike handleing skiils.

    I think Lance would kick any top mountain bikers cause in addition being the premier road racer, I hear he is also an avid mountain biker.

    Tequila.
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  6. #6
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    No contest

    I'm not a racer just an avid biker and fitness freak.
    I must say from a fitness standpoint i've given up road for mtn due to physical demand and over-all better work out in less time.I could road bike for 10-12 hrs at a time,try that off-road.Another factor when comparing the two,i could stay seated and rest on the descents for a long period of time on the road whereas your standing with an intense focus on the trail when descending off-road.There should be no debate to which is the more efficient ride and less efficiency would mean more demanding.Right?
    Now what lance does is a whole differant senario,he's not your average biker like myself.

  7. #7
    Just another Homer
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    It's a close call

    but my opinion is that road biking is more mental and staying very alert to road conditions where in mountain biking you get more of a break.The tires alone will roll over so much more then the skinnies will.One little rock or a grate of some kind will take you off the bike really quick, and a lot of times you don't even see it.I'm spending a lot more time lately on the road bike because of a couple doubles I'd like to do.Mountain biking is more challenging physically for me, and there's no doubt.I can road ride for hours and hours with lot's of elevation, but mountain biking has some limits for me.After about 8 hours off road it's about bonk time for me.

    Lance has done some mountain biking races and has faired well,some he's won and others,he's had a tough go of it.It depends on a number of things.Primarily the course though.He still kicks butt in cyclocross, even against the best.He trains for road, and that's what he will be the best in.I believe if he trained for mountain/cyclocross he would be the best here too.

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  8. #8
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    I think they are both equally demanding in their own way. Both require extreme mental endurance and physically they will push you for all you've got. Mountain biking obviously tends to put more emphasis on bike handling skills but handling a road bike also requires its own skill. There is more to road than just riding in a pack and drafting. Railing corners on a roadbike at 40+ mph with just 5mm of contact surface on the road, riding on wet roads, sand, debris, or any junk you might find on a road can be unforgiving on a road bike. If you have no handling skills somebody will have to scrape you off the road with a spatula. Even sprinting requires a good amount of skill. Try sprinting at 40mph on a roadbike on a 53-11 gear and the gearing is so heavy you can toppple the bike over and crash if you don't know how to swing it.

  9. #9
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    I vote for road biking for each category

    I find the consequences of a mental lapse to be much greater at the speeds you ride on a road bike.

    Trees and rocks do not jump in front of me while cars and pedestrians might. I never felt my life was in danger on a mountain bike but can not say the same for riding on the road.

    Doing 30 mph on pavement with 23mm tires and brakes that only hint at stopping seems much more dangerous than doing 15 mph in rocks with 2.1 inch tires and hydraulic discs.

    I would much rather face a bear than a redneck in a pickup truck.


  10. #10
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    Maybe at the elite level they are both pretty close in mental and phsycal demands. I'd say mtb is more "in the moment", where in a road race you have to watch your strategy and long term goals a lot closer. Sort of more like nascar, where MTB is more like rally. There's also a huge difference between and XC ridel & XC race, and a road ride, and a road race. As for me, I ride mostly a very technical loop, mostly at pretty slow speeds, and any laps on mental focus means I'm gettin stopped or dabbing, either way losing my rythem. I like road rides because they allow me to zone out, look at the scenery and relax my mind while getting a FAR better cardio workout, where my regular MTBing is mostly anaerobic.
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  11. #11
    "Mr. Britannica"
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    If you're a mtn biker (or coming from a mtn bike background) then road. If you're a road rider, then mtn bike.

  12. #12
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    okay, now how 'bout this

    The Bulls Vs. The Bears, . . . or maybe Ditka Vs. God?

  13. #13
    PMC
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    Both are hard to do at a high level but anyone can race Sport/Comp MTB or Cat4/5 road and do ok with a minimal time investment if they're in good shape.

    Although both are bike racing, they're completely different animals and you can't just call one harder than the other. Same goes for Cyclocross and Track racing.

  14. #14
    "El Whatever"
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    It's a close call but I would split it in two.

    Physically - MTB

    Mentally - Road

    On the road it's all about "situational awareness". If you don't know where you're at, the peloton will crush you like a banana slug.

    MTB is more physically and technically demanding. Even myself who have a disgraceful technique on MTB can teach some manners to roadies technically wise. When it's time to just push, a roadie can drop me any time. But if it's about rhytm, braking, climb, descend, brake, full-throttle.... I can give a bad time to a roadie.

    I can easily road bike 2+ hours (lame me). MTB'ing... Just over 1 1/2 hours now.

    There's a reason why roadies saty clear from MTB staged races.....
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  15. #15
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    Apples and oranges if it's competitive. If it's just out for a leisurely ride then I'd say mtb is more exhausting.

  16. #16
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    i mtbk with lots of roadies...

    and they all feel that off-road is a lot more demanding physically. after a hard ride off road theyre usually hurting pretty bad. several of them race road so they are very fit and its very hard to stay with them on anything flat and straight. the technical stuff allows you to reign them back in, this is where most roadies (not all) are weak. the endurance of road riders is awesome so both have their advantages.
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  17. #17
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    Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

    I’ve found that in both recreational riding and racing that both take strength, speed, endurance and skill. Are they in equal parts? Yes… but, some are more equal than others.

    For road, I find that I need to be more aware of my surroundings all the time where on dirt I have some “slow periods” where I need not be as focused and other times where I need to be super intent on everything… much more so than on the road (except in the middle of the pack during a crit.)

    Strength wise, I find power is more needed on the dirt than on the road with the exception of hard sprints. I could not climb mountains like I do for the extended periods of time I climb long roads, mostly do to the slope of the climb but also due to the technique used in either situation.

    In the final analysis, at least for me, mountain biking is much harder on me physically and mentally than road is both recreationally and racing. Maybe I just need to train differently?

    As for road racers vs. mountain bike racers, we have the example of Lance racing with Travis a couple of years back. After two races, Lance turned to Travis and said: “Dude, I don’t know how you can do this?”

    Different strokes…

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  18. #18
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    For racing, or recreation?

    Recreationally, I think mountain biking takes more skill and concentration, and with a tough group, as much endurance.

    But racing? Unless we're talking solo 24 hour marathons, road biking is brutal. Riding in a pack is technically demanding, racing is just continuously exhausting, and the strain of ignoring the pain and playing all the head games with the competition is just as fatiguing as the physical strain.

    Competitive road bikers are bad ass.

  19. #19
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    Mtb

    Technically mountain biking is obviously much harder, given the same fitness and riding aggression of the rider.

    Mountain bikers are able to ride the road easily.

    Many roadies cannot ride off road without falling or dabbing a lot.

    Mentally, mountain is far more relaxing, there are no bad drivers to control, only friendly riders and hikers.

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