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  1. #1
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    Lack of fitness or the bike?

    I'm a 40 y/o male and love mountain biking, always have since I was 13, I certainly don't do it as much as I'd like to and more often then not when I'm out hitting the trails it's always the climbs that kill me. I probably get out once on a sat or sun a month if I'm lucky atm and ride with a group and it's the same story when ever I'm out, last to get up the hill, slowest of the group etc. This is really starting to get me down and even though my mates are cool and wait for me saying "it's fine" I'm really not cool with it and starting to not be happy when I'm out on my bike.

    I used to love it so much and just couldn't get enough but something's changed, probably old age!

    I'm not over weight, just a medium to small build of 5'8". Is it just lack of fitness, regular rides that's beating me with this or is it the bike or both?

    I ride a stock Giant Anthem X4 2012 but since getting my Anthem have always wondered whether I made the right choice.

    I love riding trail, Xc, Dh bit of everything really and seeing the lovely Santa Cruz, yeti's the way these All Mountain bikes are set up with the slacker head tube, shorter stem and wider tyres, could having a new bike like this improve my riding/fitness and make it more enjoyable? Or do I just need to get out on my bike more to increase fitness?


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  2. #2
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    You need to get out and ride more.

  3. #3
    Warrior's Society
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    95% of the time......it is not the bike.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
    The carbon is way more durable than most people.

  4. #4
    It's about showing up.
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    You need to get out and ride more.

    I've seen young men of college age who have a history of riding. They can not ride much or at all and just show up and hammer with the best of them. As you age that disappears. You have to work more to stay with the guys you ride with.
    I don't rattle.

  5. #5
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    Need to ride more. It's never the bike.
    2013 Ritchey Swiss Cross
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    I am employed by a bike shop.

  6. #6
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    If you're already struggling on the hills going from the Anthem to a bigger AM bike probably isn't going to help!

    Obviously riding more often would be the best bet, but if that isn't possible then try get in some cardio exercise of any form between rides.

  7. #7
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    Im not trying to sound rude or anything I was just curious if your bike is set up properly?
    Maybe it's a fit issue I'm no expert just wondering.

  8. #8
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    seat time.

  9. #9
    FKA Malibu412
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    Yep, once a month will never cut it if you want to hang with younger folks or those who ride more often. I ride 2-3 time a week at 51 and am about middle of the pack on most climbs.
    "I love the bike. It's my meditation. I think I'm bike-sexual." -Robin Williams

  10. #10
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    Since I got back in the saddle (after 8 years) just over two months ago I have been increasing my fitness. My stamina is getting better. I'm feeling better and I don't need to rest all day long after the ride like when I first got back in the saddle. I'm learning the trail and riding loner. I still have rest spots along the trail but I'm improving there too. And I'm 59 y.o.

  11. #11
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    Try running, I was a runner first then did cycling and cycling is way easier than running

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaxxx View Post
    Try running, I was a runner first then did cycling and cycling is way easier than running

    Try pedaling harder.
    www.seanhannity.com <=not what you think it is.

    Homeopathy is the Air Guitar of Medicine.

  13. #13
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    Riding one Sat. a month, isn't going to build any sort of riding fitness at all. Better than nothing, but you're not really gaining anything. You have to establish a base level of fitness on the bike, then riding becomes more fun. It will take a lot more than once a month though... more like 1 hr, twice a week.

    The only thing a new bike might do for you, is motivate you to ride more... which will make climbing easier.

  14. #14
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    A bike can hold you back to a point if your ability is way above the bike you are riding. But that comes at a point when you are in excellent shape and you need say, a lighter bike for racing, something that's tougher because you are really hitting the trails hard and laying down some serious power, components are lower grade and can't handle your riding ability.

    But like already stated, vast majority of the time, the rider is the problem. That's just a fact. One time a month, you'll never gain any fitness with that amount of riding. Not bike fitness which is different from say running fitness or swimming or CrossFit or whatever. I've found that cycling is pretty specific and running or CrossFit while good for your fitness, doesn't translate well to the bike. It helps, but not enough that you can only ride once a month and expect to ride well, especially climbing.

    So in short, you need to ride more. Other stuff will help with cardio and overall well being, but there's no substitute for cycling specific needs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  15. #15
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Re: Lack of fitness or the bike?

    It's you. Sorry.

    Look for ways to shoehorn in more riding. I used to commute by bike. A recent move nuked that, but I ride during lunch once in most weeks, and almost always ride on both weekend days. I also run, and often I add a second midweek ride in the evening.

    Obviously we all scale our amounts of riding by priority and time. But I don't think working out less than three times a week is really even maintenance-level, and you're seven years older than me.

    I do think one of those times a week can be something else. For example, I think I get away with running twice a week because I ride a lot. And I think going for a run mitigates that I'm sacrificing a ride for one of them.

    I find routine very helpful. If I go on a lunch run because it's Wednesday, I'm a lot better about them than if I'm always deciding whether or not I feel like them. My lunch ride is easier - I enjoy it more - but I still have to shuttle my things to work. (My old bike is waiting for me there.) So sometimes, that's a "because it's Tuesday" ride, though also something i very much enjoy once I'm out on trails, in the middle of my work day. Evening rides take some discipline, and it starts to be hard to stay on top of other stuff if I insist on two evening workouts.

    If you decide to make a change, ramp up over time and listen to your body.

    Otherwise, I dunno. People seem to be happy collecting bikes and going on rides with about 50% time spent actually riding.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamie g View Post
    ......I probably get out once on a sat or sun a month if I'm lucky atm and ride with a group and it's the same story when ever I'm out, last to get up the hill, slowest of the group etc..... Is it just lack of fitness, regular rides that's beating me with this or is it the bike or both?.... Or do I just need to get out on my bike more to increase fitness
    OK, trying to think how to put this so it's not rude or condescending.......It's lack of fitness......how'd I do?......

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamie g View Post
    ....I probably get out once on a sat or sun a month ...
    Yes, definitely lack of fitness. I was the fastest I ever was on a bike when I was 40 years old so age is no excuse.

  18. #18
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    Lack of fitness or the bike?

    Well what a response! Thanks guys. And no, nothing rude mentioned. I just needed to hear advise from experienced riders like yourselves.

    I always thought fitness was where it's at and now I know and kind of understand better, so thanks to everyone for your great advise.

    So, if fitness is the key here, regarding pedals, would it also help if I used clipless? I mean currently I use flats and always have done for that matter but have always been curious as to what clipless would be like. More upstroke as well as down?




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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamie g View Post
    regarding pedals, would it also help if I used clipless?
    I sense a troll at work. Freakybro signing out

  20. #20
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    Yeah with any cardio, and bike is no exception, you need 3x week or more. 30 minutes to an hour.

    Clips will help climbing to some degree as you can get power 360 degrees around. So it will just burn you up that much faster.

    But sounds like you may be looking for shortcuts. There arent any.

  21. #21
    Token Hillbilly
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    I'm 41and have been out of riding for the last couple of years and was stunned at how quickly I'm getting my chops back. I try to ride MTB twice a week (one slow for technical, one fast for fun), twice a week on the road (whatever speed the group feels like that day), and run at least once for 5k (twice if I have the time). I joined a bowling league for my night off lol. Being married with 3 kids make scheduling all of this interesting sometimes, but I try to do the runs at night late and ride the weekend with my wife and/or kids to do my slower technical stuff. Either way, it's the saddle and run time that's racheting my ability quickly. We can still do what we did 10 years ago, you just have to remind your body of that more.
    Trying to win hearts and minds, but willing to stomp them if necessary.

  22. #22
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    The only Rx for your issue....is to simply ride LOTS. Have oatmeal with a banana sliced in it, or berries. This is perfect slow-release energy for you. Start practicing with hills and time yourself up them. Track your progress. Repeat.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  23. #23
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    You need to ride a LOT more. You don't even have to do it on the trails. See if you can get 5 to 10 miles a a few times a week on the pavement near your house. Anything will help.

    There's no replacement for time in the saddle…even when Lance Armstrong was doping he still had to practice.

  24. #24
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Re: Lack of fitness or the bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamie g View Post
    So, if fitness is the key here, regarding pedals, would it also help if I used clipless? I mean currently I use flats and always have done for that matter but have always been curious as to what clipless would be like. More upstroke as well as down?
    I love my clipless pedals. But people spout a lot of myths about them.

    They keep my foot in the same place on my pedal. That's it.

    Whenever someone bothers to study it, they find out that pulling up is bizarre and strong riders don't really do it. Just reduce the weight on the back pedal, so it's not fighting the front pedal as much. Which may sound like a semantics thing, but if there's still a little weight on the back pedal, a clip doesn't effect power transfer.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  25. #25
    Ride Instigator
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    Well, I have one of those nice light Santa Cruz carbon framed, shortie stemmed, slacker head tubed, wider tire'd rigs and yuh know what? The climbs still kick my arse! I wish I had the time to get out more to increase fitness but all kinds of things get in the way!!

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