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  1. #1
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    Skill or Endurance

    If you had to choose, which would you rather have, skill or endurance?

    I'm in the skill camp. Every rider I have been impressed with has been due to their skill and not their ability to push a big ring. I also recognize that skill takes time where endurance is more a function of one's ability to suffer and comes more quickly. I also find it strange that every mountain biker that I know that "trains," solely focuses on endurance.

  2. #2
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    Without skill you won't have much endurance....

    Without endurance you won't have much skill...

    Pushing I big ring is neither.

  3. #3
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    Skill doesn't do you any good if you don't have the endurance to get there, if you are fried....skill might not do you any good. Think HAB

    Endurance doesn't do you any good if you don't have the skills to get you there. Think dirt roadies in techy trails.
    I crashed hard enough on my Tallboy to break my leg,
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  4. #4
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    I have ridden with both types - and I think I have a fair amount of skill.
    I find that I can outride some of those endurance guys just by virtue of efficiency. Lately, though, I have been the one running out of gas on a day trip.
    The endurance rider with no skill bashes and grunts their way along. They waste an amazing amount of energy, but they have that energy in spades. Although, a LOT of times that rider has leg endurance but not full body endurance and ends up face planting in a rock garden and shattering their orbital structures along with half their helmet.

    To answer the question, I am always pursuing skilz, but only "train" when time allows. Most often my endurance is not the product of focused training, but just a byproduct of normal activity levels, which vary dramatically.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Without skill you won't have much endurance....

    Without endurance you won't have much skill...
    I'm not even sure that means anything?!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I'm not even sure that means anything?!
    You havn't done much riding?

    If you are a dolt on a bike and thrash it around you are not gonna make a 80 km MTB ride even if you are fit.

    If you can only ride up 500 vertical feet of hill before you drop, you are not gonna develop alot of skills.

  7. #7
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    Re: Skill or Endurance

    I work on skill progression on every ride, without exception. Always improving balance, hops, manuals, cornering, etc. Cleaning difficult trails, riding over large boulders, step ups to skinnies, jumping or pumping every contour... these are the aspects that I care about. No training. Endurance is a byproduct of riding a lot.

    You'll never catch me in a 6/12/24 hour race. The exhilaration of of riding all out on a great piece of singletrack, or the satisfaction of cleaning a difficult obstacle, simply don't exist in that format(at least where I live). If I have enough in the tank after a big loop to consider a second lap, then I should've shredded the first one harder.

    Endurance riding is fitness biking, which I consider as pseudo mountain biking. It is but a sliver of what mountain biking can be. From my perspective anyway. YMMV.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    You havn't done much riding? If you are a dolt on a bike and thrash it around you are not gonna make a 80 km MTB ride even if you are fit. If you can only ride up 500 vertical feet of hill before you drop, you are not gonna develop alot of skills.
    This, you have to have a modicum of endurance in order to spend the amount of time it takes to build skill, they go hand in hand.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllMountin' View Post
    I work on skill progression on every ride, without exception. Always improving balance, hops, manuals, cornering, etc. Cleaning difficult trails, riding over large boulders, step ups to skinnies, jumping or pumping every contour... these are the aspects that I care about. No training. Endurance is a byproduct of riding a lot.

    You'll never catch me in a 6/12/24 hour race. The exhilaration of of riding all out on a great piece of singletrack, or the satisfaction of cleaning a difficult obstacle, simply don't exist in that format(at least where I live). If I have enough in the tank after a big loop to consider a second lap, then I should've shredded the first one harder.

    Endurance riding is fitness biking, which I consider as pseudo mountain biking. It is but a sliver of what mountain biking can be. From my perspective anyway. YMMV.
    I'm in the same headspace as you. I'm most proud when I do something on a trail that others never contemplated was possible or had the cojones to attempt.

  10. #10
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    Yin and yang. One compliments the other.





    Yeah I don't know what that's supposed to mean either. It just depends on what kind of trail you prefer, doesn't it? Fireroad vs singletrack, or a mixture of both?

  11. #11
    'Tis but a scratch
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    You havn't done much riding?

    If you are a dolt on a bike and thrash it around you are not gonna make a 80 km MTB ride even if you are fit.

    If you can only ride up 500 vertical feet of hill before you drop, you are not gonna develop alot of skills.
    I guessed right that you were Canadian when you used km in one sentence and feet in the next.

    BTW - I agree, 1 feeds the other.

    If I answer the OP in a less "all or nothing" response, I would say that I'd rather ride 5 miles of rocky technical single-track requiring lots of skill than 20 miles of uphill double-track requiring lots of endurance. So, if that is how you meant it, my "vote" leans toward skill.

  12. #12
    Ride Instigator
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    Lucky me, I have both good techie skills and endurance. One thing I don't have is speed!

  13. #13
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    Re: Skill or Endurance

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Without skill you won't have much endurance....

    Without endurance you won't have much skill...

    Pushing I big ring is neither.
    This.

  14. #14
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    I have a bit of both, therefore I have skildurnace.
    ...and proud member of the anti-sock puppet desolation

  15. #15
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    I can't say I've ever gone "man, I wish I had the fitness to do a 100 mile race" or "it would be pretty awesome if I could crush my riding buddies on the climbs", but every time I see a video like this I go "damnit, why can't I do that?" If the biking gods gave the choice between being able to podium in every 100 mile race I entered or having all the riding skills of Wade Simmons, I'll take Wade Simmons riding skills every single time, no question.

  16. #16
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    Both. :-D Catching people during a descent in the back half of a 50-mile race was a rather smug moment for me.

    I'm lucky enough to live a quick, easy ride from awesome trails. I moved here about a year and a half ago, along with getting married, finishing my degree, and starting a full-time job. Now I can go mountain biking a few times a week. So I do. I was doing some road training during the week before. I'm not doing much of that lately - I could be mountain biking! So in the last year especially, I've gotten both faster and cleaner. Not as sure about endurance, though I've done some rides over four hours this season, including in competition, so I'm feeling pretty well prepared to do 50 miles this weekend.

    Skill matters to me or I'd just ride the road. But there's something really compelling to me about getting to the tops of things fast. Particularly if it's via singletrack that has some challenge for me. So I'm glad I don't have to choose.

    And it doesn't hurt that there are flow trails to take back to the bottom. :-D
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    I don't know why this is really a question.. There is never a situation where you can have one and not the availability for the other.. If you have neither you should be looking for both. If you have endurance, you should be experienced enough to gain skill... And if you have skills, but no endurance... How the hell did that happen? You were born in a blessed rock garden?

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  18. #18
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    Well where I ride, there are logs you have to ride, drops, 2' piles to jump, some jumps, etc.. So if you've got endurance but no skills you're not going anywhere fast. If you've got skills your strava times will reflect that.

    Ok my post should be under your haha

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  19. #19
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    Although I hear a lot of "you need to have both," most mountain bikers only work on their endurance. How many skill development rides have you seen organized? The odd thing is that skill takes a lot more time to develop than endurance, yet most group rides are about speed. It's the same reason why I find strava to be so shallow since it distills mountain biking down to one facet, speed. I'm still astonished to see how few mountain bikers can wheelie, manual, hop anything higher than a curb, ride a log, etc.

  20. #20
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    Endurance is soooo much easier to develop than skill...people can have all the endurance in the world and not even be able to ride a bike. You can build endurance on a treadmill in your living room, but you're not going to learn how to do a decent X-up that way.
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  21. #21
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    Gotta have both skill and endurance !! Plus it helps if you're in the "zen" mode , not felling it mentally kinda ruins the fun for both skills and endurance !
    Every time i walk into the LBS and see the price tags on new bikes it makes me enjoy and appreciate my Ol' ride even more.

  22. #22
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    I enjoy a good workout, but I love cleaning technical sections - especially sections that gave me trouble previously. I like the feeling that comes from greater endurance, but I love the feeling that comes from greater "one-ness" with my bike and the trail features. No question, skill is where I get the most satisfaction.

  23. #23
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    endurance.

    I will hop off and run everything I can't ride, and ride everyone into the ground*


    *-if- i have that endurance

  24. #24
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    I have the endurance. I'd like to get the skills. I'm not a terrible mountain biker in terms of skill but there is always room to improve. It's harder to put together a step by step plan to improve skills compared to improving fitness. And its hard to put aside the fast fun stuff and suffer at improving skills even when you realize that doing so would result in improved performance even in something like a 24 hour race.
    Cheers, Dave

  25. #25
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    Endurance

    Quote Originally Posted by Overhillthruthewoods View Post
    If you had to choose, which would you rather have, skill or endurance? I'm in the skill camp. Every rider I have been impressed with has been due to their skill and not their ability to push a big ring. I also recognize that skill takes time where endurance is more a function of one's ability to suffer and comes more quickly. I also find it strange that every mountain biker that I know that "trains," solely focuses on endurance.
    Depends on your riding preferences. I like to ride all day so endurance is preferred. I do not train, nor do I push a big ring. And I don't need to impress anyone

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