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  1. #1
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    Do you train on a roadbike?

    Just had my last race of the season (first year of racing) and didn't do as well as I liked. I'm hoping to get a bit more serious about training, and was curious, how many of you ride road?

    There's a trail just outside my house, but for the most part, it's paved. Nothing wrong with that really, it's just killing my tires. So, I thought about just getting some tires that'll last a bit longer on the pavement. Then, I thought about just getting a road bike.

    Thoughts/Suggestions?
    Last edited by JHANguyen; 10-18-2009 at 10:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    yes (x2 as the wife trains on one too)

    i do wish i had a cross bike instead though. more utility (ride road and dirt)

  3. #3
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    Road bike is great to train on when trails are closed or you just want to knock out some intervals, good change of pace too.

  4. #4
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    Yes. Road bikes are great for conditioning. I've ridden/raced on the road a lot, and my road fitness allowed me to do well when I started racing a MTB earlier this year. I use an SRM powermeter as well. It's very helpful for interval training.
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  5. #5
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    Yep I spend a lot of time on the road bike. Probably 70-80% of total bike time. It's much easier to get those long endurance rides in on the road bike (3+ hrs). The other thing for me is a mental issue. Since I don't train on the MTB it keeps it fun and I don't get burned out.
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  6. #6
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    Yes. The time I spend on the road is not that enjoyable though, I'm just not a roadie. If I trained 70-80% of my time on the road I'd be burnt out in no time. My estimate is that I spend about 20% of my training time on the road, possibly less.

  7. #7
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    I definately don't consider myself a roadie, it's boring as hell and cars are scary. Luckily there's a lot of bike trail around here. And my pavement time is usually "disquised" as commuting to/from work with route extensions.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiflow_21
    The time I spend on the road is not that enjoyable though...
    Yeah, that's what I'm a bit afraid of. Don't want to put money into a bike I won't enjoy very much.

    I had a cross bike last year and often put some slicks on to ride road with some friends. I also found it quite boring, but at this time, I wasn't racing XC.

  9. #9
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    Road riding can be a lot of fun if you have a good group of people to ride with. Plus, it really is an effective way to train. Start doing some road racing early in the spring and you'll feel like you're flying by the time XC season gets underway.

    Plus, after all that early season riding... you'll be so sick of the road bike that you'll be thanking sweet jesus that the trails have finally dried out enough to bust out the MTB

  10. #10
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    Road bike allows you work on your pedaling skills. You can do those LSD's and build that necessary endurance. Find a roadie group, most all are fun to ride with. I find the better road riders are motorcyclists OR mountain bikers. The ppl who have only ridden road bikes, don't do as well. The other nice feature is being able to split from the house. I prolly ride my road bike 75% of the time. I have 45, 000 miles on my road bike. lol

  11. #11
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    The advantage to road training is it allows you to ride more and more. I find that I was able to keep a constant tempo....what I mean is that on the decent and flats you can still work hard (especially riding in a pack).
    It also depends on trail access...I have some trails near my home, but I live in a Road Biking mecca...and I find myself climbing better than most cyclist out there.

  12. #12
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    Not only do I train on my road bike, I enjoy riding my road bike.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm
    Not only do I train on my road bike, I enjoy riding my road bike.
    Same here. I can never decide which I enjoy better, MTBing, or road riding. Depends on my mood, both are fun. I don't see how you can be truly competitive MTBer without having a road bike on which to train.
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  14. #14
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    Depending on the region of the country, I think it would be hard to properly train for races without a road bike. There just isn't enough good days to hit the single track on a mountain bike.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldMTBfreak
    Road bike allows you work on your pedaling skills. You can do those LSD's and build that necessary endurance. Find a roadie group, most all are fun to ride with. I find the better road riders are motorcyclists OR mountain bikers. The ppl who have only ridden road bikes, don't do as well. The other nice feature is being able to split from the house. I prolly ride my road bike 75% of the time. I have 45, 000 miles on my road bike. lol
    You aren't serious, are you?

    I'm guessing you don't race on the road.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidR1
    Depending on the region of the country, I think it would be hard to properly train for races without a road bike. There just isn't enough good days to hit the single track on a mountain bike.
    This is the exact reason I got a road bike ~1.5 years ago. The road dries out a lot faster than the dirt. When I can't ride the mtb I pull out the road bike. Any biking is better than no biking, and road training really allows you to push yourself constantly for a long period of time. I do think that it helped me quite a bit this year.

    Another option is gravel with a cross bike. I picked up a cross bike a few weeks ago and it feels like a rocket on gravel compared to my mountain bikes, which adds to the fun factor. I find that I enjoy the rides more on gravel vs road and you can push yourself in a similar way. Gravel is also a great way to keep riding in the off season around here once winter and the cold comes around.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldMTBfreak
    I find the better road riders are motorcyclists OR mountain bikers. The ppl who have only ridden road bikes, don't do as well.
    What would either of those first two groups know about riding in a tightly bunched pack of 60 riders (or more) over varying terrain at speeds of 15-60 km/h for two or more hours?

    The people who have only ridden road bikes by themselves, well that's a different story I guess.

  18. #18
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    Yes. With three kids a job and a wife also trains/races, most of my riding is on the road bike, and much of it is commuting. For awhile, it seemed like the only time I got on my mountain bike was to race!
    If I have a 3 hour window of opportunity, I can do a 3 hour road ride, or a 1.5 hour MTB ride.

    I have in the past compromised and done a 5 hour MTB ride, with half of it getting to and from the forest on the road.

  19. #19
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    another advantage ...

    of the road bike is being easily able to do effective recovery rides. It is hard to do recovery rides off road, but easy to find flat roads for a nice super easy spin. Any training that requires a constant tempo is easier on the road. And riding the road is a lot more fun on a road bike than on a MTB fitted with slicks.

  20. #20
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    I know a lot of people are afraid that road is boring, but i never had that problem. even riding alone 99% of the time i thought was fine. for me, the thing that keeps me interested is how much distance you can cover compared to offroad. it also helps having nice roads to ride on. riding around in circles will never be fun, but if you try to actually go somewhere it can be much more interesting.

    i think it also makes for better benchmarking in training than mountain biking, since i see large differences in my lap times depending on trail conditions, but most road rides can be done in comparable times regardless of conditions (within reason). this helps with tracking progress better than riding offroad.

  21. #21
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    Road riding is a great compliment to mountain biking. If I don't have time on a weekend to hit a trail (40 minutes round trip driving to the nearest for me), I have routes anywhere from 12-50 miles I can do from my front door, or in an hour after work before going home I can hit 15-20 miles outside the office. Pedaling 80-100rpms for 1-2 hours straight does wonders for your leg strength and pedal control, and you can control the level of intervals & recovery times at your whim (depending on your route), versus the trail determining what level you need to be at. Also, sometimes it is nice to just point the bike and pedal without worrying about trees, roots, rocks, whatever, and a nice long downhill hitting 40+ mph is its own rush.

    In addition to all the above, if we don't get a cold enough winter to keep the trails frozen, trail riding is spotty at best without a 2 hours round trip to the rocky trails so the road bike still lets you get out and ride.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCFred
    I don't see how you can be truly competitive MTBer without having a road bike on which to train.
    I have a friend who was 2nd at Nationals (Mt Snow) who rarely/never rides his road bike. He rides his MTB on the road to the trail head and does most of his training off road.

    Myself, I pretty much ride my MTB exclusively from December to Sea Otter, and usually do pretty well. I might pull the RB out for a Saturday Morning group ride, but when training for XC, I like to train on the MTB. Specificity

    This year after Nationals (Jul 18) I didn't ride the MTB (not once!) untill a few weeks ago, for a 15min uphill TT. Otherwise its been all road bike, 2000+ miles, and really, I love the road bike. But with CX started, I have transitioned to all riding on the CX, and will grab the MTB for an occaisional XC event.

  23. #23
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    Hi LE, I do race on the road. I like the dark side. lol I have also worked at a bike shop for a long while (after I retired). I always noticed (and snickered) when a bike would come into the shop and front wheel would be pretty and new looking. Not like mine where the brake pads had burned and scratched the rims braking surface. I generally find the BMX to mountain bike to road bike the best of all riders. Me, I'm motorcycle to mountain bike to road bike. I've had my road bike for 10 years. I have learned to love it. I always graph my performance data, HR, power, elevation, etc. Riding the road bike for training and recovery has done wonders for my mountain biking. If any of you remember those semi-slick tires when they first came out, they felt super fast. Riding the road bike is about the same. After a few years, I'm was able to run in a 2-3 higher gear (same bike course). For me, muscle memory is the key. I'm old and I'll never have those 199 HR's ever again. I strive for a recovery ride after each hard ride. This keeps the old legs and knees loose.

  24. #24
    BDT
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    ntt
    Last edited by BDT; 11-04-2009 at 06:53 AM.

  25. #25
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    I spend 80-90% of my time on my road bike--for one simple reason--I can ride right out my front door and don't have to drive to the trail. Kinda a time thing. When I lived in Chico I had great mountain biking after 3-4 miles on the road, so I road MTB's a lot more there.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCFred
    Same here. I can never decide which I enjoy better, MTBing, or road riding. Depends on my mood, both are fun. I don't see how you can be truly competitive MTBer without having a road bike on which to train.
    While I agree with the first part, I don't necessarily share the same sentiment about the second statement.

    No reason why you can't do the same work on the MTB on the road, instead of riding a road bike.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke
    While I agree with the first part, I don't necessarily share the same sentiment about the second statement.

    No reason why you can't do the same work on the MTB on the road, instead of riding a road bike.
    I can see where you're coming from. In a perfect world, yes, you would be able to get as much solid training from riding exclusively off-road. It's just that, for most of us, it's not as convenient or easy to train solely on trails. Mountain bikes need much more maintenance, and it's just about impossible to do structured intervals (although you can do unstructured ones).

    I don't know any competitive Cat 1ers who don't own a road bike.
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  28. #28
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    Hmm... I always wondered what the big name pros did. How often do they train on the road? Anybody have any idea if it is common practice? I know Lance does just fine on an mtb... Leadville for example.. Then again..he is a machine..

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCFred
    I can see where you're coming from. In a perfect world, yes, you would be able to get as much solid training from riding exclusively off-road. It's just that, for most of us, it's not as convenient or easy to train solely on trails. Mountain bikes need much more maintenance, and it's just about impossible to do structured intervals (although you can do unstructured ones).

    I don't know any competitive Cat 1ers who don't own a road bike.
    I'm saying that you can ride your MTB on the road, and get the same benefit as riding a road bike.

    Perhaps more, as you're riding in the same position that you race/train in when you're out on the dirt.

    Point being: just because it's called a road bike, doesn't mean it's the only machine capable of being used on the roads. No reason a strong rider couldn't stick with or lay the wood to a group ride on the road, while riding an MTB.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke
    I'm saying that you can ride your MTB on the road, and get the same benefit as riding a road bike.

    Perhaps more, as you're riding in the same position that you race/train in when you're out on the dirt.

    Point being: just because it's called a road bike, doesn't mean it's the only machine capable of being used on the roads. No reason a strong rider couldn't stick with or lay the wood to a group ride on the road, while riding an MTB.
    I agree. I rode my mtb on the road for probably 2 years before I finally dropped a whopping $350 on a used road bike. Knobbies on the pavement provides some good resistance training too, especially if you air down.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke
    I'm saying that you can ride your MTB on the road, and get the same benefit as riding a road bike.

    Perhaps more, as you're riding in the same position that you race/train in when you're out on the dirt.
    I agree with this, and personally practice this in my training. For me, I feel faster on the MTB if my training is primarily done on the MTB.. even if that means 1hr Tempo intervals with the MTB on the road... or hill climbing repeats, power intervals, whatever. I have no troubles taking my MTB out on the road for quality workouts, and feel the adaptions are more specific to my position/fit on the MTB, hence achieving better (more bike specific) training for MTB racing.

  32. #32
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    Well, I guess it's personal preference. I can say without any hesitation that I hate riding my MTB on the road. And I'm too lazy to put slicks on....the lightness and quickness of the road bike is what makes training on the road enjoyable.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by HSCoach2
    If I have a 3 hour window of opportunity, I can do a 3 hour road ride, or a 1.5 hour MTB ride.
    It has taken me three years to realize this point. I'm not the brightest.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk
    Hmm... I always wondered what the big name pros did. How often do they train on the road? Anybody have any idea if it is common practice? I know Lance does just fine on an mtb... Leadville for example.. Then again..he is a machine..
    To help answer your question on Pro's riding Road Bikes.....I'm going to do a Century road race here in SoCal...I was looking for one with the most ft of climbing I could find (seems to be normal elevation gain for a MTB endurance race) and this is what I found on their website

    http://www.planetultra.com/MulChallenge/index.htm

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptfmb71
    To help answer your question on Pro's riding Road Bikes.....I'm going to do a Century road race here in SoCal...I was looking for one with the most ft of climbing I could find (seems to be normal elevation gain for a MTB endurance race) and this is what I found on their website

    http://www.planetultra.com/MulChallenge/index.htm
    That's not a race. That's a century. 100 mile ride.

    Very distinct difference between a race and a century ride.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke
    That's not a race. That's a century. 100 mile ride.

    Very distinct difference between a race and a century ride.
    I have no idea what your point is. The difference between a race and a century...I didn't ask did I? As far as Tinker is concerned, possibly he is just setting out for another challenge and enjoys riding road too. Tinker loves everything that has to do with bicycles..remember, he comes from a freestyle/bmx background.

    This does not show me that pro mtb racers train on the road in any way shape or form. I would like an article of some sort...

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCFred
    Well, I guess it's personal preference. I can say without any hesitation that I hate riding my MTB on the road. And I'm too lazy to put slicks on....the lightness and quickness of the road bike is what makes training on the road enjoyable.
    I agree, Road Bikes make better (and funner) road bikes

    I just get hung up on specificity, and feel it makes a difference. I run knobbies on the road, and will occaissionally join the roadie group ride, for some relentless sustained efforts. I try not to take lengthy pulls at 25mph, but its actually not so bad in the draft.. more like a light Tempo/Tempo effort. Attacks on decents are challenging, but I run a 46t on my training bike.

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    IMO, if you're keeping up with a roadie group on your mtb, then one of two things is happening: 1) you're riding with a really slow group, or 2) you're riding with a really fast group that's riding slow at the moment.

    In any fast paced group road ride I've ever done, whether just with teammates or with larger groups, no way in heaven or hell anyone NOT a pro mtb'er would keep up on a mtb. Period.

    Again, IMO, if you insist on telling yourself you're strong enough to keep up w/ a fast road ride on your mtb, you're probably just refusing to admit that the group is riding slower than they could OR you really should be a pro road racer since you're so strong. The rolling resistance differential alone would require significantly higher power on the mtb as opposed to a road bike, so if you're keeping up it's gotta be 'cause they're riding slow or you are just a freak of nature and are putting out inhuman wattage.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke
    That's not a race. That's a century. 100 mile ride.

    Very distinct difference between a race and a century ride.
    Definition of a "race"
    - A contest of speed, as in running, riding, driving, or sailing.
    - Any contest or competition, esp. to achieve superiority: the arms race; the presidential race.

    I guess if you are racing to beat another personís time it could be called a "race". Why do you care?...or is it just to be annoying and childish.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptfmb71
    Definition of a "race"
    - A contest of speed, as in running, riding, driving, or sailing.
    - Any contest or competition, esp. to achieve superiority: the arms race; the presidential race.

    I guess if you are racing to beat another personís time it could be called a "race". Why do you care?...or is it just to be annoying and childish.
    Do you see a number on him? Because I certainly don't.

    Any indication of the organization (UCI, USA Cycling, etc.) that is putting on this "race"? Negative, Goose.

    By your definition, pulling up next to some dude out for a Sunday ride with his wife and kids and then smoking him to the next town line means you were racing. Sorry, but that ain't a race.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCFred
    Well, I guess it's personal preference. I can say without any hesitation that I hate riding my MTB on the road. And I'm too lazy to put slicks on....the lightness and quickness of the road bike is what makes training on the road enjoyable.
    Agreed. Horses for courses. If I was going out for a ride on nothing but tarmac, I'd ride the road bike.

    That said, I do plenty of interval training on the road, on my MTB. Only have so much daylight, and doing another loop out on the local XC lap after dark, even with a light, is a risky proposition.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke
    Do you see a number on him? Because I certainly don't.

    Any indication of the organization (UCI, USA Cycling, etc.) that is putting on this "race"? Negative, Goose.

    By your definition, pulling up next to some dude out for a Sunday ride with his wife and kids and then smoking him to the next town line means you were racing. Sorry, but that ain't a race.
    OK.....Einstein.

    but your comment has to be one of the most pointless/dumbest comments I have every read on these boards....congrats (you must be disliked quite a bit)

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter2468
    IMO, if you're keeping up with a roadie group on your mtb, then one of two things is happening: 1) you're riding with a really slow group, or 2) you're riding with a really fast group that's riding slow at the moment.

    In any fast paced group road ride I've ever done, whether just with teammates or with larger groups, no way in heaven or hell anyone NOT a pro mtb'er would keep up on a mtb. Period.

    Again, IMO, if you insist on telling yourself you're strong enough to keep up w/ a fast road ride on your mtb, you're probably just refusing to admit that the group is riding slower than they could OR you really should be a pro road racer since you're so strong. The rolling resistance differential alone would require significantly higher power on the mtb as opposed to a road bike, so if you're keeping up it's gotta be 'cause they're riding slow or you are just a freak of nature and are putting out inhuman wattage.
    If you're skilled at drafting, you pump up your fast-rolling tires, and the accelerations aren't too bad, no reason a Cat1 roadie on an MTB shouldn't be able to keep up with a mixed group of dudes on road bikes.

    Because even on flat ground, people are constantly moving forwards and backwards through a group, and you can always catch a free ride to the front. On a climb, it boils down to the differences in Crr and the total watts per kilo of the system.

    So, play it smart, be aware of and ride to your strengths/limitations, and you can do it.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter2468
    IMO, if you're keeping up with a roadie group on your mtb, then one of two things is happening: 1) you're riding with a really slow group, or 2) you're riding with a really fast group that's riding slow at the moment.
    These would be Saturday morning club rides ranging from 60 to 80 miles with an average speed at the end of the rides around 20-21mph. This group regroups, so there are periods of slower riding (tops of hills, pee break, flats etc..). But I have plenty of files where I averaged 20.5 for the entire ride of 60-75 miles on my MTB. When I break these down by time spent at various speeds, there may be close to an hour spent over 24mph.. but most time is spent in the 20-24mph.

    As far as average power, I will generate higher averages (and normalized) on solo rides. But the group rides have moments of hanging on for dear life that are not so easily replicated on a solo ride Also, the effort is relentless, knobbies's don't coast well in the draft, you need to be constantly pedaling.... But that really helps with the MTB spin

    I am not implying that this is good training, its just something I do. Group rides are typically not good training.. too much time at low power and typically the hard efforts at the front are either too short or too hard, or the wrong time of the season. So I smooth it out by riding the MTB, stay off the front, hammer when I need to, but otherwise get in a long steady effort, like a giant tempo or beefy endurance ride.

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    I suspect the more correct training you do regardless of pavement/dirt can only help. Nothing replaces saddle time.
    Ventana el Terremoto
    GF SF100

  46. #46
    mtbr member
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    You can take an SUV to the paved race track. Does it make sense?

    You can ride a mountain bike all day on the road, I don't know a person that will argue that. Riding a road bike on the road is a lot more fun. When I jump on a road bike after riding a mountain bike it feels like a ferrari compared to an SUV.

    If you're hanging with road packs on your mountain bike you're either a monster, or riding with a slower group.

    If you have the opportunity to ride a road bike instead of a mountain bike on the road take it. If you don't put the slickest tires you have on the mountain bike and train to your heart's content.

  47. #47
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 743power's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
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    Most of my mileage and hours are on my road bikes. Where I live (central nj) it is a 25 minute drive to most trails, which are 15 miles long at the most. It is easier to get on the road bike and ride for 3 hours and hit all the good roads I can.

    If I lived in CO or somewhere similar, where there was trailheads in every town and bike paths connecting every town and every trailhead, I would probably do a lot more time on my mtb.

  48. #48
    mnoutain bkie rdier
    Reputation: rydbyk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    I train on my BMX bike. I do centuries on my tricycle. I can keep up with club roadies on my unicycle. On race day, I might actually use my mtb bike. It amazes me how quickly a decent thread can go wrong.

    I would still like to simply know if pro mtb racers do the majority of riding on road or off road. I don't want opinions. I want a link to an article or something factual. I don't want some random pic of a pro mtb racer on a road bike. This tells me nothing other than they own an f'n road bike!

    A study...a poll...an article...an interview...someting....

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