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Thread: Make Me Faster

  1. #1
    BDT
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    Make Me Faster

    I was a runner until an injury forced me to take a break last spring. Borrowed a friends bike to stay in shape, after a few hundred miles I've retired my running shoes. You guys are on something with MTB thing, I absolutely love it.

    I bought a decent bike and now ride 4 days per week (15-20 miles each ride). One of these rides I go as hard as I can, the other three I ride with groups at a slower pace that includes stops to regroup. I picked up a used road bike last week.

    I want to get faster and enter a few races in 2010. On my fast rides, I would place in the middle of the pack in Sport/Cat2 on my local trail. I feel like I'm pretty good going DH, but need improvement on long climbs. I ride with a few roadies and they are much faster up hills.

    How would you suggest I use my 4 days a week to get faster? How should I incorporate the road bike in my training? Help me come up with a plan. I'll post the results and give updates on the training.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    CB2
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    First thing I would do is flip things around. Ride one social group ride a week and 3 solo.
    If you feel your weakness is climbing, use one of those days to specifically work on climbing.

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    1) Don't give up in running (IMO). For XC mtb racing I think it's a great way to maintain fitness over winter. Check out Chi or Pose schools of running for injury prevention.
    2) If you get serious about it, at some point you'll get a road bike. Road cycling is actually really fun, on the right roads. One or two serious group road rides is a great way to improve your fitness.
    3) I agree with CB2 on the slow group rides. I mean, it's fun, and it's what mountain biking is all about, but you're talking about getting fast.
    4) Do keep it fun. The cool thing about mtb racing (IMO) is that you can get fast and race hard and still have fun and not turn cycling into some power-meter drudge.

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    Make sure you intersperse hard, fast rides with slow easy rides for recovery. Going too fast all the time is almost as bad as going too slow - you need to allow your body time to recover and repair itself. That way it can come back even stronger the next time.

    Other than that, stay consistent - that is, stick to whatever it is you are doing. Consistency is key.
    Alison Dunlap Coaching
    When you're not paid to ride.

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    I was in your position a couple of years ago, a runner who got tired of injuries and hurting all the time. You may be different, but my experience has been that (1) time in the saddle off road is critical to improve your bike skills and (2) it just takes time to build muscles for biking. I like the suggestion that you should ride alone most of the time and with a group less often.

    In regard to bike skills, I ride in Florida and our trails tend to be tight and technical--skills and flow are critical. There are no big climbs that allow someone with a big aerobic engine, but lesser bike skills, to run off and leave other riders. If you ride in an area where the courses are wide open or where there are bunch of big climbs, maybe skills or "flow" won't be as critical. I was a train wreck when I started riding because I had a great aerobic base from the running but didn't have the bike handling skills to go along with it. It just took time and it is still an area where I can improve significantly. I say go find a mentor, someone you can ride behind every now and then and see how they flow, hit berms, lean the bike, etc. Go try to keep up with a better rider on some flowy or technical singletrack.

    My legs have slowly transitioned from skinny runners legs to finally having some meat on them. I have made the biggest gains there by getting out on the road bike with some stronger roadies. I like to ride with a group on the road, with guys who can really push me, and ride alone on the mountain bike.

    Have fun on the bike. I will run again someday to train for an XTerra and/or triathlon, but cycling is 10x better in my opinion and mountain biking is 1000x better. I'm addicated to sweet singletrack.

  6. #6
    BDT
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    Thanks for the responses.

    From now until the end of the year, I'm going to switch up my 4 rides per week.
    1. Hard/Fast 2hr MTB
    2. Social/Group 2.5hr. MTB ride
    3. Road bike 4hr. ride
    4. Road Bike interval work on hills.

    Gatorback - I agree, I would much rather be on the bike in the woods than pounding the pavement. I also have been so impressed with the bike community. From mechanical help pre-ride to post ride beers, cool folks aplenty. Luckily, my bike skills are already pretty decent (BMX background) so I'm gonna focus my training on getting stronger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BDT
    Thanks for the responses.

    From now until the end of the year, I'm going to switch up my 4 rides per week.
    1. Hard/Fast 2hr MTB
    2. Social/Group 2.5hr. MTB ride
    3. Road bike 4hr. ride
    4. Road Bike interval work on hills.

    Gatorback - I agree, I would much rather be on the bike in the woods than pounding the pavement. I also have been so impressed with the bike community. From mechanical help pre-ride to post ride beers, cool folks aplenty. Luckily, my bike skills are already pretty decent (BMX background) so I'm gonna focus my training on getting stronger.
    sounds fine...

    It is very possible to train within a group social ride, just do intervals ahead then ride back to the rear of the group, do all the hills twice, be first up go back to last rider, then repeat...

  8. #8
    AZ
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    FWIW 2 days of interval work would be of much benefit .

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    Do a $#!+ ton of intervals. Look up Lance's comeback workouts.

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