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Thread: Noob on the mtb

  1. #1
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    Noob on the mtb

    Being new to the mtb world, I've found that the workout I've stuck with for years as a roadie doesn't really apply. So, what I'm starting is setting down dumbbells and olympic bars and focusing on using TRX, kettle balls, bands and body weight (pulls-ups, chin-up, push-ups, etc.. Seems to me that strength as well as big flexibility is necessary to be competent on a mtb.

    Thoughts/experiences on my choice(s)

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    In most training plans I've heard of, it's actually kind of similar to road training. It's easier to get your intervals in on a road bike or a trainer than a mt bike, due to a more smooth, even workout. The constant bursts of energy you must use during mt biking make it hard to maintain an even level of power output. Mt biking definitely adds other areas that road training does not. You'll still need to get in your technical training (railing the curves in descending, rocks, roots, logovers, etc). Mt bike training uses strength training, especially in the winter months. I'm not sure how long the strength training lasts, or if it's year round.
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    It's worth doing some specific upper body exercises for mountain biking as it can often be more physical than riding a road bike. A big issue on the mountain bike can be upper body fatigue caused by constantly riding over rough terrain and hanging onto the bike on descents. If your upper body tires rapidly then that can make it hard to control the bike. Arm pump offroad is a real problem as well.

    Arm pump article discussing the problem
    Stanislaus Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Clinic - Inflammation as a Diagnoses

    Have a look at this video showing some different wrist curl variations to try and counter arm pump. You can do them with a set of dumbbells or a lightweight barbell.



    Video: The cure for motocross arm pump? - Motorbike Parts & Accessories Reviews | MCN

    Along with the grip/ forearm work concentrating on exercises for triceps and shoulder strength will help for mountain biking too. You don't need huge amounts of muscle mass but having enough upper body strength and endurance that your arms don't tire quickly is useful for maintaining performance.

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    Thanks guys for your constructive and information!! I'm not going to stop road training (still doing 300 miles per week). But, I am really liking the mtb but, upper body def gets worked!!!

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    Strength training is... interesting I guess, but the real difference between road racing and mountain bike racing is skill. I'd drop the dumbells, go out there to learn how to rail corners, and deal with a variety of terrain.

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    i tend to have the opposite problem. i do 90% mountain, and the rest road. i'm used to the constant short bursts of power and upper body movement. but i'm not really built for long constant pedaling on the road bike. Basically, i know the MTB made me "strong" in the legs, but only for short hard rides,
    on the road, my arse starts hurting and my hips bother me because of the constant sitting and pedaling for long periods of time. i guess i just got to do it more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails View Post
    Strength training is... interesting I guess, but the real difference between road racing and mountain bike racing is skill. I'd drop the dumbells, go out there to learn how to rail corners, and deal with a variety of terrain.
    Yeah, man...I've been going after it, everyday!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TunicaTrails View Post
    Strength training is... interesting I guess, but the real difference between road racing and mountain bike racing is skill. I'd drop the dumbells, go out there to learn how to rail corners, and deal with a variety of terrain.
    I agree with this. Learn how to look ahead, find the smoothest line with the highest amount of grip, do everything smoothly, pedal through rocky terrain,..

    I know you said you do this everyday, but are you riding with someone who has more skills than you. Try following them to learn how they see and take a line. Ask them for feedback when you can't keep up with them on a corner or a downhill or a rocky climb.

    I find there is a big difference on how much upper body effort you have to give by just simply choosing the right line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mooddude View Post
    I agree with this. Learn how to look ahead, find the smoothest line with the highest amount of grip, do everything smoothly, pedal through rocky terrain,..

    I know you said you do this everyday, but are you riding with someone who has more skills than you. Try following them to learn how they see and take a line. Ask them for feedback when you can't keep up with them on a corner or a downhill or a rocky climb.

    I find there is a big difference on how much upper body effort you have to give by just simply choosing the right line.
    I was just talking about this yesterday!!! As a roadie, I have always looked WAY ahead..."Look THRU the corners!!!" I'm having to learn to pull that back a little as I've been going right over big roots rather than going around or over the smaller roots because I am looking way ahead of my front tire!!!

    And, I also made mention of this yesterday with the person I rode with who, indeed, has much a much better skill set on the mtb. My observation from following him was that he did take the smoother line. We talked about it and my going over the bigger roots, etc. lends to my losing forward momentum. I'm learning!!

    And, on the road bike, holding the bars is more of a lightly resting my hands on the bars. On the mtb, I find myself using a death grip which, I know, does not alow me to be fluid with the bars!!

    Thanks again fellas for your input and experience!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    i tend to have the opposite problem. i do 90% mountain, and the rest road. i'm used to the constant short bursts of power and upper body movement. but i'm not really built for long constant pedaling on the road bike. Basically, i know the MTB made me "strong" in the legs, but only for short hard rides,
    on the road, my arse starts hurting and my hips bother me because of the constant sitting and pedaling for long periods of time. i guess i just got to do it more.
    Is it your hip joints or the muscles around your hips that are hurting? If it's the muscles then that's just a case of getting accustomed to the position. Spend more time riding the road bike and they should settle down. There's quite a bit of specificity involved in cycling. Your muscles will take time to adapt to working in a new position on a different bike. Doing plenty of stretching exercises for your hip muscles and back pre-ride could help with discomfort as well.

    Hip Stretching Exercises: Prevent, Correct. Be Better. Look Younget Click4More

    If it's the hip joints that are hurting then you want to try and adjust your road bike's position to get rid of that discomfort. It could be one of many different things but a good starting point would be to measure the saddle height and fore-aft saddle position (relative to the bottom bracket) of your mountain bike and then apply the same measurements to your road bike.

    For saddle soreness you want some good padded shorts and apply plenty of chamois cream. You could also find that a different saddle might be comfortable on the road where you spend more time seated.

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    i'm sure its just the hip/butt muscles. they stop hurting right away when i get off the bike. it just prevents me from going much longer. just gotta spend more time on the road steed i guess

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Pancroft View Post
    And, I also made mention of this yesterday with the person I rode with who, indeed, has much a much better skill set on the mtb. My observation from following him was that he did take the smoother line. We talked about it and my going over the bigger roots, etc. lends to my losing forward momentum. I'm learning!!
    Have a look at the skills videos in this thread for some riding ideas:

    Looking For Tips On Skill I'm Lacking

    Be a Better Rider 1 with Ed Oxley (Great Rock)

    Be a Better Rider 2 with Dales Mountain Biking

    Be a Better Rider 3 with Jedi (Ukbikeskillz)

    Be a Better Rider 4 with Campbell coaching.

    Fluidride like a Pro Video

    Although doing a lot of road riding is good for fitness it won't necessarily do much to help with bike handling. In particular you usually don't spend much time riding at low speed on a road bike. A useful thing to practice is low speed riding and tricks - trackstands and low speed tight turns followed by moving onto things like side hops, endo turns, stoppies, wheelies etc. It helps you to become more familiar with how the bike will react at low speed and increases confidence.

    Technique: Car Park Captain ? Part 1 - BikeRadar

    Technique: Car Park Captain ? Part 2 - BikeRadar

    Finding the best lines on a trail is an important skill as well which you need to work on. From time to time find a section and ride it repeatedly until you're happy with it. If there are multiple lines through a section go back and try and ride them all in order to get a feel for which one works best. Sometimes the best line involves sacrificing one part of trail in order to get onto an overall better line later on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    i'm sure its just the hip/butt muscles. they stop hurting right away when i get off the bike. it just prevents me from going much longer. just gotta spend more time on the road steed i guess
    Make sure you aren't pushing too big a gear. Spinning at a higher cadence in a lower gear should help reduce the amount of soreness, although you may need to adjust your position as well.

    Some other things to try if your legs are hurting are techniques such as occasionally pedalling hard for 20 pedal strokes with just the left leg followed by pedalling hard for 20 pedal strokes with the right leg and so on. The other leg is just pulled round by the crank without doing any work. The idea is that this will give the other leg's muscles a momentary rest in order to try and help you recover a bit.

    If your legs are sore and feeling a bit tight then giving them a shake can help too. Have a look at 5:20 in this video of Fabian Cancellara descending where he does this to loosen his legs up a little. It's something that actually works quite well.


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    IMO the Fluidridelike apro are some of the best vids Ive found for mtb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    Finding the best lines on a trail is an important skill as well which you need to work on. From time to time find a section and ride it repeatedly until you're happy with it. If there are multiple lines through a section go back and try and ride them all in order to get a feel for which one works best. Sometimes the best line involves sacrificing one part of trail in order to get onto an overall better line later on.
    This has to be the best helmet cam video of the 2011 Megavalanche race that I've seen. Parts 1 & 2 are mostly the rocky mountain top section and then parts 2 & 3 are through woodland lower down. Watch it full screen for the best view.

    It's the full 1hr+ descent of Alpe D'Huez and the helmet cam is mounted at around eye level for a natural perspective so that you can see exactly where he is looking. Note how at lower speeds he is looking closer to his front wheel and then as the speeds increase he begins looking further ahead.

    The things to watch out for are the choice of lines that he takes through the corners and obstacles. Try and put yourself in his shoes and then imagine that you're there riding it yourself. Would you take the same lines?

    Watch the other riders on screen as well. Some are clearly good riders and some aren't. When you're stuck in traffic like the top section you need to be able to quickly gauge whether the rider in front is riding well or not. If they're not riding well then be wary of automatically following the lines they choose as they could be bad choices or they may crash in front of you.



    Part 1: Megavalanche 2011 Top Race (Part 1 of 4) - YouTube
    Part 2: Megavalanche 2011 Top Race (Part 2 of 4) - YouTube
    Part 3: Megavalanche 2011 Top Race (Part 3 of 4) - YouTube
    Part 4: Megavalanche 2011 Top Race (Part 4 of 4) - YouTube

    .

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    WR304 Thanks for posting! Thats the most Awesome race ive ever seen!

    Where is it?

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    That video is from the 2011 Megavalanche at Alpe D'Huez in the French Alps. It's part of a mass start downhill series called the Avalanche Cup.

    In the Megavalanche there are 6 qualifying heats of 250 riders who all start at the same time and then have to choose their own route down the mountain. The 45 fastest riders from each qualifying heat go through to the final.

    Megavalanche - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    - avalanche trophy

    Megavalanche Qualifying run:
    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebTcu..._order&list=UL
    Part 2: Megavalanche 2011 Qualification 1400-1599 (Part 2 of 2) - YouTube


    Here are some good videos of riding singletrack in the French Alps too:

    La Varda. Freeride Singletrack MTB French Alps - YouTube
    Refuge du Mont Juvet. Freeride Singletrack MTB French Alps - YouTube
    Roche de Mio. Freeride Singletrack MTB French Alps - YouTube

    .

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    Very good information for another noob to trail riding. Thnx!

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