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  1. #1
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    Why am I bombing on trail?

    I ride about 10-15 miles 3 times a week on pavement with no problem with several big climbs. Rollin single track wears me out in 5-6 miles? Not much difference in elevation... If anything the trail climbs are easier. What's the deal?
    He who throws mud loses ground.
    -Fat Albert

  2. #2
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    Wider/knobbier tires, heavier bike, more $h*t in the trail (roots, rocks, etc)... not exactly a smooth hard surface like the road.

  3. #3
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    Well that's what I thought at first but peddling seems easier and I ride same bike both places. I do get pretty amped up for my once a week trail ride. Could it just be excitement. When I use to fight I'd forget to breath so I am making a conscious effort to breath while riding. An when I say bomb I mean bomb big.
    He who throws mud loses ground.
    -Fat Albert

  4. #4
    Big Damn Hero
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    Have you checked what your average heart rate is on the trail rides compared to your road rides? I know my average heart rate is usually quite a bit higher on trail rides (175 - 180bpm) versus road rides where it's usually quite a bit lower (160-165bpm). A significantly higher HR will contribute to that...

  5. #5
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    Its not really fair to compare mileage on the road to the trail. Your average speed on the road will be considerably faster than on trail even with the same level of effort. I can easily ride about 50% faster on roads on my mountain bike, so naturally I can ride much farther in the same time and effort level.

    Normally trails have steeper grades than you find on the roads. Also, some technical sections may require a burst of power to complete. If you don't pace yourself through the hard sections, you can easily blow up later in the ride. If your fitness isn't high, your legs won't be able to recover well from these efforts, but this will improve as you get in better shape.

    Doing longer rides on the road will help to build your endurance and prepare you for longer rides on the trail. I recommend you measure your workouts based on the time spent, rather than miles completed. Decide how many hours you would like to be able to ride on a trail, and build up your road rides to the point where they are a fair amount longer. For example, if you wanted to be able to ride 2 hours on the trail, try to build up to a 2.5-3 hour road ride. Increase your ride times slowly, and expect it to take some time to build your endurance up.

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I'm 50-100% faster on the road too. I generally track my training volume by time - a mile of singletrack is a lot more difficult for me to complete than a mile on the road, and since there's so much variety in the difficult of off-road terrain, from smooth fire roads I could complete on my road bike to difficult technical sections on climbs that take me a couple of attempts to ride the first time, I don't feel like I can really even equate off-road miles to each other either.

    I'd say if you have a hard time on off-road terrain, you're not spending enough time on it. This is a problem I have too - I can put the hurt on other people in my class on power sections, especially uphill, but I lose places in singletrack. If you watch someone who's really good at singletrack, it always looks really easy and any distinct technical moves are very difficult to spot. They just flow over, around, off, through, etc. It's still worth learning to do good pedal-ups, bunny hops and manuals, IMO. Good riders are still doing all those things - they just flow in and out of the moves, so there's no distinct beginning or end. Kind of like Tai Chi...

    I've been having fun watching the Tour de France this year. Watching Cadel Evans in the time trial compared to other riders, say, Contador, was interesting. There were some speed bumps on the course. Evans flowed over them. My girlfriend commented that it must have taken him a lot of discipline not to launch off the tops. Most other riders just plowed into them with a visible jolt and, I'm sure, some loss of speed. Cadel Evans is an excellent mountain biker, at least unless he's been completely seduced by the dark side and never goes off-road anymore.

    So when you're riding off-road, think flowy thoughts.

    I think in any skill sport, consecutive days help a lot too. It's not possible for a lot of us, but if you can do a Saturday and a Sunday MTB ride, or sneak one in after work on Friday, it would probably help a lot.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    I think your definition of 'bombing' on the trail is different than many
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  8. #8
    Wrench
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    I think the word you're looking for is "bonking"

  9. #9
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    Sorry by bombing I mean drug down physically. Worn out. Spent.
    He who throws mud loses ground.
    -Fat Albert

  10. #10
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    I feel you just have to ride trails (a Lot) to get good at trail riding
    Tie two birds together and though they have four wings, they cannot fly!

  11. #11
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I had a race earlier today. I wasn't feeling good. Not sure why, but I have some theories. Anyway, I'd more or less decided by the time I reached the top on the first lap that I was just going to try to finish and keep out of trouble. By the middle of the second lap, though, I was feeling okay, and while it wasn't a brilliant race, it wasn't bad either - I got my usual mid-pack finish.

    A teammate of mine started a few minutes after me - he's in the next age group. This was his first mountain bike race, and he had a similar experience, but he rode off the course after he completed his first lap. I don't know if he was feeling worse than me or not. Anyway, his ride was leaving much later, so I gave him a ride home - not a guy I know very well. Turns out he competes on the road and in 'cross. Most people I know who compete on the road have more powerful engines than I do, so, to me, this illustrates two things - mountain biking places enough additional and enough different demands on the body that to be good at it, a person needs to ride trails, and sometimes you just have to know you can do it. This is the third time I've raced at this venue, my eighth massed start race this season, or my tenth if I also count a couple of goofy TTs I did. So I knew I could finish this particular race, and wasn't going to let feeling a bit "off" stop me, and I also know that I don't always start well.

    Keep riding, and keep snacking.
    Last edited by AndrwSwitch; 07-24-2011 at 06:44 PM.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    From the advice here I think I'm going to try and hit the trails more an try an work in intervals to my road riding to try an simulate the sudden bursts of energy used during trail rides.
    He who throws mud loses ground.
    -Fat Albert

  13. #13
    -eddie.
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    When you ride, ride for quality not quantity. If you feel like you had a good ride and you gave it your all then it was a good ride. BUT, if you come to that crossroad of going to the parking lot or going up another big hill.....don't cheat yourself.


    Quality over Quantity.

  14. #14
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    There are days when I feel like crap for the first 4-5 miles,but start feeling better the longer I ride,up to 20 miles.Maybe its a state of mind.Just relax and enjoy the ride.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Clyde View Post
    From the advice here I think I'm going to try and hit the trails more an try an work in intervals to my road riding to try an simulate the sudden bursts of energy used during trail rides.
    It is much easier to ride smoothly and efficiently on the road...

    It takes quite alot of practice to ride smoothly and efficiently on a trail...

    Ride smoooooth.

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