Efficient Riding- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Efficient Riding

    As I push to longer and longer rides, I'm increasingly aware of trying to manage my energy output so I don't go into the "red zone" too quickly and have enough gas to ride 6+ hours. If you think about it, you store energy several ways... 1) in snacks 2) in muscle glycogen and 3) potential energy (at the top of a hill). I think I'm becoming better and better at managing #1 and #2, but there are times I find myself braking too much (probably due to my poor technique) and not "pumping" the bike (which I think is a simple way of conserving kinetic energy (speed)).
    I found riding a HT, I was much more conscious and could feel the benefit of pumping the bike on the rolling parts of trails and coming out of turns...seemed a lot tougher on a FS since the suspension soaked more up.
    So, what do you guys and gals do to get better at those small energy leaks? practice?

  2. #2
    "No Clue Crew"
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    Pump Track.
    It will make you much better in the turns so you don't have to brake as much going into them and (of course) it will make you a lot better at pumping the bike, even a full squish.
    I have stiffeneded up the suspension on my Firebird and hit the Mcpump track with it before. It actually worked a lot better than I thought it would.

  3. #3
    Alive and Lurkin'
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    Ride the Pump Track
    Pumpin & Pimpin

  4. #4
    I am Walt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum
    So, what do you guys and gals do to get better at those small energy leaks? practice?
    Start with more energy.
    Ride more; post less...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum
    As I push to longer and longer rides, I'm increasingly aware of trying to manage my energy output so I don't go into the "red zone" too quickly and have enough gas to ride 6+ hours. If you think about it, you store energy several ways... 1) in snacks 2) in muscle glycogen and 3) potential energy (at the top of a hill). I think I'm becoming better and better at managing #1 and #2, but there are times I find myself braking too much (probably due to my poor technique) and not "pumping" the bike (which I think is a simple way of conserving kinetic energy (speed)).
    I found riding a HT, I was much more conscious and could feel the benefit of pumping the bike on the rolling parts of trails and coming out of turns...seemed a lot tougher on a FS since the suspension soaked more up.
    So, what do you guys and gals do to get better at those small energy leaks? practice?
    According to many, I've never suffered from a shortage of gas.



    (Come on, somebody had to go there.)
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  6. #6
    Bloodied but Unbowed
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny-tire
    According to many, I've never suffered from a shortage of gas.

    (Come on, somebody had to go there.)

    I always thought that's what people reference when they type "BRAAAP!".


    I am not much good at the pumping thing either. Who am I kdding, I am not much good at anything on the MTB except falling off.

    I need Krista Parks to stop teachig the gals skills long enough to teach me some skills like manuals, wheelies, bunny hops, working the terrain with the bike, all that stuff. Kind of an MTB intervention.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesertCrawler
    I need Krista Parks to stop teachig the gals skills long enough to teach me some skills like manuals, wheelies, bunny hops, working the terrain with the bike, all that stuff. Kind of an MTB intervention.
    There are how-tos all over youtube, the rest is just practice, practice, practice.

  8. #8
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    Are you riding clipped? Clipped in defintely increases efficiency when you have a good smooth spin. Also- road bike. All the pros train on them because you can really tailor the ride to what you need to train. Need seat time- base miles. Climbing power- hill repeats are easier to mitigate on the road. Plus- your body gets trained during base miles to use the right parts of the aero/anero-bic ranges of the body.

    As far as technique (#3)-pump tracks, some urban riding (while practicing things like track stands, curb hops, manuals) can help you to. I tend to get on a trail and rail- but I have to get off trails to force myself to just stop and practice. A good day is logging two hours on the bike and only traveling 2 miles!
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  9. #9
    Control Freak
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    clipped in...BAH! Flats FTW Sorry i defintely had to go there

    Tim

  10. #10
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    Ray- Your not that slow. I've seen much worse. You need to flow like water down the trail and trust the front tire. More lean angle on the Rampage.

  11. #11
    Bloodied but Unbowed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cenobite39
    There are how-tos all over youtube, the rest is just practice, practice, practice.
    Yeah, even watched your's more than a few times.

    I am a failure. But I am mostly good with that.

    Just need to work on it.

  12. #12
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    azpoolguy is right, I say the same thing all the time (must be something about working in the pool industry) Flow like water.

    First do a bit of analyzing, think forces, center of gravity, acceleration. In motorsports acceleration and carrying speed through the corners are key to to being fast. It's no different in cycling. Us mortals don't have legs like Marty Nothstein so increasing speed is limited to our fitness and gravity but slowing down is something we have a lot more control over. The less time you spend squeezing the brakes, the more time you spend maintaining your speed so if you can shorten the amount of time it takes you to slow down (harder braking deeper into a corner or rough section) you can increase your average speed. Also choosing the right apex through the corners and balancing that with picking the smoothest line around the corner are also key in an offroad situation to carry speed through corners. Learn the limits of your tires. They can only do 100% of one thing at a time. If you are braking at 99% of your tire's available traction you'd better be pointed in a straight line because if you turn your front wheel any more than 1% your front tire will lock up. This will cause an understeer situation and 9 times out of 10 to the ground you will go. Understeering is bad. Sometimes stopping your rear wheel from rotating can be advantageous to getting around slower, tighter corners (but you didn't hear that from me since that kind of thing can get you flamed to death) by causing oversteer. For the most part you are best to just let it roll. I try to keep my fingers off of the brake levers while going down hill to prevent unnecessary riding of the brakes. The best suspension system you have are made up of your elbows and knees. Use them properly. Your hands, feet, and undercarriage are feeding you information constantly about traction levels and how to respond to the trail, learn how to use this information to adjust your speed, cornering, and braking. Keep a low center of gravity and keep it perpendicular to the trail as well.

    Second, you have to get a bit philosophical while your out there riding. As I learned from a man way more bad ass than me, don't think, feeeeeeel. You are in a dance with the trail. The tempo is set by you and how fast you are going. The trail leads. If you get out of sync with your partner (the trail) you'll make the dance look difficult at best and get catapulted into the air or a rock at worst. You must respond to your partner. When it expands, you must contract, when it turns, you need to bend. Be formless, like water, always moving smoothly around and over obstacles and taking the path of least resistance. An efficient rider will flow like water, making themselves light as a feather or as heavy as bricks as the as the trail calls for it.

    The pump track/bmx track is the best place to apply these skills and make them second nature. Put in your time there and you will flow like water.
    Racing is life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.

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  13. #13
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    Well, mtkracr, you made it up Chutes so you are not as close to the "mortal" category as most of us

    A lot of your post is very true, especially in the motorsports world were you have nice smooth asphalt and sticky tires both of which work together to hold you upright.

    On the trail you don't have anything resembling a smooth surface nor do you usually have two surfaces that work well together for traction. Nothing sticks to dirt like rubber does to asphalt. Most of the time you are on some combination of dirt or gravel with some chunky rocks thrown in here and there. In a straight line everyone can haul ass. Cornering is where it gets tricky.

    If you're lucky the trail you are riding has berms, either man-made or rider made due to use. With berms you can carry a lot more speed but usually there are no berms. And, try as hard as they might, tire manufacturers will never come up with a tire that can give traction in gravel, loose rocks, mud, sand... pretty much anything you would ride a mountain bike on. It's just not possible. Asphalt is a static substance. What we ride our MTBs on is not, with the exception of rare places like The Dells in Prescott.

    Does that corner have a line of really loose dirt, sand, or gravel? Has that line changed due to rain or usage since the last time you rode it? When you hit the gravel how far are you gonna slide before the tires find something to grip? If they even do find something to grip...

    The key is saddle time which teaches you HOW MUCH your tires are going to slide in a given area and knowing how to deal with it. There isn't a trail I've ridden that I don't get faster on after 3 or 4 trips down it simply because I know what's around the corner and where I can carry speed as well as where all the loose sections are that will give me trouble.

    I'm a jerk. I expect my tires to slide exactly 0". When they fail to meet my expectations I get nervous. A nervous rider is a slow rider.

    That's me

  14. #14
    Ahhh the pain....
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    Thanks for the advice guys...all good stuff. I know there are days when I really "feel it" and there are days when it seems very forced and clunky. Usually the clunky days are after not being on the bike for 3-4 days. More practice for me!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbkracr
    azpoolguy is right, I say the same thing all the time (must be something about working in the pool industry) Flow like water.

    First do a bit of analyzing, think forces, center of gravity, acceleration. In motorsports acceleration and carrying speed through the corners are key to to being fast. It's no different in cycling. Us mortals don't have legs like Marty Nothstein so increasing speed is limited to our fitness and gravity but slowing down is something we have a lot more control over. The less time you spend squeezing the brakes, the more time you spend maintaining your speed so if you can shorten the amount of time it takes you to slow down (harder braking deeper into a corner or rough section) you can increase your average speed. Also choosing the right apex through the corners and balancing that with picking the smoothest line around the corner are also key in an offroad situation to carry speed through corners. Learn the limits of your tires. They can only do 100% of one thing at a time. If you are braking at 99% of your tire's available traction you'd better be pointed in a straight line because if you turn your front wheel any more than 1% your front tire will lock up. This will cause an understeer situation and 9 times out of 10 to the ground you will go. Understeering is bad. Sometimes stopping your rear wheel from rotating can be advantageous to getting around slower, tighter corners (but you didn't hear that from me since that kind of thing can get you flamed to death) by causing oversteer. For the most part you are best to just let it roll. I try to keep my fingers off of the brake levers while going down hill to prevent unnecessary riding of the brakes. The best suspension system you have are made up of your elbows and knees. Use them properly. Your hands, feet, and undercarriage are feeding you information constantly about traction levels and how to respond to the trail, learn how to use this information to adjust your speed, cornering, and braking. Keep a low center of gravity and keep it perpendicular to the trail as well.

    Second, you have to get a bit philosophical while your out there riding. As I learned from a man way more bad ass than me, don't think, feeeeeeel. You are in a dance with the trail. The tempo is set by you and how fast you are going. The trail leads. If you get out of sync with your partner (the trail) you'll make the dance look difficult at best and get catapulted into the air or a rock at worst. You must respond to your partner. When it expands, you must contract, when it turns, you need to bend. Be formless, like water, always moving smoothly around and over obstacles and taking the path of least resistance. An efficient rider will flow like water, making themselves light as a feather or as heavy as bricks as the as the trail calls for it.

    The pump track/bmx track is the best place to apply these skills and make them second nature. Put in your time there and you will flow like water.
    holy blessings Squirrel Master! namaste
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  16. #16
    bland
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    Do some chainless dh runs.

  17. #17
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    Keep your fingers off the brake levers. I've been trying hard to conserve energy this way lately.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by m77ranger
    Do some chainless dh runs.
    THIS.

  19. #19
    parenting for gnarness
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    do this: go down something really steep with a strong, very vocal rider behind you. let's hypothetically call him Doug. when the ringing in your ears stops, you are riding efficiently.
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  20. #20
    Fragile - must be Italian
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball
    do this: go down something really steep with a strong, very vocal rider behind you. let's hypothetically call him Doug. when the ringing in your ears stops, you are riding efficiently.
    Ya...when you stop dragging your brakes and scaring the bejeezus out of me...then I'll stop yelling.

    Thx...Doug

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