How much time does it get better?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    How much time does it get better?

    Ok so a friend & myself ride Mtn bikes a couple times a week, road bikes a couple times a week & an Orange Fitness Theory class twice a week if it’s too wet to ride.
    My question is when will we feel like we are getting better on the trails? We just feel like it is so hard almost every time out.
    Should we always ride in the granny gear or should we use a harder gear to make us stronger.
    We don’t ride thru the winter & have been riding again for prob a month.
    We prob both need to lose 15 lbs or so.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    It never gets any easier.

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    When did you start riding?

    After a year or two you should notice getting faster, going farther, etc. Never really gets easier if you are pushing yourself.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    It never gets any easier.
    you just go faster.
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  5. #5
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    Interesting topic though. I've always wondered, with the correct coaching how long would it take to be competitive at the Elite level here in America if you were basically starting from scratch?

  6. #6
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    If it feels hard every time out, you are doing it wrong.

    Especially as we age, frequent "hard" workouts don't net much progress. You want to spend 95% of your training time in a zone where your mind is relaxed. Then you can focus and absorb your body's natural feedback, progressing your form, breathing etc. Improving is not just a matter of slogging the pedals, you have to enjoy and thrive. Train your mind and your body will follow.

    Have fun.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    It never gets any easier.
    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    you just go faster.
    And you recover more quickly.

  8. #8
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    You're in Tennessee; there's no reason you can't mountain bike year round. If you go all winter without riding, you lose a lot of fitness that then has to be regained.
    By continuing to browse my posts, you agree to send me cookies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slmjenkins7 View Post
    Ok so a friend & myself ride Mtn bikes a couple times a week, road bikes a couple times a week & an Orange Fitness Theory class twice a week if it’s too wet to ride.
    My question is when will we feel like we are getting better on the trails? We just feel like it is so hard almost every time out.
    Should we always ride in the granny gear or should we use a harder gear to make us stronger.
    We don’t ride thru the winter & have been riding again for prob a month.
    We prob both need to lose 15 lbs or so.
    Thanks!
    Are you using any apps like Strava to track your climbing times? You need something to actually measure with.

    If a specific hill climb takes you 10 mins now and you average 2.2 mph, you can set a goal to do it in 9min and 30 seconds. When you get back to that hill again you will be thinking about improving your time and will start to push yourself more. It is that pushing of ones self that helps you to build your muscles and better your times.
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  10. #10
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    Don't think too much into it. You learn as you ride. If you go riding and focus strictly on progression every single session, you will forget how fun it is to ride your bikes. You won't know if you are getting better on the trails. Only you and your friend can decide that. Many riders stop at different levels of progression based on their comfort zone.

    If you want to measure how much you've learned, try harder trails and see how well you do. If anything, you will add new experience to your current experience which allows you to grow. You can also ride with faster riders to check yourself too. Just don't do everything they do if it's out of your comfort zone or ability.
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  11. #11
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    If you mean you're scared sometimes and want it to get easier, then yeah, that gets easier with experience. I mean, you have to enjoy trying to get through technical sections, but as you try it you'll get better and it'll be easier. For downhill, you learn to trust the bike more, especially if you have momentum built up. At speed, the bike Wants to stay upright.

    If you mean it's just hard to keep up with some other riders, I don't know. Maybe those guys are real fast. Just ride with a group that is near your pace and enjoy riding. (Basically like others had said.) Not all of us were blessed with big lungs, strong hearts, or efficient oxygen processing (whatever that metric is called). I use granny gear all the time, but live for the downhill sections.
    Have fun!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by slmjenkins7 View Post
    Ok so a friend & myself ride Mtn bikes a couple times a week, road bikes a couple times a week & an Orange Fitness Theory class twice a week if it’s too wet to ride.
    My question is when will we feel like we are getting better on the trails? We just feel like it is so hard almost every time out.
    Should we always ride in the granny gear or should we use a harder gear to make us stronger.
    We don’t ride thru the winter & have been riding again for prob a month.
    We prob both need to lose 15 lbs or so.
    Thanks!
    It takes time (every body will progress differently). And you'll fall backwards anytime you have extended time off from riding.

    I coach a youth team, and we had them riding all winter long. Sometimes it was spin class indoors. Sometimes it was gravel because the trails were wet. But we only took a few weeks off for the holidays. my own fitness is better than it has been for quite some time. But mountain biking is about both fitness AND bike handling skills. You can exhaust yourself from poor bike handling skills on technical trails even if you can smash our a century ride on the road no problem. So you're going to have to work on skills AND fitness, and ensure that you work in enough rest days, too.

    And just as a fitness coach can help you maximize your workouts to achieve the gains you desire efficiently, a skills coach can help you achieve improvements in handling skills more efficiently by directing your practice and progressions.

  13. #13
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    Time to redefine your experience.

    Stop telling yourself "this hurts" and start telling yourself "this is what winning feels like."
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    Free your mind

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    I've been out a total of 13 times in the last couple of months. When I started I wanted to try as many different trails as possible, but the last time out I really felt like I was improving a lot. I found a trail that was rated blue and it had Strava segments. So I kept riding it back and forth. There was also another shorter trail that was pretty steep and had some tough (for me) switchbacks. So. I kept doing those trails over and over and the last few times I could really feel myself getting into the flow. I also found that staying out of the granny gears was much better. Keep your momentum up and use a higher gear.

  16. #16
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    15 responses and nobody smells a troll?

    For future reference it resembles a moldy mushroom scent with a hint of pine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    15 responses and nobody smells a troll?

    For future reference it resembles a moldy mushroom scent with a hint of pine.
    I spotted him right off. He was under the bridge next to the big boulder and in between two discarded beer bottles.
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    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  18. #18
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    I couldn't get past the title of the thread.
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    #1 tip I tell my son if he is calling a section hard for fitness reasons. You are better off taking the section in “chunks” but DO NOT walk any of it. Stop and rest then ride as much as you can. Walking sections not only robs you of the physical training but also the bike handling aspect of our sport.

    Stick with it. You *will* get better it just takes time. Kind of like watching your kids grow. You don’t see the growth every day, but in a year you’ll look back and think “Damn, look at how much better I am!”
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    Even when I'm swearing under my breath, I'm still having fun ;-P

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    It was easier for me last night. But I also had a good day. Not all days are equal.

    Feeling like you do better some days then fall back a bit....maybe the day you had a good day was just that -a day you were on and it all clicked. Or maybe the slow day was a day it just wasn't meant to be.

    It was smoother last night than my previous ride on one particular trail. Previous ride I was 20 seconds slower and I thought I was flying. I thought I messed up a few spots last night, but I was quicker. The whole ride, for me, was better. We get those days.

    Just keep riding and you'll progress naturally and you won't even know it until one day it feels easier to you.
    Climbing is tricky because you need strength/fitness, AND technique. As all that comes together the climbing times will be faster.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    #1 tip I tell my son if he is calling a section hard for fitness reasons. You are better off taking the section in “chunks” but DO NOT walk any of it. Stop and rest then ride as much as you can. Walking sections not only robs you of the physical training but also the bike handling aspect of our sport.

    Stick with it. You *will* get better it just takes time. Kind of like watching your kids grow. You don’t see the growth every day, but in a year you’ll look back and think “Damn, look at how much better I am!”
    Yeah, I try to do this. My biggest issue is that it's some combination of fitness and technical and I don't trust myself to safely negotiate the technical if I'm sucking air.

    I really dislike walking sections, but discretion is the better part of valor.

  23. #23
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    I've read out here that hills aren't really difficult; it's all in your mind.
    The only important thing these days, is rhythm and melody. Rhythm...and melody.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankout View Post
    I've read out here that hills aren't really difficult; it's all in your mind.
    If it were that easy, we wouldn't have this ebike problem.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I couldn't get past the title of the thread.
    Lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by roughster View Post
    #1 tip I tell my son if he is calling a section hard for fitness reasons. You are better off taking the section in “chunks” but DO NOT walk any of it. Stop and rest then ride as much as you can. Walking sections not only robs you of the physical training but also the bike handling aspect of our sport.

    Stick with it. You *will* get better it just takes time. Kind of like watching your kids grow. You don’t see the growth every day, but in a year you’ll look back and think “Damn, look at how much better I am!”
    Yep, it takes time. Have patience, like years worth. Walking is still exercise though. It's not a big deal if you have to walk once in awhile, you'll still get fit. Ask a singlespeeder about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crankout View Post
    I've read out here that hills aren't really difficult; it's all in your mind.
    Lol.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Yeah, I try to do this. My biggest issue is that it's some combination of fitness and technical and I don't trust myself to safely negotiate the technical if I'm sucking air.

    I really dislike walking sections, but discretion is the better part of valor.
    I do similar. There's a fair number of spots where the climb is steep and technical and absolutely taps me out to get to a certain point, and then the trail finds a way to get even harder. More steep. More tech. Both. No way I'm going to make it if I stop, rest, and make another attempt, because restarting on steep, techy stuff can be harder than just maintaining (even a little) momentum. So, I'll walk past the spot and restart somewhere it's more manageable.

    As I build fitness, I do notice that I reach that point with a little bit more in the tank and eventually I've got enough to start attempting the next tough spot.

  27. #27
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    I have always noticed that it is a back and forth progression over the 40+ years I have ridden. All of the advice above is good, and needs to be applied to your situation and adjusted.

    The big thing to realize is that MTB is not an "instant gratification" activity. There are so many parameters that effect the activity.

    For me, noticeable progression is when I can ride a trail, and obstacles, cleaner than the time before...not faster, but with less effort.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I do similar. There's a fair number of spots where the climb is steep and technical and absolutely taps me out to get to a certain point, and then the trail finds a way to get even harder. More steep. More tech. Both. No way I'm going to make it if I stop, rest, and make another attempt, because restarting on steep, techy stuff can be harder than just maintaining (even a little) momentum. So, I'll walk past the spot and restart somewhere it's more manageable.

    As I build fitness, I do notice that I reach that point with a little bit more in the tank and eventually I've got enough to start attempting the next tough spot.
    Great description. It's almost always a rooty or stairsteppy climb that gets me. I try to stay away from that section until I gauge that my fitness is better, then I might make it half way or 3/4, so that keeps me out of the "meh walking" dumps.

    The other thing seems to be that we have a lot of fairly short climbs followed by descents and sometimes you can clean the climb, but not be in a proper frame to safely descend. Walking descents is even worse.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by slmjenkins7 View Post
    Ok so a friend & myself ride Mtn bikes a couple times a week, road bikes a couple times a week & an Orange Fitness Theory class twice a week if it’s too wet to ride.
    My question is when will we feel like we are getting better on the trails? We just feel like it is so hard almost every time out.
    Should we always ride in the granny gear or should we use a harder gear to make us stronger.
    We don’t ride thru the winter & have been riding again for prob a month.
    We prob both need to lose 15 lbs or so.
    Thanks!
    The biggest obstacle to improved climbing is not your legs. It's your head. I distinctly recall when I changed my attitude about climbing and it changed everything about the way I ride.

    I used to sit and spin in the lowest gear and endure the climbs. I hated it!

    One day (and I do not know why I did this), I said to myslef, "you're looking at this all wrong. You don't sit and endure climbing, you need to embrace and conquer climbs!" At that moment of clarity, I shifted UP three gears, stood up on the pedals and put out "max" (well, perceived max, anyway) effort for about a half mile and killed a climb I always hated.

    It was like opening a vault and discovering an ancient secret. It changed everything for me. I'm now 57 and have been solely riding SS for 11 years now. It really payed dividends on my road bike.
    "And crawling on the planet's face, some insects called, The Human Race..."

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckha62 View Post
    The biggest obstacle to improved climbing is not your legs. It's your head. I distinctly recall when I changed my attitude about climbing and it changed everything about the way I ride.

    I used to sit and spin in the lowest gear and endure the climbs. I hated it!

    One day (and I do not know why I did this), I said to myslef, "you're looking at this all wrong. You don't sit and endure climbing, you need to embrace and conquer climbs!" At that moment of clarity, I shifted UP three gears, stood up on the pedals and put out "max" (well, perceived max, anyway) effort for about a half mile and killed a climb I always hated.

    It was like opening a vault and discovering an ancient secret. It changed everything for me. I'm now 57 and have been solely riding SS for 11 years now. It really payed dividends on my road bike.
    Excellent point, although I admit to going back to my old way of hating the climbs. The times I have had the mindset of conquering the climbs I’ve far out climbed the other times. I just need to be more disciplined in the way I look at it and stay consistent in that thinking.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    ...But mountain biking is about both fitness AND bike handling skills. You can exhaust yourself from poor bike handling skills on technical trails even if you can smash our a century ride on the road no problem. ....
    +1

    Here's something for comparison.
    My college roommate was a fast roadie, and taught me a lot about training, but had never ridden off road.
    I had been riding off road since I was 8, but had no fitness regimen. We both bought mountain bikes on the same day at the same shop and rode together several times a week for 4 years. We both progressed in fitness and we both progressed in skills, but we were always the same average speed; he would kill me on climbs, and I would kill him in the tech.
    We both progressed immensely in that first year. We had known routes, loops, and climbs where we watched the time on our cycle computers (knowing what our PRs were). On a few rides, we actually put electrical tape across the displays so we could not see the time/speed, then ripped it off right at the end. The results were obvious improvements, but not without the occasional fitness plateau. Sometimes an all-out sufferfest broke that. Sometimes a few days rest broke that. Most importantly, we had to work at it and be out of our comfort zones. The reward was having more fun on bikes.
    I know lots of riders who can average 8mph all day, but 10 mph for only 45 minutes. There's a big difference from someone who can average 10mph all day.

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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckha62 View Post
    The biggest obstacle to improved climbing is not your legs. It's your head. I distinctly recall when I changed my attitude about climbing and it changed everything about the way I ride.

    I used to sit and spin in the lowest gear and endure the climbs. I hated it!

    One day (and I do not know why I did this), I said to myslef, "you're looking at this all wrong. You don't sit and endure climbing, you need to embrace and conquer climbs!" At that moment of clarity, I shifted UP three gears, stood up on the pedals and put out "max" (well, perceived max, anyway) effort for about a half mile and killed a climb I always hated.

    It was like opening a vault and discovering an ancient secret. It changed everything for me. I'm now 57 and have been solely riding SS for 11 years now. It really payed dividends on my road bike.
    the "stand and mash" climbing thing is how I have always done it since I started riding BMX - single speed - since the 70's. I rarely sit and climb, especially if it is a short, steep grade climb...in fact, I usually stand up quite a distance before and start pedaling to gain some speed going into the climb....from riding skateparks where you have to speed up to hit a jump

    on a 4 mile 1-3% grade I will go between both for sure, but I feel like I am doing more work if I am sitting and spinning.
    Go practice. Figure it out. - Fleas

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    I just heard a great podcast that was talking about effort, training, etc...:

    Basically, "Your hard training days should be harder than you are comfortable with. Your recovery days should be boring and easier than you are comfortable with. If you're not fitting that category, you're not actually training, you're just exercising."

    While I don't necessarily agree totally with the above, it made me realize that while I sometimes try to judge my effort and how well I'm climbing and whether I'm seeming faster... so much of what I'm doing is just exercising. I'm not actually tracking enough data or working a specific enough program to actually know whether I'm improving.

    I just try to go out and have fun. My main data point is how I stack up against other people who I frequently ride with. I have some friends who I can climb/ride into the ground and I have other friends who climb/ride me into the ground. Unfortunately, those relations have stayed pretty static over the years: the dude's I started out being able to beat, I can still beat. The dude's who used to beat me. Still beat me.

    So yeah, I'm exercising, not training.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    Interesting topic though. I've always wondered, with the correct coaching how long would it take to be competitive at the Elite level here in America if you were basically starting from scratch?
    What do you consider scratch?

    When you say elite, do you mean racing the ProXCT series?

    "Scratch" is pretty vague. I know Matt Lieto went from 250 pound fat man in 1998 to pro triathlete in 10 years. In my mind, that is amazing. But it is much easier to earn your pro license on a mountain bike than road or triathlon.

  35. #35
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    It does get easier. Depending on how you ride and your genetics you could improve quickly or slowly.

    Generally, the fist 12 weeks of regular riding (4 to 5 times a week) produces the biggest gains, after that you continue to improve but at a slower rate.

    How you ride effects the rate. If you ride really hard you will get rapid initial gains but stop improving after 4 to 6 weeks. However, if you ride longer and slower the gains are slow but it takes a really long time (years) before you stop improving.

    Obviously a mixing it up offer the biggest benifits.

    But when you are highly aerobically trained it is pretty cool. I am quite fit right now and my easy conversation pace is quicker then most people ride. It is a lot of fun to roll a 50km ride at pace and have it be a pretty normal day.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    What do you consider scratch?
    My bad, that was super vague and kind of off topic.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    Interesting topic though. I've always wondered, with the correct coaching how long would it take to be competitive at the Elite level here in America if you were basically starting from scratch?
    Well.

    I have had three riders who within their first two years of racing made the worlds team. To make worlds you need to be basically top 7 in your nation.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    My bad, that was super vague and kind of off topic.
    I don't know, seems on topic. I mean, it isn't any easier for pro's, just faster

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    Stop telling yourself "this hurts" and start telling yourself "this is what winning feels like."
    =sParty
    Lol, this!

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    I couldn't get past the title of the thread.
    This too, lol!

    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    If it were that easy, we wouldn't have this ebike problem.
    Roflmao!!
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    Well.

    I have had three riders who within their first two years of racing made the worlds team. To make worlds you need to be basically top 7 in your nation.
    That answers my question. That's quite an impressive feat for you(coach I'm assuming) and these riders.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by slmjenkins7 View Post
    We prob both need to lose 15 lbs or so.
    Thanks!
    Interesting topic. A really good friend of mine showed me a way to lose a few pounds really quick and it worked. It's your riding gear! Yup. Ditch it. Ride au natural. In the nude. We also find that music motivates us to go faster, so a speaker on your bars playing some Jonas Brothers will really help you pick up the pace. Let us know how it goes and good luck!

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    Riding used to suck a lot back when I started, it was only getting better very gradually, but my diet and fitness level also sucked. I've recently changed my diet and my fitness has improved quite a bit, which has made riding much more enjoyable, so it's not always about time on the bike.
    By continuing to browse my posts, you agree to send chazpat cookies.

  43. #43
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    OP, I know nothing about you and even if you're going to come back to read this thread, but if you're riding as much as you say you are and still need to lose 15 lbs, you probably need to take a hard look at your diet. Lots of people who ride, still over eat. They figure they've earned it, or that they're burning it off any way, so why control the input?

    Take an honest look at the whole picture and you'll probably figure out what else you need to do to get where you want to be.
    Last edited by chuckha62; 1 Week Ago at 07:41 AM.
    "And crawling on the planet's face, some insects called, The Human Race..."

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckha62 View Post
    if you're riding as much as you say you are and still need to lose 15 lbs, you probably need to take a hard look at your diet.
    Since winter he's only been riding one month. That's not much. Agree that diet is important.

    Also agree that the OP is probably going to be a one-and-done sniper.

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    Also agree that the OP is probably going to be a one-and-done sniper.[/QUOTE]

    WTH!! Yes this is my first post but I have read each & every comment & appreciate all the helpful info.
    Your comment is totally uncalled for. Just bc I haven’t commented on everyone’s response doesn’t mean I’m a troll or sniper.
    This isn’t Facebook I didn’t know I had to “like” everyone’s response. What an asshat!

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckha62 View Post
    OP, I know nothing about you and even if you're going to come back to read this thread, but if you're riding as much as you say you are and still need to lose 15 lbs, you probably need to take a hard look at your diet. Lots of people who ride stillover eat. They figure they've earned it, or that they're burning it off any way, so why control the input?


    Take an honest look at the whole picture and you'll probably figure out what else you need to do to get where you want to be.
    Great advice & very true! Thanks

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by slmjenkins7 View Post
    Also agree that the OP is probably going to be a one-and-done sniper.
    WTH!! Yes this is my first post but I have read each & every comment & appreciate all the helpful info.
    Your comment is totally uncalled for. Just bc I haven’t commented on everyone’s response doesn’t mean I’m a troll or sniper.
    This isn’t Facebook I didn’t know I had to “like” everyone’s response. What an asshat![/QUOTE]


    Now that you're back, can you please fix the title to your thread? It makes my head hurt.
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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by slmjenkins7 View Post
    Also agree that the OP is probably going to be a one-and-done sniper.
    WTH!! Yes this is my first post but I have read each & every comment & appreciate all the helpful info.
    Your comment is totally uncalled for. Just bc I haven’t commented on everyone’s response doesn’t mean I’m a troll or sniper.
    This isn’t Facebook I didn’t know I had to “like” everyone’s response. What an asshat![/QUOTE]

    This isn’t Facebook. You should respond once in awhile out of courtesy. Dick.

  49. #49
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    Lol @asshat comment.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Lol @asshat comment.
    Me too. Literally lol. More than once.
    2019 Forbidden Druid
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  51. #51
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    I now predict the OP is a 2 and done sniper.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott O View Post
    I now predict the OP is a 2 and done sniper.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    Oh dang, I think we're running out of hats.

    Dude has 3 posts by the way, must be 3 round bursts.

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