Can you get and stay "race fit" on a MT bike??- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Can you get and stay "race fit" on a MT bike??

    I realize that this is similar to other posts here but I'm looking for specific opinions regarding training solely on mountain bike. Here's my situation in summary:

    1. Currently I ride road 2-3 days a week with one of the rides being a very intense pace line edeavor of 30-45 hilly miles at 18.5 - 20mph -- about a 90 minute threshold ride.

    2. I'm sick to my stomach at the crashes that are happening all around me and seeing friends hurt. I've seen more folks hurt in the 18 months I've been road riding than I've seen in the last 7 years of mountain riding -- and, no, these are not newbies. Consequently, I'm ready to put the Seven on the market and train on the MTB.

    3. I race Grand Master Sport (58) and do well with my current above mentioned rode riding and 2-3 days of mountain riding (I have a great two mile training loop at my house with plenty of climbing -- very interval like to go around it).

    4. I also have access, close by, to a 10 mile double track loop that is big ring mountain bike friendly.

    Do you think I could stay at my current level of fitness (top 5 sport rider) by substituting MTB double track rides for the road? My main concern, and I realize it's a personal issue, is staying motivated enough without having to dig deep to keep from getting dropped on the hard road rides.

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2

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    An interesting question. Let us know how it turns out.

    (I'm in a very similar situation. 40 Sport, top 1/3. From my house, I have a number of singletrack/doubletrack options with doable pavement approaches. Got the Moots.)

    Though I've met strong riders who don't ride on the road, personally I think it helps me. Zipping around on a fast road bike is so fun, and 3-4 hour endurance rides are much more appetizing. Plus, road bikes require less maintenance per riding hour.

  3. #3
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    Ride Solo??

    Yes you can. Why would the doubletracks and fireroads be detrimental to your overall fitness? You won't go as fast as on the road, but would you really care? Just be sure to keep the goals of the workout in line with whatever you are doing, for example if you are trying to stay below a certain HR, do it.

    But 2ManyMoots, have you considered riding on the road alone? You can still reap the benefits IMHO riding solo. Until I went to college, I had never ridden with anyone on the road. I trained my a$$ off on the road, just always solo. It can be done, I was placing Top 3 in Junior races just by riding solo. On the same hand, if you ride solo, you can do it on an mtb. You may not go as fast as on a road bike but with slicks on my mtb, I can hold 20+ a sustained effort and I am slow these days.

    Just my $.02 cents, I am sure there will be people who disagree with this assessment.

  4. #4
    The Riddler
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    I agree...

    Riding solo is the only training i do. I am a junior and in a town devoid of any cycling anything i don't really have a choice, especially with my age. i don't think solo training is a bad thing and makes racing much more enjoyable actually. You just have to really push yourself when you are supposed to thats all. I actually think it makes you a more committed rider if you can ride 6 days a week from january to october without any training partners.

  5. #5
    Trail rider and racer
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    I do almost all my training solo now. I used to always ride with others, but since I race 24hr solo I really like to get out on the trails or road and condition myself into getting used to suffering by myself and what not.

    I agree about all the accidents on road v MTB. I have had numerous friends hit by cars, fall while out with roadie bunches and have an outright bad time, but I also believe that a road bike is crucial to effective MTB training and also to stay race fit. I think you can stay race fit on both a MTB and Road bike, however my definition of race fit includes being recovered before a race, and in my opinion a MTB does not provide a very good mechanism for staying recovered even when you go out for a recovery or E1 type ride.

    Again, I really don't think training just on the MTB is the best option, you need to focus your training on different elements and I think having two separate bikes helps out here.

    Honestly, keep your road bike, consider going solo or riding with smart bunch of riders, choose your routes carefully if you can and you'll be fine.
    Trev!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ManyMoots
    4. I also have access, close by, to a 10 mile double track loop that is big ring mountain bike friendly.

    Do you think I could stay at my current level of fitness (top 5 sport rider) by substituting MTB double track rides for the road? My main concern, and I realize it's a personal issue, is staying motivated enough without having to dig deep to keep from getting dropped on the hard road rides.

    Thanks for any advice.
    Seems like it could work fine, if the double track loop allows you to keep a steady hard pace when you want to work threshold (too rolling and it ends up as intervals). It can help to wear a heart monitor when you're riding threshold/tempo, even set an alarm at the low end of your "zone" if you need a reminder.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ManyMoots
    Do you think I could stay at my current level of fitness (top 5 sport rider) by substituting MTB double track rides for the road? My main concern, and I realize it's a personal issue, is staying motivated enough without having to dig deep to keep from getting dropped on the hard road rides.

    Thanks for any advice.
    For some people yes, for others no. It all depends on how hard you can go on the mtb by yourself.

    I usually go out 1 day a week and go as hard as I can for 90-120min. If I find myself unable to keep that pace after 30min or so (had a hard race that week) I'll usually switch to some kind of sprint workout and keep the overall ride time down to 60min.

  8. #8
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    Myself and a few friends only do trail riding(training), we are

    Quote Originally Posted by 2ManyMoots
    I realize that this is similar to other posts here but I'm looking for specific opinions regarding training solely on mountain bike. Here's my situation in summary:

    1. Currently I ride road 2-3 days a week with one of the rides being a very intense pace line edeavor of 30-45 hilly miles at 18.5 - 20mph -- about a 90 minute threshold ride.

    2. I'm sick to my stomach at the crashes that are happening all around me and seeing friends hurt. I've seen more folks hurt in the 18 months I've been road riding than I've seen in the last 7 years of mountain riding -- and, no, these are not newbies. Consequently, I'm ready to put the Seven on the market and train on the MTB.

    3. I race Grand Master Sport (58) and do well with my current above mentioned rode riding and 2-3 days of mountain riding (I have a great two mile training loop at my house with plenty of climbing -- very interval like to go around it).

    4. I also have access, close by, to a 10 mile double track loop that is big ring mountain bike friendly.

    Do you think I could stay at my current level of fitness (top 5 sport rider) by substituting MTB double track rides for the road? My main concern, and I realize it's a personal issue, is staying motivated enough without having to dig deep to keep from getting dropped on the hard road rides.

    Thanks for any advice.
    all top five sport, different age groups. If you train correctly you can do it on the mountain no problem. I either train alone or with my son, when you go alone dont take any silly chances. When I do intervals I even do them on a fire road is just safer and more xc like, try doing a couple a 3+ hours rides per week if you want some good endurance, the rest of the time 2hours or so would be fine.
    Short bucket list.
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  9. #9
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    converted MTB

    I think you are best doing some training on the road. For MTB sucess I think the interval training must be balanced with distance/endurance work and the best way to do that is road. I say convert an MTB to road duty and keep riding with your road buddies. That should prevent most of the road crashes. And the extra resistance will just make you stronger.



    Quote Originally Posted by 2ManyMoots
    I realize that this is similar to other posts here but I'm looking for specific opinions regarding training solely on mountain bike. Here's my situation in summary:

    1. Currently I ride road 2-3 days a week with one of the rides being a very intense pace line edeavor of 30-45 hilly miles at 18.5 - 20mph -- about a 90 minute threshold ride.

    2. I'm sick to my stomach at the crashes that are happening all around me and seeing friends hurt. I've seen more folks hurt in the 18 months I've been road riding than I've seen in the last 7 years of mountain riding -- and, no, these are not newbies. Consequently, I'm ready to put the Seven on the market and train on the MTB.

    3. I race Grand Master Sport (58) and do well with my current above mentioned rode riding and 2-3 days of mountain riding (I have a great two mile training loop at my house with plenty of climbing -- very interval like to go around it).

    4. I also have access, close by, to a 10 mile double track loop that is big ring mountain bike friendly.

    Do you think I could stay at my current level of fitness (top 5 sport rider) by substituting MTB double track rides for the road? My main concern, and I realize it's a personal issue, is staying motivated enough without having to dig deep to keep from getting dropped on the hard road rides.

    Thanks for any advice.
    M

  10. #10
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    One issue to keep in mind is how beat up you get after your MTB rides. If we are talking smooth trails, smooth fire roads, that is one thing, if you're talking about rocky technical trails it is another.

    The road bike allows you to not get so beat up, and you can go harder without worrying about your speed exceeding the trail conditions during intervals.

    I second what others are saying regarding riding solo if the group riding is an issue. I hate riding with groups with regards to traffic on the roads. It is just so much easier to deal with cars when solo, as I can pull of at will to let cars around if needed, or they are around me before you know it. Add two more riders and it can be a real problem.

  11. #11
    bleeding eventually stops
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    great advise

    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor!
    I do almost all my training solo now. I used to always ride with others, but since I race 24hr solo I really like to get out on the trails or road and condition myself into getting used to suffering by myself and what not.

    I agree about all the accidents on road v MTB. I have had numerous friends hit by cars, fall while out with roadie bunches and have an outright bad time, but I also believe that a road bike is crucial to effective MTB training and also to stay race fit. I think you can stay race fit on both a MTB and Road bike, however my definition of race fit includes being recovered before a race, and in my opinion a MTB does not provide a very good mechanism for staying recovered even when you go out for a recovery or E1 type ride.

    Again, I really don't think training just on the MTB is the best option, you need to focus your training on different elements and I think having two separate bikes helps out here.

    Honestly, keep your road bike, consider going solo or riding with smart bunch of riders, choose your routes carefully if you can and you'll be fine.
    My experience with endurance cycling is a bit older as I have not been able to compete much since going back to medical school. My experience though was that a combined program of road and mtn biking was really the key to developing speed and endurance. I may be a bit unusual but I also found swimming to be a vital part in my routine. All that time in the saddle meant my lower back would act up, and I would generally feel pretty sore and achy. Hit the pool for a mile swim once a week, and everything would be back in allignment. Its like going to a chiropracter, to yoga and getting a full body work out all at once....although it is pretty damn boring and takes a while to develop a good stroke.
    Now I'm trail running a lot more, and skate skiing in the winter. East coast means a whole lotta mud.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ManyMoots
    I realize that this is similar to other posts here but I'm looking for specific opinions regarding training solely on mountain bike. Here's my situation in summary:

    1. Currently I ride road 2-3 days a week with one of the rides being a very intense pace line edeavor of 30-45 hilly miles at 18.5 - 20mph -- about a 90 minute threshold ride.

    2. I'm sick to my stomach at the crashes that are happening all around me and seeing friends hurt. I've seen more folks hurt in the 18 months I've been road riding than I've seen in the last 7 years of mountain riding -- and, no, these are not newbies. Consequently, I'm ready to put the Seven on the market and train on the MTB.

    3. I race Grand Master Sport (58) and do well with my current above mentioned rode riding and 2-3 days of mountain riding (I have a great two mile training loop at my house with plenty of climbing -- very interval like to go around it).

    4. I also have access, close by, to a 10 mile double track loop that is big ring mountain bike friendly.

    Do you think I could stay at my current level of fitness (top 5 sport rider) by substituting MTB double track rides for the road? My main concern, and I realize it's a personal issue, is staying motivated enough without having to dig deep to keep from getting dropped on the hard road rides.

    Thanks for any advice.

    I don't see any problems here. My previous season was completely off-road and I had made great imrovements. I also noticed I cannot do well off-road racing with road only training (e.g. after early spring training when off-road is not available here for 5-6 weeks in late march-early april). The only problem is that off-road training requires more time to recover.

    PS Also I even don't own road bike and use my MTB with knobbies for road training.

  13. #13

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    Training offroad is a hell of a lot safer than on the road. You still need long road rides for endurance, but for intervals, a good hilly loop can't be beat.

    Just make sure you get a good Heavy bike and some slow rolling tires. Pisses off the weight weenies when you pass em.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dot
    I don't see any problems here. My previous season was completely off-road and I had made great imrovements. I also noticed I cannot do well off-road racing with road only training (e.g. after early spring training when off-road is not available here for 5-6 weeks in late march-early april). The only problem is that off-road training requires more time to recover.

    PS Also I even don't own road bike and use my MTB with knobbies for road training.
    I remember reading that Julie Furtado used to train on the road with her mountain bike as well

  15. #15
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    I also sold my road bike a while back because it just seems too dangerous.

    Just a thought, but would spin classes help substitute for the road riding? Then you're getting the group motivation benefit while in a safe environment on a bike that isn't bouncing you around like a MTB? Maybe in combination with using the fire road to do endurance training on your MTB?

  16. #16
    XCdude
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    I personally dont do spinning but a team member

    Quote Originally Posted by connie
    I also sold my road bike a while back because it just seems too dangerous.

    Just a thought, but would spin classes help substitute for the road riding? Then you're getting the group motivation benefit while in a safe environment on a bike that isn't bouncing you around like a MTB? Maybe in combination with using the fire road to do endurance training on your MTB?
    is a spinning instructor and he is a top 5 sport rider in the 30-39, top 3 if he doesnt spend the night before drinking I know a lot of people using it to at least maintain some fitness if the cant get to the trail.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by connie
    I also sold my road bike a while back because it just seems too dangerous.

    Just a thought, but would spin classes help substitute for the road riding? Then you're getting the group motivation benefit while in a safe environment on a bike that isn't bouncing you around like a MTB? Maybe in combination with using the fire road to do endurance training on your MTB?
    The only problem with spinning is the heat. I sweat buckets in there and it just gets to messy for me. You can definately do it. Just don't be afraid to do your own thing while you're in there because the routine the instructor does may not be enough for you.

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