It’s Spring! The temps are warming up, the flowers are popping, the birds are singing…and the trails are getting ready to ride!! Get ready for the dirt with these mtn bike tips!
Tune Up Your Steed
If you’re like me, at the end of last season you put your trusty mtn bike into storage in whatever condition it ended up in. And…if you used it well last summer…your bike for sure developed a few issues in need of repair. Remember that he fun & safety of your next ride depends on your bike working well. First order of business should be a good tune up & there’s no better time than the present! If you’re looking for a great mechanic, contact Steve Parrish at Dirt Dart Mobile Bike Service. He makes house calls!
Tune Up Your Body
With a few weeks to go before mtn bike season hits full force, now’s the time to focus on getting your body prepared for the rigors of off-road riding. While riding the trails is about the best way to get in shape, doing a bit of prep work beforehand will boost your fun quotient!
Endurance Work – Do some solid cardio workouts 2x per week for at least 30min to build your fitness base – if possible, lean toward leg-intensive exercise like walking/running, hiking, road cycling & stairclimbing. These should be at lower intensity & focus on increasing distance and/or time.
Interval Work – Climbing up & down hills requires that your body recover quickly. To simulate this add interval training into your program (spin classes are great for this) 1-2x per week. Focus for these workouts is to take your HR up into your uncomfortable zone, back off & let it recover, then repeat.
Strength Work – Mtn biking requires a good amount of strength from both lower & upper body. In order to make it up the steeper hills you’ll need to put more force into your pedals. You’ll also need to be able to pull strongly on those handlebars to keep the front end down. A solid, full-body strength training program is a must for getting the most out of your riding time. Aim to do weights 2-3x per week for best results.
In addition to tuning up your bike, work on a few other safety issues.
Helmet – Do you need a new one? Remember that these break down in sunlight so if it’s been 5+ years, you’re due for a new one.
Bailing Out – These skills are SUPER important to get good at. Can you easily & confidently step down with either foot?? Can you dismount off the BACK of the bike? Practice your bail out skills on the flats so you’re ready to do them on trail in any conditions.
The demands of negotiating rough, uneven terrain on a bike require a high level of technique & skill. Even if you can’t get out on the trails yet you can still start working on this area.
Balancing – On a less-traveled road, ride a straight line. Use a painted line as your guide & try to hold your line. By doing this you’ll get good at using your knees & elbows to gently pull the bike back in line & keep it there. Super slow riding is also a great way to work on balance. How slow can you go & still ride straight!
Turning – Find a quiet parking lot & start riding in a circle and/or Figure 8’s. Gradually tighten the turning radii bit by bit working to control the path of the bike.
Obstacles – Find curbs and/or parking space barriers to negotiate over. Create your own obstacle course by setting out rocks, boards, branches…anything you can find…to go up & over. Do this on uphills as well as downhills & you’ll be that much more ready for the trails!