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Help!!! MTB racing(9 posts)

Help!!! MTB racingb_spiwak
May 19, 2002 10:27 AM
I consider myself a roadie, plain and simple. However, since there are almost no road bike races where I live (maybe one a year), I like to be competetive in MTB races. My problem is bike handling. I have more power and endurance than most of the guys I race with, but they ALWAYS drop me as soon as we leave the fire road and enter the trail. Even the guys that stay behind me during the race (which aren't many, mind you...), tell me I drop them on the flats and they catch me as soon as we hit a technical spot. Today I had my second MTB race this year, and I barely even felt tired... it felt like a training ride. But I still got dropped big time, and got second to last place. Since I don't want to train on my MTB, what can I do to get better bike handling skills?
re: Help!!! MTB racinggtx
May 19, 2002 12:45 PM
you just have to ride the mtb more--at least once a week, and try to ride with mtbers who are better than you--having to keep up is the best way to learn. I consider myself a roadie, too, and do the occaissional mtb race. I always drop just about everyone on the climbs, but often get caught on the technical descents--so I know I need to work on my skills more, too. And lately it seems like I'm one of the only guys riding a hardtail on some of these courses--I'd love a nice full squish with disc brakes if I could afford it. Also, you should be tired at the end--if you're not, you haven't pushed yourself hard enough. Make sure you are doing some interval training. Check out the Joe Friel book on mtb racing, too--the preperation is a bit different than it is for road racing. There's a funny passage or two in their about roadies trying to make the transition to mtb racing that ring very true.
re: Help!!! MTB racingFender
May 19, 2002 7:43 PM
I'm a mountain biker converted to roadie, and even though I only do about 5 mtb races a year, I have a "unique" way of keeping my handling skills sharp.
Find some dirt roads, with a few bumps, and ride your road bike on it (just like Lance in the Nike commercial). I can guranntee you that you won't get flats or damage your wheels unless you hit rocks, which are easy to avoid. I What i would also do is ride beginners trails on my road bike. Since those trails have the easiest climbs and descents, they allow for some good handling development skills. Braking is a little trickier since basically the bike won't stop as fast, but it allows for some learning.
Also, when mtb riders pass you on your road rig, they just stare in amazement!! try it!!!
Simple, ride singletrack once a week nmgreg n
May 20, 2002 5:46 AM
Ditto: You gotta ride MTB to win MTBGator
May 20, 2002 6:09 AM
If you say you don't want to train on an MTB, then you don't want to win on an MTB, plain and simple. You're getting dusted because you have no technical bike handling skills, and all the aerobic fitness in the world won't compensate for that.

If you want to have a shot at placing, you have to ride technical trails often and learn how to pick lines. If you don't want to do this, don't race.
re: Help!!! MTB racingsingletrack
May 20, 2002 7:05 AM
I'm a mountain biker that has recently turned into a roadie.
I believe it is a whole lot simpler that way, Ive already
got the technical skills just working on endurance. What
you got do is exactly what the other guys have said, you
got to put some time in on a mt.bike. Go find the most
technical trail in your area and ride it 1 to 2 times a
week. At first you might get frustraded but don't give
up, keep on rideing untile you can ride the trail clean.
After that start building up your speed. A tight singletrack
with some roots, logs and rocks would be the ticket. Be prepared for some nasty crashes along with some bumps
and scrapes. Also try to find a good sport racer and try
to keep up, you will always improve by riding with someone
better than you. Don't stop riding that road bike, they are
great for endurace and getting in that ride when the tails
are too wet. If you will be patient and train on both bikes
you will soon be racing with the BIG DOGS. Good luck.
Don't just ride singletrack...biknben
May 20, 2002 7:43 AM
You need to ride with someone better than you. Stay behind him and watch the technique he uses. It will take you much longer to pick up new techniques if you're just riding by yourself.

There are many ways to get over a log or through obstacles. You need to learn which ways are fastest.

If you don't have someone to ride with then use the race as an opportunity to watch others. Try to stay with them as you go through some rough sections. You'll pick it up over time.

BTW, at no time should a MTB race feel like a training ride. If you have reserves left over at the end you should have gone harder.
Ok, this might be long.......getoffmywheel
May 20, 2002 8:53 AM
Racing on mtb and road will make you a great all round cyclist and give you alot of variation. What races do you do, class? You can't expect to show up to a mtb race and and do well just becuase you have the fitness. Alot of road riders think this and walk away dissapointed. The racers in expert category do plenty of road riding and have no problem keeping up with the road racers during club rides. They also happen to have awesome bike handleing skills. Last Sunday, I blew myself up the whole race and walked away wondering why I pay to do this. My race didn't feel like a training ride and I had nothing left but it was fun. Road riding helps develop race fitness since you can focus on intervals, sprints. etc. without obstacles and I enjoy it just as much. But, this is a mtb race and you need race specific strategies and riding skills. If your're going to race once a year, then just go out and have fun, you will not light the world on fire. I would reccommend mtb atleast once between races and practice the follwing:
mtb skills:
1) Log clearing 2) Creak crossing 3) Steep short climbs after a switch back 4) Hauling ass down rooted/rocky descents 5) Track stands to practice balance 6) Dismounting/Remounting your bike and running up hills where there's a jam.

If it's mostly single track and your off the back becuase you fell/wiped out it will be hard to get those spots back since you have few passing opportunities.

As far as race tactics, experience is your best guide. The more you race, the better you will get. It will eventually become instinct. Always do this before hand: 1) Pre-ride the course and note areas of technical diffuclty and the right line 2) passing opps. 3) MAKE SURE YOUR BIKE WORKS PERFECTLY AND YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TIRES AND LUBE. Mud will kill you if your're not set up right.

Then, after every race, think about how it went and areas you lost time and how you can improve. The goal is to always have fun. Remember 99.9% of the rest of the world is hung over or sitting on their fat asses and your out racing your bike. Also, when it comes down to it, having the ligtest bike with perfect welds and the best components is all bullshit on race day. Beware of the 35 year old with the older steel frame.

Good luck.
re: Ride the MTB........jrm
May 20, 2002 11:42 AM
It's not going to come to you if you dont ride the MTB. Strenth training helps too.