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Mountain vs. Road Racing(13 posts)

Mountain vs. Road RacingJBergland
Jun 1, 2001 8:57 AM
Anyone else experience this?

About a month ago our club/team was pre-riding a course. We were riding med/hard tempo with a fair amount of attacks. One of the guys who rides/races mountain bikes most of the time came along. He was easily the weakest link (goodbye!!:). He was VERY tired at the end of the ride and had trouble hanging on for most of the last half.

Last night a couple guys decided to give the local mountain bike series a try. The same guy that WAS the 'weakest link', rode away from all of us!! Now I got into biking through mountain bikes and I also try and get off-road every now and then. But I have never seen/experienced such a difference in one person from one discipline to another.

Anyone else have similar experiences??
Surprisingly different sports...Kyle
Jun 1, 2001 9:40 AM
I don't know how good of riders you and your friends are, but I've found (not to flame here) that strong MTBers are now pretty good road riders whereas strong roadies are not good MTBrs. Why? Simple. Most good MTBRs now spend the majority of their training time on the road (the best MTB racer in my town races Cat2 on the side.) Most roadies rarely mountain bike.

Having said that, your friend's problem isn't hard to understand. Discounting paceline skills, MTBing is about hard, often anearobic efforts, followed by rests (ie no pedalling on downhills) as opposed to long steady efforts. When I crossed over to road biking I had an incredibly hard time cruising along at a 75% effort for hours at a time--it took me something like two years to get that skill down.
Tend to agree, but...Biking Viking
Jun 1, 2001 10:43 AM
...not completely. I'm an MTB racer who trains about 80% on the road. However, I ride alone most of the time. I know what to do in a 4-man paceline, but I've never tried to ride in a larger group. I'm pretty sure I'd get my butt kicked should I ever do a crit - I've got the lungs, legs and handling skills it takes, but have no idea about the tactics.

You are correct that MTB racing is about hard, anaerobic efforts, and whereas "no pedalling on downhills" applies, it does NOT mean resting. Some XC courses (like Napa Valley WC) NEVER lets you rest at all. Even if you are not pedalling, you're using a lot of areobic effort to handle the bike and absorb the constant pounding of the trail under you. Also, the downhills demand 100% mental focus, which translates into elevated heart rate as well. Looking back at some of my HR logs from past MTB races, my HR sometimes stays at 5 beats under LT on a demanding downhill section.

Jun 1, 2001 12:11 PM
I find downhilling really demanding too. I meant a rest from the constant pedalling. Interestingly, my switch to a plusher fork and a FS rig has made downhill sections much better rests for me without much of a price on the climbs.

A road racing tip: Find a smart guy who's just a little faster than you and suck his wheel shamelessly--then use the excuse 'hey, I'm a mountain biker, what do you want from me?' Works like a charm and it makes the purist roadies secretly happy when we mtbers live down to their lowest expectations.

A note to those with no sense of humor. That was a joke.
My favorite...Biking Viking
Jun 1, 2001 12:46 PM
Sometimes I ride my MTB to and from the trails, and on my way back, there's always a lot of roadies out.

I love to see their desperation when they hear a mountain bike drafting behind them - and even more so when I pass and leave them in the dust. Only works if the road rider isn't super strong and I've got semi-slicks, though.

i've done thatColnagoFE
Jun 14, 2001 11:41 AM
passed a dude riding a custom serotta legend while out riding my Fisher Sugar (dual susp w/ 2.1 knobbies). he about sh*t and eventually passed me back but it was fun making him work for it.
re: Mountain vs. Road Racingjkalla
Jun 1, 2001 11:04 AM
Don't forget the technical aspects of mountain biking. I have ridden with a few strong road riders who couldn't maintain their speed through the technical singletrack sections. If you think about all the energy wasted by constantly braking and accelerating it can make a big difference.
Just got the 'official' resultsJBergland
Jun 1, 2001 1:24 PM
Our teammate (Joe mountain biker) was 2 minutes up on us. That isn't SO bad considering the winner of the race was 1.5 minutes up on him. During the race it seemed like he had a much bigger lead, mostly because of the single-crack and thick woods... you can't see anyone but the guy (and/or gal) right in front of you.

I would agree with many of the posts above. Mountain and road racing are different. I would compare mountain bike racing more to crits. than to RR or TT. I believe cross is somewhere between the two.
Just got the 'official' resultsJimbojam
Jun 5, 2001 12:49 PM
If you have the leggs, lungs, and heart, you do not have to worry about tactics as much on the mountain bike. Many a strong road riders have been beat by weaker road riders for tactics alone. Cross is a steeple chase Crit with a mountain bike start technique (i.e. fastest horse out of the chute controls the race if they can maintain the effort).
re: Mountain vs. Road Racing- Matrix -
Jun 1, 2001 4:22 PM
I was a DH mtn racer & Singlespeed mtn biker for the last 3.5 years now... I am doing road now because it's pure speed & fitness VS. injuries on mtn bikes....
I say i did a fair amount of roading too in the past...
I am now so much stronger due to Singlespeed & DH biking on that heavy ass bike.& also pushing a big gear on both bikes....
I admit a long distance ride will kill me -but 20 miles or less & your mine--I'm like a spinter for sure....
It's all just how you train & what your good at? i guess !
road riding is technically simple vs. off-road{it takes skill to go fast over rough terrain}practice makes perfect....
Comparing Apples vs. Oranges...biknben
Jun 1, 2001 7:31 PM
They are two different beasts. I train on the Road to race on the dirt. Actually I've been racing on the road to improve my racing on the MTB.
There could be many reasons why the weakest link suddenly became the strongest. I know many roadies who converted. The first thing they have trouble with is pedaling through the bumps. On the road bike when you encounter rough pavement you stop pedaling pick your butt up off the saddle and coast through it. Now imagine rough conditions for an entire ride. Those who are new to MTBing have trouble keeping a rythym (sp?) through the bumps.

On the other hand:
A while ago I was doing almost no road riding. When I descided to go back to pavement I had the most trouble with climbing, especially out of the saddle. I find MTB climbs to be shorter and steeper. This means quick bursts of energy. Most of the time remaining in the saddle to maximize traction. On the road, I could be climbing for 15 minutes. It took me a while to get used to that again.

I would love to climb for 15 minutes on the MTB. There would be one hell of a descent on the other side!!!
Comparing Apples vs. Oranges...likesbikes
Jun 1, 2001 9:38 PM
you must not live where there are mountains.

the beginning of all our rides out here consist of a few miles of warm-up and then 45min-hour worth of climbing. A typical climb is 3 to 5 miles of logging roads before decending the single track.

Ya gotta love Idaho
Yeah, I'm from Jersey...biknben
Jun 2, 2001 8:15 AM
If I had a climb of 3-5 miles I'd be in a different state when I got to the top. :-)

I can't think of a "consistant" climb longer than 1 mile around here.

I'm jealous.