Why You Should Be Mountain Biking
Mountain Bike Racing can seem intimidating and out of reach. This article will hopefully disprove that myth and convince you to add mountain biking and mountain bike racing to your training plans.
As cyclists, we always like an excuse to buy another bike, and adding a mountain bike to your stable is something you won’t regret. When looking for a mountain bike, research what type of riding you’ll want to do. This can be anything from Cross Country, to Enduro and Downhill, and anything in-between. You can easily find a bike that performs well in each of these categories. The Orbea OCCAM, for example, is bike a that will climb well and descend technical downhills with ease. Setting your wheels up as tubeless is the only thing I would recommend switching from a bike off the showroom floor, tubeless tires will allow you to run a much lower pressure than with tubes. This will significantly increase grip on the dirt.
When you're starting out on the mountain bike, the best piece of advice is to talk to as many mountain bikers as you can. Go into mountain bikes shops, talk with mountain bike teammates and friends, and research trails online. Mountain bike trails are broken down by skill level the same way as a ski hill. Green circles are the easiest, blue squares are medium skill level, and black diamond runs will be the hardest and most technical. Do your research so you don’t get stuck on a trail above your comfort zone. Using a trail mapping app like MTB Project is a great resource to research new trails and stay up to date on trail conditions.
Adding mountain biking once or twice a week to your training plan is a great way to become more comfortable on your bike, increase your technical skills, and have a lot of fun. These skills will translate back to your road, cyclocross, and gravel racing. Mountain bike racing is very similar to cyclocross racing, the effort and warm-up is similar, and you will always want to pre-ride the course like a cyclocross race. This can usually be done the day before, or the day prior to when racing starts, make mental notes of good and bad lines, where you will have time to rest and eat or drink, and where you think you can make a pass.
If you have any specific questions about mountain bike training, coaching, or gear and bikes, please ask!