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bbeasley 06-11-19 01:55 PM

Mountain Bike Fitness
Hi, I'm 61 y/o and have been off my road bike for 5 years. I used to ride ~120 miles / week. A friend got killed and that's the end of riding on the street for me. I recently got a mountain bike and am attempting to get back into shape. I've got great, fun trails 35 miles away for weekend riding. I have a 1/3 mile long gravel driveway on my property. I walk 2 miles/day and do wind sprints on my mountain bike on my driveway best I can. I'm about 15lbs away from a safe jogging weight and I'll start that up as soon as I can.

How do you folks build Mountain bike fitness when you can't ride off road except on the weekends? It appears to me it's a different type of fitness with all the accelerations as compared to the typical 60 mile weekend road group ride.


Canker 06-11-19 02:18 PM

If you don't want to ride on the road you can pick up a trainer and put your old road bike on that. I use my trainer in the winter when it is too muddy to get out on the trails and too cold to get out on the road. I either use Zwift or just follow an interval training video on youtube.

qclabrat 06-11-19 06:11 PM

endurance riding on mountain bikes are now big in my area. Lots of race and events for those who don't want to race faster rides. Do you any gravel or rail trails by you? We have hundred of miles of these types of trails by me in NJ. Google rail trails in LA and see if any are nearby.

North Coast Joe 06-12-19 03:15 AM

67y/o here, who did the same thing about two years ago. Used to put in about 120 road miles per week. Now, I still try to ride daily, but if I cover 6-10 miles per session it's a big day!

I've found that the two disciplines require very different types of fitness. I could ride the roads at 14-18mph for a couple of hours and never run out of wind, but 1/2 hour of jumping logs, crossing roots & riding skinnies and I'm sweating & sucking air. MTBing is a more whole body workout, and for me, much more aerobic.

I can't go to the park every day to ride, so I started in my driveway, too. There's more than just windsprints to be had there. There's wheelies and manuals and fakies, there's precision riding drills (following a straight line or turns with exact wheel placement). If you can't hold a trackstand for 15 seconds now, practice in your'll find it useful in the woods.

I have a tiny back yard, but I ride there, too. It has a whole course of home built obstacles. Pictures are on a different device, but I'll try to post again to show what I did later. That REALLY helped my time in the woods as it's given lots of practice on approaches and follow throughs to obstacles (really important to success). The back yard features include split firewood lines and curves to simulate roots, treated lumber skinnies, ramp jumps, platform jumps and log jumps. All obstacles are not terrifyingly large to avoid major injury in event of failure, but demand proper technique for success. Pretty fun and right here at home!

Good luck, you'll find plenty to work on!

North Coast Joe 06-12-19 03:27 AM

A pic

Forgot about the rock garden back there!

rumrunn6 06-12-19 07:29 AM

I've read that cycling is the best training for cycling. I stick to the most level MTB trails I can find. I don't need a heart attack climbing one hill so I can rest at the top to control breathing so I can coast down the other side. I walk/hike up the big boys (just read that 2 men died while competing in the Madison, Wisconsin, Ironman, 38 & 61 yrs old)

bakerjw 06-12-19 09:55 AM

I agree that mountain biking is a whole body workout. That is something that road cyclists need more of IMHO.

But, I ride the roads a lot. It definitely helps me climb when I get off road.

Leebo 06-17-19 07:48 AM

Must ride more, bike paths? 3 x a week to improve. Spin class? Not what I do but works for some. I have trails 200 yds from my driveway.

prj71 06-18-19 08:32 AM

Road biker makes you a better mountain biker. Mountain biker makes you a better road biker.

You can get killed driving your car down the street. To stop road riding because of what happened to a friend is probably not the proper approach to take.

Or maybe you have some paved bike paths near home?

prj71 06-18-19 08:38 AM

Originally Posted by rumrunn6 (Post 20974624)
I stick to the most level MTB trails I can find.

That's kind of boring.

I walk/hike up the big boys (just read that 2 men died while competing in the Madison, Wisconsin, Ironman, 38 & 61 yrs old)
Probably had other health issues going on they were unaware of that had nothing to do with competing in the Ironman.

rumrunn6 06-18-19 09:34 AM

Originally Posted by prj71 (Post 20984394)
That's kind of boring

lol it's not too bad, I'm still having fun. I'm 60 & just got a cheap preowned MTB last summer ...

Mountain Mitch 06-27-19 09:45 AM

Mountain bike riding, at least around here, is a lot like doing wind sprints. Road biking is more like long distance running. It will help fitness for MTB but since you have sworn off, I’m not going to try and convince you. MTB involves intense climbing activity followed by less active, more skill oriented descents. You don’t ask about building the skills, just the fitness. I think a good spin program is best. If that isn’t available then build your own with a wind trainer or stationary bike at the gym. But any high intensity interval training is great.

Check around, there may be other, closer trails you can access, even if they aren’t that long or challenging.

Whib 06-27-19 07:00 PM

Originally Posted by North Coast Joe (Post 20974392)

Forgot about the rock garden back there!

Very cool!

gnappi 06-28-19 12:40 PM

Congrats on getting back in the saddle, I'm 67 and my Mtn bike has taken over my bike duties for the same purpose as you. Like you, I had been off the bike for several years.

The roads here (So. Flo) are full of drunks, retirees (I'm one) daydreamers and texters and the fact is bicyclists get swatted more often than other places. So I ride almost exclusively on our generously provided sidewalks, but with their many obstructions necessitating riding through gravel, grass, and rocks, the best I can squeeze out of it is 17 mph and I do my regular daily route of 12-14 miles in ~ an hour.

My resting heart rate is down and the weight is off by 14 pounds with a target of 10 pounds to go.

North coast Joe has a GR8 idea there! I wish I had the space.

Spaghetti 07-10-19 05:16 PM

Generally any cardio would help, I like hiking and stationary bike at gym.

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