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Got My A$$ Kicked- The Cold Reality

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Got My A$$ Kicked- The Cold Reality

Old 01-21-14, 04:38 AM
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GFish
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Got My A$$ Kicked- The Cold Reality

Oh my, what have I done!

I have this older 1995 Specialized mountain bike collecting dust for many years with an outdated fork and components. So after reading what others were doing fixing up older bikes, I figured on doing that to this bike. After all, I'm a cyclist now with better conditioning and can ride further and longer then ever before.

So here's the old bike that's been slightly upgraded and ready for it's first shake down ride after sitting idle for more then 12 years.


Around here, the best and closest location for mountain bikes is apx. 15 miles from the house. All roads and trails lead upwards, there is almost no flat ground.

So get the bike out and start riding up and up, then into a short but very steep hill. By now, I switch to the 24x34 combo, the lowest I have and I'm out of breath with my heart pounding through my chest and feeling really light headed. Have to stop. Rested, regained some composure, breathing became more regular. Started up again only to stop after another 200 feet. Wow, is this mountain biking tough or what. I simply was not prepared or in shape to ride those hills with wider tires and a heavier bike.

So I abandoned the steep hill for a side road over rolling terrain to finish the ride. Not exactly what I had in mind after the progress I've made on the road bike.

Anyone else have a similar story switching from road to mountain bikes? Any advice?

The obvious is to keep riding and just HTFU, something I plan to do. But geez, this was really an eye opener and made me feel so much older and OUT OF SHAPE!
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Old 01-21-14, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by GFish View Post
Wow, is this mountain biking tough or what. I simply was not prepared or in shape to ride those hills with wider tires and a heavier bike. Anyone else have a similar story switching from road to mountain bikes? Any advice?
Yes - keep doing it. Nice changeup to appreciate how fast and smooth our roadbikes are.

Heh, pretty funny. Same thing here - I picked up a mtb for winter riding, and took it out on the snow covered singletracks. Also rode on the lake a bit. Ya, that's hard work. Rolling resistance is ridiculous with 15 lbs in 26 x 2.1 tires. You gotta try pedaling uphill around a tree so tight you couldn't bend your road bike frame to fit. I might have gone 6 - 8 miles, and as much fun as it was decided to quit before I had to walk the bike out of the woods. But man those slight downhill runs on the snow trail through the trees is a total blast.

Can you believe some of these mountain bikers ride the trails standing up most of the way? Ugh.

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Old 01-21-14, 08:50 AM
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One piece of advice is to regularly challenge yourself with that hill. It will help build up your hill-climbing endurance and strength, till one day you plant your flag of triumph at the summit of that hill! Or land in the hospital with a heart attack...
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Old 01-21-14, 09:03 AM
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Ride, burn, repeat.

MTB fitness and road bike fitness do have common components, but they are very different overall. Just keep at it and you'll progress fairly quickly, but you'll feel like you're dying along the way.

BTW, if you really find that you enjoy it, consider a new bike. MTBs have come a very long way since 1995.
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Old 01-21-14, 09:45 AM
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Boy, I had the same reaction. Climbing on an MTB is so much more work, it is ridiculous. What really got me is how you really can't do any honking. All you can do is put your head down and pedal hard.

I've got some pix of me doing just that ... struggling up some steep hill ... and looking good, since the others in the frame were walking. The photo is impressive only because it doesn't show the truth ... those guys that were walking? They PASSED me.

Oy.

Edit ... here ya go. Those guys back there passed me.

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Old 01-21-14, 10:06 AM
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You can get a 20t front for many cranks-and 36 tooth cassette
You can get a 41t rear "sprocket" to put inside your cassette.
You MIGHT not be able to shift up to the 41-in which case just stop and put it-by hand-into the 41t
20t FRONTS- steel-are about $25
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Old 01-21-14, 10:14 AM
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Just think of a dancer that uses Ballet Slippers and Wooden Clogs - Each with its own specialized uses - Now the rider - That's another matter...

I went out on on short ride last year with a cross fit instructor - My little hilly 14 mile ride had him more than torqed out (and you know he would never admit it) - Yet he rides every day stationary...

Cut yourself some slack man - At least you did not kill yourself on a fall...

If I had a mountain bike I probably would never get out of that 24-34 set hills or not....
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Old 01-21-14, 10:41 AM
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what I recall is keeping my speed expectations in line. meaning on an MTB you're gonna go slower, so stop trying to go fast
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Old 01-21-14, 10:57 AM
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I'm primarily a mtb'er and I know I would struggle trying to keep up with a bunch of road riders at the speeds and distances they ride, especially long climbs.

edit that: I wouldn't struggle, I'd fail.
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Old 01-21-14, 11:38 AM
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Reverse for me-Mountain biker that went road and I struggle to stay with most on the road. But I occasionally get the MTB out and get up on those hills in the mud and the rain and the wind. It hurts but one thing I learnt many years ago is that any bike is harder to push up hill than ride it. May go slow but I get there--Whether it be road or MTB.
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Old 01-21-14, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
Reverse for me-Mountain biker that went road and I struggle to stay with most on the road. But I occasionally get the MTB out and get up on those hills in the mud and the rain and the wind. It hurts but one thing I learnt many years ago is that any bike is harder to push up hill than ride it. May go slow but I get there--Whether it be road or MTB.
Agreed. Most mtn. bikers end up riding road bikes if they want to build fitness and endurance.
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Old 01-21-14, 12:28 PM
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Got to go back to that hill, and do it again and again until you master it. . . and you will.

Use a 22 chain ring and a 36 cog in the back, I am not aware of any easier gears, but with that combination you are spinning at a high rate to simply stay up right!

Mountain biking is all about power--at least when you go up steep hills!
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Old 01-21-14, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Terex View Post
Agreed. Most mtn. bikers end up riding road bikes if they want to build fitness and endurance.
Yes, I've read that comment before, and that's what I kept telling myself. That MTB bikers ride roads to gain fitness, not the other way around. I suppose there's a certain amount of cross-over between both disciplines.

I've considered a new bike for the extra gears, disc brakes, shifters and fork, but I can't see how a new bike would ride any easier then this older upgraded aluminum frame bike. I have a new fork, front disc, rear V-brake, shifters, cassette, chain, tires (26x2.35), bar, grips and stem, besides new cables. The bike fits me and the geometry is pretty timeless, and not that outdated, or so I'm told. I could ride some newer bikes just to see, but without any hills in town it would be hard to compare.

For now, I'm OK with the old bike and will need to keep working on conditioning. I admit to taking it easier this winter with fewer rides and less commuting. It's been colder and foggier then normal, making it easy to find an excuse not to ride. But wow, what a wake-up call!

Thanks for all the replies everyone, appreciate reading your recommendations and stories.
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Old 01-21-14, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by VNA View Post
Got to go back to that hill, and do it again and again until you master it. . . and you will.

Use a 22 chain ring and a 36 cog in the back, I am not aware of any easier gears, but with that combination you are spinning at a high rate to simply stay up right!

Mountain biking is all about power--at least when you go up steep hills!
The bike is an 8 speed, maximum rear cog is 34T. Other wise I would have. I like your advice on going back to that hill and trying it over and over until I conquer it. I plan to do just that. That hill will be a reality check on my progress. When I got this bike in 1995, I actually rode up that hill in the 24x28 combo, which was the lowest gears on the bike. So now almost 19 years later at 57 years of age, I needed to stop in the 24x34. I don't really feel any different today, but obviously time and age does catch up to all of us at some point. Yesterday, I realized my conditioning wasn't good enough, and I felt really old, more so then I had in a long time.

Isn't power about leg strength? It wasn't my legs that gave out, it was the lungs. I just couldn't get enough air and my heart was racing. Next time I'll wear the heart monitor to check heart rate.

I plan to mix up the riding between road and dirt. Likely more road since I can ride from the house. But I'll need to get after those hills and regain some youth.
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Old 01-21-14, 01:04 PM
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Keep doing it.

It's relatively flat here in MN. So a few years ago I picked up a super-cheap Nashbar 29'er single speed with no suspension and disk brakes. I outfitted it with studded 55mm tires and it is my winter ride. Saturday it got up into the 20's so I did a 23 mile ride that left me exhausted at the end. Pushing those wide, knobby, studded tires through fresh snow really wiped me out. I do a lot of riding on the trainer inside which helps a lot but only steep hills compare with cold air and a surface like oatmeal! After a winter of riding that bike, I want to tell you I feel invincible the first time I take the road bike out in the spring!
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Old 01-21-14, 01:21 PM
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I am by no means an expert because I didn't get back into MTB till this Christmas. But in that time I have been just getting used to my MTB. I agree with many that have stated that often you have to adjust your speed expectations, at least on the flats and climbing but more importantly for me anyway is getting the knowledge of your riding surface. If you are like me the roads you have been on with your road bike have almost been memorized bump for bump and pot hole for pot hole. My first few rides on my MTB it was learning the trail. Cresting the top of a climb and not knowing what is on the other side sometimes caused me to tense up and not put enough effort to get over that last few feet. Once or twice over the same trail and I roll over the top as if I had been doing it for years. In other words I have to get to the point where I feel as comfortable on my MTB as I am on my road bike. So far that hasn't happened but it is coming one step at a time.
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Old 01-21-14, 09:03 PM
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Keep at it, and get some dirt on the bike! - a proper mtb bike should have some dirt on it.
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Old 01-22-14, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by missjean View Post
Keep at it, and get some dirt on the bike! - a proper mtb bike should have some dirt on it.
You should have seen what 12 year old dirt looked like before i cleaned the bike!
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Old 01-22-14, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by GFish View Post
The bike is an 8 speed, maximum rear cog is 34T. Other wise I would have. I like your advice on going back to that hill and trying it over and over until I conquer it. I plan to do just that. That hill will be a reality check on my progress. When I got this bike in 1995, I actually rode up that hill in the 24x28 combo, which was the lowest gears on the bike. So now almost 19 years later at 57 years of age, I needed to stop in the 24x34. I don't really feel any different today, but obviously time and age does catch up to all of us at some point. Yesterday, I realized my conditioning wasn't good enough, and I felt really old, more so then I had in a long time.

Isn't power about leg strength? It wasn't my legs that gave out, it was the lungs. I just couldn't get enough air and my heart was racing. Next time I'll wear the heart monitor to check heart rate.

I plan to mix up the riding between road and dirt. Likely more road since I can ride from the house. But I'll need to get after those hills and regain some youth.
The important part in breathing is to EXHALE as hard as you can. Without doing so you can not get sufficient oxygen in to the blood for transfer to the muscles.
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Old 01-22-14, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
You can get a 20t front for many cranks-and 36 tooth cassette
You can get a 41t rear "sprocket" to put inside your cassette.
You MIGHT not be able to shift up to the 41-in which case just stop and put it-by hand-into the 41t
20t FRONTS- steel-are about $25
With a 26" bike I suspect a 22 front or a 34 rear would be sufficient for almost anybody. Less than that and you might as well walk . I think 34 is mostly nine speed territory though, and a 22 will mean a compact crank.
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Old 01-22-14, 11:34 AM
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I climb the levee-mississippi- as my workout
and I'm old-62- bad knee
and there is thick grass
and it rains making it even worse
So I use the 20 41 -probably 80 rpms 26"-bad knee etc
But when I was younger -I could have done it in any gear-44/28 700c or 27" was just fine when I was 25 yo

The grass and soft surface is nearly as bad as the climbing-since changing your angle doesn't help one bit.
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Old 01-22-14, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
Edit ... here ya go. Those guys back there passed me.

Even the person cross-training with the bike? (The last one back in the picture)
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Old 01-22-14, 02:45 PM
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Many years ago before I was back into riding a lot we took a family trip (drive) to Breckenridge, CO. I loaded up all our mtb bikes on the Van. Our hotel was at the base of a ski hill. First thing I did was get a bike down and take off straight up the ski hill. Boy was that naive. I gutted it out straight up a very steep grassy patch for about 400 yards until I was gasping. After that I went to more gentle single track and fire road and rail trail type paths. Was I actually thinking I could ride right up the mountain ski runs --to the top?
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Old 01-22-14, 03:20 PM
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Same thing happened to me but quite a few years ago. At that time I was riding my road bike at least 200 miles per week when a friend asked if I wanted to go mtb riding with him and his daughter (a junior national champion). So I said sure - how hard could it be? Well I pushed that freak'n bike up more hills than I could have imagined. This is the one and only time I ever went mtb riding.
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