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Whatís the best way to approach a technical Mt. bike course in an adventure race?


Weight can have itís benefits: Everywhere you look, there is some new wonder way to train for biking. Sometimes itís scientific and other times itís a tip from a professional rider. This idea is from neither. Itís just something Iíve been doing since I started racing about ten years ago. Iíve always weighed between 180-195 which was usually at least 20lbs more than the average road cyclist. This is great on the down hills but definitely a disadvantage going against gravity. So somewhere in the dark reaches of my brain, I decided to start riding carrying an additional 10-15lbs of weight in fanny packs and on the bike. Yes this may seem crazy, and itís not scientifically proven, but the hills seemed much easier on race day. It may be more psychological than anything, but it worked for me. If you would decide to try this idea, keep in mind your own weight when adding a few extra pounds. Begin using very light weight; I would suggest 1-3 lbs. Add a pound or two as you get used to the weight.

When you start talking about adventure racing, itís even more important that you can pull an extra load because you never know what you will face out on the course. Itís also a good way for two riders of different levels to train together with both getting a great workout. The extra weight will make you work harder while riding with others.

Whatís the best way to approach a technical Mt. bike course in an adventure race?

How you approach a technical Mt. bike section in an adventure race will first depend on your skill level. Donít ever feel pressured to ride a section of trail if you donít feel up to it. It only takes a few seconds to walk or carry your bike through it, compared to the minutes, hours, and DNFís if you crash and burn.

I know the real hardcore riders may not agree with this, but even if Iím racing to win, I would sooner jump off my bike, than take a chance at crashing and not finishing the race. Believe me, those couple extra seconds are well worth it. In most cases, I donít even think youíd notice a time difference because some sections are so technical and rocky, that youíre barely moving through them. If youíre skeptical about this theory, try it both on and off your bike. Go out to a real technical section of trail, for you, and time how long it takes to ride and walk, leading up to and through a rocky section. I think you will find that there isnít a big difference and sometimes itís even faster to run or walk your bike.

The same goes for steep sections of trail. If you find yourself crawling up a hill, barely pushing your easiest "granny" gear, consider walking your bike. This will not only save your legs, and even time, but when you get to the top, youíll be ready to get on your bike and go. Save the stud attitude of "ride everything," for training rides when time and lactic acid donít matter. If you have a speedometer, itís even easier to know when to get off your bike. If your speed is down around 4mph or less, get off and run or walk your bike. I would think that most people could walk their bike up a hill at 3mph.

Just give this some thought next time your out riding and get to a technical section of trail. For the most part, how technical the trails are in a race shouldnít ever prevent you from competing in an adventure race. If you get to a section that concerns you, get off and walk. Donít ever let peer pressure push you over the edge. Finishing in one piece is always your first goal.

Good Luck!


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