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  1. #1
    Senior Member juf2m's Avatar
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    Today I had a meltdown on the MTB trail!

    I am VERY new to mountain biking. I have done maybe 5 rides so far. My boyfriend is a fantastic MTB rider, plowing his way over enormous piles of logs, zooming down the hills, etc etc.

    Well I have to say I am a much better road rider than mtb rider. I just can't seem to get it. When I go up a steep hill in a low gear, invariably some root will force me to stop and then I won't have enough momentum to keep up the hill and I will have to walk. The pedals (no way am I going clipless on a mtb!!) have these sharp knobs on them that gouge chunks out of my legs, especially when I am walking which is what I have to do half the time.

    The worst is when I will slam into a log or big root, and then crotch myself on the stem! Today I did it twice, which led to said meltdown. The frustration and pain led to a 10 minute sobbing session on the path. I haven't cried in ages and the last two times were both on the MTB!!

    I really WANT to love mountainbiking. I love the forest, the silence, the fresh air, the peace and quiet, the whole concept....even the camelbak. But I SUCK at this and spend most of the time cursing and thinking about how much I hate mountainbiking.

    I sure hope I will get better at this soon, or I will be very UN motivated to continue with it.

  2. #2
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Stick with it!

    If you're a roadie, you'll want to go clipless. The spin you've got from the roadbike will transfer well to the MTB for many situations (not all...)

    You're going to get hurt fairly often learning, but such is life. After a couple months you'll be much smoother.

    The best piece of advice I can give you is ask your boyfriend to go a little slower, and follow his lead. Monkey see, monkey do, you know? Many people learn well from watching better riders. I know I do!

  3. #3
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    Try easier terrain. If the boyfriend won't join you 'cause he thinks its beneath him, dump him. The boyfriend ain't worth a broken neck...

  4. #4
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Wear shin guards too, that will help very much. On the trail hills take a much lower gear to climb (for obvious reasons), so try getting a lower gear and put weight on the front wheel. by the way, clipless will help very much on tough climbs and hopping over logs and whatnot
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  5. #5
    Senior Member sparks_219's Avatar
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    I noticed your location says Toronto. Freewheel in Dundas offers a women only beginner mountain biking tour where they take you onto trails to show you the basics. You may be able to find a similar class in Toronto. A women's only mountain biking club is also a good place to ask questions.

    Also, start with easy trails and get yourself a pair of Time Clipless pedals. From road biking, you should have trained yourself to unclip whenever necessary. Time Clipless pedals dont rip up your legs like Shimano clipless, and I find I have much more control over technical sections using clipless.

    Good Luck

    Ming

  6. #6
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    ride easier trails. I broke my wrist doing exactly what you were doing (...except I dont have a boyfriend that dropped me on the trails...) work your way up to harder stuff.

  7. #7
    Flowbie
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    I 7th the above. Easier trails. If this is your fifth ride and your trying to ride over stuff that you feel better walking over, your starting a level or three to hard. Try to find some basic service/fire roads to ride till you get a good feeling for your bike and how to move on it to get it where you need it to go. Then move up the challenge ladder as you feel more confident.

  8. #8
    Senior Member valbowski1980's Avatar
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    Stick with it. You'll get better as you ride more.

  9. #9
    B-Boy Style
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    Im going to agree that you should work on some easier trails for a while..That should help alot..
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  10. #10
    ride like theres not 2mrw chris_pnoy's Avatar
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    Some of us are just criers...

    You can't force yourself to love mountain biking. It will slowly grow on you, or it won't.

  11. #11
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sco++
    Try easier terrain. If the boyfriend won't join you 'cause he thinks its beneath him, dump him. The boyfriend ain't worth a broken neck...
    Gee, thanks for telling her to dump me.

    I have no problem whatsoever with slowing down for her, but she keeps urging me to go ahead (presumably so she won't be embarassed by my watching her mess up). I think the problem is that she wants to be an expert overnight, and I keep telling her to take it slowly and give it time.

    btw, I've added padding to her stem.

  12. #12
    Shreddin' heaven on his 20" the wonginator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sco++
    Try easier terrain. If the boyfriend won't join you 'cause he thinks its beneath him, dump him. The boyfriend ain't worth a broken neck...
    haha BUSTED!

  13. #13
    Senior Member juf2m's Avatar
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    LOL! Thanks for the advice guys! I should probably have added that said boyfriend is very kind and waits for me at the tops of hills and frequently over the course of the trail. He also provides a shoulder for me to cry on!

    I don't want to hold him up if he wants to have fun and go at his own pace...as long as he is within a reasonable distance, and yes, I hate to be watched as I mess up!

    Wow a lot of you recommend clipless...considering the horrifying damage I did to myself on the road bike learning clipless, I shudder to think! But maybe it would help because a couple of times I would try to dig in or stomp down on the pedal and my foot would fly through the air and I would lose the momentum entirely.

    I totally agree though, I would LOVE some easier trails until I get used to this. I would love to do that women's course in Toronto, but I am here in MD for a few months yet, maybe they have a course like that here...I will look into it!

    Thanks again guys, it was good to vent.

  14. #14
    Shreddin' heaven on his 20" the wonginator's Avatar
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    well, noone hates to be watched when you mess up... but if you think about it, if youyou mess up, when you do things the RIGHT way, then it makes it all the sweeter. Personally, if I was in your situation (which i'm not... on more than one level), i wouldn't mind having my significant other teach me. there wouldn't be pride involved, considering the fact that we would be close, and not only that, but the significant other would also put in extra care and effort to teach you the right way. I say if mr. cydewaze offers to help you, you should go for it...

  15. #15
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    Oh, and for the record, I'm so NOT a fantastic mountain biker. She just hasn't been around for any of my wrecks.

  16. #16
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    ah, so the real reason you go ahead of her is so she doesn't see you wreck

  17. #17
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    Sometimes falling on a too difficult obstable only hurts your confidence. You usually fall harder and expect all falls to suck that much.
    Just today i fell because of my clipless, within 5-10 minutes of starting. I felt awesome the rest of the ride, despite being slightly sick.
    I was just like 'pshh, that was almost fun'...and wasn't worried about falling because of the clipless or just messing up the rest of the ride.
    One thing to remember is that its almost always waaayyy safer to keep put weight on the rear than to much on the front. One of the few exceptions is a steep climb. Going over obstacles though, its not likely your back tire getting caught is gonna throw you like the front will.

  18. #18
    I Am Online Now! G-Unit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juf2m
    The pedals (no way am I going clipless on a mtb!!) have these sharp knobs on them that gouge chunks out of my legs, especially when I am walking which is what I have to do half the time.

    This won't happen with clipless pedals, I know from experience!! I just got about a 12" gash on my shin from bunny hopping with platform pedals (the Kona Jacksh|ts), my right foot missed the pedal when I landed, but my shin didn't.
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  19. #19
    THIS BIKE'S 4 U !!!! Killer B's Avatar
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    If her crotch area is in pain because of the jarring, try a seat with a cut-out section. They work wonders....
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  20. #20
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nirvanaschains
    ah, so the real reason you go ahead of her is so she doesn't see you wreck



    Quote Originally Posted by Killer B
    If her crotch area is in pain because of the jarring, try a seat with a cut-out section. They work wonders....
    She has a good seat with a cutout. The crotch pain is unfortunately due to her slamming into the stem. I gave her my Lizard Skin "Ballfrog" to prevent further such injuries. Better my knee than her privates.

  21. #21
    Senior Member LordOpie's Avatar
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    Women say go ahead and don't worry, but sometimes, they don't mean it. Schedule mtb days that are easier, fun and to give you two time to spend together. On the days where the b/f wants to tear it up, perhaps the lady should ride the pavement?

  22. #22
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    Here is an idea (worked for my wife when I taught her to ride), use one ride a week for teaching then the rest of the week you can practice what your bf, or who ever shows you the techniques, taught you.

    1. Start off with an easy area that has some hills, learn the gears to use to keep your momentum while climbing and when to shift into them. It is a bit different in the dirt then on the road.

    2. Learn to descend steep hills. Find an area with short but steep hills that can be rolled through.

    3. Find an area with ruts and small roots and learn to ride over them. Do this on a flat area and not on a hill.

    4. Next, find some small 6" to 12" drops and learn to ride down them.

    5. Find a trail with all the above and ride it.

    You should also practice track-stands, which you can also do on your road bike, and very tight turn (will help with switchbacks). But most of all practice. Last word of advice, learn to love crashing it will make the ride much more enjoyable

    I will also add, I would stay away from the clipless until you get better with the obstacals

  23. #23
    Newbie Girl Binda's Avatar
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    I've been in your position before, and for me learning from my boyfriend was just not a good idea. His teaching style (tough-love sort of - just go for it) really didn't fit my personality (timid - take small steps to build confidence).

    So, whenever he would try to bring me out on the trails, it was a total disaster because I felt overfaced and incapable, as he just chugged along and made it look easy.

    In hindsight, this is what I wish I would have done - gone out by myself and rode a section of trail that we could both ride later. Ride this section multiple times, alone, so that I know what it felt like, where to brake, where I needed to walk, where I could really let er' rip. And THEN ride it w/him.

    Don't know if this is anywhere related to what you're going through, and if not, sorry for rambling. I think a lot of times women are more timid in the beginning (I call it common sense because we're the ones who take care of the boys when they crash ), but once we build up confidence in ourselves, we can keep up with the big dogs.

    I always remind myself that boys grew up beating themselves up, riding bmx bikes, hitting jumps, and just generally being boys. Girls are often raised different, so we have to work harder to overcome that initial hurdle.

    Be prepared to whoop some *ss after that though!!!

    Alright...I'm done now. I hope it all works out!

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  24. #24
    Gravity Is Yer Friend dirtbikedude's Avatar
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    After reading what Binda said, yeah, your bf does need to have the patience. When I was teaching my wife we would go on rides that would take me 1hr to compleate and with her would take 2 1/2hrs because we would stop and work on technique when we got to an obstacle she could not clear.

    It also helps, if you have a video cam, to have him film you when you ride. It will help you see what you are and are not doing correctly. Using the video realy helped my wife change/fix her riding position.

    I have taught many female and male beginner cyclist to ride mtbs this way(including what I previously posted) and it works great.


  25. #25
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    Here's my bit of advice:

    Ride your bike around your house/apartment/neighborhood slowly and hop up and off every curb you find.

    The thing you're probably not getting the hang of is body position. The correct body position is the KEY for clearing logs, roots, rocks, etc. and it's generally not something intuititive. Set up a small, easy, obstacle course in your yard or a local park. Nothing elaborate, just a few curbs to hop up, sticks to cross, sidewalks to U-turn on, etc.

    As you ride down a curb, feel how your body is thrust foward by the drop. Then figure out how to counter that thrust by pushing your body to the rear. Eventually, you'll feel the bike going over the drop BEFORE your body. Feel that once and you're on your way.

    I learned to clean logs in my driveway by riding over my curb a few hundred times.

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