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Old 03-05-08, 10:22 AM   #1
Lost again
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Faster on road?

I've got a question that I can't figure the answer to, and I don't think I've ever seen the answer anywhere either.

On the road bike, I'm considered one of the faster riders in my club/s. I don't necessairly train for speed, but it just seems to come fairly easily. I'm 51, but find myself riding with the 30 somethings more time then not. I'm also into longer distance riding centuries and doubles, and generally place up front in the top 20% or so. I'm not training to be fast, just consistant. All that being said, I love to mountain bike, but I just can't seem to keep up with the pack. I generally fall off the back and although not bringing up the rear I tend to be towards the back. I've done a number of things to try and improve my speed, but it just doesn't seem to work for me. I used to triple the amount of time on a mountain bike then on a road, but still was in the back. Then I switch back to road and I can leave almost all my buds in the dust on my road bike???

I submitted this thread on two different forums to see if I can get answers from different views.
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Old 03-05-08, 10:37 AM   #2
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roads do have a predicatable surface, don't they?

I have met a number of roadies who have the same problem - it's a matter of technique. Once you get the MTB skills down, you won't be slowing down so much, and you will be able to stay with the pack. Try asking some of the MTB riders to take you out on some training rides so they can show you the skills you need, and you can practice them.

One of the more common things a roadie needs to learn is to look up - yeah, you need to know what's right in front of your wheel, but it's more important to know what's going on ahead of you down the trail. Scope out what's ahead, glance down. Roadies who have not picked up on this either go fast & crash alot, or go slow.

Good luck & have fun!
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Old 03-05-08, 10:38 AM   #3
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Doesn't really add up does it? Although they are completely different, I find if I'm strong on the mountain bike I'm usually pretty strong on the road bike. Do you struggle with breath? Energy? Stamina on the trails? Or is it more the skill dept that holds you back?
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Old 03-05-08, 11:31 AM   #4
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Around here most trails tend to require moments of exertion followd by periods of rest but the roads are all exertion all the time. So the environments and the demands on your body are different here. Mountain biking seems to favor anaerobic exertion and road biking aerobic.

Also, don't neglect the impact of slowing down for terrain and curves. It takes a lot of energy to re-gain that speed and you lose a lot of time.
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Old 03-05-08, 11:50 AM   #5
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I'm at the back of the pack, if I can even see the pack, regardless of if it is road or mountain. But, here is my two cents. I find that when mountain biking I get more of a full body workout. When I'm on the road, I rely more on my core and lower half. I suppose, if your upper body is taking a beating on the mountain bike, it may be sapping your energy quicker. It could be a matter of some more upper body training or even just greater amounts of nutrition when mountain biking to compensate for the fact that your whole body is involved and may utilize calories quicker.
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Old 03-05-08, 12:09 PM   #6
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Mountain biking is more anaerobic than road riding and you will tend to fall into an "energy deficit" (my way of describing it) very quickly. On a road bike if you've got the spinning down pat, you are very efficient at maintaining a good pace and with good aerobic conditioning you can go faster for longer.

Mountain biking on the other hand requires anaerobic conditioning and a fair amount of upper body strength as junkyard mentioned. I've read the articles and the program that a certain strength training coach by the name of James Wilson writes. He strongly believes that the typical training programs that are meant for road riders translate poorly to mountain bikers and your experience is a good reflection of this. His approach is to focus on strength, mobility and conditioning with a strong focus on anaerobic conditioning. Do a google search on "mtb strength training". There are free articles and videos.
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Old 03-05-08, 01:34 PM   #7
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Mountain biking is more anaerobic than road riding and you will tend to fall into an "energy deficit" (my way of describing it) very quickly. On a road bike if you've got the spinning down pat, you are very efficient at maintaining a good pace and with good aerobic conditioning you can go faster for longer.

Mountain biking on the other hand requires anaerobic conditioning and a fair amount of upper body strength as junkyard mentioned. I've read the articles and the program that a certain strength training coach by the name of James Wilson writes. He strongly believes that the typical training programs that are meant for road riders translate poorly to mountain bikers and your experience is a good reflection of this. His approach is to focus on strength, mobility and conditioning with a strong focus on anaerobic conditioning. Do a google search on "mtb strength training". There are free articles and videos.
Well said, my Eastern brother! Staying with the pack while mountain biking is often about going anaerobic. The road equivalent would be a criterium with preems on every other lap and random headwinds where you can get no draft. Steeper climbs in mountain biking pretty much eliminate any momentum you may have acquired on the flats. The more you weigh, the tougher it is as well. Gravity pwns joo, and there's not much you can do about it, except lose a few pounds and/or go the EPO/HGH route.

To get faster on the mountain bike, you'll need to push your heart rate up to somewhat uncomfortable levels in training. I'm talking 80-90% of max HR for a few minutes at a time, on a regular basis. [You may want to consult your healthcare provider and/or HMO before doing this.]
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Old 03-05-08, 02:10 PM   #8
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sounds like your brakes are rubbing on your MTB. and you have a flat.
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Old 03-05-08, 02:13 PM   #9
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sounds like your brakes are rubbing on your MTB. and you have a flat.
He obviously just needs an 18# hardtail.
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Old 03-05-08, 04:38 PM   #10
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Both have 2 wheels but...

I think what you're trying to do is like comparing a sports car to an off-road truck. Mtn biking takes a lot of balance and fast reaction. The best I would relate the two sports would be that road cycling would be a good cross-training exercise for mtn biking. And I bet that since you're a long distance rider, you're still getting some serious leg burn when hill climbing on a mtn bike cuz your using a different type of muscle strand for that cause.
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Old 03-05-08, 07:05 PM   #11
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I agree that the two riding styles compliment each other. But neither will entirely prepare you for the other.
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Old 03-05-08, 11:20 PM   #12
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Thanks for the info. I guess I wasn't clear. I've been riding both mountain and road better then 8 years now, so I'm no newb.

It's kind of funny. I can go out with one of the fastest mountain bikers I know and I can speed away from him/her on the road, but never, even on my best day could I ever get close to catching them in the dirt??? I know they're two different disciplines of the same sport, but this just perplexes the beejeezus out of me. I used to spend almost every weekend riding mountain but have gradually shifted to more and more road riding. I still love mountain biking, but it's more fun being in the front of the pack.
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Old 03-05-08, 11:41 PM   #13
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You may just suck at mountain biking.. sorry, its the only explanation left.
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Old 03-06-08, 07:47 AM   #14
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Thread closed.
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Old 03-06-08, 07:55 AM   #15
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Maybe you're trying to be a roadie on the dirt? Seriously. I dont own a road bike so I wouldn't know but part of it sounds like your mentality. Like a top notch basketball player wondering why he gets pwnd on the football field. Same genre, two different sports.
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Old 03-06-08, 07:59 AM   #16
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I still love mountain biking, but it's more fun being in the front of the pack.
This is the root of your problem. Rather than having fun through participation, you derive fun through what you view as success. In your opinion, success is being at the front of the pack. Try sitting back and enjoying the ride. It will set you free.
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Old 03-06-08, 09:17 AM   #17
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Thanks for the info. I guess I wasn't clear. I've been riding both mountain and road better then 8 years now, so I'm no newb.

It's kind of funny. I can go out with one of the fastest mountain bikers I know and I can speed away from him/her on the road, but never, even on my best day could I ever get close to catching them in the dirt??? I know they're two different disciplines of the same sport, but this just perplexes the beejeezus out of me. I used to spend almost every weekend riding mountain but have gradually shifted to more and more road riding. I still love mountain biking, but it's more fun being in the front of the pack.
Where do you get dropped?

on climbs?

on descents?

on twisty singletrack?

everywhere?

at the beginning of fast paced rides?

at the end of long rides?

in the parking lot?

that would help my analysis of your situation
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Old 03-06-08, 09:26 AM   #18
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don't forget to get some rest every now and then friend +]
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Old 03-06-08, 02:06 PM   #19
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this might have been covered already, didn't have time to read above.

i have raced both. for me, mtb is more interval like. it required more agressive technique than road cycling/racing.

aggression into and out of turns, bottoms of short hills, etc. i instantly improved once i started treating it like a motorcross race rather than lolly gaggin around on a century road ride.

stay hydrated! use a camelbak.



mx

ps: do as most have said above. many know their stuff. lift weights
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Old 03-07-08, 12:18 PM   #20
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Where do you get dropped?

on climbs?

on descents?

on twisty singletrack?

everywhere?

at the beginning of fast paced rides?

at the end of long rides?

in the parking lot?

that would help my analysis of your situation
+1
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Old 03-07-08, 01:14 PM   #21
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This is the root of your problem. Rather than having fun through participation, you derive fun through what you view as success. In your opinion, success is being at the front of the pack. Try sitting back and enjoying the ride. It will set you free.
How much do you charge for this type of advice?
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Old 03-07-08, 01:27 PM   #22
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How much do you charge for this type of advice?
I was able to view his post for free so I would assume he doesn't charge.
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Old 03-07-08, 01:31 PM   #23
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How much do you charge for this type of advice?
I consider the forum to be pro bono work.
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Old 03-07-08, 10:48 PM   #24
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Switch to mechanical brakes. You'll be faster.
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Old 03-08-08, 01:13 AM   #25
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You need a 29er.
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