Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Munich Germany (formerly Portland OR, Texas)
Bikes: '02 Specialized FSR, '03 RM Slayer, '99 Raleigh R700, '97 Norco hartail, '89 Stumpjumper
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well, i do lots of "leg-sports": cycling, mountain climbing (running, technical climbing, alpine, rock, etc.), volleyball, ski touring (using skins to go UP and then ski down), etc. for the most part summer = mountain biking + mountain climbing and winter = ski touring + mountain climbing
i think each sport is different and uses totally different leg muscles... so it's really hard to assess how much climbing 2000m vertical with a 15kg backpack helps my cyling...
BUT, i do think that the all-round "cross-training" makes me stronger, more injury-resistant, and more flexible as well as preventing things like muscle imbalance (that can lead to knee problems for instance)
i personally have gotten into doing a COMBINATION of mountain biking and mountain climbing so i get to the top faster, have a fun ride down, and SAVE my knees. i often take the train, then ride the mountain bike for the approach and as high as i can until the trail gets too steep (around here usually about 1000m vertical) and then the last 500-1000m by foot.
I have NEVER had really sore muscles from cycling as i have from hiking/climbing (or ski touring) although cycling tends to make me the most easily exhausted (mostly lots of time exceeding Lactate Threshold)