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, Andy, i think in general most of the MTB training should cross-over pretty well...
but, for optimal performance you'd be better off putting in more miles on the road (although on the MTB on the road should make less difference)... for example, most of the pro XC racers these days do a large majority of their training on the road.
i am primarily an XC rider, but i do some road racing (mostly crits) and there is a big difference in the course and characteristics. in a road race you ride at a sustained pace for long periods of time with an occaisonal jump during and attack or a hill-climb and an occaisonal rest on a downhill. in most XC you swing a lot more from major power acceleration out of a corner and up a climb and then can (comparatively) rest those legs for a downhill or a technical section.
so, in general, the fitness should cross over and the saddle time is probably the most important. so the question is how well you want to do? if you just want to ride strong and finish then no problem... if you want to be competitive, you better spend at least one day a week on a long (preferably small group) road ride.
like almost any sport: cross-training almost always provides some benefit as long as it doesn't contribute to overtraining or detract from you main-sport training, but with the exception of weight training for some sports (cycling is debatable) there is usually no substitute for the real thing...
as an XC rider, when i get out on the road bike, i have no problem on the hills and the sprints, but i do get really winded and have to work much too hard on the flats and long sustained sections (therefore, i try and draft ALL the time) b/c i am not used to training for long continuous mid-level power output without and recovery sections like i'm used to in XC...