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Old 05-09-08, 08:53 PM   #1
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getting in mountain biking shape

Two years ago now I picked up an old GT from a yard sale for $12, tore it apart and put it back together to learn about bike mechanics. Then I went out to mountain bike and I couldn't get up the hills. I gave up and gained weight. For the last year I started running, lifting, and lost 30 lbs. But I am bored of it and am starting to feel some injuries.
I decided to get the bike out of the shed and try again. Same issues though. A neighbor took me out to a intermediate trail which is all up hill one way for about two miles (Trumbolt Canyon Whittier, CA ). I made it all the way up but walked my bike most of the way. I committed to riding two days a week for a month (May) and see if I get in shape and actually enjoying mountaining biking. I go up the same two mile hill each time and push myself to go a little farther each time. I just got back....

All this to ask what should I be doing? Am I just not in cycling shape? When should I see results? Should I ride on the road first and then go back to the hills later ? I stopped running so I need to keep up the cardio but now I am just riding for 30 minutes until I can't up the hill any longer. Thanks...
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Old 05-09-08, 10:36 PM   #2
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Maybe you are out of shape. Maybe your old. Or older. Hard to say from your post. Just keep on riding. The more you ride, the fitter you get.
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Old 05-09-08, 11:07 PM   #3
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Maybe you need a stress test to see of you have CAD. If you're coronary arteries are bottlenecked, you may feel fine until your heart rate reaches a certain level but the small "necked down" portion eventually can't keep up with the blood flow causing myocardial ischemia which is schmancy for lack'a'flow to the muscle. This usually causes chest discomfort, diaphoresis (which you're probably already experiencing anyhoo, nausea, and other cardiac symptoms...but shortness of breath and fatigue could be valid symptoms for the disorder as well.

Other than that...just get out on a trail that has less climbing. Start smaller. First and foremost...I love to carve, jump, and blast singletrack. My secondary responsibility to myself while I ride is to climb, push myself harder, and get in shape.

There are just certain types of people who can pedal their dang cans off like they're on some sort of mission w/o riding technical terrain just varying cadence, measuring lap times etc...

If you're more into the fitness aspect of it and not really the thrill may wanna talk to the uber-gnar Ti-Riders of the BF community.

Last edited by ed; 05-09-08 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 05-10-08, 12:16 AM   #4
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I started mountain biking a little over a year ago. I'll be 65 this summer. Health history: 5 (yes five) heart attacks resulting in one open heart surgery in 1994 and three stents more recently. Last MI was two years ago and 2.5 years ago. Three years ago had a fist sized cancerous tumor removed from small intestine. Other minor things but won't go into that. I ride with a group and the usual 22 mile ride has a reasonably severe climb called Cardiac Hill near the beginning. I couldn't make it up and had to complete it walking many a time. But my goal was to stick to it and conquer it. Gradually I did and I'm feeling better than I have in many years. All that to say "Keep at it!" It doesn't happen automatically but with determination and effort. And there are rewards. Hang in there and let us know when you finally do make it. Set it as a goal and keep plugging away.
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Old 05-10-08, 01:31 AM   #5
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Key word you just started, so just keep going and going and going and maybe then it will become a piece of cake.
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Old 05-10-08, 03:56 AM   #6
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Remember, with every turn of the pedals it gets a little easier to climb that hill...
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Old 05-10-08, 04:06 AM   #7
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yea, unless you wanna go into competition then it's easy, just go for your own personal enjoyment, go find some scenery, it don't have to be a race, so take your time.

imo getting out into the countryside & having some great view is a greater thing than riding MTB's for competition, be that against yourself or other people. i like to have a nice bike for this (in the same way people like nice cars). but then it's each to their own innit, i also commute on it so that in itself is a form of competition, getting to work on time, lol

to get fitter just ride more regularly. start off on easy stuff, soon you will find you can spin bigger gears thus more able to tackle hills. i know this 'cos i'm a spring/summer rider (oh shame), i only wanna ride weekends but i do need the exercise, so commutes aswell.

also have pride in your bike i think bikes are dam sexy when they're clean & ready to kill. this makes me wanna ride it even more, lol
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Old 05-10-08, 05:09 AM   #8
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All great advice here. Progression is key to getting in shape. Take on a bunch of smaller hills, and gradually increase the gradient and length. Start small and build-up your endurance. Eat six small meals a day and have tons of energy. Start eating healthy(salads, veggies, fiber, lots of water, etc.) and watch your body weight drop. You'll notice that hill is suddenly a piece of cake.....once you become lighter.

Increase your ride time to one hour- where your body really starts burning-off stored body fat. I just lost 50lbs by changing my diet to healthy, and having only ONE day of junk food per week. I also "rewarded" myself with a 20-pound Cannondale hardtail.....and I am getting even fitter now! But only two years ago- I was strung-out on meth, smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, 65lbs overweight, AND suffering from CHF(congestive heart failure) at age 42. I finally ditched the dope and the smokes, changed my eating habits, and started riding 20 about miles/week.......gradually increasing it up to 100 miles/week. For the first time in my life- I actually have a set of abs. If anything......the girls really like it!!!!

Last edited by Dilberto; 05-10-08 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 05-10-08, 05:16 AM   #9
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Here is an article I had come across of a guy who was an extreme example of being out of shape. With simple perseverance and just doing a little more each day he managed to do something awesome. So, just hang in there you will get better with time. Look what this guy managed.
First Class Jerk
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Old 05-10-08, 12:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by roughbike View Post
Am I just not in cycling shape?
Barring disease or other issue ....... you have your answer. However, the GOOD news is that you get to have fun riding yourself into shape this year! Have fun, and get in some miles this year - you'll feel better and be faster soon. It takes time, but if you stick with it, it's worth every drop of sweat.

Good luck!

... Brad
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Old 05-10-08, 05:53 PM   #11
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If you are inactive and you try to pick up running, swimming or biking . . . they ARE HARD. Well, cycling CAN be the easy one if you get a hybrid and go about 5 miles per hour. But riding hills and trying to go fast will make it like running or swimming. Your body will tell you quite clearly that it does not want to do that. It just takes time. Somethings are hard. Usually things that are hard are worth it.
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Old 05-10-08, 06:26 PM   #12
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You're better off spending most of your riding time actually riding and building a fitness base and burning off some fat than beating yourself into that hill for only 30 minutes. Not that it's a bad thing to do once a week or so, but time on the bike is more important than pushing yourself. Keep it fun.
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Old 05-10-08, 06:56 PM   #13
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^ solid advice
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