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Mountain Biking as Winter Cross Training for Road

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Mountain Biking as Winter Cross Training for Road

Old 10-29-23, 02:18 PM
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Mountain Biking as Winter Cross Training for Road

What are your thoughts about incorporating mountain biking into offseason work? I have a mid/ow-end x-country MTB and there aren't a lot of offroad options here, so my mountain biking is typically shorter courses, not super technical but with lots of punchy climbs and descents. I'm sold on bike handling benefits crossing over to road. But I also know that winter training is traditionally the time to focus on base/endurance. Mountain biking, at least the kind I can do in this area, is the opposite of a plodding, Z2 ride. On the other hand, I just don't have time for long rides these days. 2-3 hours one weekend day and another 2 or so another weekend day, plus an hour during the week, is par for me from mid-November-early Feb, with 2-3 days of lower body gym tossed in. I also know that Friel and others recommend cross training during the off season and MTBing would seem to tick that box. I'm curious about others' thoughts on this.
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Old 10-31-23, 03:46 PM
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There is no rule that says winter has to consist of only Z2 plodding. I very much doubt the likes of WvA and MvDP are plodding around on their Cross bikes!
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Old 11-01-23, 05:24 AM
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I do a few months of Z2 winter plodding - not just for fitness, it helps with T2 beetus issues by fixing things at the cellular level.

Relating that to the topic, our local MTB paths are in no way conducive to Z2 work - 10-20% uphill, 10-20% downhill, all in short bursts.

I do MTB riding, on my CX bike, during my more intense training times. It helps with explosive power, and more importantly - bike handling skills.

When I started to ride the road back in my 20's, I came from a heavy BMX freestyle and MTB background. I could instantly tell which roadies never did any offroad riding - the bike handling skills were lacking. And I still see it to this day.

Even if there is no real net gain fitness wise, the bike handling skills always come in handy.
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Old 11-01-23, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed

I could instantly tell which roadies never did any offroad riding - the bike handling skills were lacking. And I still see it to this day.
I've noticed this too, but I think it's mostly roadies who simply didn't ride bikes much when they were kids who tend to have poor handling skills. A bit like skiers who only learned as adults. They always look like clunky robots! But mtb certainly enhances your skillset and gives your upper body a bit more of a workout.
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Old 11-01-23, 09:18 AM
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I hate riding indoors. Loathe. I don't care if I'm hooked up into a digital version of the Tour de France. I can't stand riding in the basement. My winter riding will consist of snow, ice, mud and cold on the fat bike. Even if it's riding around in the neighborhood. I would rather be bundled up and riding in the snow and ice that on a stationary trainer.

So any time spent on a bike (ANY bike) not riding in one place is A-OK in my book.

Get outside. Enjoy the ride.
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Old 11-01-23, 09:26 AM
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We mt. bike from Oct to April (SE NY area) if the morning temps are 40 or below. If we are lucky, we get a season with not much snow and can mt. bike on dirt trails that are frozen. It's far preferable to freezing my ass off on a road bike. I am only going 10 mph., so less wind chill. I'm in the woods so are sheltered from that 15mph north wind. And a hour and a half on the mt. bike is like a 3 hr, road ride, so it's a good workout, with more anaerobic effort usually.
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Old 11-01-23, 11:57 AM
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winter MTB'ing is good practice for crashing, if that helps. I love riding year 'round, but didn't start meeting the ground, until I started MTB'ing
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