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My first birthday........

lexiekaylexiekay Posts: 379
edited September 2008 in MTB beginners
Not mine obviously, but in a couple of weeks it'll be a year since i started riding mountain bikes. I'm still loving it, but feel as though i may have reached a sort of plateau when it comes to both skill levels and fitness.
Coinciding quite nicely with the birthday celebrations, we're going on a trip next weekend for four days, and the plan is to ride Brechfa, Coed-y-Brenin, the Climachx trail, and Llandegla.
Anyone got any tips on these trails? I've ridden the MBR and Tarw trails at Coed-y-Brenin before but none of the others. And i really want to get the most out of the trip.
Also, anyone else have that 'plateau' feeling? And how do you get beyond it? I'm worried that I may never get over the slightly scared feeling which sometimes stops me from going as fast as i could..... :oops:


  • batch78batch78 Posts: 1,320
    Not ridden any of the trails so can't help there, sorry!

    As for plateauing, I usually set myself a goal, extra long ride etc, and then have something to aim towards, extra training, eating properly for more than a couple of days and the such like, last time I just bought a road bike though! :oops:

    Does give me an extra dimension to my training now and means I don't get bored of the same local routes, which can only be good.
  • I would say to get the most from it. Make shure that you take a well equipped tool and spares box ( brake pads, gear cables rear hangers break leavers new cleates if you use spds) the last thing you want it so have a silly off, break something simple and then spend a day or 1/2 a day searching hte local bike shops for some replacement.
    Get a good high in protine shake to drink as soon as you finish on hte trails. This will help you legs recover for the next day.
    As for the platu of skills you could try a skills day b4 you go or even while you are in wales.
    Nothing in life can not be improved with either monkeys, pirates or ninjas
  • stumpyjonstumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    It is a good idea to set yourself something to aim for which you can compare year on year. Last year I did the Mary Townley Challenge in 8hrs 14 mins and came 220 out of 285, this year I did it in 7hrs 52 mins and came 118 out of 205 in much worse conditions. I can see I've improved since last year.

    It can be very easy to feel you've plateaued, the MTL proved to me my fitness is better. I thought my skills weren't improving (or confidence) until I realised that for the first 20 miles or so (before I got tired) I was jumping every drainage bar and lump on the trail which normally I wouldn't have done.

    I put that down in part to having spent 4 days at Afan / Cwmcarn in August.

    Also don't forget ground conditions can make you feel much more sluggish if they are bad (and they have been bad for the last 2 months) so if you're comparing how you rode in June with now don't forget to take into account it's harder riding at the moment.

    As for tips Bikerbaboon makes a good point about energy drinks and particularly recovery drinks for immediately after riding. If you're going to ride four days on the trot you need to help your muscles recover by feeding them properly.

    Enjoy your first (riding) birthday, wish I could spend the weekend at the trail centres :evil:
    It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

    I've bought a new bike....ouch - result
    Can I buy a new bike?...No - no result
  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,708
    Having a "slightly scared" feeling is not unusual. That's just what happens when you are pushing your limits.
    I'm not happy till I get to that point on most rides!
    If I'm on a regular ride, I can go much faster before I get that feeling, than I do when I'm riding a trail for the first time, so don't know what's around the corner. :shock:
    So, to me, you're quite normal, and as long as you're pushing your limits, there will be a certain element of fear!
    Does all that make sense?... :?
    Maybe I'm a wuss, too! :oops:
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • Thanks guys, going to try and put all those tips into practice. I've never used anything like a protein drink after riding so might see if those make any difference to how i feel the next day!
    And I'm glad to hear other people have the same 'scared' feeling -makes me feel much better...
    Am definitely going to enjoy myself anyway, and I guess thats the most important thing :D
  • any recommendations on protein drinks or stuff? Would something like lucozade sport / gatorade stuff be of any use? or should you stay well away from those.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Protein drinks are ok, but my tip is just to have a bloody good meal and rehydrate properly.

    Pasta with Tuna, good tomato sauce and a sprinkling of cheese is a protein packed meal, with lots of good carbs and vitamins.
  • The scared feeling is one of the many reasons that I enjoy mountain biking and rock climbing.

    If you never get scared by pushing yourself you never improve.

    Where's the sense of achievement in that?

    As for energy drinks I like orange flavoured PSP22 energy drink powder by SIS which you can get in Tescos. There's also rehydrate and recovery drink powders.

    If you put anything other than water in your Camelbak then keep it in the freezer when not in use.
    More freerange chicken than Freeride God
    Bighit , 5 , BFe
  • stumpyjonstumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    I use the SIS range of drinks / gels / bars. Tescos (big ones) do a starter kit for about £11 including a free drinks bottle and instructions.

    It's not just the carbs etc. that they give you but they also help to replace lost salts etc. which you need to rehydrate properly.

    Lexie, try them and if you feel better they work, if you don't they don't :D . I'm convinced they helped me doing the MTL challenge a couple of weeks ago, when I did it last year I had the hangover from hell the following day despite drinking 4 litres of water. I just drank the energy drinks this year before, during and after based on their guidelines and felt fine the following day (if a little stiff and tired).
    It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

    I've bought a new bike....ouch - result
    Can I buy a new bike?...No - no result
  • I use the SIS Go bars & drink when adventure racing. Seem to work well for me but different things suit different people.

    With the Go drink I tend to have it a bit more diluted than recommended otherwise I end up feeling very thirsty. Also take a bottle of plain water with me - think it helps to make my mouth feel fresher rather then full of sugary flavour.
  • Lexiekay - if you can afford it, try going on an intermediate course. Especially if, like most people, you just got on a bike and rode without giving much thought to it. I had a great time on a one-to-one course with Helen from Get Mountain Biking over in Milton Keynes.

    Also, try and get out with some different people sometimes as that gives you a different insight. I rode Epping Forest the other day and it was awesome and I rode harder than usual. I also rode the Ridgeway with someone better than me and felt more inspired. If it turns out they're not as good as you then you wont be pushed, but you'll feel good about yourself ;)
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