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New Here & New to MTB'ing

PhilgrPhilgr Posts: 66
edited March 2009 in MTB beginners
First post here so - Hello Everyone :D

About me, 37yrs old, weight 13st height 5ft 9''
The last couple of years i have had a slow realization that i am in the worse shape of my life and the clock is ticking, 18 months ago my mother suddenly passed away at the age of 54, last year several people i know fell victim to several illnesses from heart problems to cancers, and to be quite honest with you all its scared the hell out of me.

So in mid dec i went out and got myself a bike - 08 Specialized Rockhopper Disc, my first bike since a BMX when i was a kid :)

I live on the West Cumbrian coast so im quite lucky i have access to some great mountain biking trails.

I have found myself a looping trail that i can do from my house - 4 miles total - 1.5 miles on road, 1 mile off road, and a 1 mile steady climb, before a easy .5 mile run back to the house.
I have done this several times now (would have been more but have been laid up with cold over xmas) and i can deff feel an improvement, even in the couple of times i have done it, first time i did it i had to stop several times on the 1 mile climb - today i did it without stopping :) total time 25mins - i hope to try to get out every chance i get through the week and do this loop and then extend it to do part of the loop twice when i get some fitness, and then try to get out on the established trails around the lakes.

My aim is to lose a stone, get my fitness back and enjoy myself.

Expect me poping in here every now and again and asking stupid questions

Thanks for reading

Phil G
08 Specialized Rockhopper Disc
09 Trek Fuel EX 9.8


  • -liam--liam- Posts: 1,831
    Hello Phil.

    Good luck matey.

    I was in the same boat early last year. Bit taller but 18 stone and 34. I'm now 3 and a half stone lighter and fitter than I've ever been,

    I would suggest to make a little change to the routine of using the same old trail in the week, that you might want to get some lights and go out after dark as well. Makes such a difference to any trail. Alot of people on here use fenix torchs or the tesco 3 cree led torches strapped to the bars with velcro straps or even jubilee clips. Just helps to keep things interesting especially if your time is split between work/family etc.
  • missmarplemissmarple Posts: 1,980
    Hi Phil,

    Welcome to the community - I second Liam's comment, alternate the exercise you do weekly otherwise it will become much easier for your body without you noticing it, believe it or not - when cycling you use completely different muscles sets than when you are running so try and switch between these on a regular basis. Go for as long as possible for as fast as possible to improve Stamina.

    Always stretch before venturing out, even go for a jog round the block once you get fitter so that your muscles can work to full capacity and to stretch down after exercise.

    Hope those help! 8)
  • Yukon LadYukon Lad Posts: 423
    welcome, if you're in cumbria have a look at the altura trail, i ride it regularly as my main trail, have a look its good and will help you get better

    Yukon Lad
    Drop, Berm, Jump, Sky, Sky, Sky, Sweet Beautiful Earth OUCH, OUCH,OUCH, ****! GORSE BUSH!!!

    Giant Yukon FX2
    Kona Stab Deluxe 2008
  • stumpyjonstumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    I think there are number of us with similar stories on here. I'd been riding off road very tamely for a while, not enough to make any difference to fitness etc. When I hit 35 I realised I was out of breath running up and down my drive after my then 2 year old daughter. That was my wake up call.

    2 years, 3 bikes and a lot of cash later I'm around a stone and a half lighter riding further, faster and way more technical stuff than I ever dreamed I'd manage. I'm now at the point where I worry if I haven't been out in six weeks (minor op before Christmas kept me off the bike(s)). Don't feel very fit or light at the moment but managed a 16 mile ride today covering a couple of thousand feet of climbing on techincal frozen trails. After winding myself on one long hill climb I suddenly remember that the loop I now do in the evenings in about an hour took me over three hours 2 years ago, I was nearly six when I finished and couldn't climb up stairs for 20 mins after I got back because my legs were so shot. So moral of the story is it's good to have a local loop but make sure you remember how hard it is now so you can look back and realise how far you've come.

    Oh did I mention how expensive mountain biking can become :oops: , doesn't have to though :D .
    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
  • jaysonjayson Posts: 4,606
    Hi PhilG, have thought about biking to work aswell to help with ur fitness?? its surprising the difference a few miles commuting everyday makes to ur overall fitness if u go out at the weekends too, as a certain supermaket says 'every little helps' :D
  • PhilgrPhilgr Posts: 66
    Thanks for all the replies guys :)

    I do intend to vary my local loop, the majority of the loop is on an old open cast and i fully intend to explore it a bit, a quick look on google earth reveals that there could be quite a few trails to use :) not bad 5mins peddle from my house.

    A friend of mine (semi pro MTB'er) has some rather trick lights and some old ones, he has told me if i want to venture out in the dark i can have his old set :) so we will see.

    As for mixing up the training a bit i have a Cross trainer in the garage , so i will give this a go when the weather is no good.

    The altrua trail is my target to do later in the year, but i just watched a youtube clip of the down hill part and well :shock:

    One thing i have been very surprised at is how much you can spend on bits, - i will have to watch out im a sucker for a bit of 'trick' gear. :D

    Peddling to work is an option but i work shifts and im not really a morning person (would have to set off at 5am) and i dont really want to be peddling home at 10pm - so i will prob stick to peddling outside of work.

    I have a ride planned tomorrow in the lakes approx 10miles - will see how i feel after that :?

    Phil G
    08 Specialized Rockhopper Disc
    09 Trek Fuel EX 9.8
  • Hi Philgr, I'm in a similar position to yourself, apart from the fact that I'm 51, wishing I was 37 again!! Thanks to my 12 year old son I dug my old Claude Butler Rock out of the garage a few months ago and we have been doing a few local routes from the house in Pitmedden Forest and Lomond Hills,Fife, normally 14-24 miles. Made our first visit to Glentress yesterday. Started with the Blue run from the Hub carpark back to Buzzards Nest carpark. We then done part of the Red route including Spooky Wood and Super G before doing final part of Blue route back to finish. Brilliant fun and will be back again. Probably going to want more modern bike soon!! And the best part is i feel fitter than i have done in years.[/quote]
  • Stoo61Stoo61 Posts: 1,394
    What good routes do you know around Fife TSM?
    You been upto Blairadam Forrest? That should be one of my first stops when the bikes built up, they are putting in a lot of effort to make it great for bikes.

    Oh and welcome Phil, all this talk is getting me worked up, I WANT TO CYCLE!! :?
  • Hi Stoo61, haven't been to Blairadam, will have to give it a go one day.. Normally go to Pitmedden Forest as not far to cycle to there from home, live in Muchty. Have been up Lomond Hills a couple of times but a bit more cycling involved to get there.
  • PhilgrPhilgr Posts: 66
    Well just in from my longest ride yet, a 10 mile round trip on some forrest paths - god it was hard work :shock:

    I underestimated how sore my bum would be from yesterdays trip out - im going to be really sore tomorrow,

    how long does it take to get used to the saddle ???

    on a positive note it was fantastic to be out in the lakes early in the morning, not a soul about very quite (and very cold ) :D
    08 Specialized Rockhopper Disc
    09 Trek Fuel EX 9.8
  • -liam--liam- Posts: 1,831
    Get some padded pants/shorts and it will be not quite so long as it could be :D
  • hi there i'm just up the road from you in carlisle and a bit of a newbie myself,i too decided to get fit,although i'm only 26 and not over weight i just felt that i wasn't as fit as i should be for somebody of my age,hope your enjying your new bike and if you need a riding buddy give me a shout
  • Yukon LadYukon Lad Posts: 423
    on the north side when you go for your first time if you go and do the first section which is just singletrack and see if you like it and then if you want to you can follow the signs and carry on or go back to the visitors centre if you think you need more time, if you carry on and then you decide that you want to stop then simply walk the rest of the section keeping off the trail out of the ways till you come to a forest track and then you can get back to the visitors centre, get a map at the shop so you don't get lost. Also on your first time its may be best to avoid the second section (a difficult singletrack ascent) because its benchcut into the side of the mountain and is therefore narrow so you can't walk back down or walk the rest of it without possibly getting in someone's way. But take your time getting used to the bike and doing other stuff, also learning some skills like trackstands and wheelies can be useful, and read up on the theory in the routes and riding section on this site to help with stuff like riding roots, berms jumps, drops e.t.c there is also a lot of good videos on here for ride technique, watching it helps a lot more than reading up on stuff

    Theres my essay, hope it helps

    Yukon Lad
    Drop, Berm, Jump, Sky, Sky, Sky, Sweet Beautiful Earth OUCH, OUCH,OUCH, ****! GORSE BUSH!!!

    Giant Yukon FX2
    Kona Stab Deluxe 2008
  • PhilgrPhilgr Posts: 66
    thought i would post a bit of an update

    im now finding it a lot easier on my local loop, my times are coming down even though the weather has not been great
    although on my last two trips out i have had my first dog attack - a jack russell, not fun and i came very close to giving it a good boot :? , and tonight i had my first trip over the bars, when the front wheel tucked under me on sheet ice :roll:

    im now hoping to starting increasing my distances.

    there has been some discussions with a couple of mates at work about going up to the altura trail but TBH i really feel like i need a lot more fitness especially on the climbs, and although i feel a lot stronger peddling i have yet to see and change in weight :roll:

    Phil G
    08 Specialized Rockhopper Disc
    09 Trek Fuel EX 9.8
  • Hi Phil,

    I started biking for the opposite reason to you, although I was unfit I was under weight, 27yr, 6'1" and 9.1/2st, 2 years ago, I only do light biking, usually only weekends about 10 - 20 miles in the summer too, since biking, I have put 3 stone on, but have been told that I have since built up a lot of muscle, also my father was a keen cyclist in his day and built up a lot of weight in muscle.

    You may find that you don't loose a lot of weight but tone up a lot, I certanly feel tons better, feel more confident in my self and happier, also cycling, I would especially say 'off road' does wounders for your body as you use a lot of your body's muscle's not just your legs but stomach and arms too.

    1 word of warning though I have trouble finding jeans to fit over my thighs now!

    I am look at starting cycling this year from when my bike comes out of the shop from a service tomorrow, and looking at going to Grizedale Forest in Cumbria, I rode this when I was younger at school and heard that they have a new Trial sponsered by The North Face which is supposed to be good, also try to get to Dalby this is where I have spent a lot of time over the last couple of years its fantastic for all fitness levels, and the family.

    Happy Biking!
    Frame:Kona Garbanzo Dawg 2007 19"
    Brakes:Hayes Stoker Trail 160
    Chainset:Shimano SLX 2009
    Front Mech:Shimano SLX 2009
    Rear Mech:Shimano SLX
    Wheels:Sun Black Eye
    Tyres:Maxxis Swamp Thing
    Front Forks:Rock Shox Tora 302 RS
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Hey Phil, welcome the forum and prepare to have no money in short order!

    You're a lucky sod living where you do, you've got shed-loads of trails to choose from including the North Face in Grizedale Forest and the New Altura Trails at Whinlatter - wlthough I'd wait until you're a bit fitter and experienced before trying Whinlatter!

    I know a good route round Black Combe, just North West of Millom, might be something to aim for!

    Don't be too disappointed if you don't lose too much weight - you'll probably find that you'll lose a bit at first, but correspondingly the more you ride, the more food you'll eat. Also, your muscle and bone structure will change and improve, and both muscle and bone are denser than fat.

    Watch your diet - high carbohydrate, high protein and low fat is the key. Try grilling foods rather than frying, and increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables.

    As far as saddles go, they're a VERY personal thing! Persevere with the one you've got for a bit, you may get used to it, but if all else fails a change may be necessary.
    Give a home to a retired Greyhound. Tia Greyhound Rescue
    Help for Heroes
  • Double edged sword the whole exercise thing. You will find that as you exercise your (heavy) muscle weight will increase and your (not so heavy) fat will decrease. Best way to judge is change in body shape as oppsosed to Kilos. You no doubt find that your fave jeans are a bit slack despite no weight change? Also your cardio effectiveness will increase sharply resulting in more energy and quicker recovery. Enjoy the splendour of achievent and well being this brings.
    Me, I put on half a stone of flab over Xmas. Practice / preach BAH.
    Tall n skinny
  • PhilgrPhilgr Posts: 66
    Again cheers for the repies guys

    instead of monitoring my weight only im going to as suggested monitor body size as well.

    i have a spreadsheet where im recording data from all my rides out eg, distance, time, cadance, heart rate etc... i have added an extra sheet and i will track weight and body size, will see how i go, prob ake a month or so to see any deff change, we will see :?

    i have not been able to get out on the bike for the last couple of days and i have surprised myself by being quite anxious to get out, so tonight even though the weather has changed for the worse and its the first time with any proper wind and mud, and boy does it take it out of you :shock:

    Still im really please i got out :D
    08 Specialized Rockhopper Disc
    09 Trek Fuel EX 9.8
  • missmarplemissmarple Posts: 1,980
    Congratulations on the good work and keep it up!

    It sure is a refreshing feeling after you've been cycling, jogging or to the gym.

  • jondijondi Posts: 152
    Welcome to the forum, I too want to get rid of some unwanted fat, I am 5ft 11" and 13 stone, My trouble is the mid riff, my legs and arms are fine, and don't want to do sit ups, i had an Op a few years ago on my spine, had some metal work put in, which as helped alot. Bike riding is alot more fun than exercising in the gym or house.

    all the best
  • PhilgrPhilgr Posts: 66
    Thought i would update my first ever thread on here

    FIrst off im still getting out, my 'local loop' has extended significantly and the weight that refused to shift at first is starting to come off, im now 4lbs short of my initial aim of losing a stone.

    im recording all my rides and i have noticed that my average speed has increases and initially i legs were letting my down, now its my lungs, so im hoping to increase my stamina

    now that the lighter nights are approaching im hoping to get out for longer rides, im still only getting enough time to do 45 min rides from the house before the light starts to fail.

    I have just ordered a bike rack for our new car, so that should open up the trials in the lakes which i cannot wait for.

    Phil G
    08 Specialized Rockhopper Disc
    09 Trek Fuel EX 9.8
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