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Help!! - Improving my speed

CrazySmudgeCrazySmudge Posts: 137
edited April 2009 in MTB beginners
Happy Monday!

Went cycling yesterday in Swinley with a small group and found I just could not keep up with them even on the flat., (bit embarressing) I have only really been biking since end of last year and really want to improve. I am already spinning a least once a week, run and take part in circuit training at my gym. I own a great trail bike - trek ex8 09 so can't blame my tools. Is it just time on the trial? Train harder? Different training? would spds help?

Help me please as I don't want to be that guy at the back....



  • rhysdukrhysduk Posts: 138
    Is it just time on the trial?

    Yes. Simply put.
    Stamina, fitness and a higher cadence will come with time.

    Keep at it and you'll soon by catching them up. :wink:
    PP Shan & Intense SS2
  • Banned!Banned! Posts: 34
    training will help, but not as much as gaining and growing in confidence. part of the reason you are slower is because you arent as good a rider as those guys. you still have skills to learn, its not as easy as point the bike in the right direction and pedal fast, you need to be able to balance on uneven ground, choose lines, pick the right gear,know when tto ease off and pick it up and so on.

    be prepared to crash a lot and spend a lot of time limping about, but it will become second nature soon enough. remember, those guys that leave you standing all fell off on a tiny incline or nose dived off a kerb too, we all did. it just takes time. mtbing isnt just riding a bike on dirt.
  • Daft question, but is everything ok with your bike - have you got enough air in the tyres??
    Be happy, communicate happiness.
  • CrazySmudgeCrazySmudge Posts: 137
    Daft question, but is everything ok with your bike - have you got enough air in the tyres??

    yeah checked that everytime I go out- they are all pumped up. Think the others are right just need to get out more!
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Happy Monday!I am already spinning a least once a week, run and take part in circuit training at my gym.

    All good, but there's no substitue for getting out on the bike. There's different kinds of fitness, which different types of exercise enhance. Now the days are getting longer and the weather ain't so bad, start getting a few miles in in the evening.

    I've started going to work again on my bike - I get just over 7 miles both ways and I try to do at least 2 days a week. Even doing just that, my fitness has improved no end! Plus it saves me a gallon of petrol every week!!
    I own a great trail bike - trek ex8 09 so can't blame my tools

    You can't blame your tools anyway! It doesn't matter how good your bike is, it will never make you a better rider. There's only one thing can do that - practice, practice, practice!!
    Is it just time on the trial?

    More or less! Every excuse to go out - do it!! Even if you don't have an excuse!
    Would spds help?

    Yes and no. Clipless pedals will help your pedalling efficiency because you can use more of the stroke, but they won't make you fitter!!
    Help me please as I don't want to be that guy at the back....

    PMA - Positive Mental Attitude. Start thinking "I can be good!" rather than "Why am I not good?" It all helps!
    Give a home to a retired Greyhound. Tia Greyhound Rescue
    Help for Heroes
  • I had exactly the same problem when I started. I am reasonably fit, half marathons, triathalons and the like but when I first statred on the mb I was miles behind my mates, much to their amusement. :oops:

    Anyway 6 months later I've improved and keep up most of the time. It really suprised me how different mb fitness was to road cycling. I think it's down to a few things, mainly technique but also the change in acceleration needed.

    There is no substitute for time spent on the trails IMO. Mind you this is a good thing.
  • King DonutKing Donut Posts: 498
    Agree with all the above who say time out there is most important factor.

    Commuting can also help with your fitness if its convenient (although it won't help with the skills side). It's an easy way to get some miles in the legs.

    Don't worry about being slower for anyone else's sake - just for yourself. Most riders have been there and won't mind a little bit of waiting around. If you find you're behind to such an extent that you're not enjoying it then maybe look for other beginners to ride with until you get up to speed (for example there are some organised rides around north downs that offer various levels/lengths as well as some basic skills lessons).

    As long as you're enjoying it you'll ride more and that is the deciding factor.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    Commuting's definately helped me a lot, just 3 and a bit miles each way so I got myself a computer and started timing "laps". Just rolling back and forth to work like most folks do can't hurt but if you push yourself, it soon makes a difference- if I don't arrive home absolutely destroyed, something's not right :lol:

    The other thing I really noticed is that- shock- staying off the brakes makes you faster! But not just in the obvious ways, riding with mates at glentress soon showed me that I was braking hard for corners where they didn't, then hammering the straights to catch up. I'd get down the sections in about the same time so I wasn't "slow" but I was burning so much more energy to make the same speed, because of my rubbish conservation of speed. Just forcing myself to stay off the lever more has made a huge difference.

    But at the end of the day, riding will help, whenever and however you can do it. Short, tiring blasts for power, long rides for endurance, and soon you too will have funny shaped calves :lol:
    Uncompromising extremist
  • From my very limited experience I agree with the keep at it mentality, when I first went out again on a bike after years of them, my mate (daily rider) just left me standing, bizarly I could pace him uphill, yet by the time I was out for 45 mins the legs had gone.

    I commented afterwards that he slowed down for me on the hills, but he swore he hadnt and i impressed him with technique climbing, I was just appalling at everything else!! I am getting my new bike this week, so will try to improve my fitness. I also looked at the technique sections on this site and find them to give some really useful pointers. Also I am going to not to focus on what I am doing, but what he is doing and then try to emulate it.

    Just goes to show that it's a balance of fitness and technique, and even being out of shape as I am, by cycling perfectly (pure fluke!!) I managed to at least have some self esteem!! (apart from the last hill which i had to walk up!!)
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