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Fitness training for downhill racing

rockmonkeyscrockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
edited March 2014 in Health, fitness & training
This October I have my first BDS race at Bike Park Wales. It's a much longer track than I have raced on before and starts with all or nothing sprinting (on cold legs) for the big jumps. By half way down the hill im destroyed.
What's the best training for this sort of 3:30ish sprint?
All my local trails are no more than 2 minutes so I'm going to have to use something else for training.


  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    This is a bit general but you need to warm up, pace yourself and practice on a similar if not the exact course. Going fast even for about three minutes takes planning, training and experience. Learn the course and workout what to do when. There is an XC MTB loop of five miles I try to get round as fast as possible near me. It took me a while to learn the loop, when to / how hard to push it and which are the best lines. spending the winter on a road bike doing lots of miles has improved my XC MTB fitness a lot especially uphill.
  • cyco2cyco2 Posts: 593
    Just do lots of short intervals of 2 to 4 minutes at race pace on the road.

    If you want to be a strong rider you have to do strong things.
    However if you train like a cart horse you'll race like one.
  • rockmonkeyscrockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
    cyco2 wrote:
    Just do lots of short intervals of 2 to 4 minutes at race pace on the road.

    That's not a bad idea. I could fit it in to my commute. I think I might have to do it on climbs to get the resistance similar to the DH bike.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Be wary of doing stuff at the shorter end of that, you'll get good at sprinting for 2 minutes, which won't help.

    You need a good base fitness for it to really be effective, but then I'd look at doing some pyramid intervals, with half the interval as recovery - so do 1 min off/30s off/2 on/1 off etc, up to 5 mins, then back down again.

    Try some lactate sprints too - 15 seconds flat out (really really flat out), 15 seconds coasting/easy spinning, and do 12 reps, so 6 minutes of that. Your HR will gradually increase, and not quite recover, they're hell by the end.
  • rockmonkeyscrockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
    Sounds good. Im reasonably fit. 30 miles at a good pace is no problem but three and a half minutes of intense sprinting kills me.
    Going in to it cold doesn't help. Some riders have turbo trainers at the top of the hill but I don't have the support to get one up the hill.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    Can you just ride in circles at the top? All most people do before XC races is ride up and down a fireroad, even at elite level! Keep your legs moving, a couple of intense efforts, then try and avoid getting too cold.

    Otherwise warm up balm? Leg warmers? A bit roadie, but may help, as you say, anything like that from cold will always hurt more!
  • WindyGWindyG Posts: 1,099
    njee20 wrote:
    All most people do before XC races is ride up and down a fireroad, even at elite level!

    Saw a guy doing this last month, he was putting some good effort up and down a short climb, I thought he was nuts but then he came 3rd so it must have worked :shock:

    I have been doing some pyramid intervals and have felt some real gains from it especially when it comes to climbs.
  • rockmonkeyscrockmonkeysc Posts: 14,774
    I guess I could fit a QR seat clamp to make it a bit easier to ride up and down the fire road at the top.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    You're just trying to stay warm (but not tire yourself out), so if you have to alternate between sitting really low and standing then it's still better than nowt.
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