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Fitness :(

pastashellpastashell Posts: 4
edited November 2016 in MTB beginners
Hi ,
I have just purchased a specialized camber 29er and to be honest havent done much cycling for a long while .
I used to bmx race way back .I am hoping to get up on the hills and trails and put some miles in .
I am 45 now and was hoping to get some help regarding how to build up leg stamina etc as if I cycle for 10 mins my legs feel wobbly .Do i just push through it ?
How far should i be aiming for ?Maybe on the canal to start ? With a few climbs ?
Many thanks


  • Hi Andy When I started cycling again after many years off the bike I started doing 4 miles on the flat trying to increase every week incorporating some hills it worked for me. Try not to do too much to soon as this will just put you off cycling your fitness will improve over time.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,758
    Make sure you pace yourself, use the gears to keep the right cadence and keep to a sensible effort so you can cycle longer/further, your fitness will soon improve, busting a gut means less exercise per ride and a slower improvement.

    I restarted cycling at the same age and now regularly do 30mile off road/50-60 mile onroad with the odd longer ride (longest to date is 136miles with over 10,000 feet climbing).

    Oh and first ever MTB race this weekend.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    time on the bike ..... to start with that's all you need, your bike fitness will get more and more each time you ride.

    As an example, I hadn't ridden a bike in 5 years and started commuting to work, the 1st couple of weeks I was overtaken by every one, ... 6 months later I have reduced my commute by 35-40% .. even yesterday when I did the shopping and carried 15kg of panniers back home with me (all up hill) I was still 25% faster than the 6 months ago.

    the only people that overtake me now are Deliveroo riders and the odd guy with epic calf muscles, and they don't go slowely past me, they fly past me on a whole new level ...... my commutes are filled with the delights of being in the top 10 of the segment times each ride for that day

    Once you have your fitness back .. THEN start looking at training properly
  • I found that it doesn't help if you look at it as a way of getting fit.
    Look at it as a way of exploring areas around you that you haven't been to before - go online and find the nearest woodland or bridleway and get out for an hour.
    It certainly worked for me. I never realised how fit I was getting - I just went out and started going further and further away from my house. Also found some great trails, which I would never have found if I hadn't explored. It got to the point where I even bought a couple of Ordinance Survey maps of the local area to help plan some new routes.

    Secondly, make sure that you are 'fuelled' properly before you head out. No point heading out on an empty stomach, or filling yourself up 5 minutes before you head out. Personally, I have weetabix or shredded wheat and a mug of tea before a ride - two or three with milk, 1.5 - 2 hours before I head out and I'm good for a 3 hour ride.
    (There are better ways to refuel, but it works for me.)
    Most importantly, make sure that you have water for your ride. If you are flaking out, maybe take a small packet of haribo with you to make sure that you get enough sugar to get you back home.
    2007 Felt Q720 (the ratbike)
    2012 Cube Ltd SL (the hardtail XC 26er)
    2014 Lapierre Zesty TR 329 (the full-sus 29er)
  • JGTRJGTR Posts: 1,404
    Pace yourself and just keep riding. If you keep wearing yourself out you'll just feel like censored and you won't be able to get fitter as you'll have no energy/motivation. Aim to finish a ride still feeling good in the early stages and once your fitness improves you will be able to start pushing yourself.

    For short rides, an hour or less, just make sure you have food in your belly and leave it at least an hour after eating and just take water in the ride. Anything over an hour taking some food or energy drink on the ride is a good idea, I use flapjacks, bananas, peanut butter sandwiches and SIS Go energy powder/drink. Fuel up before you need it, takes 15-20 mins to get through in my experience.

    Gels/jelly babies/Haribo are OK but if you find yourself needing them to get you home then you've overdone it and you'll feel like censored after.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    As others have said, time on the bike, learn to pace yourself, and enjoy your riding.

    I used to cycle a lot as a teenager, but then cars, jobs, houses, families came along and I did nothing from age 23 till probably 40. Then I bought a cheap / heavy / unreliable / Chinese MTB shaped object off a bloke on a disused garage forecourt. Loved it, and started to regain a bit of fitness, but things kept breaking or dropping off. After 3 years I bought a pukka MTB (rigid, light but steel frame, decent kit - bear in mind this was in the 90s) which enabled me to go a bit further & faster. Living in East Anglia though, so I was riding it as much on road as off...
    FFWD to 50 and a second bout of knee surgery, a bonus meant I could treat myself to a road bike.
    Crikey it was hard work at first! I stuck at it though, and without really trying, my cycling fitness has carried on improving bit by bit. At 59 now I'm a lot fitter than I was at 40, and if anything my stamina / endurance is still improving. I still get overtaken an awful lot, so I've concluded I'm more of a tourist than a racer :D
    I use a Garmin to navigate and to log my rides, but I don't really worry about speeds or distances. I just ride for pleasure, which is I think the best way to maintain enthusiasm for it.
  • mugensimugensi Posts: 559
    Start off easy and on the flat until you build a bit of stamina for cycling, if you plough straight into hills then you'll find it very difficult and wont get very far. Once you've got some road miles in your legs you can venture off road and do some easy climbs/trails.

    I started cycling again at 39 (I'm now 46) and my first ride was on a road bike and was 9 miles on relatively flat roads. I nearly died of exhaustion as I was about 2.5 stone overweight and had done absolutely zero exercise of any sort for the previous 15 years but kept at it and slowly but surely got fitter. I now cycle 5 or 6 times a week, own 3 bikes (1 x carbon road bike, 1 alloy road bike and 1 x 29er MTB) I can average 19/20mph over 75miles (on the road bike) and have lost over 2 stone and am desperately trying not to lose any more!! I now go in search of hills/climbs as flat rides bore me quickly.
  • My advice - build up slowly or you could loose your confidence
  • try not to leave it too long between rides, your fitness can drop off just as rapidly as you gain it in my experience!

    When I go for 2/3/4 weeks without a ride, it's almost back to square one again :cry:
  • FishFishFishFish Posts: 2,152
    Enjoy it too! Find places where you like being and maybe vary your start point by getting a rack. Make it about biking and enjoying and not just fitness. They all blend into each other eventually.
    ...take your pickelf on your holibobs.... :D

    jeez :roll:
  • FishFishFishFish Posts: 2,152
    keef66 wrote:
    As others have said, time on the bike, learn to pace yourself, and enjoy your riding.

    Then I bought a cheap / heavy / unreliable / Chinese MTB shaped object off a bloke on a disused garage forecourt. Loved it,

    I did the same and never stopped!
    ...take your pickelf on your holibobs.... :D

    jeez :roll:
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