It seems every Mountain Biker has worries about his fitness at some point. Just a quick trawl across other Mountain Bike blogs and websites will throw up a selection of articles that touch on the subject of Mountain Biking fitness in various forms – how do I get fit, I didn’t/did feel fit on today’s ride and so on.
For a lot of us though it’s just about being ‘credible’ amongst our peers, whether they happen to be Elite XC jeyboys or semi-pro slackers like us. Every rider wants to (at least occassionally) get to the top of a climb first or rock on the descents. At the very least, every rider wants to keep his or her riding buddies in sight without feeling they are holding people up or letting the side down.
So, there’s always a demand for advice on how to get fit. The secret, as it happens isn’t so difficult and has been said many times. Just get out and ride. It’s that simple, the more miles you do the better able you are to ride more miles. Mind you, things can be advanced quite quickly if you take a couple of steps to make things more challenging.
Take Dave for example. He’s recently bought himself another bike (an On-One 29er singlespeed) and has been trying it out over shorter rides. What a difference! The other night we were out and he was storming along (a relative statement that reflects on all of us), keeping up a good average pace which is where the benefits of singlespeeding really show. He even managed to climb Box Hill in one go with no thought for cardiac arrest. So singlespeeding’s a good option for Mountain Bike fitness training, if only because you have no other option but to keep the legs turning.
The Pickled Hedgehog has also tried a variation on resistance training on a bike by consistently carrying everything but the kitchen sink around in his commuter bike bag, although he put’s it better himself:
Time and time again I stare into its’ inky abyss and agonise over the potential removal of – say – the emergency badger, but I know in my heart it’s bad karma and the very next day, I’ll be marooned in need of a pair of furry gloves or crotch pelt.
The result, having thrown caution and the bike bag away, is better riding fitness. I would imagine that weighting your Camelbak with lead is also an option to achieve similar effects, something I’m sure Dave is also doing having felt the weight of his backpack last Sunday.
Whatever course of action you take though, just get the miles in and it all gets easier.