Whether you’re looking to get into mountain biking for the first time, or you’re already a pro, there’s always more to learn. Honing your skills can make all the difference when you’re out on the track. Here are 11 of the best XC mountain biking tips that you may not have already known. These will help you improve your skills and make a mark when you’re out on your bike.
1,Don’t Be Put Off By Your Equipment
This is a tip for anyone who’s new to cross country biking. You may attend events and see people on expensive, full suspension trail bikes. You may feel as though your bike isn’t good enough, and that you can’t afford to compete.
This isn’t the case. Anyone can try their hand at cross country, no matter what equipment they have. As long as you’re maintaining your bike properly, then you’ll be fine. Get out there and give it a go. You can always pick up new equipment later.
2,Use Your Race Time To Time Training Sessions
Once you read this, it’ll seem like common sense, but many bikers don’t do this. If you’re training with a specific event in mind, make a note of how long it usually takes. You should aim to hit that time in your training.
For example, if the race should take an hour, then you need to keep your training sessions at around 1-1/2 hours long, in order to build up endurance. You can also use the time as a measurement, to see how far you can get in the time allowed.
3,Get On Your Road Bike
Being a good technical rider is important to any XC biker. You need to be able to put in spurts of big effort, and then recover before hitting the next technical challenge. This can take a toll on you, and those without proper endurance training will feel it.
The best thing to do is to get on your road bike and build up your endurance that way. It’ll help you become much more able to keep up with the pack when needed, and your recovery times should be shorter.
4,Get Into Running
Can running really help you as a mountain biker? Yes, more than you know. Mountain biking is great for keeping you fit, but it can ignore certain muscle groups. By going out and running, you’re developing those muscles and improving your performance on the track.
Try adding running into your fitness regime to help you improve your biking. You don’t need to be pounding the pavement every day, but get out there and develop those muscles.
5,Change Up Your Training
If you’re a keep fit fan, you’ll already know that you should be changing up your training routine. The same goes for when you’re training on your bike. You can do the same run over and over again, but you soon won’t see the benefits of it.
The trick is to change up how you train from time to time. For example, try switching to longer intervals or surging and recovering. This will help you hone your skills and stay sharp.
6,Roll Down Steep Banks Safely
When you’re riding along for speed, you’ll have your saddle up high, which puts your centre of gravity up high, too. When you’re about to down a steep bank though, you need to pull the saddle back down. You’ll want your centre of gravity much lower in order to get down safely.
If you can, check out a bank on foot first, before you ride it. This will help you get a feel for it, and you’ll see just how you’ll need to ride it in order to get down safely. Be in a relaxed position as you roll down, and remember to change that position as you near the end, to ensure you come off the bank properly.
7,Ride The Track Before The Big Day
If you’re taking part in a competition, you want to be checking out that track before you go in to ride it. You can check out a lot online, but if you really want to get a feel for it, you’re going to need to pre-ride it first.
If you can, get down there and try the track out for yourself. Take the time to relax and go around, taking note of every feature and how it could affect your ride time. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be when it comes to race day.
8,Practice Your Starts
Even the most seasoned bikers have had problems starting a race. A slipped pedal can make all the difference to your position in the pack, meaning you may lose opportunities to get ahead and win. You can avoid this by practicing your starts in the run up to the season.
Take the time to practice stationary starts, clipping in, and so on. The more you practice, the more you’ll develop muscle memory, and avoid slipped pedals.
9,Don’t Forget The Corners
A corner is a golden opportunity for ‘free speed’. This is when you can get an extra burst of speed on your bike for very little effort. You want to take advantage of that whenever you can. It can make all the difference when you’re out in the race, as it gives you a boost when you need it most.
Practice corners when you’re training, and create a technique that works the best for you. Once you have that down, you’ll have the edge you can use in competition.
10,Consider A Dropper Post
A dropper post is a post that helps you adjust the height of your seat while on the move, something that all XC bikers use or have at least considered over their biking careers. They can be incredibly helpful, as you do need to change the height of the saddle a lot depending on the obstacle that you’re facing next.
A dropper post will help you adjust your saddle without having to stop, something that will save you a lot of time in the long run. Take a look around, and talk to other bikers to get their recommendations. You’ll be able to find a model that works best for you.
These 11 tips will help you become a better biker, and really get the most out of every race you participate in. Give them all a try, and see what works for you. XC biking is one of the most fun and rewarding styles of biking out there, so do it to the best of your ability!
11,Relax When You’re Airborne
Pulling off a great jump is one of the many joys of mountain biking, but it takes some practice to get right. The best way you can do this is to relax. If you stiffen up, it can make the jump much harder to pull off and can even affect your landing.
Planning your jumps properly will help with this. Look ahead for a spot where you can jump, and assess it. What’s the landing area like? How big will the jump be? If you know this in advance, you’ll feel much more confident about the jump.