Riding and racing bikes is fun, that’s why we do it.
Training isn’t fun, that’s why we don’t do it… but…
If you can get some basic training under your belt, you can ride/race for longer and in theory have more fun.
I’ve done the whole training plan, heart rate monitor thing and it wasn’t for me. It killed the enjoyment of riding. Every ride was about beating the clock or computer and then after months of boring training I had a bad season racing. For me I need to have fun to get results.
This is a rough guide of what I do for training, by no means is it a professional plan but it works for me and can be adapted to suit anyone’s riding discipline and level.
Coming from a DH background into Enduro has had its advantages, the short/sharp sprint fitness and strength is there but the endurance of maintaining it over a weekend isn’t.
Over the winter I try to put in the miles to build up a good base for the season… with a young family and running a business I have had to adapt my riding time to work around normal life. I do this by commuting cross country to work…
I have a few routes that vary between 30mins to one hour, 7-12 miles each way. Averagely I’m doing 1.5-2 hours a day in the week then one longer ride at the weekend totalling around 12-14 hours a week on the bike. It’s awesome. No turbo or roller training just get kitted up with some descent waterproofs and some Exposure lights
, get out into the elements and have some fun.
We all know that in a race run you give 110%… it’s very hard to replicate this when training as the buzz of racing the clock and other riders is missing.
Interval or Sprint training can help with this, getting the mind and body used to functioning at 110% makes it easier come race day.
Over the winter I start adding sprints to my daily rides, see a hill, sprint up it…
Early on its only once or twice a week but then when the season is approaching I lessen the mileage and up the intensity… for example, instead of taking the long way home I ride to the nearest hill and do 5 reps of it at full gas then spin home. So it’s basically a one minute effort with a 2 minute rest x5. It’s hard and not that fun but you really do feel the benefits after a few weeks. You do need to be careful with max threshold training, don’t do it everyday and recover properly.
In the winter I tend to incorporate sprints to my weekly rides on a Tuesday and Thursday evening. Then upping it to 3 times a week in spring before racing starts.
Around one month before the season starts I start putting sprints into normal fun DH/trail riding. Basically everywhere you are rolling on a trail put some pedals in. It gets you used to riding technical terrain whilst dealing with a high heart rate. Another way of doing this is if you pedal to the top of a trail drop straight in, don’t wait around letting your heart rate drop.
All the fitness in the world is wasted if you haven’t got the technical skills to back it up. It is another important part of ‘training’ but also the most fun. This is why I do all my fitness training off road and on the bike, you are constantly working on your technical skills without thinking about it.
Another great way of keeping skills and fitness sharp is by riding to your local DH spot instead of driving… I get it’s not possible in all cases but where it is you should get out and try it.
A good 30-45min ride really gets you warmed up to then smash out a load of runs, sessioning corners and jumps and enjoying the best bits of riding.
Off the bike training…
Again this can help a lot towards your riding, building strength and mobility and decreasing your chance of injury.
I like to think that when we crash It Can be like taking a hit in rugby… you look at those guys and they are huge and train to take a beating. If you can keep strong and flexible you have a much better chance of getting up from a crash and continuing your ride.
I use a TRX suspension training system
, it’s basically all body weight resistance and I find it works really well and saves on buying a load of weights or a gym membership. Just pumping iron isn’t going to help much with riding a bike, big arm muscles hinder the blood flow to your hands which can lead to arm/hand pump. Keep strong but keen lean…
Like I said before this isn’t a professional training plan, it’s just what works for me.
The most important thing is to get out on your bike and enjoy it…
Just remember the fitter you are the longer you can ride and more fun you can have.
Hope this can help your riding in some way, see you at the races.
Oli Carter – Elite Enduro Racer