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Cyclists: Wanting to improve your ride PR? I have a secret…

5 Sep

OK, so some of you may know this already. I swear that this will make you a stronger cyclist. It’s my strongest sport in a triathlon and I attribute it to this. What is it? Mountain biking! Riding a mountain bike can make you a much stronger cyclist…why?

1) Mountain biking teaches you bike control. Think you have it already? Try riding on the side of an embankment, uphill over large slippery roots. It’s not so easy…unless you have your bike control down. This includes control at fast speeds, slow speeds, standing, sitting, leaning, riding over roots, trees, bridges, obstacles and so on. This helps when riding in or on less than ideal conditions.
2) A mile on the road is about 4 miles on a mountain bike. I know this to be true from my own riding, but I have also heard many road cyclists say this. 20 miles on a mountain bike will do far more for the endurance than 20 miles on a road bike, even when tackling hills on a road bike.
3) The strength gains from mountain biking will allow for easy overtaking of “spinners” on a bike course. You will be able to sustain riding in a bigger gear. Single speed riders also gain the skill of standing to power uphill. I use both these techniques in triathlon events and I can pass many a cyclist on the uphill portions of an event.

Give it a try. Buy a decent mountain bike (a real mountain bike, not the Walmart special) and start working mountain biking into your training routine. Your PR will thank you!