Not everyday is match day
Mountain biking is more than a sport or hobby for many of us, often being more of a lifestyle choice. The rush of flowing down a new trail, the thrill of opening it up a little more down a trail we know well, or the rush of endorphins that surge through our brains every time we hit the trails. This rush is why many of us love mountain biking, and although this euphoric state and high concentration helps us progress and keeps us motivated to push, to go out even in the most miserable of days, it can also have its downsides.
One of those is that every time we go out on our bikes, we end up searching for this excitement and feeling of flow. This results in us rarely going past the point of analysis; meaning at the end of each run, we either pay no attention to any analysis, or do very little thinking about what we just did, and instead, just crack on back up the hill to the next trail. However, if you think of any other sport, more commonly conventional sports, athletes go to regular training sessions where they spend a lot of time, energy, and focus, on improving the specific movement patterns and technique that make up 'the how' of riding a trail, or drills that widen ones comfort zones for specific skills. In mountain biking we are very poor at doing this in general.
ALine would therefore like to challenge you to think more about training rides, and how you can fit training into your riding routine. This looks different for each rider in its practical application. For example, some riders like to spend the first half of every ride as a training ride, others do it once a week or once a month depending on how often they ride. What we do know however, is that by increasing the frequency and implementation of training rides into your regime, it is likely to massively increase your rate of progression over time.
The content and how you structure a training ride varies, but think about the underlying skills such as manuals, slow speed balance, and bunny hops to name a few. Then isolating specific areas of a track where you can begin to implement those skills. Finally, how to put that all together in a run or between multiple features in a trail.
If you would like to find out more about how to better improve and structure a training ride, or the particular drills you should be doing to improve a specific area of your riding, please get in touch. ALine has some fantastic courses that do exactly that, from fundamental building blocks and movement patters that underpin much of what we do on a bike, to flowing down a trail in an effortless fashion, to managing technical and steep terrain with fluidity and commitment.
I look forward to hearing from many of you in the future. ALine wishes you a great festive period and new year. We hope this helps.
Keep it rubber side down, enjoy the ride, and see you next time.
Dr Gareth Jones (ALine UK manager)