Fall has arrived, the weather is crisp, and the leaves are changing colour and dropping to the ground. Maybe your knees are a little sore. Maybe you just want to liven up your training and have fun with fitness.
Whatever the reason, mountain biking is an excellent option for cross training and getting outside to enjoy the season.
I haven’t been mountain biking in almost a year due to injury and Ironman training. I finally got out yesterday.
It was freezing cold (9C) and pouring rain. My clothes were soaked through, it felt like I was wearing a wet diaper, and my lips were blue. But I had an absolute blast.
I love to mountain bike, but I’m not very good at it. I’m kind of a chicken and am incredibly cautious. That’s why yesterday was perfect.
I took easy trails. I went on my own, took my time down the hills and around sharp turns, and pedaled my heart out to reach the top of hills.
My husband loves to mountain bike and is really good at it. He’s taught me a few things over the years that I think will help anyone who’s a little cautious.
- Get comfortable before you hit the trails. Ride around on the roads and get to know your bike and your brakes.
- Learn your gears. You need to know how to change your gears efficiently if you want to crest the hills or change gears when the terrain quickly changes.
- Pay attention to where your pedals are when you ride. If you’re not pedalling, try to keep your pedals centred/equal with both knees bent instead of one up top with one leg bent and one down below with the other leg almost straight. I’ve hit a lot of large rocks by riding with one of my pedals down.
- Shift your bodyweight forward when climbing. If you don’t, your front wheel can lift. If you shift too far forward though, you can lose traction. Find the sweet spot!
- Shift your bodyweight backward when descending steep hills.
Most importantly, go your own pace and have fun!
Do you mountain bike? Any tips? Where’s your favourite place to ride?