Change the Pace – Mountain biking

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.

  1. Get comfortable before you hit the trails. Ride around on the roads and get to know your bike and your brakes.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. Shift your bodyweight backward when descending steep hills.

Most importantly, go your own pace and have fun!

Jasper, Alberta

Vernon, British Columbia

My favourite place to mountain bike: Jasper National Park, Alberta
Bucket list place to mountain bike: Moab, Utah

Do you mountain bike? Any tips? Where’s your favourite place to ride?

23 responses to “Change the Pace – Mountain biking

  1. I’m so scared of mountain biking! My husband used to really enjoy it, and wants to do it again, but he doesn’t have a bike. He got me my road bike for $20, so I told him that he could get a mountain bike if he could find one for $20. So far, that hasn’t happened! 🙂

  2. Wow that look slike a great time…I have yet to go riding but it is on my to do list for next summer…Moab would be awesome I agree! GOing to have to put that on my bucket list too

  3. Mountain biking is so much fun! I used to do it a ton, but have become more cautious as I’ve gotten older, which isn’t really a good thing! Great list of tips–people don’t realize that it is a completely different experience than riding on the road. Enjoy your off season on the trails!

  4. I’m so impressed! I don’t think I could ever mountain bike.

  5. my husband has been mt biking a ton since his injury. its been a sanity savor for sure. We need to come visit you, seems like more adventure there!

  6. I’m strictly a road biker, but mountain biking does have it’s appeals. As a backpacker, I know the pure joy of getting out and hitting the trail. Loved that picture of Jasper. It’s on my bucket list of places I want to go!

  7. My husband LOVES you! A chick that mountain bikes is super hot. I have zero skill, I admire your guts. It’s seriously tricky stuff. You never cease to blow me away w/ all your sports.

  8. You lucky thing living where you do! When we lived in the French Alps we went out on the bikes quite a bit and it was a blast. Hard work but a blast. Bar that one time I fell sideways off the mountain (or at least that’s how I tell the story!). I can’t wait to get back into some more trail running and biking. Back to nature, that’s what it’s all about, right?!

  9. I love it too, but I’m so bad! I’m such a huge chicken. I have more power than my 8-year-old son, but he kicks my butt on the mt. bike because I am too cautious!

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