You have a mountain bike and want to put it to use. Below are six survival skills any beginning mountain biker ought to know, brought to you by the mountain sports experts from ASO Mammoth, your one-stop shop for mountain bike, ski, and snowboard rentals in Mammoth.
1. Develop Stamina
Mountain biking is like any other exercise: overdoing it will wind up hurting you. Spend between four and six weeks raising your stamina by going on regular low-impact runs three or four days a week. Once you start feeling competent, add some slightly longer sessions. It’s also important to carry healthy, energy-boosting food and something to rehydrate with, so consider bringing a sports bottle filled with an electrolyte-rich drink. On trips exceeding an hour, bring an energy bar.
2. Remember to Shift Your Weight
Mountain biking is full of harsh terrain. When things turn tough, adjust your weight by leaning forward to keep your body’s center of gravity over the rear wheel to maintain traction. When the course tilts down, shift your weight behind the saddle and over the rear wheel.
3. Don’t Forget Intervals
Once you’ve developed your endurance, consider adding an interval to at least one weekly ride. When starting out, this might resemble riding for half an hour as a warmup, then a few five-second intervals of high intensity followed by 10–20 seconds of resting. Repeat this five times and then go on a longer break. Once your body adapts to that routine, consider elevating these sessions. Use landmarks as goals for starting or stopping the high-intensity portions. After two to three weeks, change out one short-interval run for longer runs.
4. Know the Gears
The variable terrain of mountain biking demands a wide variety of gear settings. Learn what they do and when to use them. Remember to use them before you reach sections where they’ll be needed rather than in the middle of those sections.
5. Learn How to Approach Turns
Learn to take a wide crouched stance and open your knees so the bike “leans” under you. Leaning the bike, not yourself, puts the tires’ side knobs to work, gripping terrain and holding the edge. Learn to brake before the turn comes and ease off on your brakes as it transitions into a normal path. Remember to focus on the exit and keep your body turned toward it.
6. Don’t Ignore Your Body
Recovery is just as vital as training and starts the moment you leave the bike. Make sure to have your drink or snack no later than 20 minutes after you finish. Weave in some easy free riding between lengthy courses and short-term, high-intensity courses, as this circulates blood through fatigued muscles and expedites recovery. Spend a day or two completely off the bike each week.
If you’re about to hit the mountain with your bike for the first time, use common sense, follow safety rules, and make sure to start with high-quality equipment. ASO Mammoth is the place to go for Mammoth ski rental, biking gear, and safety tips from the experts. We have everything you need to make your mountain biking experience memorable. Drop in or give us a call at 760-965-3444.