As the weather starts to warm and daylight hours get longer, riding plans for the year start to formulate. From quick weekend excursions to week long epics, mountain biking vacations are a way to get out and ride trail that isn’t in your backyard. Ranging from full tours in foreign countries to single night hotel visits a state or two away, there are a ton of options for mountain bikers looking to get some different trail riding experiences and scenery.
Right now, we are actually in the process of nailing down our Moab trip for the year. I’m stoked and it is still months away.
As we were planning our rides, I started to wonder how many of you guys plan trips throughout the year to get your dirt fix on new soil. Vote in the poll and let us know! If you want to share your plans…hit up the comment section below to rub it in…
Last year, I headed up to Pisgah Forest, North Carolina for a 3 day weekend to get in some much needed, big mountain riding in. Like most vacation ride spots, I slammed in as much singletrack as I possibly could so there wasn’t one spec of dirt against rubber that was wasted. Prior to the trip, I got in a couple of extra rides and hit the road bike a couple of times to make sure my legs were ready for the abuse. After a great weekend of shredding singletrack, I came home to find my legs completely dead with zero power. Of course, I didn’t find this out until I tried to drop the hammer on our regular weekly ride and I actually had to “train” to get the power back in my legs over the course of the next two weeks! So what happened?!
Racers Are Not The Only Ones That Can Over-Train
While we typically think of racers as the ones that are training and the rest of us are just riding, the same pitfalls that racers can run into affect us as recreational riders as well. In the above short story, I basically over-trained my legs to the point they were deteriorating instead of building. The result…legs that don’t want to do anything and a period of time that you have to build back fitness that you have now lost all because you (or I in this case) didn’t do a couple of things to insure that you did not over-train your body.
So…what can you do to insure that you are not working backwards when you want to hit the extra miles or elevation during a given week?
Tips To Prevent Dead Legs
Here are some tips to get you rolling and keep you pedaling after a weekend of hard riding.
Take A Break! – Far too often, I see riders try to burn the midnight oil and not give their legs and body adequate time to recover. Without days of rest in-between hard riding, the body can not repair torn tissue and it starts to attack itself. While I am not a biologist and there is a lot of science around this theory, this is proved to yourself through muscle pains and the situation I explained above. Make sure you are giving your body enough time to get ready for the next round of abuse. By riding 7 days a week, you can actually work away from your goal instead of towards it.
Fluids and Nutrition – During times of recovery and over exertion, it is increasingly important to flood your body with nutrition and water to aid in the healing process. Without the necessary fuel, your body does not have the energy to recover quickly. While you are on the trail and off, make sure you are giving your body the quality nutrients that it needs to get the job done. Sorry…beer calories don’t count…
Train Off The Bike – If you really want to bring your riding to another level and prevent a lot of this recovery madness, train off the bike as well. By doing programs like The Ultimate MTB Workout, you can strengthen riding muscles properly to be a healthier rider on the trail.
Carefully Plan Trips – When you are looking to do a destination weekend or week on the bike, carefully plan your rides. Typically, I like to put the hardest ride dead in the middle of the trip and then work down from there putting the easier rides at the beginning and end (kind of like a bell curve of hardness). It allows my body to warm up to the area and then cool back down. Sometimes it can be hard to get a read on new areas, so check out local forums and talk to local bike shops as you plan out your rides.
Work Slowly Back Up – If you do happen to lose the power in your legs, do not push it. Work slowly back up and try not to make matters worse by pushing yourself harder than you should.
Any of us that have been riding for a period of time have experienced over-training. By taking several tips into consideration, we can drastically cut down on the damage done to our legs and keep the stoke going after hard rides. The trick is careful planning and not getting in over our heads.
I do not normally publish press releases on Bike198, but I am a sucker for mountain biking specific vacations and Mike at Sacred Rides puts on some of the best of them. If you haven’t thought about an organized bike vacation, it is a great way to ride in a different part of your country or the world with other like minded obsessed mountain bikers.
MOUNTAIN BIKING AND YOGA?
An unlikely combination meet in Mexico this March
Press Release – 01/03/2009 For immediate release
Contact: Laura Morrison, 1-888-423-7849 [email protected]
TORONTO – Remember those Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups ads in the 80s? Much like the implausible duo of peanut butter and chocolate, yoga and mountain biking might not, at first, seem a good fit. After all, the stereotypical mountain biker is young and adrenaline-fueled, while practitioners use yoga to find calm and groundedness in their lives.
Award-winning mountain bike adventure company Sacred Rides thinks otherwise. They’re blazing a new trail in mountain bike tourism with their latest fusion: a Yoga and Mountain Bike Retreat in Mexico where you can challenge your body on the trail and then stretch it all out on the mat – strengthening both body and mind in the process.
“I’ve been practicing yoga for 6 years and it’s the perfect complement to my riding,” says company president Mike Brcic. “Not only does it limber me up and prepare me for a tough ride, it helps me develop focus and balance, which makes me a better mountain biker. I’ve been meeting more and more people in the mountain bike community who also practice yoga.”
Sacred Rides’ head mountain bike instructor Johanna Weintrager will lead the retreat, along with local guide Alejandro Macias. Weintrager is also a certified yoga teacher, qualified to teach vinyasa, power and hot yoga. “We’re going to start each day at sunrise with an invigorating session on the beach, ” says Weintrager, “then head out on the trails and work on our mountain bike skills. At the end of the day, we’ll finish up with a relaxing sunset yoga session. I’m pretty excited about bringing together my two passions!”
The weeklong retreat includes accommodation at beachside cabins on a spectacular private beach north of Puerto Vallarta, 3 gourmet meals every day, daily mountain bike rides and instruction, 2 yoga sessions and other optional activities such as surfing and hiking. Extras include an evening at an eco-hacienda in the mountains and time volunteering with a local community project.
Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures is North America’s leading mountain bike adventure operator, recently ranked “#1 mountain bike tour operator on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure.
Their singletrack-based adventures take place in spectacular locations around the world; each trip involves extensive interaction with local communities, and a percentage of trip costs supports local community projects that riders get to visit and experience. Local guides guide each adventure and local suppliers are used whenever possible.
For more information, visit http://www.sacredrides.com
This weekend, a group of us are heading up to Pisgah National Forest for some true southeast, all-mountain riding on some of the best trails the eastern United States has to offer. Pisgah National Forest, nestled in the mountains of North Carolina, is known for dozens of mountain epics all within miles of each other, and this makes Pisgah a destination site for eager mountain bikers ready to tackle all day, technical rides. For the roadies out there…Pisgah/Asheville is also known as the training ground for Lance Armstrong as he gets ready for the mountain stages of the tour. The Blue Ridge Parkway provides some of the best climbing in the US.
As I prepare for this weekend of long miles and incredible riding, I started wondering how many of you guys spend some time during the year on cycling related vacations. Do you go on biking vacations and where do you normally go? (use comment section below for the where)
…is running a contest right now to when a free mountain biking vacation.
At Sacred Rides, we eat, sleep and dream mountain biking. We travel all over the world in search of the best rides. We talk about it, write about it, take photos of it, film it.. you get the point. We simply love it.
We want to share that love of mountain biking with you and we want you to share it with us. So we’re inviting you to show us your love with our new I Love Mountain Biking video contest.
The winner of the contest will walk away with an all-expenses-paid MTB trip to Peru or British Columbia worth over $4500. The grand prize includes a spot on one of our trips in Peru or BC, return airfare from North America or select spots in Europe, and the use of a DeVinci bike for the duration of the trip.
The sooner you enter, the better your chances. Your video could be 1 to 3 minutes of anything: footage of you riding your home trails, a song and dance, a music video. However you express your love of the sport.
I look forward to seeing your entries, and good luck!