Today, whilst riding my new Mosaic road bike for a few hours, I had an epiphany. I love my new steel speed rocket. It makes me proud. I know the guy who built it. He built it for me. But my epiphany is this: My road bike makes me love my mountain bike more. I cannot help it.
Last winter, I trained like crazy on my road bike with a goal of being a better cyclist, nothing else. What I ended up being was a happier mountain biker. Road biking in and of itself is a great sport, but mountain biking is where my heart is. All the road saddle time helped my in several distinct ways that I figured out.
On a mountain bike, it is a habit we get in feeling like we can red line for a moment on a crazy climb. Once you are breathing fire and your legs feel like jello, you tend to take a moment to recover, usually by coasting. My road training pushed my red line further along. It is distinctly more fun to not be completely out of breath as you begin a full throttle descent.
CADENCE and SPIN
Working on your cadence is difficult on a mountain bike, but on a road bike it is easy. Cadence work is just to teach your muscles how to spin quickly. So many good things happen when you spin quickly, especially on a mountain bike. Being able to keep a nice tight spin up a steep incline will keep your energy focused on getting to the top. It also allows you to crest the top and continue to push on the downhill. It isn’t just your fitness, it is your muscles wiring to be able to spin faster.
STRENGTH and CONDITIONING
Wintertime is a bad time to mountain bike. Riding in inclement weather can quickly screw up a bike and its rider. It also can destroy a trail really quickly if someone decides to ride on it at the wrong time. But road bikes are going to do anything negative to the road and we have 50 riding weeks out of the year. Getting a head start of training makes even the first mountain ride way better. Better because you aren’t having to teach your muscles what to do, you are just a little rusty technically.
GET A ROAD BIKE
Get a road bike… hell get a fixie, just get something so you aren’t just sprinting out the gate without a good engine. You can thank us later.