We’ve been getting a ton of great feedback on the new mountain bike training plans. Like I talked about in an earlier post, these plans are designed to help riders develop the unique fitness characteristics that are necessary to excel on the trail. While the typical cross country, enduro, or XTERRA athlete will be able to pick a plan and run with it, some off road events out there may require some modifications and workout supplementation in order to prepare adequately.
When somebody asks me which training plan is the best fit for a 100 mile mountain bike race, the first thing I ask is “what race is it?”. An event like Leadville where the racing takes place entirely on dirt roads, the high intensity and unique power fluctuations that you’ll find in the mountain bike plans are not necessary. A Century Build or even a variation of the 40k TT with some added volume would be a much better fit.
For ultra endurance events that take place mostly on trails, the new mountain bike plans are where you need to start. Follow an Advanced High Volume plan and supplement it with 40k TT or Advanced Century workouts on the prescribed “hard days” in order to really bulk up the volume, while still honoring the rest and active recovery days. Getting 1-2 “double days” in per week at 2.5-4 hours will do incredible things for your aerobic engine. While following the structure and high-intensity workouts in the mountain bike plan will prepare your heart, lungs, and mind for the technicality of riding trails.
That’s right, fitness is now just as important in downhill racing as it is in any other discipline. The fact is, all top downhill athletes are fit. With how far bikes have progressed and how talented so many downhill riders are, it is often a riders sprint power out of each corner and ability to maintain their charge when their heart rate is through the roof that determines the winner.
For downhill racers, I recommend following the mountain bike training plan that they have enough time throughout the week to stick with, and supplement with Super Time Crunched workouts. Most gravity riders don’t want to spend a lot of time on the trainer, and rightfully so. So swap out the longer, more aerobic workouts in the mountain bike plan you choose with these Super Time Crunched workouts, while still honoring the rest and active recovery days. This combination is a recipe for short term explosive power – exactly what you need for that lung-bursting, 10-minute sprint to the bottom of the mountain.
Are you preparing for some off road events this season? If so, which ones? And how are you preparing?