Planning technique training

How do you guys incorporate bike technique training into your every day training? Do you just go out for a ride in the terrain? Do you guys do specific bike handling drills? Do you structure technique training with a list of drills?

Using TrainerRoad it is easy to do high quality structured training plan aimed at increasing your fitness, how ever as a mountain biker bike handling is equally as important as fitness. Maybe even more important since poor technique is a potential risk of severe crashs. This apply to road cycling too, however my experience is mountain bike. And I think bike handling is my achilles heel, hence I need inspiration to become a better mountain bike. I’m not necessarily talking about taking class’, but your everyday technique training.

I try to squeeze in bike handling everywhere I can get a chance. Some ideas that I am actively doing:

  • Dump the direct-drive smart trainer for smart rollers.
  • When doing 3-5min VO2max intervals outside, I choose a climb that rewards proper technique with consistent rear wheel traction and has a somewhat gnarly descent for the rest.
  • Everyday (or at least every rest day), work on trials-related skills in the park or whatever space you have nearby. That includes trackstands, wheelies, manuals, fakies, bunny hips, riding skinnies and so on.
  • For cyclocross, I sometimes do sweet spot workouts on a made-up grass circuit. Chunky gravel can work too and it trains your ability to absorb bumps and vibrations without tiring. No coasting allowed.
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Thank you! That sounds awesome. Do you have some kind of progression in your trials-related skills? I have a pretty solid trackstand. I live in Copenhagen, Denmark, so I ride my bike everywhere and I usually trackstand whenever I have to stop. I can easily trackstand several minutes and I can even pick my nose during :wink: Hence I think it’s time to progress.

I wont think I will be doing them on “off days”. I live in an apartment hence my family probably wouldn’t count it as an off day. Nor will I advance my skills in the traffic. But I think I can find time to do some skill work during my weekly training. I do all my training outdoor I may add 10 minutes skill work after my intervals.

I follow the low volume TR program indoors and add two extra outdoor rides (Wednesday and Sunday) with roughly equivalent TSS to those in the mid volume program to get some time on the trails. On both of those outdoor rides I stay in about zone 2 on the climbs and focus on skills on the descents rather than chasing Strava times like I did before starting TR.

I’ve recently started doing some of the drills from Lee Mccormack’s book and articles at the start and end of my rides. I’ve found doing a few cornering, manualling, hopping, pumping and other bike/body separation drills before a couple of warm up laps on a short trail I can easily repeat really helps my flow on the descents later in my ride. I then spend ten minutes at the end of the ride to consolidate these skills as I find it’s easier to spend a bit more time when I’m not desperate to just get on with my ride.

During the ride I’ll make a conscious effort to practise wheelies on any smooth climbs and take any opportunity to wheelie over even the smallest root on a more technical climb. On smooth bits of fireroad or slight descents I’ll practise manuals and bunny hops.

Even though I’m not consciously chasing Strava times, these small bits of extra practice seem to help as I’m getting faster on most segments and definitely feel smoother through technical sections.

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That sounds great. Thank you!

As mentioned I do all my training outdoors. In these Corona times I can do all my training in the forrest hence I’m trying to make a plan for the next 2-3 months.

I want to follow the low volume TR plans with an addition of 1-2 rides. However I also want to add in some bike handling training to my training. For instance, I want to do a ‘corner day’ once a week or once per 14 days where I do intervals and then do some cornering drills or do some of my intervals on a loop making it possible to practice cornering. I will take a look at Lee McCormack’s books to find some good drills and focus points I can implement.

When I can get back to work, I will do most of my fitness training on the road bike on my commutes and primarily do longer intervals and social rides on the trails but my priority on these rides will be bike handling before fitness.

I follow MV plans. Sometimes I’ll swap the Wednesday easy rides for trails and also straight after the weekend Trainer rides (1.5-2hrs) go straight out for a 60 mins trail ride.

For cornering, try the drills in this article – https://www.rei.com/blog/cycle/cul-de-sac-kung-fu-essential-cornering-drills-you-can-do-anytime-anywhere – and then when you have those dialled incorporate them into the drill at the end of this post on Lee’s site – https://www.leelikesbikes.com/eights-of-ignominy.html.

I got a copy of Lee’s Mastering Mountain Bike Skills book after hearing him on the TR podcast. It contains a lot of detail – almost too much at times – but has been really useful in helping me break down my riding. As a non-American, his writing style grates with me sometimes, but the advice is solid.

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