MTB: 5 tips on how to improve your speed

Going fast off road can be a work of art if you get it right. If you don’t you could be spending a lot of time going into rocks or trees! We spoke with #HIGH5fuelled Kargo Pro MTB Team to get some top tips to help you hit your next trails. So what can you do to go faster off road?

1. Picking a line:01
This is the most important thing when it comes to negotiating that gnarly downhill. Firstly, your line of sight should not be directly looking down at your front wheel, but rather a good few meters ahead of you. You want to be able to plan what you are going to do before you arrive at that first rut or rock.

Secondly, look for the line that’s going to make your life easiest. For example, if you have a choice between a tight squeeze in-between two rocks or a ride-able line over one of them to the side that might require a bit more momentum, opt for that line over instead. It could save you ripping off your derailleur and allow you to keep up your speed rather than slow right down.

If you are constantly looking down the trail, you will almost always be able to anticipate what you need to do. If  you ever get in a situation you did not plan and it has caused you to completely deviate from that plan you had, don’t panic. Just let the bike find its own flow, stay relaxed, control your speed with your rear brake and gently revert back to the first step. Picking good lines comes with experience, so the more you ride, the better you will get at it, until it becomes second nature.

2. Climbing Switchbacks:
When it comes to climbing switchbacks or 180 degree uphill turns, line choice is still very important. The idea with a switch back is to make room for yourself. Switchbacks are normally so tight that you always want to be hugging the outside of the trail when coming into one. For example: if it is a left turn, come into the switch as far to the right of the trail as possible. This will now give you as much space as possible on your left side to play with. You can now point and steer your bike into the turn giving yourself the most space possible to find the most graceful line.

Avoid standing going into the switchback. When you are seated your weight is already nicely centred over the bike. This will make sure you have have grip on the back wheel and weight on the front wheel, reducing the chance of wheel spinning. Once you’ve made the tight turn you can then go as fast as you like up the climb until the next one, where the above applies once again.

033. Build an aerobic base:

Winter is fast approaching and so are the December holidays. Use this time wisely and instead of dropping your riding buddy up every climb, use it to get to know your mate better. Ride together at a constant, steady speed. Give your heart an opportunity to beat regularly and steady for long periods of time. This is sometimes refereed to as ‘TITS’ or  Time In The Saddle.

Let your heart pump like a diesel engine at a steady 2000 rpm. Your body is going to get stronger while operating in this state. Building more capillaries to support this steady flow of blood to your muscles. This can be thought of like giving your car engine more valves. More valves mean more horse power when it’s time to light a fire on your mate in the new year.

4. Hold the Power04
When the new year arrives put those ‘TITS’ into practice and start getting the newly upgraded engine into the power phase. Practice holding the intensity for different durations with time to recover between each interval. Alternate what you do in the week and choose a day to do interval sessions on the flats and a day to do them on a climb.

If you are looking to become more explosive, intervals of 30 seconds to 2 minutes is a good duration. If you are wanting to burn off your competition on a longer climb practice holding the power for 4-8 minutes on repeat. Keep this sort of training session to around 90 minutes. Short and sweet.

5. Get a bike fit by a professional:
The most important step in the whole equation. None of the above is really relevant unless you’re sitting on your bike optimally. Weight distribution and power transfer are some of the most important factors when it comes to riding your bicycle efficiently and with style.

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What do you eat and drink if you swim for 26 hours?

On August 30th at 0727 Scott Dawson jumped into the Solent just off Seaview, touched the red can and set off on an epic swim attempting to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight non-stop. On August the 31st at 0923, he reached the same red can, touched it and became the 5th person ever to swim solo around the Island. A time of 25 hours, 56 mins and 46 seconds was recorded with a distance of 104.7 kilometres.

05HIGH5 kept Scott fuelled and hydrated for his training and the attempt. We caught up with Scott post swim, and asked how important HIGH5 had been, and what he had used before, during and post swim.

How much training did you do in the lead up this monumental effort?
I have been training for about 18 months, and using HIGH5 since the beginning of 2016. My weekly average was about 18 hours a week, juggling training, a full time job and a family. With this in mind, recovery from training is really important, and I found the Protein Recovery vital to my recovery strategy (Banana Vanilla flavour of course!).

What was involved in the training?
I would run on average 50-60 km per week and swim about 6 hours a week as well as going to the gym for strength and conditioning. Whilst running I use a combination of the EnergySource and Isotonic especially if it was hot. If it was endurance work, then I would use the Energy Source 4:1, as this gave me the extra protein my body craved.

What did you eat/drink in the lead up to the swim?
I did the usual carb loading prior to the main swim, and cut out fibre about 4/5 days before. I was aiming to be in a wetsuit for around 24 hours, and this was going to reduce the chances of any accidents! I ate the banana flavoured EnergyBars, and drank ZERO, to make sure my electrolyte levels were as good as they could be.

So, swimming for over 24 hours means you have to eat and drink in the water. How was that?02
The team said I looked a bit like an otter when I ate! I would take something in every 30 mins and fluid-wise, I alternated between EnergySource and Isotonic. We marked the bottles at 250ml intervals, and I made sure this was the minimum I was taking on. This way, I and the team knew what hydration I was taking on, and we could monitor it really well. As I wasn’t allowed to touch anything or anybody, the kayakers would just throw the sport bottles to me, and I would throw them back. Occasionally I would use the EnergyGels in the HIGH5 gel bottles. Food wise, I would eat the Energy Bars, homemade beetroot brownies, bananas, mini Babybel and jelly sweets. These were delivered on the end of a paddle! My wife Polly also made chicken noodle soup for the ‘mealtimes’. This was the only ‘warm’ food I took on, and it was difficult 18 hours in to the swim as my mouth had swollen up, because of the salt water.

What happened post swim?
When I climbed into the medical boat at the end of the swim,I drank 800ml of the Protein Recovery. This really settled me, before my wetsuit was peeled off me. As soon as my wetsuit was taken off, my blood pressure dropped like a stone, and I passed out. The medical team knew this was going to happen, and I am so glad we had professional people on the team.

Scott is still raising money for Meningitis Now, and The Marine Conservation Society. To donate online go to

 Don’t forget to enter our latest competition for your chance to win a Zone3 wetsuit and a HIGH5 nutrition bundle!

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New Product Alert: HIGH5 Protein Hit

We are delighted to launch a brand new addition to our healthy snack range with Protein Hit, in three indulgent gluten free flavours.

Packed with flavour and nutritious goodness for an energising boost, Protein Hit is the snack for your busy lifestyle, with no added sugar. Lovingly moulded with the highest quality ingredients, Protein Hit provides you with a balanced mix of protein, fats and carbohydrates ensuring you can stay switched on, even when you’re running on empty.

Wendy Lee, HIGH5 General Manager said: “This has already been a hit with our community of world class athletes as a healthy snack in their busy lifestyles. With no artificial colours, preservatives or sweeteners, we have three great tasting flavours, suitable for the whole family.  Protein Hit bridges the gap between a sports and an everyday product.”

Emma Johansson, Silver medallist from Rio 2016 and riding for Wiggle HIGH5, has already incorporated Protein Hit into her training regime: “Coconut, Lemon & Raspberry is my favourite. I find them really useful to sustain my energy levels when I am feeling hungry. I have been looking for a quick fix to add more protein to my diet and this is a healthy, convenient way to do so.”

HIGH5 Protein Hit is available in three exciting flavours:

Cacao & Orange

Savour this new indulgent Cacao & Orange ball. A revitalising snack with a zesty twist will have you radiating energy all day long.

Peanut & Caramel

This ball is for the nut lover. Enjoy snacking on a crunchy mix of goodness and with a touch of salty caramel, it will leave you wanting more. This energising Peanut & Caramel ball will set you up for the day, whether that’s a big session in the gym or a day out.

Coconut, Lemon & Raspberry

Punch above your weight with a refreshing mix of coconuts and raspberries, topped by a lemony zing. It will bring the sun to your living room, transform your next office meeting into a Caribbean party and have you brimming with energy, ready to take on new challenges ahead.

Protein Hit contains fruits and nuts for fast and slow releasing energy. With the addition of whey protein, the cold pressed balls serve as the perfect snack to support the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. The convenient gluten free ball is also suitable for vegetarians and contains no added sugar.

To celebrate the launch of Protein Hit you can win a bunch of goodies worth over £300. Enter now.

Get your Protein Hit here.

Win a nutrition bundle

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OCRA UK partner with HIGH5 for OCR Championships

HIGH5 has become the official sports nutrition partner to The Obstacle Course Racing Championship held at Pippingford Park Manor in East Sussex this November. HIGH5 will be providing the pre and on course nutrition. The competitors will be able to recuperate at the HIGH5 recovery station after the finish.

Justine Ridgway, OCR Championship Race Director for OCRA UK said “We are delighted to confirm HIGH5 as our official sports nutrition partner. We are especially proud that UK athletes will have their nutrition supplied by a British company with a rich heritage in elite sporting performance.”

The OCR Championship is the culmination of a series of qualification events held all over the UK. Covering 16 kilometres, the course will be laid out over some of the toughest terrain Britain has to offer. The course will feature 50 obstacles, covering natural and demanding terrain to really test the competitors.

Wendy Lee, General Manager at HIGH5 said “Obstacle course racing has been the fastest growing sport in the past few years and we are honored to have been asked to become part of the OCR Championships race. Our experience with world class athletes from a variety of sports in conjunction with versatile products enables us to provide nutrition which fuels and hydrates and is 100% fit for purpose.”


Wendy added: “Nutrition is a fundamental component of any sport and some of the world’s greatest athletes have put their trust in HIGH5 to help them excel in the world’s toughest sporting events.”

The OCR Championships will bring together the best athletes in Obstacle Course Racing competing either in their age group category or go for overall glory in Wave 1 which is a direct head to head competition across all ages.

There is also the Journeyman Wave, exclusively reserved for the most passionate Obstacle Course Racers who do not wish to compete as intensively. There is no qualification requirement to compete in this wave. Instead, athletes are required to have completed any four obstacle course races year leading up to the OCR Championships.

HIGH5 will be in attendance at the OCR Championships and will have a stand sampling and showcasing their product range. After the race, participants can visit the HIGH5 recovery station to kick start that crucial recovery process.

To learn more about OCRA UK please visit



OCRA UK is a not for profit organisation set up in order to safeguard Obstacle Course Racing for all.

OCRA UK aims to nurture growth and goodwill whilst encouraging the involvement of the wider OCR community.

Entirely staffed by volunteers with relevant experience, including Health & Safety, Medical, Project Management and Obstacle Course Race building professionals, they give up their time to ensure best practices are established and maintained to provide a safe racing environment without losing the sheer grit of the sport.

OCRA UK are also a member of the Sport and Recreation Alliance which is the umbrella body for sport and recreation in the UK, representing 320 members.

OCRA UK aims to lobby to have the sport recognised as an official sport providing the recognition it so deserves. OCRA UK and all those involved hope to reflect the positive community spirit that OCR brings to this new and exciting sport for all and at all times keeping to the simple ethos of “Race Safe”, “Train Safe”.

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