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:
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.
3. 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 Power
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.