How To: Building strength for mountain biking
By Lindsey Voreis April 02, 2014 HOW TO
Professional mountain bike skills instructor Lindsey Voreis shares 8 great moves to get you ready to ROCK on your mountain bike this summer
Spring is in the air. Time to dust off those mountain bikes and prepare for a shred-happy summer. But first let’s make sure your body is strong and ready to slay single-track like the warrior princess that you are.
As the trails dry out we can’t just jump on and go without some proper prep. Even spin class and road rides don’t totally prepare you for wild, dirty fun. Some bike enthusiasts may live in a place where the sun shines year-round, but for those of us who live near snow-covered hills, our bikes sit in the stable and hibernate for much of the winter. So if you have taken time off the mountain bike, care for your body so you can be strong like ox when the trails beckon.
If you don’t crash often, mountain biking is a fairly low-impact sport. Low-impact is good, but it’s smart to mix in some cross-training moves that pound the bones a bit to help keep them strong. Here are a few tips to ease you back into mountain bike season with a strong body, mind and spirit.
Box Jumps: Use a box at the gym, a park bench at the playground while your kids play or use the lowest bleacher at a school. Whatever you can find, jump everybody! Jump! Jump! With feet hip-width apart jump on and off and land lightly in a squat position. Do three sets for one minute each. Strengthens quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes which creates power for strong climbing and stable descending.
Run (creatively!): Personally, I don’t love running. It just hurts sometimes but in small doses it can be oh-so-good. You don’t have to run often and you don’t need to run on pavement. Get creative and run trails, run up and down bleachers or run stairs. Do run/walk intervals or get that cardio up with some longer runs if you can handle it. In reality, a few short (35 min) creative runs per week should keep your bones solid and ready to rock.
Jump Rope: Want happy bones? Who doesn’t! Jumping rope is something you can do anywhere and it’s great for your bones. Not much more to say about that. Get a rope and start jumping. Do 10 one-minute intervals. Push yourself, I promise you’ll feel great when you’re done.
Don’t forget your upper body. Mountain biking is not just legs. Many people don’t realize how much upper body is used in mountain biking. Especially in technical terrain, the upper body needs to be strong, fluid and ready to react.
Push-ups: I know push-ups are hard. I tend to give up before my sets are done when my wimpy side takes over. However, push-ups are a great way to strengthen the shoulders, arms, back and core without needing a gym or weights. Do it! Start slowly and gradually work up the numbers. Try three sets at one minute each. If you get stuck, hold plank position, but suck in that gut, tighten the butt and keep the back flat.
Medicine ball toss: Tossing a medicine ball with someone is a good way to strengthen the shoulders, back and your reaction time. Find a partner and a heavy ball. Bring the ball into your chest and toss straight ahead without hyper-extending the arms. We do a lot of pushing down and pulling up on the bike so this is a great way to prepare to put that front wheel where you want it to go!
Yoga: Yoga is a great core workout. It’s wonderful for mind relaxation and helps you practice staying in the moment. I’m a bit of a spaz, so relaxing without racing thoughts and a fidgety body is difficult for me. When I’m on my bike I feel Zen and in the moment, otherwise, I have trouble slowing down my thoughts. I use Yoga to balance the body and mind. It’s good stuff. Like I always say in my clinics: “Don’t allow thoughts that sabotage you, only thoughts that serve you.” And don’t forget to breeeeeathe…
Abs: Strengthen those abs so you don’t use the handlebars to hold you up! Our core should be what holds us up so our arms can move freely with the bike and the ever-changing terrain. Crunches, old school sit-ups, plank, and boat pose (on your back with arms at your side lift legs, chest and arms, suck in gut and hold) are great ways to strengthen that core.
Take a lesson: (From me of course! *wink*) Taking a lesson is a great way to understand fundamentals that you my never have heard before. I find that beginners as well as people who have been riding and racing for 25 years always learn something new to apply to a better, more efficient, safer and stronger mountain bike experience.
We all want to ride for life so take good care of your body and let the bike take good care of your soul. – Lindsey Voreis / RIDE BIKES. BE HAPPY.
Video: Enduro World Champion gets right to work developing the 2015 Jekyll
First Look: Cannondale Jekyll 27.5 Enduro bike
By Francis Cebedo April 04, 2014 27.5 ENDURO
Cannondale’s Enduro bike arrives with 160mm of travel, 27.5 wheels and a Lefty SuperMax fork that is ready to rumble.
This is Cannondale‘s Enduro bike and we were disappointed that it could not be included in the Mtbr Enduro Compare-O testing. It simply wasn’t available back in January and we just got back from testing the first production models of these bikes that will hit showroom floors in June of this year.
It’s 160mm of front and rear travel on a brand new 27.5 platform for Cannondale. It was developed with Cannondale’s proprietary technologies like the DYAD shock and the Lefty fork and although we cringe at the word ‘proprietary’, we are not universally opposed to it as long as it delivers an inherent advantage. And that it does. This Jekyll is indeed a special bike and it is worthy of consideration if you’re looking for that bike that will allow you to overdo what you thought you were capable of.
The Jerome Clementz and Mark Weir connection
Racers just get paid and they’ll ride whatever right? Well, it goes beyond that, specially here. Jerome Clementz is his own corporation and and he manages his own team with girlfriend and teammate Pauline Dieffenhaller. They take care of their own equipment, get themselves to races and produce their own materials and videos. It’s a cool model that allows them to provide a service and a product to their sponsors. Of course, it’s all predicated on winning so he has to have a bike that allows him to win. And as you’ll see in the video above, Jerome is deeply involved in research and testing of these Cannondale bikes.
Mark Weir is in the same boat. And although he cannot join the twenty year olds anymore in the gravity-oriented podiums, he offers an R&D mind that is extremely valuable to Cannondale. In addition, Mark Weir has a circle of shredders in Moeschler, Cruz, and Osborne and he’s recruited them in this quest to develop good bikes with Cannondale. Cannondale has not been a force in Trail and All Mountain bikes and they’ve invested heavily to change that.