All those who have tried mountain biking, realize how it turns out to be a battle between your body and mind. This is because, sometimes the obstacle laden course pushes your body to an extent where it is on the verge of giving up, but enthusiasts fight the fatigue with their will power and determination. Mountain biking tests the physical and mental endurance of the rider, along with his skills, and this why I, personally like mountain biking!
Tips to Become a Good Mountain Biker
First and foremost, mountain biking requires enthusiasm and a keen mind to observe and learn from better riders, then comes the technical skill. I would be suggesting you few things that will help you be a better rider.
Training is an essential part of any sport. Optimum training and practice guarantee results. The training should be focused on increasing your strength, and should build your hamstrings and quadriceps. The training should be accompanied by periods of rest, this will help in avoiding fatigue.
Examine the Course
This is one thing that most of the riders do not bother to do, and then get startled when they bump into an obstacle. I believe that, once you know where you are going to race and what kind of terrain to expect while racing, you will be in control of your ride. So, make it a point that you probe the region, before the actual biking.
The Food Factor
A good mountain biker always completes his course. You should have enough energy and stamina for this. I recommend you to have carbohydrate rich foods, an hour before you start biking. This would fuel your ride, but do not overeat! Carry an energy bar on your ride, along with water.
Compulsory Warm Up
It is very important that you warm up before you start biking. This would help you avoid cramping and injury to your muscles. Do not overdo it. The warm up should be followed by stretching. Stop the warm up ten minutes before you commence your biking.
Correct Biking Posture
The key to avoid injury is, to ride in the right posture. You should keep your knees and elbows slightly bent. This will help you absorb the shocks due to the rough terrain. Avoid locking your elbows and do not hold the handle bar too firmly.
A true mountain biker does not avoid obstacles, he faces them, but a smart one may avoid a few! Realize your potential and capacity as a mountain biker and then go for the obstacles, if you feel that the obstacle is too risky, redirect your way around it! Along with the thrill of mountain biking, safety should also be your concern.
When you encounter an obstacle, you should first observe it, and examine your landing area for any potential dangers. Now, approach the obstacle with moderate speed and keep your dominant foot forward. On reaching the obstacle, do a half pedal with your dominant foot and simultaneously lift the handle of your bike, once you have made the jump and you are on the surface of the obstacle, lean forward and pedal to land across the obstacle. Do not be seated while jumping or landing.
Many accidents are caused due to skidding, so you should avoid the skidding of your bike. To prevent skidding, you should see that the face of your front wheel is perpendicular to the surface of the obstacle, when it strikes the obstacle. If your wheel comes in contact with the obstacle from any other angle, you are bound to skid.
You need tremendous ride control during a descent, because at this stage of mountain biking there is a major probability of accidents. For descent, choose the trail which is widely used. If you see a major obstacle, do not keep your focus just on it, since you might fail to notice other obstacles, and this might prove fatal. Use your rear brakes for braking, and distribute your weight to the back of your seat, while riding.
These are simple tips that you can use to ensure a better mountain biking experience and to improve yourself as a mountain biker. One more important thing, this can apply to any adventure sport - wear the right gear, and a helmet is compulsory!