How hard do you push when you ride?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum How hard do you push when you ride?

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    • #246409

      Over the last few weeks I’ve been struck by the diversity of posts related to riding style.  It seems there are many that are highly contented to get on their bike and casually spin their wheels and enjoy the experience in nature.  On the flip side you’ve got people who are often pushing the limits of their abilities on the trails they ride which can obviously result in a crash and potential injury.  I tend to fall into the latter category as, for me, the greater the speed and the more ‘on the edge’ I ride the greater the endorphin rush.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a deathwish nor do I wish to break any more bones (been there, done that) but when I hit the trails I’m (almost) always looking to ride a section faster (uphill or downhill), or take a more challenging (fun) line, or tackle a new obstacle – or do it more cleanly, or get more air, etc. trail conditions permitting.

      How hard do you push when ride?

    • #246410

      I tend to meander on anything other than downhill, although I do like trying to claw my way up technical climbs. When the trail goes down I attack as hard and fast as possible because that’s what’s fun for me. Over the last six or so months I’ve been focusing heavily on my riding skill, and I feel like I’ve come a long way. I’m riding faster on descents, I’m not scared silly over drops anymore, (and I can actually ride some that aren’t rollable) I feel a lot smoother over rough sections of trail, I can corner much better, and I just feel better on the bike. I have recently decided to try and push myself more in terms of fitness; the faster I can climb, the faster I can get to the descents.

    • #246413

      I always push myself when I ride. Either on my skills, endurance or speed. It what keeps my rides highly entertaining. I do take some small segments of my rides as a ‘joy’ rides mostly to recover or to analyze what I just attempted to do.

    • #246420

      I think it should depend on the purpose of the ride so there’s no correct answer. If you are training, which I would define as trying to increase stamina, strength, aerobic capacity, or anaerobic capacity you get the most bang for the buck by pushing it. If your goal is a fun-filled day of exercise, it’s probably not that bright to hammer the ride too hard – heck, you’re already where you want to be so why push hard to finish it? Nothing says you can’t mix the two. I think a lot of riders are a mix of the competitive racer type and the kid out biking on a summer’s day joyously exploring the countryside. Which side of the rider has more fun? Just my opinion.

    • #246422

      Flat out, all the time. If I’m in a campground with my kids, then im working on trails techniques. No matter what, im going for it. But thats just me.

    • #246423

      I think it should depend on the purpose of the ride so there’s no correct answer

      breathinghard, that kind of goes back to the point of my message.  If you read though the thread “Minimum Ride”started by G.W. it suggests that a number of riders don’t really follow a particular training plan.  Hard core racers typically have a fairly well structured plan that includes long rides, hill climbs, sprints, etc.  But I think that’s the exception and not the rule.  When I go to a trail, I usually have a specific route I intend to follow and, most times, it’s to ride it – or at least sections of it – hard.  I used to be more like Tstreeting and go all out every time all the time.  Now i’m more like Oldandrolling where I’ll focus on one or more aspects of a ride.  For example, today I really let loose on a winding downhill section interspersed with several areas to catch some air.  For the most part I threw caution to the wind and went big – at least for me.  Last time on this trail, it was about nailing a Strava top 10 on a fairly new section of trail (climb).  For me, it’s the adrenaline rush from pushing my limits or achieving a personal best that’s so addictive.

    • #246451

      I’m more or less like Head Over Handlebars. Some days I’m just “feeling it” and push it on the climbs a little harder but generally speaking, I ride “smarter…not harder” on the climbs. My friends, who are mostly older than me (I’m 53) say I’m a “speed demon” on climbs when I consider myself very, very average. I almost always lead our group rides unless one of the ultra-fit guys in their 30’s or 40’s is along for the ride 🙂 It may sound crazy but I actually starting pushing myself much harder on the downs in 2014 after recovering from fracturing my neck in an OTB incident….all because I was being too cautious. I don’t have that problem any more.

    • #246492

      I ride by the concept that the best mountain biker is the one having the most fun. So what ever you enjoy. At over 60 I no longer push much at all, and don’t take many chances. I do look for new harder technical lines to explore, but I don’t put out any more effort than I have to. I prefer to put in more miles than fast miles.

    • #246494

      Depends on the bike, on my hardtail I am usually hitting singletrack on my way home from work or doing an all day ride with my wife, so I try to slow down and enjoy the fact that I get to be outside this much.

      Now if I’m on my full suspension, you can bet I am riding as hard as my legs and skills will let me.

      breathinghard – “heck, you’re already where you want to be so why push hard to finish it?” That is a great perspective to have!

    • #246495

      Always pushing to be better at something. Even if it is just track stands.

      In the past two weeks, I have cleaned two different switchbacks (one up and one down) that I had failed on every time until now. Surprisingly, neither required any special skills just good line choice, balance and control.

      Some features I just want to watch someone else do before I try them. Usually steep stuff or unforgiving landings if you fail.

    • #246496

      It always depends on the ride for me – how familiar I am with the trail/route, weather, who I’m with, energy level. If I’m riding one of my regular trails, I tend to push harder because I feel safer and I’m racing against my previous efforts. If I’m exploring a new place, I go slower for obvious reasons. If it is 90 and humid out, like all of August was, I’m not staying home, but I’m not trying to break any records, either.

      My goals for every ride are probably the same for most people here: one, have fun and, two, get a decent workout. On technical singletrack with short climbs and descents, I don’t have to work extra hard to get a good workout.

    • #246530

      In CO and Mongolia where the rides are made up of long uphills followed by long downhills, I usually pace myself going up and get as much high speed thrill as I dare going down.  Sometimes I push it going up, but that’s the only time you can really take in the beauty around you, so that definitely tempers my efforts uphill.  No one would ever call me a hammerhead.

    • #246538

      I push hard partly because it’s fun and partly because anaerobic workouts deliver way more bang for the buck in terms of strength and keeping your body lean.       I’m in my 40s so I need to get those threshold type workouts in to stimulate the growth hormones and stay lean.    The guys my age who just casually ride all seem overweight, even though they probably put in as much or more total mileage than me.

    • #246792

      For me, it really depends on the day and the trail.  Sometimes I’m feeling spunky and I’ll push it and others I’m just trying to log the miles and put a more casual pace.  I do have a couple of trails that have some features I push just to try and improve skill.

    • #246821

      As a racer do I my “work” on the road bike.  When I’m on the XC bike I focus on descending skills and cleaning technical features and climbs for most of the ride.  I ride better when I’m not on my limit, and it’s better for me to save some energy for those explosive efforts it takes to climb over boulders or rock spines.

      When I know the ride is past the half way point, that’s when I let loose and Hammer on the climbs. By that point I’m well warmed up physically and mentally.  If there’s a fire road on the way out or I’m riding home from the trails then I empty the tank there.


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