Try and talk me into staying with mountain biking

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Try and talk me into staying with mountain biking

--
SHARES
  

This topic contains 49 replies, has 28 voices, and was last updated by  Jeff Barber 4 years ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #126385

    This may be a little long winded but bare with me.
    Six months ago me and a couple of friends took up mountain biking. At first we were all about the same had a good time laughing at our misfortunes on the trails. After a month my friends progressed and I stayed at my skill level. I began to feel bad and would tell them to ride ahead they did and I thought this was something that was just taking me longer to master. A couple of months later my wife wanted to join in, so we went and got her a bike, she took to it immediately and progressed whether quickly and has caught up to my buddies skill level. I on the other hand have made little to no progress, and feel as if in some skills I have gotten worse, I realize I have a confidence problem. But sprains, strains, and lacerations will do that to you every time you go for a ride. Btw that was 2 trips the emergency room and 38 staples. They have tried to give me advice and I have taken three beginner workshops thrown by the local trail organizations. My wife feels bad because she does like to ride off without me but has also stated that riding slow and waiting for me is not fun either, so I’ve told her to join my buddies. On the road I ride well, I’m often ahead of my wife and friends and end up waiting for them. But for some reason I cannot get the hang of single track. If I quit it won’t be fair to my wife because she loves it and said she won’t do it without me, but i’m afraid if I continue I may seriously injure myself. Not to mention the pure frustration of failing continuously on the trail, getting thrown from the bike, running into trees etc.. I have gotten to the point that I just kind of tune out their riding stories because I can’t relate. And have learned to faux laugh so they think I enjoy their stories as well.
    I know I’ll probably get these questions so… I’m 6’1′ 255lbs I ride a 19 inch Cannondale hardtail i’ts 16 years old but has been completely rebuilt from the bearing up, including a new suspension fork. And fyi the last thing I really want to be is a roadie.

  • #126386

    Not to worry badrider–I think a lot of us have gone through this, if not with MTB then with another sport or heck, even a career. 😀

    Getting injured sucks and can definitely be a confidence zapper. I don’t know what types of trails you’re riding but obviously if you can find easier trails to get your confidence up, that could be a place to start.

    You mentioned that your bike is 16 years old, and though it sounds like it’s been refurbished, it can’t possibly be a good bike for you. Dropping more money on a bike for a sport you’re pretty sure you hate might be asking too much but maybe you could try riding a friend’s bike to see if that feels better. And if you have access to a fat bike, all the better–those things roll like they’re unstoppable! Almost like cheating. 😀

    Spend some time online reading beginner articles on technique and watching YouTube videos. Focus on the specific areas where you struggle (rocks? roots? balance?) and take progression one tiny step at a time.

    Keep us posted on your progress! Sounds like you have a good group of friends and your wife is on board so once you’re feeling more confident on the trail, it’ll all be worth it!

  • #126387

    I agree with Jeff. You should definitely try a newer bike with the more up to date design and tech. If you aren’t interested in a fat bike at least see about renting (I also get that dropping money on a sport you’re on the fence about is tough) a 29er or 27.5 with full suspension. You may find that the different handling characteristics gives you a confidence boost. I found that going from a 26 inch wheel to a 29 made a noticeable difference. Also, as Jeff said, riding less technical trails should help with developing your general skill and confidence. If your local trail system has a variety of trails then stick to the mellower ones even if your wife or buddies go hit a more difficult one. It doesn’t help you to go with them if you just "aren’t there yet." As in many things some people take longer to develop certain abilities than others and there is nothing wrong with that. As for fear of injury…its entirely natural. Taking the time you need to develop your skill and confidence will help with that fear. There is also nothing wrong with equipping yourself with protective gear. Thanks to the downhill guys (mostly) there are now plenty of options in the "armor" department including everything from knee, elbow, and shin guards to chest and back armor. If that makes you feel more confident then it’s probably worth it

  • #126388

    Thanks for the encouraging words, I ride in Texas and the trails I ride have loops that vary from novice to advanced. I stay on novice trails. I have watched videos and read many articles trying to figure out what I’m doing or not doing. I have talked to some pretty advanced riders around here and even though the bike is laid out in a cross country geometry they think it should be good for the trails we ride here. I have thought about a 27.5 but 2+ grand is a lot of money to drop on a full suspension bike, regardless if I can ride or not. As far as borrowing a bike I would need to find some who would be willing to let me use their large for a ride. My wife rides a small and my friends, mediums. I would need to look into renting I don’t know who does that around here. Jeff, I don’t hate the sport I just can’t seem to do it in a way that’s not completely frustrating. I enjoy being outside in nature and really wish I could get this. The only thing I can say is going over roots or obstacles the bike bounces whether or not if I’m on the pedals or the seat, this is when I start losing control. The bike is 29 lbs my wifes GT and my friends Trek and Jamis are in the 30’s so I don’t know if that is factoring into this or not. I’m going to try again this weekend weather permitting, so we’ll see how it goes.

  • #126389

    Are you using clipless pedals?

    What would you say is your biggest concern right now? You mention bouncing around a lot. A full suspension bike would absorb the bumps for you. Definitely see if you can rent or borrow one and see if it makes a difference. Nothing wrong with going FS even if it’s not the "recommended" bike for your area. Are there bike shops you can rent from? Or look for manufacturer demo days in your area. Which part of TX are you in?

    Sent from my Z10 using Tapatalk 2

  • #126390
    "LucindaInGA" wrote

    Are you using clipless pedals?

    What would you say is your biggest concern right now? You mention bouncing around a lot. A full suspension bike would absorb the bumps for you. Definitely see if you can rent or borrow one and see if it makes a difference. Nothing wrong with going FS even if it’s not the "recommended" bike for your area. Are there bike shops you can rent from? Or look for manufacturer demo days in your area. Which part of TX are you in?

    Sent from my Z10 using Tapatalk 2

    No I’m riding platforms. That’s it bouncing around trying to stay balanced. I know my local bike shop doesn’t but I’ll check Richardson Bike Mart the large chain in Dallas. I read somewhere learning to track stand will improve balance, so I’ve started working on that as well as riding 25 ft 1 x 6 plank.

  • #126391

    Excellent that you’re working on your skills! You might try clipless pedals. I know that I feel like I’m bouncing around when I use platforms. Clipless help me maintain contact with the bike when I’m going over bumpy stuff fast. I find they also help my climbing. I like SPDS and have never had problems clipping in and out.

    Sometimes it’s hard to find the demo days. Sometimes the manufacturers list them on their websites. Or you may ask people on the SORBA FB page or forum if they know of any.

    Another option is to rent a bike from a shop. Some places will let you rent for a day and then if you decide to buy in the future, they’ll apply the rental fee to your purchase.

    Sent from my Z10 using Tapatalk 2

  • #126392

    Hi, badrider! I disagree with others that you totally need a different bike. You may benefit a little from a newer technologies, but just a little. Fatbike is heavier and its harder to keep up with others on the regular bikes. Unless it’s a super fancy all-carbon bike. Full-susser may not help you on uneven terrain if you not applying a proper riding skills. Clipless pedals will kill your confidence at this stage – instead of concentrating on honing your riding skills you will constantly think about not to forget to u clip. With that said I’m sure you’ve got a decent bike but haven’t developed skills yet.
    First of all forget about sitting when riding over any obstacle. That’s what cause your bike to bounce you off. Hold bike firmly, but let it play under you, use your knees and elbows as suspension (even if you’re riding a full-susser). You’re on a right way by practicing riding skinnies and doing track stand – those skills will help you with balance on a gnarliest trails. Most of the time speed is your friend when rolling over roots and rocks. Of course, you want to familiarize yourself with trail before charging it full-speed.
    Keep practicing, one step at a time and soon enough you’ll be waiting for your group like they waiting for you.

  • #126393

    Not to discourage you but normally riding with faster riders will make you faster. You need to push yourself, I mean really push yourself. Don’t settle for granny gear. It may completely drain you but you will get faster in time. Stay out of granny as much as possible and keep your momentum going. Like others have stated, speed and momentum will help you get over those obstacles on the trail. Once your able to keep your momentum and get your confidence back unweight the front wheel by rocking your heels back and that will help plant the rear wheel down and you’ll be shredding singletrack in no time. keep pushing yourself. But most importantly, have fun and be safe

  • #126394

    Dear Badrider,

    I agree with stumpy above about the bike and skills. I also have a bike from 99′ which is stashed at my parents’ house and I take out when I visit. A new bike may be a bit faster, I can do the same things on my old bike. Practicing a track stand is unnecessary, however. I would rather you "slow-race". Pick a point a little ways away, and try to ride as slowly as possible towards it. The type of balancing required is more similar to that used when riding trails. You can also challenge people who are around your same level.

    I am, however, going to come out and say what everyone glossed over or chose to avoid. At 6,1 255 you are obese, of which I am sure you are aware (BMI of 33.6). Mountain biking is an athletic sport which requires you to make use of your weight, shifting and throwing, up and down, etc. You simply have far to much of it, and this will prevent any type of progress. Weight isn’t the only factor, but a rider at 145 lbs. will always be faster than an seriously overweight/obese rider. Hopefully riding will help you get in shape, but it is likely much more an issue of diet and lifestyle. Quitting sugary drinks will have much more of a positive effect on your riding than a new full-suspension rig will. In the meantime, ride fire roads to get in shape, without subjecting your body and your poor bike to the abuse.

    Regards,
    J

    P.S. also, you don’t have to become a roadie, but maybe try to integrate riding into your lifestyle, such as riding to work.

  • #126395

    While losing weight will make you faster, PLENTY of riders over 220lbs shred the trails – my average customer for wheels is about 200lbs. Besides, it sounds like speed/fitness isn’t the biggest issue, it’s bike handling.

    To the OP – Find someone who is better than you who will ride with you and give you pointers. They can watch you and see where you’re making mistakes. Don’t worry at all about going fast, don’t put any pressure on yourself – ride just because it’s fun. If you get to something you’re not comfortable riding yet, walk it. Or wait and watch others ride it to see how they do it.

    MTBing isn’t all about going fast – it’s about fun, and there’s a lot of ways to have fun on a MTB. Keep at it, stay positive, and progress at your own rate, the skills will come if you want them. And as mentioned before, if some light weight body armor helps with confidence (and injury prevention), use it!

    Also, I’d suggest if you stay with platform pedals get some good riding shoes, look into Five Ten (510? 5Ten? Five10?) they are what all the platform guys recommend, and get some decent pedals – you don’t have to spend a lot, some simple BMX pedals will get it done. Regular sneakers suck balls, especially combined with lousy pedals, they’re a death trap.

  • #126396

    Well to update I did buy a FS frame and will start the build after the first of the year. Stumpy I don’t sit while riding roots and other obstacles I was saying that I had tried both ways to smooth out the ride, the bounce is almost like when you ride in too low a gear and start getting frame bounce, just worse.
    Jg, don’t take this the wrong way but, no shit Captain Obvious I know I’m a fat ass thats why I started riding. 😛 The good news is I’m not 280 anymore nor am I 255 anymore I am down to 248. And I plan on leveling out at around 200. I do ride concrete trails in the area one is a 10 mile loop that ride twice on weekends the others are 1.5 to 2 miles and usually do 5 to 7 laps on those 3 time a week weather permitting.
    dg thats the whole problem I can’t have fun while I’m crashing or coming off the bike all the time. I’m riding 90mmx85mm pedals and Vans shoes. As far as riding faster I have incorporated cornering into my routine as well as slow speed figure eights to help me improve balance and help with switch backs. And I will check your website sense I will be needing wheels soon for my build.

  • #126397

    BR,

    Congratulations on your weight loss. It sounds like you’ve got a solid cardio program in place with all your road riding. You should be proud of your progress.

    I agree with gd. There are a lot of good riders who are on the bigger side, so that’s encouraging.

    Please keep us up to date on your progress. We’re looking forward to hearing about your new build.

    Sent from my Z10 using Tapatalk 2

  • #126398

    I gotta agree with stumpy and dgaddis. I get smoked by much bigger guys more then i’d like to admit. So drop the seat, and practice "attack position" http://youtu.be/cqdzrIBcMD4 good attack position goes a long way. Also using vision correctly is critical. You should be keeping your eyes well ahead (3to 5 seconds) useing peripheral vision for obstacles.
    Then pad up and go. full on down hill body armor might not be out of the question. I still haven’t gotten the mtb shirt with chest spine and shoulder pads but it would be a good idea. lots cheaper then the ER.

  • #126399

    1. Major congrats on improving your fitness and loosing a few pounds! That is a huge first step and definitely a step in the right direction.

    2. Trying to keep up with other more advanced riders through trails that you are not comfortable or capable of riding is not always the best option. I very often prefer to ride on my own. Only you truly know what you are really capable of. There is absolutely no shame in stopping because you are too tired, or need to walk a section because it may be too difficult for you. I like to avoid the pressure of "keeping up" that is typically associated with group rides.

    3. I often like to do fire access roads, rails-to-trails, and XC runs instead of technical singletrack trails. These satisfy my need for speed, and also allow me to clock in some long mileage rides. Sometimes singletrack trails can be intimidatingly technical and make you feel like you will more likely get hurt. I like to mix in XC runs to change things up and add some variety to my mountain biking.

    4. You described that your bike "bounces" when you hit roots and bumpy sections, and that it makes you loose control. I don’t know for certain what the exact issue is in your situation. However, this is very typical for budget bikes with inexpensive "pogo stick" suspension forks, and over-inflated tires. Inexpensive forks tend to be spring forks that are woefully under-gunned (too low a spring force for a rider’s weight), and lack proper damping for more technical trails. What tire size and pressures are you running? At your weight, my guess is that you should be at around 30 psi. Higher tire pressures will cause you to bounce over every stick, pebble, and undulation on the trail.

    I hope that this information is useful to you.

  • #126400

    Blundar thanks for the weight lose encouragement it helps when you can stay motivated.

    As far as point 2 I know I should worry about me and my skills but being left out of the discussions is frustrating and discouraging. Especially when you’re having a hard time on the trail and you either get lapped on shorter trails or a phone call asking where you’re at from the parking lot.

    For point 3 really don’t have that anywhere near by. I do ride paved trails to help with the weight loss and cardio and mix in some alley ways that are either non paved or in need of repair that are nearby.

    To point 4 yes the bouncing I may be in the process of figuring out thanks to this site an article title "light hands heavy feet" may be my solution to a lot of my woes, that and my saddle was a bit far back. My hands where getting numb and this article said I may have place too much weight on the handlebars which will cause problems , well some of them. I’m still working through the drills but I’ve noticed the numbness isn’t near as bad as what it has been. My bike is not an entry level bike at least not in it’s day. In ’98 it’s msrp was about $800 dollars but it also came with a pretty cheap front shock A rockshox indy s which has been replaced with a new RockShox XC32TK Solo Air, not top of the line but not bargain basement either. I’m riding a 26er and keep low 30 psi for the trails and bump that to 40 when on hard surface.

    We’ve had a lot of rain lately so the trails have been closed. But I am going to try to fit a ride in this week if possible. And I’m planning on riding alone.

  • #126401
    "badrider" wrote

    Blundar thanks for the weight lose encouragement it helps when you can stay motivated.

    As far as point 2 I know I should worry about me and my skills but being left out of the discussions is frustrating and discouraging. Especially when you’re having a hard time on the trail and you either get lapped on shorter trails or a phone call asking where you’re at from the parking lot.

    For point 3 really don’t have that anywhere near by. I do ride paved trails to help with the weight loss and cardio and mix in some alley ways that are either non paved or in need of repair that are nearby.

    To point 4 yes the bouncing I may be in the process of figuring out thanks to this site an article title "light hands heavy feet" may be my solution to a lot of my woes, that and my saddle was a bit far back. My hands where getting numb and this article said I may have place too much weight on the handlebars which will cause problems , well some of them. I’m still working through the drills but I’ve noticed the numbness isn’t near as bad as what it has been. My bike is not an entry level bike at least not in it’s day. In ’98 it’s msrp was about $800 dollars but it also came with a pretty cheap front shock A rockshox indy s which has been replaced with a new RockShox XC32TK Solo Air, not top of the line but not bargain basement either. I’m riding a 26er and keep low 30 psi for the trails and bump that to 40 when on hard surface.

    We’ve had a lot of rain lately so the trails have been closed. But I am going to try to fit a ride in this week if possible. And I’m planning on riding alone.

    Point 1. Riding, getting in better cardio-fitness while it does not even feel like a work out, loosing weight, and enjoying the great outdoors are some of the biggest reasons why I love mountain biking so much.

    Point 2. I very often prefer to ride solo mainly for the stress relief and escape from the whole world. The absolute last thing I would ever want is to have someone pressuring me to "hurry up", or nagging me because "I can’t keep up". That is just absolutely BS that they are putting that pressure on you! You need to tell them to "STOP ALREADY WITH THE NEGATIVE PRESSURE!" They are being selfish and ruining your love of the sport. Ride the way that you want to ride, at the pace that you want to ride, and stop when you want to, to admire the scenery, or just to catch your breath without anyone giving you any lip about it. That is your time on the bike and you are the better for it, and improving your life, and your enjoyment while you ride.

    Point 3. Where do you live in Texas? I bet that I can find some awesome XC trails for you, by sending you to some websites that are more geared to walking and bike trails (instead of singletrack trails only). When I am short on time, I often do full speed, all out bike sprint runs up and down my own neighborhood streets right out of my garage. That cranks my cardio and heart rate up for an awesome workout in a really fast 10 to 15 minute session. That really helped me immensely by making my legs stronger too. It also made hitting the trails later on much more enjoyable and less frustrating. Variety is the spice of life! Here is a link to a blog article that I wrote about this:
    [url:22lpmkym]http://www.themountainbikelife.com/2014/09/frugal-mountain-biker-variety-spice-life.html[/url:22lpmkym]

    Point 4. Regarding Numb hands: This can sometimes be caused by your cockpit needing to be adjusted. If you have a stem that is longer than 50mm, that can make you hunch over more and end up putting more of your weight on your hands. A combination of a shorter stem and spacers to raise the stem up higher can often fix this problem. I also upgraded to ESI Extra Chunky MTB Grips. These foamy grips gave me additional vibration absorption and no more fatigued hands for those extra long epic rides.
    For the bouncing part: Your RockShox XC32TK Solo Air shock is a very capable fork. The internals are almost identical to my RockShox Tora. These forks tend to have somewhat weak damping is stock form because they are originally meant for XC use. However, if you upgrade by getting rid of the Poplock damper and then installing a RockShox MOCO Adjustable Platform Damper; these forks become very capable. This is an inexpensive and very easy upgrade. This upgrade greatly reduced "pedal bob" and "brake dive". It also improved my riding efficiency by reducing wasted energy when I stand up to mash the pedals going up hills.
    [url:22lpmkym]http://www.amazon.com/RockShox-Argyle-Adjustable-Compression-damper/dp/B003RLDVXW/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top[/url:22lpmkym]
    Here is a link to one of my blog write-ups on this awesome upgrade:
    [url:22lpmkym]http://www.themountainbikelife.com/2014/04/the-frugal-mountain-biker-part-3-rock.html[/url:22lpmkym]
    You can skip the part for upgrading to a heavier coil spring because your fork has an air spring.

    Have fun and keep on riding…

  • #126402

    I live in the DFW area. Had a good ride today crashed a couple of times but the guy who was coaching me said "if you ain’t bleeding you ain’t mountain biking" now that last tree gate I didn’t clear is going to hurt a couple of days. He basically told me I need to work on cornering and need experience picking my line which will come in time. Thanks for the grip recommendation I’m riding ergo grips and really don’t like them that much. as for the damper, does it replace the lockout? I may do that upgrade when it’s time to do a rebuild. Since my schedule is more flexible than everyone else’s I have decided to try and get as many rides in before spring and either be riding at their pace or start calling them from the parking lot.

  • #126403
    "badrider" wrote

    I live in the DFW area. Had a good ride today crashed a couple of times but the guy who was coaching me said "if you ain’t bleeding you ain’t mountain biking" now that last tree gate I didn’t clear is going to hurt a couple of days. He basically told me I need to work on cornering and need experience picking my line which will come in time. Thanks for the grip recommendation I’m riding ergo grips and really don’t like them that much. as for the damper, does it replace the lockout? I may do that upgrade when it’s time to do a rebuild.

    DFW? Wow! You are so crazy lucky. There are tons of every different kind of bike trails around that area.
    [url:2mxw0opu]http://www.mtbproject.com/directory/166737/dallas-and-fort-worth[/url:2mxw0opu]
    [url:2mxw0opu]http://www.bikedfw.org/dfw_area_bike_trails[/url:2mxw0opu]
    [url:2mxw0opu]http://www.trails.com/activity.aspx?area=10304[/url:2mxw0opu]
    [url:2mxw0opu]http://www.traillink.com/city/fort-worth-tx-trails.aspx[/url:2mxw0opu]
    [url:2mxw0opu]http://www.dmagazine.com/publications/d-magazine/2012/may/10-top-trails-for-hiking-and-biking-in-dallas?single=1[/url:2mxw0opu]

    As for picking your line better; Here is another one of my blogs I wrote-up for that. Check it out here:
    [url:2mxw0opu]http://www.singletracks.com/blog/beginners/mountain-biking-101-read-the-path-ahead/[/url:2mxw0opu]
    For better cornering; I always say "Lean the bike not the rider".

    It took me 5 minutes to swap out the damper on my fork. The RockShox MOCO compression damper is an adjustable platform damper. It comes with around 8 different settings. If you dial it all the way to the lock end, it locks out. On this setting it will release if you hit a big bump (platform release) and then locks back up. This setting is great for XC higher speed runs and fairly smooth climbs for optimum pedaling efficiency.

    The opposite end of the adjustment is the wide open damper setting. This is most useful when the trail gets very bumpy and you need the fork to be very active. However, on this setting the pedaling efficiency is extremely low and you will have a ton of pedal bob and brake dive (similar to what you have right now).

    The settings in-between are very useful. I most often ride at 2 clicks away from the lock end. Then when the trail gets more bumpy and my hands start getting more fatigued from the trail chatter, I reach down and give it 2 clicks towards the open end. This reduces my pedaling efficiency a bit and smooths out the chatter.

    "badrider" wrote

    Since my schedule is more flexible than everyone else’s I have decided to try and get as many rides in before spring and either be riding at their pace or start calling them from the parking lot.

    Yeah Dude! Now that is what it is all about! Have fun and keep on riding…

  • #126404

    I can totally relate to your pain! I just read this so I may be late to the party! I’m 50 years old and about your size! I ride at least once a week, twice if work and the honey-do-list allows me too! What I have found is riding solo can help you improve in all areas! I ride alone a lot cuz of my work schedule, but this allows me to improve my endurance and work on things at my own pace without chasing the group to keep up! The main thing is don’t give up! As you may have noticed, most guys on the trails are a bit smaller or lighter than we are, I don’t mean to offend anyone at all, but its just fact! However, that doesn’t mean we cant ride too!! I saw someone mentioned a new bike!? Not a bad idea if you can do it! Some of us have a mortgage, car payments, medical bills, insurances, etc.. so we don’t always have extra cash! My advice brother, keep pushing and your skills, wind and your joy for the trails will no doubt improve!!

  • #126405

    Heya bad,

    I see tons of good advice in the replies, but just wanted to emphasize a few things:

    1) Don’t try to keep up with the others – Ride at a pace you’re comfortable with and can sustain. This means don’t blow yourself at the beginning. As exhaustion sets in, everything goes to hell; your sense of balance, riding position, power. If I push myself too hard, I begin to ride terribly. Stop worrying whether people have to wait for you. That will just compound the stresses you’re feeling. Tell them to party on and that you’ll catch up.

    2) Stick with platforms if you’re currently weathering confidence issues on the bike. Having your feet seemingly bolted to the pedals isn’t a confidence booster in that situation.

    3) With very rare exception, a 16 year old bike, while potentially super awesome is not as awesome as a new bike can be. If it could, we’d all be riding 16 year old bikes. The reason we aren’t is because of technological advances. My greatest gain in riding confidence and skill was when I moved from my starter vintage Raleigh hardtail with steep head angle and narrow bars on to a newer bike with more modern fork, slacker head angle, wider bars, etc. It truly opened up a whole new world to me, one in which I could crash at much faster speeds.

    4) Learning, at least for me, was a process riddled with crashes, getoffs, and general pain and suffering. At the beginning, I tried to keep up with the fast guys, didn’t know anything about lines, riding position, stance… any of the stuff that comes with experience. Pedaling through sharp corners? That’s a pedal strike and crash. Cornerning on the inside of the turn and not using the bank or lip? that’s the bike suddenly disappearing from under you and a subsequent faceplant. Heavy on the front brake on a downhill while leaning too far forward? Well, that’s a faceplant. These are all things I learned by doing them… and learning that I shouldn’t do them any longer.

    It sounds like you’re making awesome progress already. If you enjoy riding in the woods, stick with it. You’ll get better in time.

  • #126406

    So I’m really late to the party. I’ve been riding a little bit just started hitting intermediate trails but wouldn’t call myself an intermediate. I take the trails at my speed and don’t worry about anyone lapping me or anything. What I found that helped me was upgrading the tires. Probably the single best upgrade I’ve made. Traction improved radically and I no longer get flats. Went with Maxxis High Roller II’s in tubeless setup. Seriously improved traction and handling. You can run the tire pressure really low while not having to worry about pinch flats. I’ve had some injuries that took me off the bike for six months so, in addition to the helmet, I wear serious protection to keep that from happening again. I wear torso protection that covers the whole spine, ribs, collar bone etc. Also I wear Hill Billy shorts which are really well made protective shorts. They include an all important tail bone shield. Also I wear a set of good knee pads that are made for riding. The side effect of all this protective gear is that I can ride balls out and not worry about a serious injury. And just in case 😆 I carry a trauma kit with me. All this gear is easily obtained off of Amazon for a reasonable amount.

  • #126407

    Would you mind sharing the brand/models of the products you use 70k1? I’d be very interested to see.

  • #126408

    [list:16iecigg]
    [*:16iecigg]Torso: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K6E … UTF8&psc=1[/*:m:16iecigg]
    [*:16iecigg]Knees: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0059 … UTF8&psc=1[/*:m:16iecigg]
    [*:16iecigg]Ass and upper legs: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001C … UTF8&psc=1[/*:m:16iecigg]
    [*:16iecigg]Head: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EH … UTF8&psc=1[/*:m:16iecigg]
    [*:16iecigg]Just in case: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003B … UTF8&psc=1 which fits in one of these https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DQ … UTF8&psc=1[/*:m:16iecigg][/list:u:16iecigg]

    I kind of look like one of the dudes from Road Warrior but I bounce instead of splatting now. 😆

    "schwim" wrote

    Would you mind sharing the brand/models of the products you use 70k1? I’d be very interested to see.

  • #126409
    "70k1" wrote

    I kind of look like one of the dudes from Road Warrior but I bounce instead of splatting now. 😆

    As an added bonus, if your route takes you though the zombie apocalypse, you’ll have no exposed flesh to chew on.

    With as much climbing as happens where I live, I don’t think I would wear half of that without suffering heat stroke but I’ve had some spectacular crashes and would have loved to have that gear on at the time.

    I think I’ll pick up a trauma kit, if just for the clotting agent. I carry a first aid kit now, but anything small enough to fit into my overstuffed Camelbak is too small to do much good 😀

  • #126410

    For protection, I only use helmet, gloves, eye protection, and shin pads. However, I mostly ride XC with some singletrack mixed in.

  • #126411
    "blundar" wrote

    For protection, I only use helmet, gloves, eye protection, and shin pads. However, I mostly ride XC with some singletrack mixed in.

    Same, minus the shin pads. I have found, however that my pack has worked great at protecting my back in my tuck-n-roll moments.

  • #126412

    What tire pressure are you running?

  • #126413

    I ride in the Phoenix valley. As long as you stay hydrated its fine. The knee pads saved my ass today. I slammed into a rock knee first. Would have blown my knee or broke a bone without the knee pads. I ended up bouncing down the trail on my back over sharp shale rocks. Only thing I came away with is some abrasions on one lower leg. I’m getting elbow pads next. I sweat in a large way anyway. Wearing extra safety gear doesn’t really make a difference in that regard.

    "schwim" wrote

    [quote="70k1":341xfypj]I kind of look like one of the dudes from Road Warrior but I bounce instead of splatting now. 😆

    As an added bonus, if your route takes you though the zombie apocalypse, you’ll have no exposed flesh to chew on.

    With as much climbing as happens where I live, I don’t think I would wear half of that without suffering heat stroke but I’ve had some spectacular crashes and would have loved to have that gear on at the time.

    I think I’ll pick up a trauma kit, if just for the clotting agent. I carry a first aid kit now, but anything small enough to fit into my overstuffed Camelbak is too small to do much good 😀[/quote:341xfypj]

  • #126414

    There is nothing soft to land on in the AZ, so riding like that here is taking big chances. Especially when you are older and are relatively new to the sport. I’m dreading when I wind up in a Cholla patch.

    "blundar" wrote

    For protection, I only use helmet, gloves, eye protection, and shin pads. However, I mostly ride XC with some singletrack mixed in.

  • #126415

    About 30PSI. I’m still experimenting.

    "fleetwood" wrote

    What tire pressure are you running?

  • #126416
    "schwim" wrote

    [quote="blundar":hpgatgsd]For protection, I only use helmet, gloves, eye protection, and shin pads. However, I mostly ride XC with some singletrack mixed in.

    Same, minus the shin pads. I have found, however that my pack has worked great at protecting my back in my tuck-n-roll moments.[/quote:hpgatgsd]

    I was always tearing up my shins and the back of my calves with my aggressive gripped flat pedals. Sharp bramble bushes and thorny foliage on the tight singletracks would also sometimes cut me up. I now use G-Form PRO-X Shin Pads. Problem solved! They are so comfortable that I usually forget that I am wearing them, even when it is hot out on long rides.

    I weight around 215 Lbs fully geared, and I run 25 psi on my tubed tires (WTB Bronson race 26 x 2.35) without getting pinch flats.

  • #126417

    Pretty much any serious injury on a MTB is going to rate a trauma kit. A little First Aid kit is going to only be good for scrapes and small lacerations. That kind of thing you can ignore until you get to the end of the trail. The trauma kit is good for when you get impaled on a sharp rock or stick. An open fracture. Major lacerations. Major abdominal wounds. Bullet or arrow (Arizona is gun state) wounds. Bite and claw wounds. (Puma, Jaguar, Wild Pigs, Coyote hybrids, Wolves). Etc.

  • #126418

    I definitely think you should stick with it, even if you are ummm… kinda scared is how it sounds 😕 . Just ride at your own pace and enjoy iy.

  • #126419

    So I’m new to this forumand mmountain biking but I just thought I’d tell you what helped me and that was going out alone… I know your wife and friends go out different trails ect but try just you my friends were always late or never stuck to plans and I just went out on my own and did it myself crashed got lost you name it but I’mbetter now than if iI wanted for them…. Also a side note as I got into mtb for a workout and have been workingout ssince I was15…you said you lost weight congratulations and keep going but try balance balls and core exercises and hit them hard you body might be over compensating due to rapid weight loss could help your balance I know when I gained weigh 135 to160 and now 180 it was my core and balance that was the hardest to get use to just my 2cents you sorry for the run on sentence my phonesucks best of lluck!!

  • #126420

    "Had a good ride today crashed a couple of times but the guy who was coaching me said "if you ain’t bleeding you ain’t mountain biking" now that last tree gate I didn’t clear is going to hurt a couple of days. "

    If you are still at it, I can relate to your experience as I just started riding last year. One of the things that I’ve found to be true, very true actually, is that vision is critical. Not having great eye sight, but looking ahead and riding where you want to go, and not looking at where you are. If you are watching the trees as you approach them, you’re very likely to be watching them when you hit them. Instead work on looking ahead of them, to whats coming next. You will quickly learn that by doing this, you will have already lined yourself up properly to clear those tight areas, because you were looking ahead and getting ready for it all ready. Hope you’re still hanging in there dude!

  • #126421

    Just stick with it, like Jeff said earlier. When I started, I had issues too that made no sense to me. I also had a Mongoose (in all respect took a beating and still kept going) that bounced all over the place. First thing that caught my eye was, at your size, thinking more height here, your bike is too small. I’m right border line at 6ft. So I can go up or down a frame. I went up, all the difference and for the better. My brother in law is a big dude heavier than the weights you listed. He is my height and went up a frame too, he loves it! Your posts so far should encourage you, because you are making progress.

    Pedals, stick with platforms until you decide you want to try clips. Word of friendly caution, those have an initial learning curve as well.

    What I will confess to, is that, I have had more falls going too slow over obstacles. Particularly, when my balance wasn’t as good as today. I’ve learned in the past, that it’s better to just roll over it. Any you know man, with this whole situation, just roll over it. Before you know it, you’ll look back at someone else and remember when you were there. I do.

    Take care,
    -GT

  • #171281

    I can not keep up on cross country group rides, and that always ends up leaving me feeling badly so I avoid them. Downhill I can keep up and that is where I have learned a few things.

    The #1 thing that made me the faster was good brakes.  Brakes that I could lock up using only one finger.   Getting the brake levers so my wrists don’t need to rotate up or down up grab on.  Downhill I don’t shift alot but having your shifters mounted so you don’t have those wrist movements will help too.  I would avoid the shifters where you twist the grips to change gears.

    When I do ride cross country the best thing I found by far was a dropper seat post.  I could get low and my weight back when the ride gets technical with roots and rocks.  When climbing or just grinding out the miles I can get my butt up and extend my legs. They are not cheap, $300-$400 but I bought one and kept riding my klunker.

    Find you flow, and keep going.

  • #171492

    I ride mostly beginner trails and as of yet (having just gotten back into MBT after many years of not) I have not ridden any advanced trails. But I would not even consider riding bumpy stuff without full suspension.

    When riding the rough stuff do you keep the seat at the full height you would when riding flat or road? Keeping the seat high makes it harder to move around on the bike and get the front wheel light to go over obstacles. I lower my seat an inch when riding intermediate trails, . An inch it not really enough, but it helps. Any more than an inch up hills kill my legs.   I actually need a dropper seatpost, but have not been willing to spend that much more for something I will only use occasionally.

  • #177290

    I’m not sure how far you live from Waxahachie but you should check out the trail its sounds like a perfect trail to help build your confidence and skills.  It’s a simple trail that’s about 12 miles round trip.

    Out group who ride and built the trail are similar is size.  Check the group out on Facebook Waxahachie mountain bike club

     

    we would love for you and your wife to come ride with us.

  • #177291

    You mentioned you baught  new frame. I would recommend a dropper post when you start building it. This was the best upgrade  have made on my bike.

    I’m almost 59 and have a lot of crashes, starting only in 2013. More time in the saddle will help and there are lots of good suggestions above. Many heavier/bigger riders are  lot faster than me.

    I ride alone a lot because I’m slow. perhaps  try and find a meet up mountain biking  club that has novice rider groups. You can learn a lot from the other riders and leaders.

    best wishes

  • #177292

    Hi, badrider. How is your upper body strength? Having acceptable upper body strength can help you better handle the trails because you can exercise more control over your bike, its direction, and your overall balance over the bike. I would encourage you to work out your upper body if you feel that having weak upper body strength might be one of the possible reasons for your less than ideal performance on trails, specifically singletrack, which generally requires better control, skills, balance, and strength to maneuver it well.

    That’s a fairly old bike, but you didn’t tell us what model Cannondale you’re riding. F700? F1000? What? If you have a HeadShox, this is one of the most stable suspension forks you’ll ever ride, and it’s one of the most buttery smooth ones, too. But, stock, for your size and weight, you may be bottoming out your suspension fork? If so, this doesn’t do you much good when trying to keep your bike under control on singletracks. You shouldn’t be bottoming out your front shock regularly; only if you are riding aggressively, which I am guessing that you are not. So, you might check this out with your local bike store, or one where there are informed, competent mechanics and/or riders who can help you perhaps upgrade to a stiffer spring(s), if necessary.

    How well turned are your brakes? Are you using V-brakes, or cantilever brakes? You should be using at least a good set of V-brakes as these should provide you with good, powerful braking, and will help you keep your bike under control better than if you are using cantilever brakes, or poor quality V-brakes. How are your brake pads, while we are talking about adequate braking power?

    If you are endo’ing, and since your bike is on the vintage side, do you feel that your handlebar height is too low for you, thus facilitating endo’s on steep descents or drops? If so, try a handlebar stem with a 15-degree rise, and if you are using a straight handlebar, consider switching to a raised handlebar option to help position your body further back on to your saddle.

    What kind of tires are you using? Are any of your falls related to loss of traction? If so, consider upgrading to a pair with improved traction, e.g., maybe a wider profile (2.2″ or wider?), and a tread pattern that may be better suited for the type of terrain on which you typically ride. Ask your LBS folks about this.

    Practicing your dynamic balance: On your Cannondale, ride around your neighborhood and practice weighting your body over your bike in different positions so that you start becoming more comfortable when needing to weight the outside of your pedals for better traction, and control over your bike, e.g., shift your weight further toward the rear of your bike, the front, the left, the right, toward the rear when hard braking, etc. This will help you better prepare for singletrack riding.

    Look, I love riding pre-1990 Specialized Stumpjumper hardtails and there is nothing wrong with riding an older bike, so long as it is in good condition and well tuned (brakes, gears, proper saddle height, proper handlebar height, saddle positioning (forward versus rearward, AND nose angled downward, neutral, or upward), etc. You don’t need a $2,000+ full suspension bike, although they are more comfortable to ride and allow you to “float” over some nasty sections of trail.

    These are just some thoughts/ideas for your badrider. I hope you get things/problems ironed out, because mountain bike riding really is a wonderful sport and activity, and especially since your wife is now enjoying it so much, I know you really want this to be a mutual interest/hobby/activity. Best of luck with this! Please let us know how everything turns out for you!

    Cheers!

  • #177293

    Addendum:

    Also, maybe you need your LBS to check out your handlebar STEM length. Is it too short, too long? Is it pushing you and your body weight too forward, thus increasing the changes for you to endo your bike?

    If your suspension fork’s spring is too weak, your body and weight will be thrown forward more quickly and significantly when the fork rapidly compresses when you hit a rut, ride off of a drop/ledge, etc., thus increasing the danger on the trail for you. With your size and weight, I recall my old F-700’s stock HeadShox spring not being able to handle my 175 lbs. when under similar trail conditions.

    One poster also mentioned saddle height, which is also very important. There are tons of YouTube videos and online literature (i.e., Specialized’s website) that can offer you some guidance in this respect. And, dropper posts can be very helpful, as the above poster suggested. When descending, dropping the height of your saddle can significantly enhance your control over your bike and pushes your body weight more rearward, which is suggested when descending.

    Again, good luck!

  • #177294

    Badrider, I feel your pain. I bought a bike this past May and so far I’ve proven to be a complete disaster on the trails. I’m slow, unbalanced and prone to falls and today I hit a root and lost my back wheel. Talk about embarrassing! Half the sweat that’s on my by ride’s end is from terror I feel riding over rocks and roots while avoiding a tumble down some yawning ravine. I get dropped on the beginner rides. My first day out was very instructive but since then I haven’t had much help. When riding with the roadies you get tons of good advice but on the trails it seems that’s not really a thing. Maybe the learning curve for single track is just so huge that the effort required to help out a noob is harder to put out. I’ve got decent balance, I understand the fore and aft travel of the body over the bike and so far I’ve got the hang of avoiding trees. I think my biggest failure is that I watch the ground directly ahead of my wheel. I do that because I don’t trust the bike and consequently I’m afraid of obstacles. Looking further down the trail requires me to trust that I can ride over roots and rocks and the bike will absorb them. Looking further down the trail would allow me to navigate corners with a more sweeping and smoothly angled turn radius instead of the wild, over correcting wobble I use now. My own plan is to start riding more alone and over less technical trails. I won’t be pressuring myself to catch up and I won’t be shitting my pants trying to jump logs or dodge sand. I need to learn the feel of the bike and become more adept at handling it and I need to ride it more. Once it feels as natural in my hands and between my legs as the road bike, and once I’m confident that I don’t have to sweat the roots and rocks so much I’ll be able to lift my eyes and look down the trail. I probably have to play with the fit a bit too. My saddle is set at the same height as the one on my road bike and I think that needs to come down a bit. I have to look at the reach to the handle bars too as I’m riding on stock parts with point of sale adjustments. You mention lots of bouncing. I assume you know what your proper tire and fork pressures are for your weight? I bounced a lot too until someone pointed out that I should ignore the numbers on my sidewalls. Right now I hate every pedal stroke but there’s still something about it that keeps me trying. I want to love it and I think someday I will but even if I only ever do it in order to spend time with certain friends or to get off the same old boring road routes that might be enough.

  • #177296

    Apologies if anyone has suggested this and I haven’t seen that post: Have you had your vision checked? The comments about bouncing off trees and not handling single track etc  but being able to ride confidently on the road (where there’s not as many obstacles and it’s generally wider) suggest a visit to the optometrist might be worth a shot. Having good clear vision and depth perception is critical to MTB. I didn’t think I had any vision issues until about 12 months ago and a visit to the football after not attending a live match for a few years made me realise I did have a problem.  I couldn’t read the scoreboard or make out the players numbers. 12 months later I have optically correct sunglasses and multi focus reading glasses and it’s made a BIG difference!

  • #177319

    Badrider,

    I feel your pain.  I started MTB a year ago, and I’m always the slowest in any group. I have confidence problems because of multiple injuries, including constant bruising the first 3 months of riding. It can feel very discouraging when everyone is always waiting for me.  But going faster makes my ride very anxious because of the very realistic fear of crashing.  I’d like to share how I’ve been coping with it.

    1.  I ride alone a lot in between group rides.  I simply need more practice than other people.  I ride the trails over and over again, because the more familiar I am with them, the less scary they feel.  I practice the lines, I practice the techie sections, and the extra workout makes me physically stronger.

    2.  Comfort trails.  I find trails that are a tad below my ability level.  On an off day or slow day, I ride those trails because I can succeed on them without much effort.  They’re a “sure thing,” so to speak.  They act as a confidence booster and warm me up for something more challenging.

    3.  Fat bike.  Yeah, they’re heavy and slow.  But they allow athletically challenged people like myself to ride the more technical trails I wouldn’t otherwise be able to ride.  And when I ride hard sections and succeed, I get that shot of elation (“I can’t believe I did that!” that makes MTB fun.  The fun and sense of accomplishment is important to keep me riding.  You can get very good fat bikes from bikesdirect.  I got my Boris for $600.

    4.  Armor.  Protection has saved me from many, many unnecessary lacerations and bruises.

    Hope that helps.

     

     

     

     

  • #177334

    Hey there Bad,

    It looks like you’re already going to have plenty to read so I’ll just get to it with what worked for me.

    1) watch Forks Over Knives  (I’m 6’3 and went from 240 to 180 which essentially, gave me wings)

    2) switch the lead rider often (your pals love you and won’t mind letting you go first occasionally. Their hoots and praise while you ride will help distract neg thoughts)

    3) watch some videos (mostly about picking the right line and where you should be looking vs where your eyes are worried that you bike will go.)

    4) don’t stop road cycling (too many benefits to list that transfer over to mtb)

    5) use skills areas (or start on a novice or light intermediate trail when you first arrive, it gives you a second to get loose and lets your muscles know what’s coming)

    6) acknowledge fatigue (the most common reason why we eat shoots and leaves)

    7) change your tag (go with badassrider1234… Even if it’s just because your bottom hurts)

    Seriously though, I hope you can find the enjoyment that brought you into this wonderful sport again. It had little to do with skill but a lot to do with laughter and butterflies in your belly! I ride alone sometimes which makes me more cautious but still giggly… Btw, what other sport would have this many folks writing to keep you riding?! You found a great thing, don’t let it slip away without a fight. The fact that you want us to change your mind tells me you will. Best of luck mtb brother.

  • #178494

    I know it should go without saying but since no one else has mentioned it (excepting the mention of a dropper post) Have you adjusted your setup? I ride to the trails from my house with the seat (from BB to top of the saddle) at 90% of my inseam. Then once I have completed the climbs I lower my seat as far as I can to give myself more room to toss the bike around underneath me. Learning how to adjust my saddle position made my rides so much better. Maybe try lowering your seat once you reach the technical areas?

    As far as your size I am right there with you buddy, I was up to 275 last year and I am down to 230 right now. Keep it up!

    I can also relate to the older bike thing you mentioned, my dad was big into riding when I was young and took really good care of his 198? Diamondback Sorrento. I occasionally hop on it and take out. I have to tell you that my 05′ hardrock is leaps and bounds ahead of that bike in so many ways. The old DB is fine for road rides but the geometry is just not there for technical moves.

    Good luck!

  • #178497

    OK it has been almost a year since the OP,,, Badrider are you still there? Still riding?

  • #178502

    I’m guessing he’s been too busy slaying singletrack to come back and post on the forums. 🙂

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.