How I Got Into Mountain Biking

It was a humid Saturday morning as I had one foot clipped into my mountain bike while there must have been thirty of us lined up onto the starting line of this 15 mile mountain bike race. As I stood there I glanced over at the other competitors, some of whom had what looked like a ball of fire in their eyes while others had ripped leg muscles. They all sat onto their bikes, some of witch were carbon fiber bikes, hard tail and full suspension bikes and even a few 29ers. Here I am with only a year of experience riding on single track trails with my Trek full suspension mountain bike as I tried to keep myself pumped up for what could potentially be a very grueling race. Before the gunshot was heard, I kept my hands relaxed on the handle bar grips, only letting go to make sure my gloves were on tight, my helmet was adjusted properly and I took a few sips from the Camelbak hydration system that was strapped to me. Once the gun went off and was heard all over the mountain bike park, we were all in a dash to leave the starting line while clipping in and jockeying for position like a herd of wild animals as we made our way from the open field and into the single track trails. As I kept changing gears, looking around at the riders in front of me and thinking about what I would encounter during the race, I had a thought in the back of my mind.

I thought about what led me to buy a mountain bike, how long would it take before I would become confident enough to ride through rugged terrain, switchback trails and steep hills. Could this new sport help me out in the other endurance sports that I compete in?

With the background of a distance runner, and a triathlete, mountain biking would definitely benefit me. A little more than a year and a half before this race, a friend convinced me to buy an inexpensive hard tail mountain bike to participate in group rides in the winter time where we would be doing a lot hill repeats on a twenty mile loop on pavement. These workouts would keep us in shape through the winter so we would all be better off for the upcoming triathlon season. Once springtime rolled around and I wanted to get into ridding on single track trails that offer switchbacks, rugged terrain and steep hills, I realized that the bike that I currently had was inadequate for this type of ridding. So then I found myself buying a Trek full suspension mountain bike. The more I rode my new bike at the local mountain bike parks, the more I appreciated having an intermediate level bike. He way the dual suspension was forgiving on the terrain of the trails along with how well the tires gave me enough traction through the different trail conditions were just a couple of key features that I began to appreciate about this bike. As I rode my mountain bike on the easy and intermediate trails, I not only realized that I was turning into a better mountain biker, I noticed something else along the way. When I was not making my way though the local mountain bike parks, I was out on the road on my triathlon bike. What I found out about mountain biking is that it forces you to become very good at being able to handle your bike in all different situations. It is that same requirement in mountain biking that made me more confident when riding on road, especially through a village where there are a lot of cars, traffic lights, potholes and other various problems that a cyclist has to be aware of. At the time, while I was still becoming acclimated to this bike that I had bought, I knew that sometime in the future I would like to try a mountain bike race. I also knew that I would have to become a much better mountain biker at this new discipline before I try to do it at a competitive level. I soon found myself waking up very early on a September morning to join a of friends on what was going to be a sixty mile ride on our bikes. We would ride the first thirty five miles on a flat trail and then stop for breakfast and then the fun would really begin. Then twenty five miles of singe track trails and see who could endure the most pain. As the leaves fell off the trees and the snow blanketed the ground, there was yet another opportunity for me. Mountain biking on the snow packed trails while breathing the dry air and trying not to let my tires lose their grip in the snow. Eventually in the middle of the summer, I found myself on vacation visiting a friend in Massachusetts near the New Hampshire border and we mountain biked at various parks in the area. My friend and I rode in parks that offered an endless amount of rocks, boulders, roots, logs, man made bridges over creeks and even a few mosquitoes! At this time I was confident enough in my bike handling that I had registered for my first mountain bike race.

Now here I was in the first of four laps in this grueling mountain bike race while I was thinking about how I got into the sport instead of thinking about the race itself. I was quickly getting exhausted while I tried to keep up with the more experienced athletes in this race. With beads of sweat already dripping down my face and realizing that my mental toughness was slowly fading away, this discipline was beginning to feel a lot harder than distance running and competing in triathlons. I found myself on trails that meandered through the park as well as steep climbs, a few rollers, roots, logs, some rocks and then an open field to have a chance to gain speed. Overall I didn’t finish as well as I wanted to, but I plan to compete in more mountain bike races in the future. With the various mountain bike parks around the country, this is a very rewarding sport for a beginner to get into as well as an experienced mountain biker. Both types of mountain bikers will still reap the benefits and enjoyment, while continuously trying to push themselves past their comfort zone.

This is how I got into the sport of mountain biking. This is a sport where I have not only learned a lot about the sport itself, but also about myself as an athlete. I’m sure after reading this you are ready to go out and buy a bike or if you already have a mountain bike, dust it off and take it out to the trails.

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Extreme Mountain Biking – The Best Of The Best

The multi-disciplined sport of mountain biking is one of the most innovative in the world. Each of the distinct categories of extreme mountain biking requires that its participants undergo ongoing training to maintain their old skills and develop new ones, and each category has a different set of regulations. But the category on mountain biking most likely to appeal to the daredevils among us is extreme mountain biking, which offers the best bikers challenges sure to get their adrenaline levels soaring!

The risks, stunts, and technically challenging courses from which extreme mountain biking gets its name make extreme mountain bikers a breed apart from the athletes in other cycling sports. Those riders who excel at extreme mountain biking have worked for years to hone their skills, and can still be surprised by the obstacles and unpredictable terrains thrown at them by the organizers of extreme mountain biking competitions. The extremely advanced techniques which these riders have mastered are a very long way indeed from basic mountain biking skills.

Categories OF Extreme Mountain Biking

Extreme mountain biking covers five distinct categories, including downhill, free riding, cross country, street riding and dirt jumping events. The competitions may take place over rough, steep, and rocky terrain or challenging tracks but extreme riding can also occur on the narrow single tracks which wind through forests, streambeds, and fields.

Good training is essential for any mountain biker who would like to become involved in extreme mountain biking. One way to begin understanding the techniques involved is by watching videos of the maneuvers executed by professional extreme mountain bikers; many of them can simply be downloaded form the Internet.

Some Internet mountain biking sites will even offer free streaming videos, and sporting goods or mountain biking retailers also have DVDs of extreme mountain biking professionals performing different stunts. Magazines, books, and Internet sites devoted to the topic of extreme mountain biking will also offer a wealth of information on the training techniques of world-class extreme mountain bikers.

Learn By Doing

But with extreme mountain biking, as with all things, experience is the best teacher. Once a biker has studied the videos, DVDs and literature on the different extreme mountain biking maneuvers, he or she should attempt them and get feedback from their friends or mountain biking club members about their technique.

Extreme mountain biking [http://www.mountainbikingreviews.com/All_About_Mountain_Biking/] is the exclusive domain of the very best mountain bikers in the world. If you think you’re ready to take your passion for mountain biking to the extreme, and are prepared for years of effort, one day you might join them!

A Look At Some Of The More Common Mountain Bike Designs

Mountain bikes are designed for off-road riding. Whether made for racing or the more leisurely rider, there are four basic frame designs for mountain bikes: rigid, hard-tail, soft-tail, and full suspension.

The rigid (also commonly known as fully rigid) mountain bikes resemble a conventional sort of bike as you would imagine it. A rigid mountain bike has neither a rear suspension nor a front suspension. These used to be the most common kind of mountain bike but they are rapidly being replaced by the more comfortable models which feature some sort of suspension system. Fully rigid bikes tend to be lower-priced than models with a suspension. Many riders still prefer rigid bikes because it’s what they’re accustomed to, and the feel that the rigid design allows them greater control.

Another common mountain bike design is the hard-tail. Hard-tail mountain bikes are so named because they have a conventional rear end without a suspension. Hard-tails differ from fully rigid bikes in that they have a front suspension. The hard-tail is perhaps the most popular mountain bike design. Many professional riders prefer the feel of a hard-tail and the comfort of a front suspension.

The next kind of mountain bike design is the soft-tail. As you probably guessed, soft-tails employ a rear suspension. Rear suspensions are a more recent innovation than front suspension due to the complexities of the design. Soft-tails are often more expensive than hard-tails, but they also tend to be more forgiving.

Finally there’s the full suspension mountain bike. Bikes with this design feature both front and rear suspensions. These bikes are the latest mountain bike design. For a long time riders avoided full suspension bikes because they were heavy and they tended to sag in the middle like an old swayback horse. It took years for engineers and riders to perfect a viable, functional full suspension mountain bike. It was in the 1990’s when these bikes finally reached a point where they were marketable.

In addition to the frame and suspension, there are other differences in mountain bike designs. One key area where bikes differ is the brakes. Mountain bikes either have some form of caliper brakes, which are the kind of brakes typically associated with bikes. This kind of brake squeezes the rims to slow and stop the bike. The other type of brake is the drum brake. Drum brakes on bikes are similar to the braking system on automobiles. Drum brakes are more expensive than caliper brakes but they’re also easier to maintain. Mountain bike braking systems have even been made which utilize hydraulic power.

Another area where you have some choice in mountain bike design is tire size. Mountain bike tires typically range in size from 24″ to 29″. Smaller tires are used when greater maneuverability is required as in stunt-riding and jumping. Larger tires are used when speed is the key.

As with any other important purchase, do your homework before buying a new mountain bike. Think about your needs and your budget. Mountain biking is a terrific past-time. It’s a fun way to get some fresh air, enjoy the outdoors, and improve your health.