Okay, so you’ve booked your dream mountain biking trip – now you just get to sit back, relax, and count down the days, right? Wrong! It’s time to get training. Showing up in shape and ready to ride is hugely important to make the most of your trip. Getting on your mountain bike and riding is obviously one of the best ways to get ready, but with a busy schedule, it can be difficult to get in the miles to get you ready to ride 80+ miles over four days on a Chasing Epic trip. With this in mind, we put together some tips and a general training plan to have you ready to crush the trails of your dreams.
The earlier you start training for your mountain bike trip, the easier it will be. In general, we’d recommend starting to focus on building fitness starting at least 12 weeks out from your trip date. The following plan will break the training up into four chunks over the 12 weeks.
12 to 8 Weeks Until Trip Departure
The first step to getting in shape to ride is simply riding more. Dust the cobwebs off, throw on your bike shorts, and try to get out on at least two decent rides during the week, and one longer one on the weekends. Ideally, these rides will be on the trails, but depending on your situation and schedule, the road bike, a trainer, or even a stationary bike will do just fine – as long as your pushing pedals! These rides should be at an easy pace, you don’t need to go all-out in the name of “training,” try to go 90+ minutes on your weekday rides, and around three hours on the weekends.
After a couple of weeks here, you should be starting to develop some baseline fitness, and you’ll also start to notice any specific areas you need to work on. For example, maybe your lower back is a pain point when you stay on the bike longer, we’ll work on these problem areas in the next phase. You’ll also begin to get your gear dialed in. You’ll want to have your kit dialed by the time your trip rolls around – you don’t want to be breaking in new bike shoes on a trip – you should be comfortable and only have to focus on the riding.
7 to 4 Weeks Until Trip Departure
After building up some baseline pedaling fitness, it’s time to start stepping things up a bit. Continue trying to ride at least three times per week, tacking on a 4th if your schedule allows. If there are not a lot of hills where you ride, plan out some deliberate times to pick up the pace – for example, three 15-minute blocks of increased pace and effort over a two-hour ride. At this point in your training, you should be feeling better on climbs and be ready to step up the duration and distance that you’re riding. A day of riding on a Chasing Epic trip generally ranges from 15-25 miles – now is a good time to start trying to ride these distances once or twice a week, if you are not already.
In addition to riding, adding in some gym time to your routine can be a boon to your riding, and can help deal with specific areas that fatigue easily or give you pain while riding. For many riders, the lower back can be a major pain point, for others, it’s wrists and forearms. General core strength and mobility is a good start. For more direction, we’ve put together a collection of bike-specific exercises that you can incorporate into your routine. Spending about 30 minutes two to three times a week can help strengthen the muscle groups that will be key to keep you pain-free on your trip. Pick about four of the exercises we’ve outlined for each session, the good thing is most of these can be done at home, too.
3 to 2 Weeks Until Trip Departure
This is the time to push it! Hopefully at this point, you’ve been able to try out some longer rides like you’ll be doing on your trip. How did they feel? If you busted out a 25-mile ride with 3,000’ of climbing and still felt fresh, you’ve been doing a great job. If not, that’s okay, just remember, the better shape you’re in, the more you’ll be able to enjoy the epic trails you’re about to encounter. Continue to push the time and distance of your rides, trying to match those on your upcoming trip, and keep up with any bike-specific workouts you’ve picked up in the gym.
1 Week Until Trip Departure
It’s almost here! You can see the light at the end of the tunnel here, now it’s time to rest and recuperate from any nagging injuries or sickness. Going for a couple of mellow rides is okay, but you want to focus on staying healthy and getting ready to have the time of your life! Take this week to focus on your bike (if you’re bringing your own), your body, and packing your bike gear for your trip.
About the Author: We are evo – a ski, snowboard, mountain bike, surf, wake, and skate retailer based in Seattle, Washington, USA, with stores located in Seattle, Portland, and Denver. We also offer trips to remote locations across the globe in search of world-class powder turns, epic waves, and legendary mountain biking through ourevoTrip Adventure Travel Trips.