How to Train for Your Chasing Epic Trip
As we’ve mentioned multiple times before, we believe you should be in as good of shape as possible before arriving for your Chasing Epic trip. Too many times, we’ve seen customers who haven’t taken preparation seriously and as a result either had to cut rides short, held back their group, or had to skip part of the trip entirely. Our goal is to have everyone finish every day of riding, and have a killer time in doing so!
The basic premise of our training recommendation is simple: ride your bike. We understand that our customers have lives, and life gets in the way sometimes. But we also understand that you spent good money to join us for an epic adventure, and we want you to have the time of your life.
2+ Months Out: Try to fit in 2-3 rides during the week that are 60-90 minutes long, and every weekend push yourself for 3+ hours and 20+ miles.
1-2 Months Out: Increase the intensity of your weekday rides, and on the weekend extend your ride to be on the bike for ~4 hours or more.
Within 30 Days: Add 20% to both your weekday and weekend rides from the previous block, and increase the climbing if your local trails allow. Apologize to your wife in advance for your long absence on the weekend ride.
The Week Before: If you can, ride your bike a couple of days leading up to the trip but don’t push yourself- make these rides very easy. You want to be rested and recovered for 4 tough days in the saddle!
Doing too much of the same thing will burn you out, and you’ll dread having to ride each day. Our advice? Mix it up. Don’t ride the same trail, don’t ride it the same way, and don’t spend the same amount of time each day on the bike. Here are a few ideas.
Intervals: These can either be climbing-based or effort-based. Essentially, push yourself on a specific section of trail or for a set length of time, recover, and repeat. Ideally increase the intensity and interval length as you ride more.
Solid Effort, Longer Distance: Ride at 75-80% of your max effort, sustained, for at least 90+ minutes. This can be on flat roads (or trails), but just make sure you keep the effort sustained.
Max Effort, Custom Distance: Push yourself on your favorite trail at close to 100%, for as long as you can handle. This can be short at first, but increase the distance each time you go out. This is best done on the same trail each time, so you can measure your progress.
Climbing Focus: Push yourself on the climbing segments of your local ride, and cruise on the descents.
Enduro Focus: Take it easy on the climbs, but push yourself on the descents. Ride under control, but push yourself wherever possible (pedaling on the flats, etc).
Long Ride, Mild Effort: AKA “base miles”, get out on the bike for 3-4 hours at a comfortable pace.
Just Ride: Have fun, find your flow, and just go ride with your friends. No goals or objectives needed with this one.
Weight/Resistance Training: We also believe that your body needs to be strong in order to handle the bike for several hours each day, so we recommend supplementing the above plan with weights, resistance training, and/or yoga. There are a million plans and options available, just choose something you enjoy and that fits into your daily/weekly routine.
Training For Specific Rides, Where to Focus
The trip you signed up for can also have a bearing on where you should focus your training; don’t get us wrong, all of our trips are “epic” compared to what most people ride in a 4-day stretch. That said, different locations have different types of terrain, and that means different fitness when it comes to climbs and rides.
High Country Epics (Sun Valley, Crested Butte): On these rides, you can expect long, steady climbs for 30-60 minutes at a time. This is where it’s important to build up base fitness so you can sit and grind. We recommend focusing on longer rides with a good amount of climbing involved before your trip.
Big Mountain Enduro (Monarch Crest, Brevard, Revelstoke): Here it’s all about the descents, which means we’ll utilize shuttles for some rides and have more mellow dirt road grinds on others. You definitely want to be in good shape for these trips, but you should primarily focus on overall body strength on the bike, as the terrain is rough, rugged, and can beat you down after a 20-mile day.
Desert Tech (Moab, Fruita, St. George): Rides in the desert tend to be a full-body beatdown on the climbs and the descents. Most of what you’ll find on these trips is short in duration, but very physical. From punchy climbs on Gooseberry Mesa to the technical step-up climbing of Hymasa in Moab, you want to train with intervals and short, steep rides.
A Few Things to Remember
Try to make one ride each week max-effort, whether it’s intervals or a big ride with long, tough climbs. And on the flip side, when you’re doing longer rides try to make them more comfortable, as here you’re really just building base miles and a foundation of fitness.
By no means is this meant to be a professional training plan; instead, we’re trying to make it possible for you to ride your bike more, get in shape for your trip, and have fun doing it. We partner with Enduro MTB Training for a full-blown, step-by-step plan if you’re interested in more structure. We also recommend Derek at Dialed Health, who’s got multiple plans specifically for mountain bikers as well.