It doesn't matter if you're training for the next big race or if you're a recreational rider, there is an undeniable satisfaction that comes with improvement. But how do we know we're improving? There are a number of ways to improve mountain biking, some are measurable with hard stats while others will be an internal feeling. Read on as we tell you how to gauge your progress on the bike as you improve as a rider!
We said the S word but, hear us out. Strava (download Strava here) has become famous for riders chasing 'KOM's' as they fight to have the fastest time on a certain section of track but, its so much more than that! Firstly, the most important person to compare yourself against is yourself, this is how you can track YOUR progress.
Strava will give you data from your ride including distance, elevation gain / loss, total time, moving time, average speed and more. This is a great tool if you've got a regular loop you ride at your local Brisbane MTB trails. Pick an area of riding which you want to improve. For example; have less breaks to bring down your 'total time' while keeping your 'moving time' the same or lower, riding harder and resting less! Each ride look back and see how you're progressing with the stats Strava gives you. It's unlikely you'll be getting a PB every time you jump on the bike and that's OK! We're looking for overall improvement over time.
Now people take these things pretty seriously as they try to claim the title of 'King / Queen of the Mountain' down or up trials. Don't worry about them, focus on yourself. If you're looking to test your speed down a particular Brisbane MTB trail you can almost guarantee that all sanctioned MTB trails around Brisbane will have a 'segment'. A 'segment' in short, is a defined start and finish point that Strava will record your time between, once your ride is complete you can view your time(s) on the app. Trying to instantly go faster over the whole track can be overwhelming and turn into an uncontrolled, un-calculated attack with many timely mistakes being made! Break down the trail into different sections allowing you to focus on specific terrain and the best way to ride it. Once you're feeling faster on these individual sections try and link the whole trail together at pace! Done correctly you should be well rewarded against the clock.
Bike Skills / Mental Aspect
While we often get caught up battling the clock there is also the mental and skills aspect to consider. Pick a weak spot in your MTB riding, say it's jumping for example. Instead of just holding your breath and surviving jumps on your local MTB trail make an effort to embrace them. Think of your technique while jumping and relax, flowing through the jump. Gain confidence on smaller jumps before scaling up in size. Although you may not be riding these trails faster your bike skills will increase and you'll be approaching these once challenging features with a more confident, relaxed mindset. Ultimately enjoying MTB riding more!
There you have it, three ways to track your progress as a mountain bike rider. Forget about everyone else and just get out there, go to your local Brisbane MTB trails, have some fun and see what YOU are capable of!