Many mountain bikers actually fear the ride downhill rather than uphill. This is due to the fact that many accidents such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, or other catastrophic injuries can occur.
Mountain biking is a great form of exercise but it comes with many challenges. There are a number of obstacles people face when hitting the trails. The physical endurance is a huge hurdle one must overcome but it does take time to gain this. Because it is a form of aerobic exercise, it is said by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry “aerobic exercises […] have been proved to reduce anxiety and depression.” With this being said, mountain biking can make you stronger both mentally and physically. This article examines the top ways how to overcome common mountain biking challenges.
- Uphill Climbing
To participate in the nature of mountain biking there will be many steep hills. The biggest challenge in uphill climbing is the endurance and strength required to get up the hill. Until your fitness improves, start slowly and build a pace up minor hills to gain practice of the feeling of uphill climbing. Using a low gear and centering your weight can help tremendously throughout the initial process of becoming comfortable. Leg muscle is also going to play a role here and your calf muscles will be extremely sore the first couple attempts of an uphill climb.
Due to mountain biking being such a physically demanding sport, it is not uncommon to experience fatigue. The best ways to overcome this are nutrition and hydration. It is extremely important to listen to your body and take breaks when you may need them. Being at a comfortable pace when you ride and not pushing yourself too hard is something to keep in mind as well.
- Difficult Terrain
Rocks, roots, and steep drops can create technical terrain that riders must face. Building confidence and practicing your skills are ways to overcome this challenge. Moreover, practicing techniques such as shifting your weight to maintain balance, controlling your speed with brakes, and navigating obstacles can help you in this challenge. Additionally, hiring a coach can improve your skills.
Fear is a common human response when facing mountain biking. With that said, it can hold you back from the goals you wish to reach. Starting with easier trails and working your way up can help you build the confidence you need to succeed. Positive self-talk can play a huge role in your confidence.
- Descending Downhill
Many mountain bikers actually fear the ride downhill rather than uphill. This is due to the fact that many accidents such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, or other catastrophic injuries can occur. On the other hand, steep hill descending is thrilling to many riders. The key to these types of hills is to stay focused and relaxed. Controlling your speed with your breaks and looking ahead at any obstacles will help you feel more at ease. Using your body to absorb any bumps or drops can also help the ride feel smoother. To conquer this challenge, start with smaller and easier descents and work your way up to the difficult rides.
Mountain biking is an extreme sport that comes with numerous challenges. Practice, perseverance, and patience will help you overcome these challenges. These challenges may be technical terrain, uphill climbs, downhill descents, lethargy, or fear, but the strategies I listed above will help you reach your full potential as a rider.
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