In a previous post we looked at the reasons ‘Why mountain biking is so good for your road cycling’. Within it I revealed how I’m a huge lover of both road cycling and mountain biking. And, how like it is with my kids, I simply couldn’t pick a favourite.
Luckily I’m not alone in my appreciation for the two different cycling disciplines. And so the days of having to choose ‘to be one’ over the other, look to be over.
While people tend to get involved with both, simply out of the pure enjoyment they get from each. Many are now realising that the two different types of cycling, actually compliment each other in many ways.
If you’ve read that previous post I mentioned, you’ll have seen the reasons I gave as to how mountain biking benefits your road cycling. So I thought I’d flip it and do a piece for the mountain bikers amongst you. To show you the huge benefits I get as a mountain biker, by also being a road cyclist.
Without further a do. Here are the reasons why I think road cycling is so good for your mountain biking.
You can explore even further a field
The simple truth is that it is easier to go further and faster, when out road riding. This means you can cover more ground and explore more of your local surroundings.
Being able to escape it all is a huge benefit of road riding. And can greatly improve your overall levels of wellbeing.
Moreover, by venturing further a field, you may unwittingly discover new routes for you to attack on your mountain bike. So, when you’re out on the road bike, don’t forget to get that Strava app going - so that you can easily record where you’ve been, and so where you can head for your next MTB outing.
Improve aerobic fitness
Given the previous benefit of being able to go further for longer. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to hear that road cycling is great for improving your aerobic fitness.
Improving your muscular and cardiovascular endurance, will greatly improve your performance on the mountain bike. It’s particularly great to do this in between your trail sessions. Trail sessions can be very demanding on the body – especially so on your core and upper body. Road riding will enable you to continue to work on these key areas, but with less of the impact that you experience when out on the trails. See it almost as a recovery session.
More targeted fitness
You don’t need to tell me how demanding MTB can be, and what a workout it is. But the varied terrain that you come across means a workout can be, well… varied.
Road cycling helps to reduce the unplanned variations. Instead, road cycling actually allows you to pinpoint very specific intensities to work at. Meaning you can target precise training zones far easier and more effectively. And so it is easier for you to adapt your training when out on the road.
Improve your technique
In that previous post I mentioned – the reverse view to this one. I said how MTB could help to improve your road cycling pedalling technique. Well, when it comes to pedalling, it works both ways.
This is because those long road-riding sessions will naturally force you to ride at a steady cadence. By doing this you will inherently develop a smoother pedal stroke, and even improve your overall riding form.
Good form and a smooth consistent pedalling stroke are always going to be needed when you’re on your mountain bike. Since, you wont always be simply coasting or pedalling through obstacles. It’s why in between those times, a smooth pedalling stroke will come in super handy.
For when you’ve just got to get out there and ride
Unless you’re lucky enough to live on the doorstep of some amazing natural or man made trails. Then finding the time to get to them can become pretty tricky.
Plus, there are only so many hours of daylight in the day.
It’s a dam sight easier to pick up your ride bike and roll out onto the open road.
You may be thinking to yourself ‘ok, well how long should I be spending on a road bike?’ In short, it sort of depends on your competitive level. I’d suggest if your priority is competing in MTB events, then you should follow some pretty simple guidelines.
In the early part of an MTB season, you could spend a couple of days on your mountain bike, and two or three on your road bike. Then as you edge closer to early season races - and take part in practice races - cut down your days on a road bike to one or two. While upping the time you dedicate to your mountain bike.
Then as you enter the core of your season, the majority of your attention should be on your mountain bike. But, I’d strongly suggest still incorporating some road riding into your structured training program.
There you have it - my top line reasons why road cycling is good for your mountain bike riding.
Now, I probably shouldn’t be saying this. But as much as I do notice the benefits gained from combining the two different disciplines into my training. That’s not really the main reason as to why I do both.
For me it simply boils down to the enjoyment I get from both.
MTB is more of that daredevil, adrenalin-based type of enjoyment. While road cycling, is more a clearing your head, type of enjoyment.
And as they say; variety is the spice of life!