Physical condition for off-road riding

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Keithert, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. Keithert

    Keithert Been here awhile

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    This Saturday I rode my XT225 on my first ever off-road ride. It was 10 miles with about half on straight power line trails there were sometimes muddy and half in twisty woods on ATV trails that were also muddy. This was on Saturday. That evening my back was hurting a lot and by 8:00pm I had no energy left for anything. The next day my back felt a bit better but still hurt some. My energy level was lower than usual and by 8:00pm I was again exhausted. The riding really took it out of me. I've ridden these same trails many times on ATVs and never felt like this.

    I'm in my late 40's. I know a lot of you guys are my age or older. What do you do to get in shape for riding?
    #1
  2. WoodButcher

    WoodButcher Long timer

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    For me, ride. Just riding more makes a big difference. You strengthen the muscles you use that way, but the big benefit is that you get better riding. Form improves and you don't have to work as hard.

    That being said, I do try and get out on the bicycles. I'm 50, BTW.
    #2
  3. James Adams

    James Adams ɹǝsn uʍop ǝpᴉsdn Administrator

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    For me (a bit younger but generally out of shape):

    1. Ride - like WB mentioned, I'll get some exercise (though really not a whole lot) and also get better at riding
    2. Bicycle - build cardiovascular capacity and also strengthen those leg muscles that get used when I'm up on the pegs
    #3
  4. Keithert

    Keithert Been here awhile

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    I generally need to get in better shape! I'll start by bicycle riding as often as I can.
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  5. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Ride harder,ride faster,it will all come together.

    Or you'll end up in an emergency room,best way to meet cute nurses ever!
    #5
  6. AustinJake

    AustinJake TE450-KLE-FXDWG

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    Wait until you get to be 57 yo and you try to ride with the 40 year olds, on really steep and loose terrain, and you fall off and roll half way down the hill, into a cactus, the walk back up the hill to your bike will take EVERYTHING out of you, you'll be wantin' some of those muddy power line roads about then..

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. folknride

    folknride Old Adventurer

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  8. Keithert

    Keithert Been here awhile

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    Very interesting link Folknride. Have you calculated your number for the mile walk test?
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  9. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    I'll have to look into folknride's blog. I am 64 and work out 5-6 hours per week over three sessions. It helps a great deal riding my various dual sports, but early season rides can still cause me some pain.

    As an example, a couple weeks ago I flew to Phoenix on business. I keep a Yamaha WR250R there. With a spare afternoon I rode a 70 miles section of somewhat damaged dirt roads. Damaged enough that I was constantly croutching on the pegs as I hit babyheads and washouts. Then the last 15 miles I stepped up the pace significantly.

    My thighs burned for several days after that. I had some and forearm muscle pain too. This was not technical riding, but it was rough enough on what strength I have left at my age.
    #9
  10. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    10 miles?
    You must be very out of shape to feel the effects of 10 miles of dirt riding.
    You are too tense, or way out of shape, or both.
    The XT225 is a VERY easy bike to ride, so just ride more, its the best way to get in shape because its fun to do.
    #10
  11. ct-ktm

    ct-ktm Long timer

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    You are comparing apples to oranges there..^^^ but after Saturday now you probably know there is a big difference between riding an atv to a motorcyle..

    Any cardio you do will help,.!!.. but don't forget also the better rider you become the less energy you will waste riding..
    #11
  12. tdvt

    tdvt Been here awhile

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    I hate it when that happens.


    Actually, glad to hear I'm not the only one that sometimes feels beat-up. Thinking back to a 100+mi organized ride last summer, more trails than road & I was totally hammered the day after. Probably a number of guys there my age (mid-50's) that didn't seem phased but they all ride like that more regularly.

    Getting out & doing it seems like the best plan.
    #12
  13. folknride

    folknride Old Adventurer

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    Yes, we have a great track where I work out, so I do it from time to time. I'm at VO2 max 36 - 37 so definitely have room for improvement.

    Use it or lose it I guess - I hate it when the experts are right.

    I try to do lots of core exercise - I think those muscles are key when riding dirt. And a friend was just telling me about a workout tool called Body Blade, which looks like a good targeted workout for off road riding. (you can google it)
    #13
  14. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    It was his FIRST dirt ride ever,next one will be easier.
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  15. rodhersh

    rodhersh Adventurer

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    Get yourself a mountain bike and ride it...a lot. I'm 53 and it works for me
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  16. OlivierS

    OlivierS Adventurer

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    I'm 30, had an offroad course last wednesday, with the KTM 990. I did about 240 km that day, 110 getting there and back, and 130 on various terrain, including gravel, mud, clay, cobblestones...
    I can tell you that I felt like a 90 year old that evening... I am tall and heavy, but, concidering my weight in good shape since I hike quite often (daily). Soon as the weather gets better I'll start mountainbiking as well.

    Thing is though, riding that big and heavy KTM offroad makes me use muscles I don't seem to use in daily life or when hiking or biking. Cardio-wise I can take it. But my forearms and the muscles on the inside of my thighs hurt like hell and were all cramped at night. I have a 9 day trip planned in the future, 5 days heavy offroad, with gear, so I really need to find a way to train those muscles. If I have to sleep in a tent on the ground when I am beat up like that I will never manage to get up in de morning :D
    #16
  17. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Well,there's that. Getting old is a bitch no matter what.
    I rode 60 miles of ultra tight vertical tricky singletrack on sunday on my 200KTM,at the halfway point every body went back to the trucks except 3 of us. Leader was a winning A rider,age 27,on a CRF450F. Other guy was an A rider on a 2012 200KTM,under age 40.
    Im 55 and pretty darn good at these trails but man,I ran out of steam at a certain point and there was no getting it back,no second wind kicked in.
    Wobbling around like that on technical trails is slow and dangerous, and a good way to get hurt if you dont keep your wits about you,my wits were gone so it was hard.

    Whole body felt totally worked over and next day was a rest day,but what doesnt kill you makes you stronger,with luck.

    It was still a kick in the ass,more bicycle riding will happen.

    For anybody,most all the time,40 miles is considered more then enough on these trails.
    #17
  18. judobiker

    judobiker Been here awhile

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    To the OP, I'm a personal trainer and have a few thoughts. If you haven't exercised much or feel like you were much more exhausted than you should have been it may be time for a check up before you start an exercise program. Good idea to make sure the ticker and everything else is functioning properly so you can exercise with confidence.

    Secondly, you're on a capable trail bike, but one whose weight and suspension aren't exactly top of the line. You didnt say who you were riding with, but If you were trying to keep up with more modern race bikes, then you should be worn out.
    #18
  19. Keithert

    Keithert Been here awhile

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    I wasn't trying to keep up with anyone. My buddy and our kids were riding their ATVs but I was going at my own pace.
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  20. KX50002

    KX50002 NooB, my ass

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    Buy a KX 500.
    :D

    As others have suggested, ride more, and don't neglect the ole bicycle.

    Have fun!!
    #20