Time to Build that DH 2013 Foundation with Timmy EvensOctober 25, 2012
Now that the 2012 mtb season is essentially behind us its time to lay the foundation for a 2013 race season. If you truly aspire to grow as a competitor then you must look at your season objectively and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.
Think back to when you felt strong and those times you came unravelled under the stress of competition. You might see room for improvement on a number of components. where would you like to see yourself improve? high speed? technical flow? jumping/air? short duration intense fitness? endurance? or is it something more esoteric like your competitive mindset?
Are you someone who “freaks out” the morning of a race and never seem to ride as well in practice as competition? I encourage you to focus on where you want to see the most improvement and come up with an off-season plan. Now find another sport venue to practice. We can become stagnant when we drill the same rides/training into our bodies/minds over and over. Whether you’re an XC racer looking for improved output at lactate threshold or a DH racer looking to improve your focus at high speed I encourage you this winter to take up skiing.
Ask yourself what it takes to be an excellent DH racer…intense strength, mental focus, lack of fear, etc…etc, buying a season pass at your local ski hill might be the best thing you ever did for honing your body/mind for the 2013 race season.
I’m going to outline 3 reasons training on alpine skis, and to a slightly lesser extent snowboards, will transfer to better performance on a DH bike:
1. Comfort at speed
DH’ing your favorite course/run may feel like you’re going supersonic but odds are your max speed is nowhere near what you would attain on a clear day of skiing groomers. It’s not uncommon for seasoned skier’s to reach 50mph on a corduroy run. It may feel like you’re going 70 on your DH run but I assure you its very uncommon to reach 40mph on a dh race run. By getting use to seeing lines much farther ahead and anticipating a bigger line you can change your perception of speed. Powder days are the ones we really remember but skiing clear groomer is when we really get to play with speed. Of course I have to remind you to be safe! Careening high speed through a grey haired old lady is a good way to lose your pass and potentially end up in jail.
2. Edge control
Think of the last time you really surprised yourself on a DH run. Having perfect edge control of your tires is something we can all appreciate. To be a serious skier/boarder you must be intuitively weighting and unweighting your front and rear edges to hook up with the perfect arc. If we slow down video of alpine racers and dh mtb ers you can find similarities in the way they use hip strength to feel the terrain and adjust. by simply having fun on ski’s you are prepping your body to develop a better connection between you the bike and the trail.
3. Muscle Strength/Endurance
A typical DH race/enduro stage is somewhere between 2 and 10 minutes. In that time we go from pumped and strong to fatigued, erratic, and potentially out of control. Doing 10-15 runs on your local intermediate/advanced run is a great way to practice being strong and stable with your form. When we fatigue our form changes and control suffers. Be strong and controlled on your ski’s and we not only exercise our minds but develop FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH that we transfer to the bike. Squatting a 5 rep max 2x a week will make you strong but it might not transfer well to sport.