Is it more Technique or Conditioning?

I raced my first race in 8 years Sat. and raced in a Am. class, heres my thing I tire very quickly. I can ride every bit as fast as the top guys in my class for awhile and then I hit the wall, I guess my question is how much of riding hard and fast is tech. or do I just need to get in better shape. I ride with some pro offroaders and they don't seem to tire abit.

better shap. i think 80% is endurance. which you'll just have to build up.

They are both important, but I'd lean toward technique being the more important of the two. The best riders only expend as much energy as they need to, and they find oportunities to rest while everyone else is struggling. We've all seen fat guys who can ride a bike stronger and longer than riders who look like marathon runners.

I raced my first race in 8 years Sat. and raced in a Am. class, heres my thing I tire very quickly. I can ride every bit as fast as the top guys in my class for awhile and then I hit the wall, I guess my question is how much of riding hard and fast is tech. or do I just need to get in better shape. I ride with some pro offroaders and they don't seem to tire abit.

I think it's both. I have the same issue. Plenty of speed, but can't hang on anymore after 5 miles of whoops, and I'm whipped. Riding more miles hones technique so you don't have to use what energy you have, but that will only partly compensate for a lack of conditioning.

It's amazing what a little work at the gym will do. I'm getting there a little at a time.

..............Plenty of speed, but can't hang on anymore after 5 miles of whoops, and I'm whipped. ......................

It's possible your problem and answer are in your post with the words "hang on".

Most of the top riders I know don't try to hang on to the bike.. they almost hover over it... much like the free-style guys. A lot like a good horse rider at full speed.. And they don't have handle bars either..

:)

You gotta have both.

Your amount of riding skill will determine how fast you can go at any given time. Technique keeps you riding smooth and fast with minimum crashes. It requires concentration and focus on the trail in order to make the correct decisions. When do you make the best decisions? When you're tired and sore and tense, or when you're fresh and relaxed?

Which brings us to fitness...

You need to be in good enough shape so that you can handle throwing your bike around for at least as long as your race without tiring yourself out.

Riding tired results in a viscious circle....you get tired, your concentration slips, you make a bad decision....even if you don't fall, you end up spend more energy than necessary to get through a certain obstacle, you get more tired....and on, and on until you find yourself on the side of the trail trying to get your helmet off before you hurl all over the inside of the chin bar (or so I've heard.) You sure are not going to be thinking about how to improve your riding technique if you get into that shape.

If you are in good shape, although you will still get tired by the end, you will be better able to make good decisions the whole race. This helps to keep you as fast, if not faster, on the last lap as you were on the first.

And it's a hell of alot more fun. :)

Technique and the ability to read the trail[or track] for the fastest or smoothest route.

"

Most of the top riders I know don't try to hang on to the bike
"

I'm also getting pretty good at minimizing my exertion after 33 years of riding, as well as choosing lines. Balance and finesse helps a lot where you can do it, but that goes out the window at or near full throttle. A modern well-tuned dirt bike at full rip in rough terrain requires strength and endurance no matter your technique. I think unabiker is on the right track here:

"

If you are in good shape, although you will still get tired by the end, you will be better able to make good decisions the whole race. This helps to keep you as fast, if not faster, on the last lap as you were on the first."

I'm also with you on the concentration issue. Fatigue breeds a lack of concentration and mental errors. For me, speed and technique aren't my issue. I'm riding pretty efficiently these days, by necessity. My biggest problem is fatigue. Which really only proves that you need a complete package to go fast, safely, over long periods of time.

I don't mean to say that it's possible to ride very far without needing the bars to stay connected, but the less you need to rely on the firm grip, the longer you will be able to go and stay fresh. Conditioning will also allow you to make more mistakes and corrections before you hit the wall.

In a "Perfect World", you are trying to stay with the bike through your lower body working with the bike's suspension.. the lower, the better.. foot pegs being better than the seat for this the more serious the situation gets.. all the while (in the "Perfect World") trying to ride with no hands. If you are *NOT* using the bars to stay connected, then they become available as tools to add bar pressure in any direction for various reasons.

Experience AND conditioning are both big factors. And they will go a LONG WAY to helping as long as you can break the habit of using the bars for support. I'm still working on it myself. When I remember, I have a fantastic time. When I pucker up and lock my arms and legs, it all falls apart rather quickly and THEN I use even MORE energy. :)

Bottom line is, everybody's got to do it their own way. Some will break it all down into bite-sized chunks to analyze, experiment, adjust, and discuss.

I wouldn't have the patience. I'm the kind of guy that has to get my butt out there and ride, push the limits just a little, and become more comfortable on the bike. I don't want to think about it, I just want to do it.

So, I'm outta here to ride while the desert is WET and STICKY.

I would settle for either.

Good point, but if no one ever thought about this, we would have shitty discussions. :)

I second unabiker. Most of the fast guys I ride with are really good for an hour or two and slow down because they don't have the endurance on the trail. That's actually smart, they don't want to get hurt. They are also racers who are conditioned to riding the length of a race, not all day on the trail. You need at least as much conditioning to ride efficient for the time spent on the bike. You could take this up in the health forum, lots of conditioning advice over there.

Conditioning has been the single biggest factor in making riding more fun than ever for me at age 51.

I tend to lean towards skill. (Or wish I could) If I had 5% better reflexes, I could probably ride the pace I ride now all day without stopping because it would be so much easier.

On the other hand, if I had 5% better endurance, I guess I'd just ride 5% longer.

One thing that alot of people do is concentrate so much on the trail,lines,trying not to crash or winning,and they forget to breath regularly.When you tense up or get frustrated and start to make mistakes then you will start to breath in a different way.You wont notice it because your so focused on riding that you will actually take shorter breaths or hold your breath at times.If your not breathing properly then the blood isnt flowing like it should be through your body.Muscle fatigue will happen much quicker this way..

Grip the bike with your knees more.

Remember to keep your body position correct on the bike.

Ride loose when possible to relax.

Proper breathing.

Keep your anxiety level down,if you get it when racing.Some do.

I read, in an earlier thread, about one rider's mentality towards his races: they should be the EASY days. if you're serious about being in good riding shape, and want to do well in races, you have to train above and beyond what will be demanded from you during a race. Doing 2 30 mile loops? Practice by doing 4 laps. The idea is that when its time to race you're focused on pushing your self as fast as you can and not being worried about being burned out by the end of the race. You have to be in some amazing shape to give "110%" for an hour or two straight, but practicing 4hrs straight is one step forward.

The right bike with the right setup for the rider, don't take bad lines, and CONFIDENCE. This is the way I beat younger guys in better shape than me. (sometimes)

Man - all good info!

Since I am a newbie rider, I appreciate all the technical info.

However, what I can add to the mix is this - Physical conditioning goes a long way. As does proper nutrition, and most importantly - hydration.

When going for physical conditioning - like in the gym - try to do exercises that mimic situations that you face while riding. No, I don't mean riding the stationery bike for hours - but if your arms give out, get pumped, etc, do something more than a just bench press or a curl. There are plenty of leg exercises, too. Talk to a trainer in your gym and explain to them the best you can what you're trying to accomplish, and they can help. Keep in mind - just like your bike, your body works as a complete unit - not an isolated muscle group.

If you'd like some ideas, let me know - if not, it would make for a long and boring post otherwise, so enuff on that.

Nutrition - Put the best fuel you can in your bike all the time, right? How do you fuel your body for the physical activity (race/ride) to come - Pizza Hut the night before chased by a couple of frosty beers, and an Egg McMuffin before the race - not good! Eat smart.

Hydration - The most important thing - you desert guys know this already, I'm sure. The dudes in the northeast kinda forget about it. This doesn't mean drink a gatorade you got from the quicky mart just before the race - You've gotta hydrate regularly, preferably, and try to make sure you're well hydrated atleast 24 hours leading up to your race.

Hope it helps! :) I have a physical job, and this has improved my performance greatly at work.

I raced my first race in 8 years Sat. and raced in a Am. class, heres my thing I tire very quickly. I can ride every bit as fast as the top guys in my class for awhile and then I hit the wall, I guess my question is how much of riding hard and fast is tech. or do I just need to get in better shape. I ride with some pro offroaders and they don't seem to tire abit.

A bit of both, You are fighting the bike. You need to be in shape but more relaxed. That is where smoothness and technique comes in. You should adjust the suspension to work with you and let the bike to the work. PLUSHNESS HELPS. You should bottom a couple times a ride.

Cher'o,

Dwight

Well, I'm back and I had a chance to test whether I know what I'm talking about or not. Bike wouldn't start and I left the start line of the enduro 10 min late after about 150 kicks to get it fired.

That worked me over even before I got on the course.

I rode it like I stole it the first 18 mi or so, where I was 3-4 min late. First reset got me on time just as the speeds jumped up a little. Then last loop had speeds of 30, 36, and 60. It essentially turned into a hare-n-hound on a very wet desert course that got a little chopped up.

I had plenty of speed, but I'm so sore right now I can't even sit on the can! And I only rode about 50 miles total.

I'll use the sore muscles as a guide for my next workout.

PS: the traction was unbelievable! Rode almost the whole first loop on the rear wheel!

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