Remember, you might not be alone on that trail

A bear sighting is a rush because youre basically at its mercy. A mountain lion is one notch hipper because it might kill you just for stalking practice. But a coyote is the coolest ride spy because, try as we might, humans just cant get rid of the critters. Theyre wilier than us. Heres how to interpret their language: a howl means members of the pack are keeping in touch, a bark establishes territory and a woof is hello to friends.

Weight affects suspension performance
If youre renting a suspension bike on vacation, ask if the fork (and shock) is tuned for your weight. The adjustment is simple, and makes a huge difference in performance and enjoyment.

Traveling with your bike
If youre traveling with your bike and plan to take a cab, try to reserve a station wagon in advance. Bike boxes rarely fit in sedans. The exception to this is the huge Chevy Caprice sedans in use in some cities. But even then, carry a bungee cord to close the trunk.

Quick tips
To figure out how many miles away a nasty thunderstorm is, count the seconds between the lightning flash and the thunder, then divide by 5. Or ride to the car and turn on the radio.

If you land on a cholla cactus and all its spines stick in your butt and you cant get them out with your hand because they stick in your hand, use a rock.

If you camp, use only self-inflating sleeping pads, not the kind you blow up with your mouth. They money you save will be forgotten fast. The sleepless nights on an uncomfortable, difficult-to-manage piece of equipment wont. If you go with a self-inflating pad, bring a patch kit. Youll need it.

Quick quotes
I ride my rollers at night for like 15 minutes before dinner. Or later at night if my legs are hurting I do like 15 minutes. Its just because whenever I ride my bike I feel way better. It keeps my bodily functions going and I think I recover faster. Leigh Donovan

Theres no secret to getting better. You just have to ride your bike and ride with riders who are better than you. Allison Sydor

Anaerobic threshold training has probably helped me the most, but its the recovery workouts my coach designs that really helped me get stronger. Recover! Mercedes Gonzales

Miss a digest?

Fling yourself into the trail

Find balance between power and loss of traction

Proper brake performance

Get familiar with new trails before going hog wild

Heed the need for speed on descents


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