Using Your Road Bike to Train for a Mountain Bike Race

At Active Trainer, we get great questions from athletes about training and racing. Because the information might assist you as well, here are some of the questions and answers that might help in your next race.

Question: Hi Gale, I'm training for my first 100-mile mountain bike race. I know you train athletes for the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike race and probably other 100-milers. Riders on a message board I'm reading are suggesting that I ride my mountain bike 100 percent of the time for the 12 weeks leading up to my race. I have a road bike and tend to do 50 to 75 percent of my training on the roads, due to where I live. The trails just aren't close to my house, so I train on the road during the week, then one or two mountain bike rides on the weekends. Usually the long rides are mountain, but not always.

More: 10 Must-Ride Mountain Bike Trails

Some riders on the board are suggesting that I ride my mountain bike on the roads. They say to ride the mountain bike 100-percent of the time. What is the value to riding a mountain bike on the road rather than just riding my road bike? Honestly I hate riding my mountain bike on the road, but if doing so will help me on race day, I'll do it.

Sorry to ramble, but can you give me your opinion? Thanks, R.A.

Answer: Hi R.A., I'm going to make some assumptions about the set up of your road bike and mountain bike. I'm assuming they are set up very similarly for fit. Yes, there might be some differences in the angle of the seat tube between the bikes, but the cockpit area where you sit is similar. (i.e. the settings for seat height, handlebar-reach and drop between the handlebars and saddle, etc.)

More: 26 Core Exercises for Mountain Bikers

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About the Author

Gale Bernhardt

Gale Bernhardt was the USA Triathlon team coach at the 2003 Pan American Games and 2004 Athens Olympics. She's worked as a World Cup coach and delivered education training for the International Triathlon Union's Sport Development Team. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's easy-to-follow training plans. You can find some of her training plans on Active Trainer to help you succeed.

Gale Bernhardt was the USA Triathlon team coach at the 2003 Pan American Games and 2004 Athens Olympics. She's worked as a World Cup coach and delivered education training for the International Triathlon Union's Sport Development Team. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's easy-to-follow training plans. You can find some of her training plans on Active Trainer to help you succeed.

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