Know-How, Training -

Mountain bike winter training Part I – End of Season Recovery

Can you believe it’s that time of year that many of us love to hate or just plain hate? Let me explain. Fall riding is spectacular in most areas of the world, and how awesome is it to be slaying a trail through beautiful aspen groves or dense forest leaving behind a trail of colorful leaves and moist dirt? It’s crisp. You smell the remnants of summer around you, and it’s refreshing not to be sweating all over because of the summer heat!

That time of the year again, winter is coming! (For many of us)
That time of the year again, winter is coming! (For many of us)

Cue dark music. Then there’s the other side, it’s the end of mountain biking season for many of us. This proves to be a time where many of us get grumpy and irritable because we see and feel the impending winter upon us. Others of us, while we too are grumpy, are relieved to be done with a busy racing and riding season! Now, regardless where you are on the spectrum of irritability and relief, to be at the end of another mountain biking and race season is a good thing. Hopefully most of you are healthy and aren’t now stuck dealing with a seasonal injury because this time of year can be crucial to the success to your 2016 season and here are a few reasons why:

Your body and mind are tired

Yup… whether you want to admit it or not, there’s a high likelihood that you are just tired. It’s been since last November or December since when you started preparing for this years riding season and after hundreds or thousands of miles on your bike and many hours in the gym (hopefully!), you need a break. I know, you may be thinking to yourself, “Wait, what are you saying Dee? I need to take a break from riding?” Yes, exactly! For the last 16 years of working with Professional athletes in all sports, snowboarding, skiing, motocross, and the PGA tour, it’s this time of year I make it mandatory that my athletes take at least four weeks off of their sport. You NEED this time to allow the body and mind to simply have a break from the monotonous movement of cycling.

It's been a long year of riding and racing.
It’s been a long year of riding and racing.

“But, I’ll lose my fitness and maybe even my mind if I don’t ride,” you say. I know, I understand your train of thought, but you’re wrong! If you’ve never taken this time off your bike, I challenge you to try and see what happens. I’ll bet money that after your four weeks, you’ll have a fresh feeling both mentally and physically when you hop back on your bike. It’s called regeneration and it’s what happens when you give the body time to rest from excessive stress placed on it for certain time periods. Here’s how to do it… you ready?

Step 1

Go into your garage, put your bike in its favorite place when it’s being stored and leave it there, untouched for 30 days. I know… be calm… maybe step 2 can help!

Step 2

Create a ritual. Every year coming into race season, I let my sideburns grow, and after the race and riding season are over, I shave them. It’s that simple! Now, during that 30 days, I encourage you to play other sports, and just enjoy not having any sport specific demands pushing you to go out and ride. Lastly, and most importantly, take care of your body by following some of the recommendations…

Your body needs you to push “reset button.”

At Enduro MTB Training I recommend a “team” approach to helping our clients perform their best. I encourage you to create a “medical team,” using qualified professionals like:

  • A Chiropractor — who can keep your skeletal system in proper alignment so your nervous system fires on all cylinders
  • A Physical Therapist — who can use different tools like “dry needle trigger point therapy” to help with nagging muscle issues as well as perform important diagnostic assessments
  • A Massage Therapist — who can help with trigger points, fascial adhesions and other repetitive stress based tissue issues.
  • A Holistic Medical doctor — so you can get your blood, urine and feces tested to be sure that your cellular metabolism and digestion are working optimally. If they aren’t, your riding and racing performance will suffer GREATLY no matter how much you train! Remember, your “gut” is called your “second brain” and is very responsible for the overall health of your body.

Using all of these “team members” will help you stay at the top of your game! Your off-season training will benefit immensely if you prepare it using this approach. Don’t forget, a great time to start training is in December or January! Watch Enduro MTB Magazine for future articles!

We will have more fitness tips in the coming months.
We will have more fitness tips in the coming months.


This is one of your most crucial parts of your overall training and performance regime. Use this off time to focus on adequate, restful sleep in order for your mind and body to properly recover and heal if necessary. Don’t forget… when we train, we tear our bodies down. When we rest, sleep and take adequate time away from our sport, our body’s recover, grow and prepare for the next round of stress.

The problem is, as with most of the athletes that I have coached, they tend to think more training equals better fitness and thus better results. I am going to argue the contrary— more rest and sleep will help you greater than excessive training, especially since most athletes walk that fine line of “optimal training volume” and over training. So I encourage you to try something new this year and implement these tactics and see how good it makes you feel when you go back to riding and start training for the 2016 season.

Keep using the foam roller to help your mobility.
Keep using the foam roller to help your mobility.

Oh and don’t forget a few things you can do on a daily basis to keep your muscles, fascia and joints happy. Stretch, and do mobility work on the foam roller, self-therapy stick, and the lacrosse ball.

All right, you have some good end of season recovery strategies to implement, so get to it and enjoy the benefits!

Click here for part II and part III of our mountain bike winter training series!

Make sure to check out Dee’s MTB Athlete Training System.