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Gear that has improved my riding this off season

Jan. 15, 2022, 5:44 p.m.
Posts: 1222
Joined: May 11, 2018

The snow has started to recede and I got out for my first MTB ride in about a month. To my surprise, it was probably the best ride I have had in over a year! Who needs an ebike when you feel like you already got a 25% boost in your power output? I honestly felt like I was riding a different bike that was way more efficient, but nope, same old bike. So what made such a difference you ask?

#1 - Theragun Pro - I think I worked out some stuff that has been holding me back for some time. Daily deep tissue massage and stretching has me feeling 10 years younger

#2 - Nero smart rollers + swift - I've been doing lots of work on my pedalling and according to my power meter, i have increased my efficiency by 50%. This has probably been one of the bigger factors here. Interestingly, the difference isn't due to increased power or fitness as I havent been using them long enough to see any big advances in my actual FTP or VO2max yet but the improvement in efficiency through pedalling drills has been pretty remarkable.

#3 a new to me old trials bike - my bike handling wasn't bad or anything but taking some time to practice manuals, endos, pedal ups etc has been great in terms of a style boost on the trail as well as getting up, over and around obstacles.

What have you all been doing differently in the off season? Anything making any big impacts? I was really shocked at how well I was riding today and can't wait to see what happens after the rest of the offseason on these things.

Jan. 16, 2022, 2:42 p.m.
Posts: 1646
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

#1 has been deep stretches too. Half fold traction long holds & one armed variations of same daily have been a lifeline (pushing butt up and back, makes my vertibrae tingle), toe touch while holding elbows, standing hip flexor with one leg elevated (Captain Morgan) while pushing heel into ground and tightening glutes, levator scapulae (grab neck pull towards opposite armpit), etc. I've got a long list. Anytime I'm not doing anything for a moment I'll start stretching.

I can sit comfortably in a full squat heels down for the first time in my life, and hard riding now causes zero back pain.

#2 is probably bikes with steeper seat angles. Maybe it's from my years of toiling on a triathlon bike, but man can I ever get more power down comfortably from a saddle forward position.

#3 eating vegan more often. I've got a noticeably more even burn of energy, and climbing segment times have improved. Lost some weight to boot.

Jan. 16, 2022, 2:57 p.m.
Posts: 1234
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

There is no "off season", but gear that's been great for the last month or so of colder, wetter/snowier riding has been:

1. Full coverage MTB fenders

2. [Mostly] waterproof MTB shoes. 

3. Insulated/comfortable fitting MTB gloves.

I've been able to get out several times a week and ride comfortably in the forest over the last month.

I've only worn them twice, but hiking gaiters are also worth an honourable mention. I'll have them in my arsenal for really wet/cold rides as they keep that critical shoe/sock/lower leg area dry from tire spray

Oh ya and another item that's been key is a nice glove/shoe dryer. We've had one for year and now got a second so my GF and I don't fight over who gets to use it. Ideal for days when I want to do both a morning and an afternoon ride.

Jan. 16, 2022, 3:06 p.m.
Posts: 122
Joined: March 12, 2021

Posted by: Vikb

There is no "off season", but gear that's been great for the last month or so of colder, wetter/snowier riding has been:

1. Full coverage MTB fenders

2. [Mostly] waterproof MTB shoes. 

3. Insulated/comfortable fitting MTB gloves.

I've been able to get out several times a week and ride comfortably in the forest over the last month.

I've only worn them twice, but hiking gaiters are also worth an honourable mention. I'll have them in my arsenal for really wet/cold rides as they keep that critical shoe/sock/lower leg area dry from tire spray

Oh ya and another item that's been key is a nice glove/shoe dryer. We've had one for year and now got a second so my GF and I don't fight over who gets to use it. Ideal for days when I want to do both a morning and an afternoon ride.

The exact same here.  

The combination of front & rear fenders, RaceFace Agent (now called Conspiracy I think) mostly waterproof pants, 5-10 Trailcross Gore-Tex shoes, and 100% Hydromatic gloves has been an absolute game changer for riding this winter.  Once I add a 7mesh jacket to my wardrobe I will be ready for the next atmospheric river.

The Gore-Tex shoes and Hydromatic gloves do such a good job of repelling water that I am using the shoe dryer to take care of any residual sweat and warm them up before the next ride.

Jan. 16, 2022, 3:21 p.m.
Posts: 1234
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: Ride.DMC

The exact same here. 

Nice. I'm glad you found gear that works well for your riding. Putting on warm shoes and gloves is an amazing luxury!

Jan. 16, 2022, 10:12 p.m.
Posts: 263
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Pants. I absolutely love my NF DP3s.

Jan. 16, 2022, 11:23 p.m.
Posts: 2298
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Thoughts I shared in another thread that are related to this one involve improving your mobility and strength. Massage, rolling, theraguns etc are all really just temporary modes of relief and an effective means to help speed up recovery. On their own tho they won't correct poor movement technique which is ultimately a result of your daily habits. If people really want to fix their soft tissue problems it involves figuring out what's causing the problem, stopping or modifying that behaviour  and having some sort of regular movement practice that keeps your soft tissue flexible and strong by working it through a full range of motion. Twenty minutes of a well designed resistance program  or Pilates or Ashtanga yoga will do wonders for how your body feels and performs.

Jan. 16, 2022, 11:25 p.m.
Posts: 2298
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: Hepcat

#1 has been deep stretches too. Half fold traction long holds & one armed variations of same daily have been a lifeline (pushing butt up and back, makes my vertibrae tingle), toe touch while holding elbows, standing hip flexor with one leg elevated (Captain Morgan) while pushing heel into ground and tightening glutes, levator scapulae (grab neck pull towards opposite armpit), etc. I've got a long list. Anytime I'm not doing anything for a moment I'll start stretching.

Re our previous exchange on this, remember that full ROM exercise is also stretching. My recommendation is instead of spending time on something that is only stretching, spend time doing something that is full ROM and improves strength, speed, mobility, stability and explosive power. Same time input, vastly superior athletic performance output.


 Last edited by: syncro on Jan. 16, 2022, 11:26 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Jan. 17, 2022, 8:21 a.m.
Posts: 332
Joined: June 17, 2016

Posted by: syncro

Thoughts I shared in another thread that are related to this one involve improving your mobility and strength. Massage, rolling, theraguns etc are all really just temporary modes of relief and an effective means to help speed up recovery. On their own tho they won't correct poor movement technique which is ultimately a result of your daily habits. If people really want to fix their soft tissue problems it involves figuring out what's causing the problem, stopping or modifying that behaviour  and having some sort of regular movement practice that keeps your soft tissue flexible and strong by working it through a full range of motion. Twenty minutes of a well designed resistance program  or Pilates or Ashtanga yoga will do wonders for how your body feels and performs.

I went through all that 6-7 years ago (and still working on it every day). It took 2 years of intensive physio to peel off multiple layers of poor posture and movement habits built up over decades and reprogram everything from scratch. It was incredibly hard but also life changing. Since then, weekly yoga and daily stretching and core exercises to keep my posture and mobility in check. 2 years ago I added a second, harder yoga class focused on strength and balance.

All this has had a huge positive effect on my riding, more so than any gear upgrade ever will. But to stay on topic, this is the gear involved:

That's it. Nothing else needed. OK, I use a belt as a strap for some stretches but who doesn't already have a belt or a tie.

Jan. 17, 2022, 9:24 a.m.
Posts: 1646
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

Man this thread just reiterates what a bunch of broken old f*cks we are.

These thread topics are going to get ridiculous in the upcoming decades. 😂

Yesterday spent the morning swinging a sledge hammer and rolling boulders, then the afternoon playing baseball. My riding buddy had a similar day. Our texts this morning are about whether we're physically able to ride a bicycle today.

Jan. 17, 2022, 9:43 a.m.
Posts: 456
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

High fluoro and Cera F waxes for cross country skis. I just about coast uphill my skis are so fast. FIS is threatening to make those waxes illegal so you can get them much cheaper that before. The 1 cm cubic centimetre lump of Cera F I have has a sticker that says $150 but my wife got it far way less for my birthday. At my age and getting over Covid, fast skis make it a lot easier. 

I live in Whistler so there isn’t any biking now. I kind of like having distinct sporting seasons. I’m more fresh and excited to do them when the season changes. My arse disagrees with that at the start of riding season though. Makes me think of single speed so I can stand or walk most of the way.

Jan. 17, 2022, 12:05 p.m.
Posts: 2298
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: Hepcat

Man this thread just reiterates what a bunch of broken old f*cks we are.

lol - speak for yourself

Jan. 17, 2022, 12:06 p.m.
Posts: 2298
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: andy-eunson

I live in Whistler so there isn’t any biking now. I kind of like having distinct sporting seasons. I’m more fresh and excited to do them when the season changes. My arse disagrees with that at the start of riding season though. Makes me think of single speed so I can stand or walk most of the way.

Sounds like you could use a fatbike. I think that would qualify in the category of gear that improves your riding.

Jan. 17, 2022, 12:45 p.m.
Posts: 2232
Joined: April 25, 2003

Holy cow, you can get smart rollers?

Very cool.

Jan. 17, 2022, 2:27 p.m.
Posts: 456
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Posted by: syncro

Posted by: andy-eunson

I live in Whistler so there isn’t any biking now. I kind of like having distinct sporting seasons. I’m more fresh and excited to do them when the season changes. My arse disagrees with that at the start of riding season though. Makes me think of single speed so I can stand or walk most of the way.

Sounds like you could use a fatbike. I think that would qualify in the category of gear that improves your riding.

Naw. The cranks on fat bikes are too far apart for my creaky knees. And there really isn’t any fat biking here. You need a groomed trail and the groomed trails are better on skis.

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