You’re going to hit a plateau after mountain biking for a while. Not in the literal sense, but rather a metaphorical plateau in which you may feel like you’re just not making any headway. No matter how hard you train or practice you wind up staying right where you are in terms of skill and comfort with trail difficulty, often leading to disappointment and a bit of stress. It happens to nearly every athlete and cyclists are no exception.
Thankfully, not every hill is impossible and not every plateau is eternal. Finding a way to break through whatever happens to be holding you back often requires some lateral thinking or simply shaking up what you think you already know about the sport you love. If you’re not convinced or are simply curious about how you might overcome problems before they become deeply ingrained muscle memory, take a moment to familiarize yourself with a few improvement routines that anyone can try.
1. Tune Your Bike to Fit Your Needs
Before you tear apart every microscopic motion you make while riding you should take a step back from your bike and inspect it. Don’t just look for obvious signs of damage. Is everything on it working like you want it to? Do you feel like you fit comfortably atop its frame? Do the brakes respond as harshly as you need them to? Does your suspension need adjustment for the trails you frequent? Sometimes a few small adjustments to your cycle can make a much larger difference out on the trail.
Bikes like the Diamondback Response XE often have multiple points for potential tweaks to fit your riding needs. If you aren’t sure where to start, take your bike in to the closest repair shop and have a chat with the staff there about how to best fit a bike to its rider while they run it through a maintenance check.
2. Get Used to Speed
Taking it slow and steady over treacherous terrain should be your first instinct as a human being. There’s nothing wrong with becoming familiar with a route before giving it your all, but sometimes a lack of speed can lead to uncomfortable rides or sudden falls.
Sudden braking or slow riding through uneven or unexpectedly slippery terrain can lead to slide and spills, which makes maintaining a constant momentum a vital skill to practice.
Brake when necessary but try to keep yourself moving as quickly as your balance will allow.