The iconic words of AC/DC ring true once again… “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You!” It’s on, you’ve got a date with destiny and it’s time to ride. But before you saddle up, you should develop your pre-ride routine to set the stage for your next great trail experience. Here are a few tips for getting your mind, body, and machine ready before you hit the trails!
1. Know Before You Go
Check the weather and have the right gear at the ready. If there’s a chance of rain or wind, you’ll be thankful you brought a jacket when the weather rolls in. If it’s going to be hot, some extra electrolytes will help you finish strong. If you’re riding a new trail, gather some beta from seasoned friends or a mountain bike trail app (we like Trailforks app and MTB Project) to wrap your head around what to expect on your ride.
2. Get That Mind Right
Take a few moments to think about what you’re looking forward to the most and visualize the ride delivering. But beware: disappointment happens when your expectations and reality don’t line up, so do yourself a favor and get them in harmony. Think about the skill level of your riding partner or group. Consider the trails and their current conditions. Take a minute to analyze your current state of mind & body. Then, set realistic goals for a killer ride with those ingredients.
3. Fuel It Up
Bonking sucks. That dreaded feeling when your energy level hits a wall, everything becomes way harder than it should, and it results in anything but fun. You can avoid this by getting some quality calories beforehand so you don’t rely entirely on those gels and bars. Also, drink plenty of water before your ride so you don’t blow through your supply in the first few miles.
4. Warm It Up
Do your body another huge favor and take a few minutes to stretch and warm up. Imagine enjoying the first mile of a ride instead of spending it stiffly working through kinks and wondering why you feel so out of shape. Try a sequence of lunges, forward bends, twists, and lean on your buddy for some quad stretches. Give the shoulders, arms, and hands a good stretch, and roll your head nice and slow to get the neck loosened up! Not only does this help you enjoy the beginning of the ride as much as the end, but it can help prevent injury (ain’t nobody got time for those).
5. Get it Right, Get it Tight
Mechanical issues are way easier to fix at the trailhead than on the trail. Give the bike a good wiggle and squeeze: start with the brakes, check the headset, squeeze the tires, make sure your dropper works, check the drivetrain, and see to it that your suspension is moving and there’s no strange sounds! (Psst.. here’s a full rundown of a bike check.) Take inventory and make sure you have all your spares, tools, snacks, and water that you’ll need before you hit the trail.
Get to the ride early. It’s easy to overlook something or skip your stretches if people are waiting for you and you’re in a rush. Once you know everything is good to go, get on your bike and play. Those few minutes before a ride are great for working on skills… try a track stand, then get some momentum and really exaggerate your bike/ body separation. Play games with the parking lot stripes by making a slalom course to practice cornering technique and then trying to turn around inside a parking space (both directions) without hitting the stripe. Got a curb? Practice some wheel lifts and drops. This warmup is a dynamic, fun, and effective way to develop skills and get the blood pumping before you start your ride!
Your body feels nimble, tires are topped off, brakes feel great, and everything is shifting crisp while your circle your friends like a shark. Everything about you is ready to ride thanks to your dialed pre-ride routine… now you get to reap the benefits. Get out there and RIDE!
This past fall I finally broke down and upgrade my mountain bike. I was riding a hard tail bike mostly...
This past fall I finally broke down and upgrade my mountain bike. I was riding a hard tail bike mostly for the workout. After racing in an Xterra, I realized that a new bike was in my future. ( I could tell a huge story about the process of purchasing a new MB and the massive amount of miss information you can obtain from bike shops. Especially when you know nothing about bikes. ) Not long after I purchased the new MB, I had my first over the handle bars wreck. I still cannot remember the actual crash. I can see the rut that I am about to hit on the downhill, and then I remember waking up on the trail barely able to breath. The crash gave me some time to catch up on email. One of those emails was a beginners MB clinic hosted by Richard and the Ride Like a Ninja crew. I swallowed my pride and signed up. To date I have done everything I was taught. I made every adjustment to my bike that was recommended. I then had the bike fitted. The skills taught that day are priceless to me. For the first time I understand what position my body needs to be in for each type of terrain. I am not perfect by any means, but in my mind I am shouting the word NINJA to remind myself. I practice the techniques ever time I ride. ~ Hal N.
I have been riding for 1.5 years and still have a lot to learn but Richard and the team are...
I have been riding for 1.5 years and still have a lot to learn but Richard and the team are great teachers. I have been a bit apprehensive about jumping in the past but after two days of instruction with Richard, Aaron, Daniel, Ivan, and Erin I feel much more confident and won't be afraid to take on jumps anymore. The instructor staff are all very experienced riders and it showed. They are all also very friendly and most importantly patient. They aren't afraid to share stories of their mistakes while trying to explain why not to do things a certain way. You truly are part of the Team Ninja family when you are at the classes and I can't wait to go back to another class! Thank you Richard and all of the other instructors. ~Jonathan R
We attended the 2-Day Mountain Bike Skills Camp in Denver CO. I'm a beginner to mountain biking and the class...
We attended the 2-Day Mountain Bike Skills Camp in Denver CO. I'm a beginner to mountain biking and the class exceeded my expectations. The first day was basic fundamental training from bunny hops to cornering your bike. The second day we put those skills to the test by climbing and downhill at all different skill levels, Richard and Aaron even took video to help improve our skills. Well worth your time if you want to improve! ~Russ Anderson
Highly recommend this class for all ages/skills. I will definitely be taking more classes!
Great class! I wish I took this class seven yrs ago when I started mountain biking. Richard and his team...
Great class! I wish I took this class seven yrs ago when I started mountain biking. Richard and his team was awesome. I learned how to approach uphill switchbacks, how to "pre-turn", and most important, how to descend with confidence. Bottom line: I am more efficient and safer rider. As another review said, "best money spent on mountain biking." You can have an expensive bike, but if you don't know how to ride, what's the point? Highly recommend this class for all ages/skills. I will definitely be taking more classes! ~Rean
Everything you need to learn to fully enjoy mountain biking.
Mountain biking is a relatively new sport compared to road biking. So the opportunities to find a good mountain biking...
Mountain biking is a relatively new sport compared to road biking. So the opportunities to find a good mountain biking skill clinic are quite scarce. Richard La China and his team offer such clinic! Richard has the training as a Coach from USA Cycling and the experience as an expert racer to develop in you the skills and therefore the confidence to negotiate the treacherous obstacles on your path as a mountain biker. His clinic has several levels from beginner to expert and is organized incrementally to facilitate the learning of more and more difficult skills. In addition to his and his expert team's demonstrations, I also like his verbal explanations about the why of a specific position or skill to have. Richard and his team have the dedication and patience to teach you anything you need to learn to fully enjoy mountain biking. ~ Anne-Catherine
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.