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!
I felt so confident that I recently signed up for the Catalina MTB Gran Fondo!
I participated in the beginner skill clinic at Malibu Creek last Saturday, because I'm truly a beginner who couldn't stop...
I participated in the beginner skill clinic at Malibu Creek last Saturday, because I'm truly a beginner who couldn't stop falling down during each mtb ride. The class was small and super fun...and the instructors (Richard and Kris) were informative and dynamic. The clinic was small enough for each member to practice each learned skill and receive immediate feedback. I learned many new skills on that day and felt much more confident with my bike-body connection. I felt so confident that I recently signed up for the Catalina MTB Gran Fondo...the 55 mile route! Woohooo!! The next day, as I was road biking (training for the Solvang Double Century), I dodged a bullet on the Snake/Mulholland by applying my learned mtb skills--a long towing truck went over almost half of our lane on a blind turn as we were descending. Instead of fixating on the truck, I remembered the importance of looking for a clear path and keeping my eyes on where I want to go....Now I understand what people meant when they said that mtb will help improve my road riding skills too! I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn, and I look forward to the next clinic! ~ Uyen N.
I was so happy I could transfer what I learned in Sedona to my own trails.
I just rode on my local trails today after taking the Ninja clinic in Sedona. I was so happy I...
I just rode on my local trails today after taking the Ninja clinic in Sedona. I was so happy I could transfer what I learned in Sedona to my own trails. There is one drop and one off camber downhill section I never have had the courage or skill to ride until today. It was so fun to ride them and not get off and walk. Richard La China and Courtney Cowan were fantastic instructors. Not only did I up my technical skills in Sedona it was also a ton of fun! ~Patty Elliott
Took the mini clinic on jumping skills because I can't resist the urge to get in the air even though...
Took the mini clinic on jumping skills because I can't resist the urge to get in the air even though I always knew I didn't really understand the mechanics of it, so it was a kind of "huck and hope" affair. The result was that I didn't land about 1 in 5 attempts. The clinic with Aaron was great! He explained the mechanics of how the bike is handled coming into, through and out of the jump and starts with individual small skills progressing step by step in a very manageable way (even for me, and I started this stuff at 45 and I'm not very coordinated). What I feel sets Aaron apart is his ability to communicate his explanations and demonstrate movements in a way that makes them easy to learn even for someone with little experience. He is also very patient and encouraging, which helps when one is starting out and struggling a little with some movements. I definitely intend to do more clinics with Ninja MBS. I feel like it will save me a lot of time and frustration as well as possibly a lot of money in medical bills! ~Jill M.
I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys.
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years...
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years I learned a lot from this clinic. The techniques covered ranged from reviewing basic skills such as basic body position to practicing more advanced techniques like switchbacks, bunny hops, and cornering. I was able to recognize, get instruction, and practice some skills where I was weak and instantly improve them. Even skills I thought I was pretty good at I was able to pick up useful tips. I also realized that deliberate skills practice is not something I incorporate into my riding, but now that I understand what I should be doing I will make sure to add this in! After taking the course my comfort on the bike has improved and I am more aware of my body position and movement of the bike. I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys. The instructors are knowledgeable and easy to work with. There is a lot of one on one help and they will make sure you understand the skills being taught and are able to perform them successfully. Plus the clinic was lots of fun! I highly recommend and hope to work with these guys again soon. ~ Michelle A.
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.