Mountain bike training plans. Mountain bike coaching.

Start Training

Open MTB coaching, Nov 2014 Q & A recap

open MTB coaching

Our open MTB coaching day in November was the one year anniversary of our monthly open coaching days. Thank-you to everyone who has posted kind comments and sent nice emails about the open MTB coaching days over the course of this year. They all make me smile 🙂 It has been a great way to connect with many athletes and I plan to continue them every month for another year. Tune in next month!

November is 2015 planning season time so most of the questions this month were about setting up the right training plan to nail season goals.

Open MTB coaching day Q & A’s


Mark T Snidero:  I’ll be racing in a longish race, the CFITT which is 250+ miles, in a week or so. Plans are to ride straight through which will take around 30+ hours. I’ve been contemplating the carry food vs stop for food on a trip of this length. I was thinking of carrying honey stinger waffles with some half-evil 333 (cut in half) for fuel and not stopping except for water…carrying two bottles.

What is the thought process in stop time for refueling vs weight to carry food (probably around 2 pounds). Note that my stomach does well on this combo although I’ll have to keep something salty also to occasionally munch so that my mouth is ok with it.

Coach Lynda: Carrying everything from the start to avoiding refuel stops and detours is a proven course record-setting strategy. If your goal is to win, set a personal record or a course record this is the way to go for CFITT.

Dave Harris: Mark, That’s an interesting question. Refueling for self-supported racing IME is an enormous time-suck. Limiting # of refuels (and carrying more) was always part of my plan for important self-supported events.

Mark T Snidero:  Now I’m thinking about water. I was going to only carry 2 water bottles. What if I carried a camelback instead (70oz)? Or, a camelbak and two water bottles. I’m trying to figure out where the carrying extra weight crosses over time saved for stops vs decrease speed due to extra weight. Any recommendations for that?

Dave Harris:  Mark, From a weight perspective the tipping point is actually fairly high, but it is route, rider and gear dependent in practice. A camelback is a significant change to the original plan as it places new weight on your back. That is probably ok so long as you are accustomed to using it. Other considerations – is more weight on your body? Are more bags on your bike? Will bike handling be impacted (for CFITT I’m thinking about sand). What are the water sources like? Taps or will you be filtering? If filtering you want to carry much more than two bottles as the filtering process has a fixed time cost of setup/teardown

Mark T Snidero:  I find the weight vs efficiency vs speed subject really interesting. It looks like water sources every 30 – 40 miles…except one stretch of 60 miles….no filtering necessary. I carried a backpack for the AML400 a few weeks ago and I had no issues (Camelbak Charge 10, sits on your hips…i likey a lot. Didn’t carry water though, just gear). I’m just using a seatbag for gear and a wedge for food. Going pretty light.

Coach Lynda:  Mark, If the water source is a quick stop from a spigot or a fast gas station purchase on route, with no detour, then use it and don’t carry massive amounts. Another issue with a heavy Camelbak is more weight on your lower back and rear end can lead to an achy back and saddle sores. These two things can slow you down and rob joy from your race


Chris Perkins Lmt:  Just starting to train for my first epic, Breck Epic at that. I live in MD so we don’t have the sustained climbing, normal ride 17-35 miles, 5-7k feet of climbing…. Don’t have a lot of time to devote to training (kid obligations) have a good base fitness level though…. Get out on the bike about 3 times a week…. Any suggestions would be great… Thank-you.

Coach Lynda: Breck Epic is Aug 9th – 14th. That gives you 39 weeks to train for it. That is lots of time!

I recommend you start training on 11/17/14 with the 12 week TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan.

2/9/15 take a week off training for extra recovery or to catch up on a missed week.

2/16/15 follow the 12 week TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Plan.

5/11/15 take a week off training for extra recovery or to catch up on a missed week.

5/18/15 follow the 12 week 7-Day Mountain Bike Stage Race – Personal Record Plan to a peak performance at Breck Epic on 8/9.


Sara Bryanton:  Hi from PEI Canada! I want to do a 6hour and an 80km event in 2015 on my ss. I am unsure of how to fuel for endurance races. The 6 hour race loops through a feed zone and the 80km is continuous and I think I have to have my own stuff. Suggestions of how often to fuel and with what?

Coach Lynda:  Hi up in Canada! Fueling guidelines for a 6 hour and 80 km race are: Every hour consume 60-90 grams carbs, 18-24 oz. fluid, 400-700 mg sodium, 100-300 mg potassium, 80 mg calcium, and 40 mg magnesium. You can use sports drinks or water plus solid food or water plus semi-solid foods. Test all of these options out in training before you commit to that fueling strategy on race day. Most athletes find adding a solid salty food every three hours or so is a welcome and palatable change from the sweet sports nutrition products. If you go the solid food plus water route, you may need to supplement with electrolytes tablets to hit your targets.


Greg Prodanas:  45+. Cat 2. Single speed plan or the old guy plan? Which do u suggest given I will race open single speed 2015?

Coach Lynda:  Greg, Do you have fast natural recovery patterns or are like the rest of us in their mid-forties?

Greg Prodanas:  I am about the same as everyone else – did the old guy plan last year and was 17th in the open single speed series with only 2 of six races. Intend to do the full ss series this year. Also do you update the plan each year? I would like to use a plan again and would also like you to make some money!!!!

Coach Lynda:  Greg, I recommend following the single-speed mountain bike training plans but add in extra recovery days if you feel you are not adapting as quickly as the plan is progressing.

I do update the training plans, but not every plan, every season. You bring up an interesting point because I do not make money from athletes reusing the plans yet I provide continued support year after year. This pool of athletes is growing and at some point it will become unsustainable for me to keep providing quality support without income. I haven’t come up with an answer for that. I do spend significant hours each week providing athlete support here on FB, via email and on my forum. I appreciate you considering that.


Nicole Gunton:   Attempting Singletrack 6 again next year – 6 day stage race in Canadian Rockies ave. 25-30mi/day 5000+ft if climb per day. Last week of July & local XC series March-July – about 1 race per month… Currently back of the pack Cat 1, want to get closer to the front!  Had a tough go of the race this year… Need a better prep.

Coach Lynda:  Singletrack 6 is July 26th – 31st. That gives you 37 weeks to train for it. That is lots of time!

I recommend you start training on 11/17/14 with the 12 week Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan.

2/9/15 follow the 12 week Category 1 Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Plan.

5/4/15 follow the 12 week 7-Day Mountain Bike Stage Race – Personal Record Plan to a peak performance at Singletrack 6.


Emma Lemma:   Downhill race next late summer/fall. Brained Super D is a possibility. Have any plans adaptable for that?

Coach Lynda:  Emma, the best plans I have for you are the TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan followed by the TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Plan. Add in your downhill skills practice days to have high power and high skills for the DH and be wicked fast.


Jill Hamilton:  Hi Lynda, I am a 45 YO former DH racer who is currently returning back to MTB racing after several years. I’m racing sport class XC, Super D, and going to try some Enduro. My goal for 2015 is to be competitive in the Sport class XC and move up to Expert in 2016. I don’t have a training plan, but have been riding road or XC 3 to 4 days per week (often with riders faster than me) and just don’t feel like I’m gaining any ground. Maybe it’s age or a thyroid disorder (Hashimotos)…or maybe just the fact I don’t have a plan. Would you recommend your Base/Weight Loss plan to get started? BTW, Christina Probert Turner told me about your programs and highly recommends you!

Coach Lynda:  Jill, how many lbs are you from your goal race weight? LW Coaching Jill, how many lbs are you from your goal race weight?

Jill Hamilton:  I am 5’7″ and 142 lbs, so I am not super overweight. If I could lose 7 to 10 lbs, I’d be ecstatic, but weight loss really isn’t my primary goal. Increasing my fitness is really what I am after.

Coach Lynda:  Jill, I recommend getting your thyroid levels ironed out as a priority as that will wreak havoc with fitness development (I have Hashis too).  For training plans I recommend following my TIME CRUNCHED Cat 1 series of plans. My Enduro racers have been having a lot of success with these plans. Start with the 12 week TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan and then progress on to the 12 week TIME CRUNCHED Category 1 Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Plan. Clean up your diet and watch your portions and let the weight come off slowly. It doesn’t sound like the Weight Loss and Base training plan is the one you will benefit most from right now.


Wyll Oz:  Lynda Wallenfels! Can U show here an intervals example in every power zone? Recovery, endurance, tempo, lactate threshold, above threshold etc.

Coach Lynda: Wyll, that is too large of an answer to fit on FB but I will tell you where the answer is. See pages 112 – 118 of The Cyclists Training Bible by Joe Friel.


Tom Stringer: Hi Lynda, end of race season in Aus here for me. Last 100km this weekend then nothing until March. How long should I relax for before starting on base for next year?

Coach Lynda: Tom,  If you are injured, burned out and tired from racing a month of recovery  is reasonable. If you are healthy and still loving riding, take a week off your bike, then get back on and do lots of riding for fun. Mountain biking adventures are a blast when your fitness is still running high from a full season of training and racing.


Benjamin Wendorf:  Doing the BC bike race next year. New to stage racing. Which plan would work? 15 hours seems to be my longest time riding a structured week.

Coach Lynda:  BCBR is 6/27 – 7/4. That gives you 33 weeks to train for it. That is lots of time!

I recommend you start training on 11/10/14 with the 12 week Category 1 Cross Country Mountain Bike Base Training Plan.

2/2/15 follow the 12 week Category 1 Cross Country MTB Build, Peak and Race Plan but cut the plan down to 9 weeks by missing out weeks # 3, 7 and 11.

4/6/15 follow the 12 week 7-Day Mountain Bike Stage Race – Personal Record Plan to a peak performance at BC Bike Race .


Josh Carter: Peak for 12 hours of Mesa Verde for spring. Peak for breck epic/ pcp2p for summer. How should I proceed?

Coach Lynda:  Josh, are you on gears or single-speed? What are your goals for these races? How old are you? Solo or team at Mesa Verde?

Josh Carter:  Gears. Solo at Mesa Verde. I am 33 years old, experienced cat 123 road racer and Cat 1 MTB. I have done quite a bit of one day endurance racing and road stage racing, but never an MTB stage race. I am off of my race weight, but not in a fat way. I have had to put on a lot of muscle due to being hit by a car last year on the road. I messed up my shoulder pretty bad and the extra muscle helps it function a lot better. That said, I could shed 10 lbs probably.

Coach Lynda:   Josh, Cat 1 base plan then 12 hour solo PR plan to Mesa Verde, rest week then 7 day Stage Race PR plan to Breck Epic. Follow that up with a rest week. Then assess if you need another rest week before sharpening up for P2P.


Here are some of the Q & A’s from our past free mountain bike coaching days:

Free mountain bike coaching day, Oct 2014

Open MTB Coaching Day Q&A’s Sept 2014

Open MTB Coaching Day Q&A’s May 2014

Open MTB Coaching Day Q&A’s April 2014

Open MTB coaching, Nov 2014 Q & A recap was last modified: April 15th, 2015 by Lynda