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Mountain Bike Holiday Advice > Mountain Bike Holiday Skill and Fitness Guide

Mountain Bike Holiday Skills and Fitness Guide

It is really important to us to get a good match for skills and fitness and if we are in any doubt about your levels then we will have a chat with you prior to booking your mountain bike holiday. It isn’t meant to be an interrogation! We do find that it really helps everyone, that is to say us, you and the other riders on your holiday. It is very difficult to assess your skills though, we know that, so we have put together this mountain bike holiday skills and fitness guide.

Mountain Bike Holiday Fitness

Fortunately this is the easiest one to improve. Given that most people book their mountain bike holidays up to a year in advance you have time to improve if you want to. The best way really to assess your fitness is to look at how often you ride, how long you ride for and the typical amount of vertical you would ride. Our mountain bike holidays aren’t races, the most important thing is that you are able to complete the days and move with the group pace, which we aim to keep at a conversational level.

Here is a guide to how we would assess your fitness.

Low

  • You ride infrequently, maybe once a fortnight.
  • You would struggle to ride for more than three hours.
  • Sustained climbs of more than 15 minutes sound like a lot of work.

Moderate

  • You ride once a week.
  • A typical mountain bike ride would be 3-4 hours.
  • You can climb 300-500m at a reasonable pace but more than that in a day sounds hard.
  • On technical descents you would typically stop for a break if the descents are long.

Good

  • You ride two or three times a week.
  • A typical mountain bike ride would be up to 8 hours, including breaks.
  • You can climb 1000m at a reasonable pace but more than that in a day sounds hard.
  • Long, technical descents are no issue at all and you enjoy descending without stopping very often.
  • Pushing and carrying up to 90 minutes can be tackled, it will be difficult but for one day you can manage.

Excellent

  • You ride more than three times a week.
  • You ride as long as you can. Long days are no issues. Back to back days don’t worry you.
  • Long hard climbs are no issues.
  • Long, technical descents are no issue at all.
  • Carrying your bike for up to 2 hours on repeated days is fine. Did I say fine? I meant fun!

Mountain Bike Holiday Skills

This is the hardest part to assess. The best way is to tell us what trails you would normally ride and enjoy. The internet is a wonderful place and we can then google the trails, find report and videos and that really helps. Our holidays aren’t races, we descent at pace but waiting occasionally is never a problem. If you don’t ever want to wait for other riders then talk to us before you book!

Here is a guide to how we would assess your skills.

Beginner

  • You have just started.
  • You stick to the greens and blues at trail centres.
  • You don’t have much singletrack experience and normally ride on wider paths.

Intermediate

  • You have been riding for over two years and own a mountain bike.
  • At a typical UK trail centre you are happy on the reds. On bike parks that depends but could be a blue or a black.
  • You are comfortable on narrow singletrack with rocks and roots.
  • Tight corners, moderately steep chutes you would normally tackle but you might walk occasionally.
  • You are comfortable with higher speeds on less technical tracks but when the tracks get more technical you prefer to keep closer to walking pace.
  • You would not attempt even small jumps or drops. If it can’t be rolled you are going to walk.
  • In a UK trail centre you are going to be on the blacks. In bike parks you will be on black or double black but might avoid or roll the jumps.

Advanced

  • Here we are considering you an experienced mountain biker, someone who has been riding regularly with other people.
  • You are happy tackling pretty much anything on a trail and there are very few occasions you would get off and walk.
  • You try to ride the trail at speed, using jumping and pumping to maintain speed.
  • You will jump small doubles, up to a bike length and drops, up to waist height.

Expert

  • We don’t guide on big jumps or drops, however as an expert you are comfortable on small jumps and drops, riding them without stopping if you can see the landings.
  • Very steep chutes, up to nearly vertical, sounds like fun. Maybe you would prefer to follow a guide in or stop for a look on the steepest stuff.
  • Riding sections with exposure is fine, you know when it is time to get of and walk as well.
  • You know how to handle yourself on big mountain days. Riding within your limits and taking care of your equipment while moving through technical terrain at speed.
  • You have ridden in a few of the well known places around the world.

What Holidays Would Suit Me?

So you have read our holiday skills and fitness guide. Hopefully it helps. Now what holidays would you suit?

If you are a beginner, or have a low fitness level then none of our standard holidays are going to suit you I’m afraid. The best thing to do would be to get in touch and talk to us about your options.

If you are an intermediate and have a fitness level of moderate of above then we would suggest our Basque Coast trip. This trip has the most options to vary the level and we don’t have the constraints which a multi-centre trip put on us. You could also do our Backcountry Pyrenees if you fancy a challenge however we would need to get you a suitable group. Our guides are always delighted to offer some skills help.

If you are an advanced rider and have a fitness level of moderate or above then we would suggest our Backcountry Pyrenees or Basque Coast trips. If you can put some time in and improve your fitness to good then you would really enjoy our High Pyrenees or Ainsa Enduro holidays.

If you are an expert rider and have good fitness then any of our trips will be great for you. Having an expert level on the Basque Coast opens up some amazing possibilities like El Cerro or some of the secret trails around here. These are trails we guide very few times a year due to their extreme level. They are brilliant though if you have a good enough level!

If you are an expert rider and have excellent fitness again there are lots of possibilities. You need this level to do our Ultimate Pyrenees trip though.

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Mail. doug@basquemtb.com
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