Reasons provided by Professional Mountain Biker, Ryan Petry. Ryan is not only an accomplished mountain biker, but also a long-time triathlete. Ryan’s race resume includes many Xterra off-road triathlon wins and several top 8 finishes at Leadville 100 -- one of the most competitive mountain bike races in the world.
From fun to functional, there are numerous reasons why giving mountain biking a shot can be beneficial to triathletes. For time’s sake, we’ll give you six, but don’t let the adventure end there!
No matter how many miles you put on the pavement, nothing will prepare you for that huge pot-hole, a sandy turn, or a driver blabbing on their cell phone quite like mountain biking will. Mountain biking is all about being prepared for the unexpected at a moment’s notice. Mountain biking helps you to fine tune reflexes, reaction, and adaption movements on two wheels – if you can ride a mountain bike then you will be significantly more prepared for the everyday and unexpected dangers of road cycling.
This is a perk of accomplishing reason number one. Riding mountain bikes requires skills that aren’t necessary for every moment of riding a triathlon bike -- shifting body weight, front/rear braking management, precise shifting, lots of steering, etc – and these skills make you very in-tune with your both your bike and your body. After a few mountain bike rides, descending int0 your aero bars, drinking water, and opening gels will seem like a walk in the park. Your new comfort in “multi-tasking” will help you to be more relaxed while road cycling, effectively lowering your heart rate and conserving energy.
Mountain bikes are the ultimate exploration vehicles. There are no roads too steep or bumpy for a mountain bike. With a mountain bike under you, you will feel and be prepared to take the road less traveled. Who knows, you may discover that these roads may be totally fine for skinny tires! New course: unlocked.
Interval workouts take mental energy, and they really just aren’t that fun. Riding mountain bikes on hilly single track can be some of the best intervals you will ever do. You do not determine when to pedal hard, the trail does. Often times just to stay on your bike requires a huge effort! The best part? You do not realize it is happening until you are out of breath at the top of the climb! The downhill? Recovery. For triathletes, being prepared for these unpredictable surges can be the best preparation for group riding and racing.
Whether it is to share with followers, text to a friend, or privately reminisce, who doesn’t love a great photo? If you want to get somewhere that few people ever see, go for a mountain bike ride. Bring your cell phone, snap some photos, then sit back and let your audience ogle.
As a triathlete, you are sure to know someone who rides mountain bikes. Sure, some people just really aren’t into the idea of riding off road, between trees, over rocks, on loose dirt. If you are one of those people, that’s fine, but you really should try it at least once! You know, just to be absolutely sure that you aren’t missing out on something you might enjoy. For example, if you had never tried guacamole because it looked gross, wouldn’t that be a shame?