What is the best ratio of gravel to trail for training?

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What is the best ratio of gravel to trail for training?

Postby TerdFerguson » May 14th, 2018, 9:33 am

I've been riding for a few years and I'm always trying to improve my speed and fitness. I've noticed that most of the local expert/elite racers tend to ride 30 to 40 miles per ride but most of it is gravel with one loop of single track. I have been mostly riding multiple laps of the same trail or riding two trails close trails at once. Is it better to ride mostly gravel for training? Can someone explain this to me? Thanks in advance.
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Re: What is the best ratio of gravel to trail for training?

Postby c0nsumer » May 14th, 2018, 9:44 am

I don't think there's a real ratio; what's important is getting enough time in pushing and keeping the HR up. The more fit you become the harder it is to build fitness on single track, because after a point your speed becomes limited by bike handling.

I'm not an expert/elite racer (I don't race much) but I'm reasonably quick, and I like doing long endurance-type events. To build endurance for this I will do a mix of rail trail rides (say, 2-3 hours), gravel road rides (3-5 hours), throwing single track in, sometimes just laps of single track somewhere... The point is a mix of keeping your HR up at endurance paces, then also having times (usually on different rides) where you have occasional REALLY hard pushes (like when doing hill repeats).
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Re: What is the best ratio of gravel to trail for training?

Postby jmf003 » May 14th, 2018, 10:48 am

Aerobic fitness is improved most by long, slow heart rate rides. There are some good training suggestions here: https://www.bikeradar.com/us/gear/artic ... sts-28838/
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Re: What is the best ratio of gravel to trail for training?

Postby Roy » May 16th, 2018, 7:15 am

Tred,
You really need to narrow your training objectives for spot on training advice.
But for general trail ridding you can't get better advice then what Steve (cOnsumer) has given.

Island Lake is a great place to early season train because:

2 trail loops of about 7 miles each - good easy trail with some nice climbs - it even has sand

A park road, with some hills, about 13 miles out and back - with some paved trail

Connected to Kensington with another 8 mile loop and some big hills

Also connected to a bike trail you can ride to Wixom or south Lyon, Milford, the garbage Hill, and soon Pontiac

All this milage without riding on a public road!

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Re: What is the best ratio of gravel to trail for training?

Postby TerdFerguson » May 16th, 2018, 8:39 am

Thanks for advice. Does anyone here run two sets of tires? I'd guess that the gravel roads will wear out the xc tires quicker than the trails.
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Re: What is the best ratio of gravel to trail for training?

Postby DynoDon » May 16th, 2018, 9:03 am

You could pick up an old hybrid, or road bike to make a dedicated gravel bike for not alot of money, it would be for training so weight isn't a real consideration. A frame that'll take a wider tire, is a good start..even an old mountain bike will do.
Pay it Forward, just kick some sticks off the trail, better yet pick up some sticks/branches/trash, big sticks become small sticks, small sticks take out rear derailleurs, the derailleur you save may be your own, or mine.
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Re: What is the best ratio of gravel to trail for training?

Postby c0nsumer » May 16th, 2018, 12:52 pm

TerdFerguson wrote:Thanks for advice. Does anyone here run two sets of tires? I'd guess that the gravel roads will wear out the xc tires quicker than the trails.


I don't. I just do gravel rides on my XC MTB tires. FastTrak rear, Racing Ralph front. It wears no more than the similar number of hours on mid-summer hardpack trails. Maybe even less because you're not braking/turning/accelerating as much.
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