TIPS FROM THE PRO: Training - Snow Bike Festival | 4-Day MTB Stage Race
The Snow Bike Festival is a 4-day MTB stage race, which takes place in the wonderful region of Gstaad, Switzerland.
mountain biking, snow biking, atbike, extreme sports, gstaad, winter sports, downhill mountain biking
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07 Dec TIPS FROM THE PRO: Training

I hope you’ve enjoyed the last few articles. Now it’s time to start thinking about training. For the pro’s and experienced riders amongst you: I think you all know how to train and prepare for a 3 day stage race! For those of you who aren’t that experienced: this should be very interesting read and hopefully be helpful to you!

Training principles. You can find a lot of information about the basics and fundamentals of training all over the web. I will keep it simple here, otherwise this could easily turn into a book…

Of course, for a sport like cycling & mountain biking, you need to train your endurance capability. Technique, coordination and especially power play a very important role as well.

Many of you will know how to keep your endurance at a descent level for your usual rides, races and even marathons in the summer time, but the real question is how to stay fit and prepare for a race in the snow?!

Time schedule: The Snow Bike Festival starts, as you all know, on the 22nd of January. That still leaves you with 7 weeks to train! Yay! I’m sure you all love training. I would recommend you to focus on mainly (slow) endurance rides or activities. By “slow” I mean that you should be riding/working-out at a rate/level where you are still able to speak. Of course you can really put some effort into these types of training sessions, but you should make sure you aren’t completely “broken” after the ride.

What I enjoy most about winter training, is that if you live in a place where it winter has already arrived, training can have a lot of variation. You can do multiple things to train your basic endurance level. First and foremost, cycling (cyclecross, road biking, mountain biking and of course fat biking). Depending on the temperature and whether it is snowing or raining, you can go for longer rides. You can also go cross country skiing, hiking, running, walking. These activities allow you to improve your endurance levels whilst making sure that you don’t destroy yourself!

For those of you who prefer indoor training; steps, crosstrainers and indoor cycling are the exercises I suggest. The nice thing about these activities is that you can easily vary (increase/decrease) the intensity.

The closer it gets to the 22nd of January, the more you should replace your (slow) endurance workouts with more intense ones. Important: always listen to your body! You should always have a good feeling and enjoy your ride (or whatever kind of training you are doing). Having fun is the most important thing!


Specific training to get used to the snow?

Do you want to practice riding your bike in the snow? If you live in a place where there is snow, you can just take your bike, and ride. You don’t necessarily need a fat bike, you can also ride your normal mountain bike in the snow. Remember that it will be easier and more enjoyable with fat tires, but for training, a normal bike is just as good! Start easy on flat sections, then slowly get into climbs and downhills. Try to feel what your bike is doing and always remember to not have too much weight on the front wheel. Let your bike do the work, be relaxed, and just play with it! You will notice that you will learn fast and that snow biking is incredibly fun!

No snow? No problem! Riding up and down grassland, sand or muddy trails can be good for training as well! You will get used to the snow in Gstaad very quickly. Challenge yourself, but only do what you feel comfortable with.


Enjoy the ride!