This post is part of the Leadville 100 MTB FAQ.
I’ve started Leadville 100 training tips with cross training not because it’s most important but because I do more of it before I start focusing on the bike. During the off-season it’s important to stay fit and keep a good base fitness. I also love hiking, backcountry skiing and snowshoeing. Running is also good for cross training but I don’t enjoy it.
Staying fit in other ways helps keep me sharp mentally. As much as I love riding my bike, I get burned out when I do it 5 or more days a week all year.
Besides staying mentally sharp, cross training strengthens muscles that aren’t used as much in mountain biking. This can help prevent injuries especially when you crash.
Many mountain bikers, especially older ones, find doing weight training helps with power and endurance on the bike. Those are already my strengths. Although I’ve tried weight training, I personally haven’t found much benefit but that doesn’t mean you won’t.
There is one group of exercises that is generally part of weight training that I have found beneficial. These are exercises such as crunches for improving core strength. Often back pain on the bike is from weak abs or improper position on the bike.
Although I focus my training on the bike as race season approaches, I still like throwing in other outdoor training to keep more balanced. It’s also good to continue doing core exercises.