|Since most mountain biking involves at least some ups and downs, it’s good to know how to shift your gears properly. Proper shifting habits not only save wear and tear on your bike (especially your chain, front cassette and rear cogs), they enable you to power yourself more efficiently up and down hills.
Shift often: Beginning riders should practice frequent gear shifting. This builds muscle memory so you can intuitively shift up or down as needed without having to think about whether you’re shifting to an easier or more difficult gear.
Shift early: Don’t wait to shift until you’ve already started up that big hill. Always shift to the gear you will need before you hit the steep terrain. This allows you to keep a steady cycling cadence for maximum power. It also prevents awkward shifting under a load that is hard on your gears and could cause your chain to pop off.
If you have trouble finding the right gear for the terrain you’re riding, err on the side of spinning in an easier gear than mashing in a hard gear.
Another important rule is to prevent cross-chaining. This occurs when your chain is stretched awkwardly across from the small chainring in the front to the small cog in the rear, or the big chainring in the front to the big cog in the rear. This holds true for double and triple chainring setups. Cross-chaining can result in your chain popping off from the strain; it also stretches your chain over time, shortening its lifespan.
I struggle with a couple climbs at my local single track. I live in Michigan so a big hill for us is 400 feet. In fact we don’t actually have any mountains in the state. But every July, Leadville CO host a 100 mile staged race that starts at 9,200 feet for the low point and has a high point of 12,424 in Columbine Mine.
A sub-12 hour time is required to be considered an official finisher. If you’ve got STRONG lungs this might be for you. Link here – LEADVILLE Race Series. Mountain biking is about the jumps. Those crazy suspensions are designed to soak up impacts and still allow the ride to control the bike. Picture jumping over 100 feet and just to make it a little more interesting tossing in a back flip. Read about it in this GWR Longest Dirt to Dirt Mountain Bike Backflip. (link to GWR) or even better watch it on YOUTUBE Here: Cam Zink’s 100 Foot Backflip