For road cyclists, there are three key benefits of venturing off-pavement — besides the fact that carving sweet singletrack is guaranteed to generate some of the widest grins in cycling.
—More power. Even with a mountain bike’s lower gearing, you need to produce near-maximum effort on steep grades. This power training transfers directly to your road bike.
—Better bike handling. Twisting trails through forests and around rocks demand agility, concentration and balance. These are great traits to have on the road, too, especially on curvy descents or in a pack.
—Change of scenery. Getting out on the trails can rejuvenate your riding both physically and mentally. This is why mountain biking is a perfect midseason diversion. Just when your too-familiar road routes are dulling your enthusiasm, you can escape the asphalt but still enjoy riding.
Tip! When riding off-road pay even more attention to food and fluids. We all know it’s important to eat and drink enough. But off-road, where convenience stores are nowhere near, you have to plan your caloric intake carefully.
Always pack more food and fluid than you think you’ll need. What if you get lost and the ride escalates from 3 hours to 5? Bonk once far out on the trails and you’ll never forget it!