How To Train for Downhill Racing

RL Policar-I had asked one of our friends, Quinton “Q” Spaulding on what he does to train for downhill racing. If some of you didn’t know, Q is the Team Director for the KHS Bicycles Factory Team as well as a Professional DH racer. Q races along side his team mates, Logan Binggeli, Melissa Buhl and (Priscilla’s favorite) Dale Holmes.

Q has some great tips on how he trains for his DH races. I’m telling you, he’s got some good advice and I’ll be making some changes to my daily routine just so I can incorporate what he’s doing.

Q and Dale Holmes.

I am going to give you an idea of what I do, but that is by no means what most pro’s do, they train harder and longer than me, I am old and lazy! ha ha.

I try to train 6 days a week, this is probably the most important thing for me to stay on top of my game, as well as motivated to to continually improve and increase my training “pain threshold”. Training can be boring and routine, so I try to change it up between XC, Road, DH, Slalom, Dirt Jumping and with some cross training… riding my moto either in the desert or on the track.

One days training should be (ha ha)

a) 1 hour cardio – either a hard climb on my XC bike at Bootleg Canyon or Cottonwood Trails in Vegas, or a road ride with the hammer down. On the road bike I will do intervals, stand up and sprint for a good 30 seconds then sit down and pedal for a couple minutes to recover, and repeat this for the entire ride.

b) 35 minutes anaerobic training, for this I use a Total Gym, the one that Chuck Norris always advertises, ha ha ha but that thing works, it is all cables so no heavy impact on the body. I try train most all muscle groups in a week.

c) Every other or every third day I will try to include a 1. Dual Slalom session, about 20 runs… 10 on each track or, 2. I will go do a dirt jumping session for about an hour or, 3. Do a desert or track ride on my dirt bike for a couple hours.

I have to manage the team which takes a lot of my time so this is about as aggressive of a training schedule that I can have, plus it is simply enough for my 40 year old ass.

Eating is very important, – NO JUNK FOOD – yeah right??? Lots of beer – Yeah!!!

Staying fully hydrated all the time is also very key, so that your body is always prepared for recovery and gives you the best every time you push it hard.

To hone your skills does take a lot of riding and practicing, but you can accelerate this process if you get some experienced tips. Turning and controlling a DH bike at speed is difficult, and takes a lot of mental strength and focus, but I think that the biggest keys are:

a) Look Ahead and control your breathing! Always look as far ahead on the track as possible, this allows you to make physical and mental corrections before it is too late. Always remember to breath, and breath consistently.

b) Breaking and Turns! Always try to do most of the hard breaking before the turn, and if you are looking far enough ahead in the turn you will be able to release your brakes sooner and exit the corner with more speed. Exit speed is so much more important than entry speed into, or out of turns. The more you can focus on what’s to come and not get caught up looking down at your wheel while in the moment, the more you will be able to control your lines and the less fatigued and under pressure you will feel, allowing yourself to ride more relaxed and confident. Relaxed and confident… sooo IMPORTANT!

The biggest bike setup tip I think I can offer is – suspension and tires, these are the two most key items. If you have good tire and suspension setup then you are halfway there. A balanced bike will always work well, and a semi low Tire Pressure will help the bike track better and bite the dirt harder, giving you more traction and control.

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