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How to Be a Faster Mountain Biker with Matt Miller

BY TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

In this episode of the CoachCast, mountain bike scientist Matt Miller explores the latest training, technique and technology that is leading to faster finish times on the moutain.

If you identify with the mountain bike crew and or with the data nerd clan, this episode is for you. Matt Miller, mountain bike scientist and founder of BrakeAce sat down with Dirk to explore all ways of improving speed and fitness. 

They start out by discussing how, despite Matt’s determination to challenge the idea that FTP rules all, his testing has only certified that it remains steadfast as the primary predictor of performance. They also discuss the absolute necessity of preserving high-effort “matches” by way of strategic braking and finally wrap up with debating how much time mountain bikers need to spend on the road.

Stand-Out Quotes

“I thought we could model the perfect mountain bike race…[but] there was no way to be able to model it without looking at breaking. And then we just went down this huge tangent and I basically focused my life on understanding breaking since then.”

“And in my experience, working with mountain bikers, one of the most common issues is just burning all their matches basically at the start.”

“So, because mountain biking is really aerobic—like the ability to recover in between those hard efforts is really dependent on aerobic ability.”

“I really encourage a lot of mountain bikers to work on their ability to just generate speed without pedaling, especially when they’re already going fast. So when we get to a downhill, we’re already going pretty quick. So if we’re adding in big pedals, we’re just reducing our ability to recover. And it takes a lot of confidence actually to go and just not pedal.”


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Coachcast Host Dirk Friel
About TrainingPeaks CoachCast Host Dirk Friel

Dirk Friel is the host of the TrainingPeaks CoachCast and Co-Founder of TrainingPeaks. He is a lifelong athlete with a passion for cycling and ski mountaineering and firmly believes in goal setting, dedicated deliberate training and coaching for all. Learn more about his work at TrainingPeaks and follow his adventures on Instagram @dirkfriel.

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