The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 146 - Progression, Regression, and How to Keep Improving

Sep 30, 2022
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich


If you asked a hundred people why they ride mountain bikes, I'm sure you'd hear all about nature, being healthy, and having fun outdoors with friends. A lot of us would also add progression to that list, with pushing yourself to new limits, heights, or speeds being a feeling that's hard to beat. But what happens when the progression tails off or your riding starts to go backward? It doesn't matter if it's your first year in the sport and you can only get better, or if your last name is Semenuk or Schurter - you're eventually going to stop improving.

Today's podcast sees Kazimer, Alicia, Matt, and I talking about when and why our riding was progressing the most, aspects of our riding that have gone downhill over the years, and some pointers on how to keep that regression from happening.





THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 146 - PROGRESSION, REGRESSION, AND HOW TO KEEP IMPROVING
September 30th, 2022

Faster, further, higher... until you can't.



Podcast presented by Rimpact
photo



Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.


Subscribe to the podcast via your preferred service (Apple, Spotify, RSS, LibSyn, etc.), or visit the Pinkbike Podcast tag page for the complete list of episodes.

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

80 Comments
  • 30 0
 I'll address the physical part of regression / progression pie, in my case the >50 crowd. We're also dealing with this:

Generally, VO2max decreases gradually with advancing age, and the rate of decline is approximately 10% per decade after the age of 25 years, and more specifically was suggested to be 15% between the ages of 50 and 75 [1, 2, 3].

pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27479009

The good news is that training minimizes those VO2 losses. I'm surprised that my body is still adapting to training loads–most important is REST and proper training composition. As I understand Zone 2 should encompass ~80% of training. This is a challenge for the MTB crowd because mountains are not Zone 2. Iñigo San Millán has excellent information on this topic.
  • 41 0
 bruh the pinkbike comment section is the place for unqualified opinions and being confidently incorrect how dare you link a research paper
  • 15 0
 You belong in the CyclingTips comment section. Pinkbikers think V02 is a weed consumption ratio. Really though, thanks for the informative post.
  • 30 0
 Was really enjoying listening to this yesterday at work. Love it when the whole group is there. Was pretty gutted this morning to hear about Alicia’s crash. Hope she recovers well.
  • 13 0
 Mods, please remove if not appropriate (go fund me link):

gofund.me/1d1663a2
  • 8 0
 @Gdg1: I really wish this was getting at least a front-page post...
  • 8 0
 @Nellus: @Nellus: @MikeLevy or @MikeKazimer: Anything you can do, not asking to post personal details, just info on the gofundme?
  • 23 0
 Get well soon Alicia.
  • 20 0
 All I want is an episode of @mikelevy and his buddy Wade talking about the old days.
  • 8 0
 Same though
  • 13 0
 First name: Mabuddy
Last name: Wade
  • 1 0
 This seems like a gimme / softball (and probably effin hiliarious) epidode option so @mikelevy and @mikekazimer...when's this gonna go off?
  • 2 1
 Shit...was it xenophobic of me to assume it was Wayne this whole time and not Wade? In my head I'm thinking, Levy's friend born in the early to mid 80s...gotta be Wayne. Having said that, probably a good amount of teenage Wades ripping around the woods in BC these days. Baby names are an interesting phenomenon.
  • 1 3
 @ruskyskier27: A) hows that xenophobia 2) who cares if its Wayne or Wade and 4) have ya heard how Levy butchers terms like stanchion (“stank-shun”) and other things all the time? I kinda like it.

But maybe: Wayne/Wade’s not a dude? How DARE you assume a typical male name is for a guy??? Yr a misogynist! Cant stand a gyno…
  • 17 0
 As I get older I just want to slow the regression down as much as possible.
  • 2 9
flag ryanniker (Sep 30, 2022 at 10:53) (Below Threshold)
 if you ain't crashing you ain't trying
  • 6 0
 @ryanniker: Lol, 4 broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, broken wrist, and a concussion on one crash this spring told me I was trying a little to hard. Still managed to recover and race the entire Dunbar series later in the summer though. Its fun trying to go fast downhill!!
  • 6 0
 @mikelevy Maybe it’s time for the podcast to address head injuries. There are a lot of angles to this: how they relate to the progression of the sport, to bike technology, to DH competition, to helmet technology, and ultimately how they relate to the average rider (whoever that is).
  • 2 0
 @ryanniker: Crashing is almost inevitable, but I try to avoid for a few reasons:

- I need to keep working
- Injuries could mean time off of bike
- Injuries can prevent future enjoyment or shorten lifetime riding. IE I want to be able to MTB until 75.
  • 6 0
 @Blownoutrides: Yup, I’ve been meaning to get a doctor on the show for that. Tbh it’s a bit too close to home for me but obviously a topic that I’ll need to talk about.
  • 2 0
 @njcbps: same... I broke my hand 2 years ago falling off. Frustrating from the perspective of slowing down progression of skills/ losing fitness/ losing confidence...Simultaneously, I do want to improve skill and ride faster because I hate to be static. I started riding in my thirties, so feel like I missed the opportunity to be really good, since I didn't ride as kid. Always the battle of pushing harder and trying not to push over the line of too frequent falls...

I would like to have informative discussion of protective gear and helmets... Ie lots of mountain biking falls result in serious injury, but the majority of people don't really wear gear. This seems strange to me. Because it doesn't work? Too bulky? Not fashionable??
  • 2 0
 @mtnranger: seems like the common mtb injuries aren't prevented by gear...collarbone, wrist, shoulder sep, back etc
  • 8 2
 I was a lazy biker for 27 years & mocked strava for years - til I got on, got wowwed on mileage & elevation, then seeing I was pretty fast, getting some koms, t-10s and at least going for pr’s weekly

As a former skater, Ive always been driven to slide around on any feature so even at 50+, Im railing more park, going faster & hitting more & bigger features now than ever and it weirdly has me not riding w/ my normal buds & hanging w/ younger riders in parks b/c they like to play & progress.

Sure, Strava is video game & the times can be cool but riding is ultimately about having fun and if you cant have fun - you stagnate. Strava is silicon implants but it was the kick in the ass I needed to find that spark I needed - even if thats only piling on miles or elevation - and am now having more fun than as 20-40 yr old. Point being: being old can be physical, but it seems more like a decision or a frame of mind to me
  • 8 0
 Terrible and heart wrenching news regarding Alicia. Wishing her a quick recovery and all the best!
  • 8 0
 Simple, you buy a more expensive bike Smile
  • 3 5
 Ebike !
  • 6 0
 If Ben Cathro put out a "How to Bike" series every year, would I keep progressing as much as I did last year at age 48? Surely he's not too busy is he?
  • 3 0
 Enjoyed that. A few random points:
After he casually dropped in his 2015 result I checked the result on Matt Beer's Roots & Rain, that's an impressive podium, to be sitting atop:
www.rootsandrain.com/event3246/2015-jul-12-cycling-bc-canadian-dh-national-champs-15-sun-peaks-bc/results/#h-elitem
Is it still just a bunch of friends driving or did Levy, Kaz, and Alicia all feel just a little pleased with Matt saying they were riding well? It'd be my ringtone.
On the training side, I signed up for the Strength Factory Mountainbikers Over 40 program, it's been reallly good, but for the fact I've been riding too much, hopefully get back on track this winter. It's been great.
Getting back into mountainbike riding over 40 I'm a little too worried about breaking things, although I do try and push myself - actually trying to get up my local 'impossible climbs' has helped. (they not impossible, I'm just that bad)

Alicia and Kaz, if you stick with what you're planning, sounds like you'll have a great winter!
  • 2 0
 Definitely pleased haha
  • 3 0
 Hey @mikelevy I’ve wondered how the team landed on the theme music at start. It has a bit of a gangster vibe, it’s original and I like it, just wondering how did you land on that?
  • 3 0
 I think Max picked it and used it without asking any of us, but I like it too.
  • 2 0
 I agree. It's nearly as good as the intro to the 2020 field test.

youtu.be/ogErvreejfs?t=00m05s
  • 2 0
 I loved Alicia's comment on the times she feels fast is when she is constantly pulling or pushing on the bars. Here in Santa Barbara we still don't have a public pump track but I don't think there is a better safer way to improve DH flow and fitness. Nothing feels better than when you are constantly pulling and pushing on a DH but without pump track training, it's damn tiring!!
  • 5 0
 Levy: So Matt Beer, how have you regressed?

Matt: I don’t understand the question
  • 2 0
 *does not compute*
  • 2 0
 Listening to this last night after going on line and getting the most basic info on Alicia's condition was just too hard, had to stop. Can't say enough how we look forward to seeing the report on her up top, have to assume that will mean she's out of the woods. Having broken C6, shattered C7 and coming within MM's of full paralysis and spent time at Vancouver hospital, you guys bring her good food as soon as she's able.

I'm past 60 and a junky for this sport, and find getting good aerobic condition (rode the white line for 35 years, raced for ten, always had a very good VO2 max), very hard. Not being able to get good zone 2 training is a real problem on MTB, runner friends that still compete at this age say it is absolutely essential to going long and fast, especailly being older. I just did my first ride on a ebike at altitude, and damn it, if the obvious didn't hit me, you can easily get good zone 2 training on a e bike. I was fixated on e bikes being just cheating and now I realize that's all wrong. Both of the Mike's are still young enough to be over training, always going hard, not getting in enough lower heart rate riding, one of them (Kaz) should get the book, there are many, talk to runners and make a disciplined effort this winter and report what they find, I would bet he will be faster. This is not just a occasional day goofing off, a bit more involved. This is the main reason the roadies are more fit than us MTB riders.
  • 5 0
 Wanna keep progressing? Buy a dirt jumper
  • 3 0
 Agreed, or any type of mtb that you’re currently not riding. Dirt jump and pump skills are priceless.
  • 3 2
 I progressed a lot when I got my eMTB. For one part because I didn't mind to install heavy parts like coil shock and inserts. But also because with the ebike I could ride trails repeatedly. So, the effect of sessioning comes in here.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer in the news you did the roundup of EWS, I was waiting for the summary of the Pinkbike Academy riders, not sure if you felt it too self congratulatory but would have been great to hear.

@mikelevy you were getting the PBA riders on the podcast previously, it'd be great to hear from the ones that have been out racing EWS this year.
  • 4 0
 We’ll definitely do more PBA episodes in the future, but not until some of that content starts being released. I’ll add some names to the list.
  • 1 0
 They say you never forget how to ride a bike. I'd say that's true, but you do loose some smoothness. Fortunately after a bit of polishing your skills they tend to return relatively quickly. Same seems to be true for lost fitness.
  • 2 0
 Question for @mikekazmier …you guys say he loves the big enduro bikes yet his personal bike is a Spur…does he ever ride the Spur? And when does he grab that thing instead of the enduro bike?
  • 1 0
 I haven't gotten to ride bikepark aka technical terrain much since a got a child. The terrain is very tame where I live. Some weeks ago i showed up to a local enduro race. It was as wet as it gets and I was absolutely not up for the task. Fitness was fine but I am not used to riding technical terrain anymore, let alone in the wet. I placed accordingly. I feel like I lost a lot of confidence and ability since I stopped getting in lots of vertical meters, no wonder. But what I also seem to have lost is the will to commit and gain every second possible. Only on the last stage I was able to find some motivation as I had the other guy I rode with, and who is generally faster than me, right in front of me. I place 20% higher on that stage compared to the others...
  • 1 0
 Been riding with a few roadies converted to MTB. Their fitness is on a whole nother level and it’s amazing to see how quickly they are able to progress simply by being able to do so many more laps without expending as much energy. Riding with them has made me a better rider as it’s improved my fitness and able to knock out longer rides.

You gotta pay to play. For some, it’s to go electric and for others, it’s to pay in sweat.
  • 6 0
 get well soon, Alicia!
  • 4 0
 Sounds like Alicia's crash was quite serious. Really hope she's OK and will recover soon!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy I can't tell you how much I appreciated hearing your specific history and feelings on riding regression. Due to age and family, but largely crashes, I regress a lot in the past few years. It's mostly a mental game for me, and as I think Matt said, I don't seem to have that fast twitch movement that's needed in a lot of hairy situations.

Trails that I've ridden dozens (possibly 100) times, I now walk the steep sections. It's such that an entire riding area, I essentially avoid. I last rode there in April, and either dodging a baby head rock, or rolling over it and slipping I crashed and broke my elbow. And many crashes in the same area over the years.

And I feel the same as you, I hate that I no longer have the mental fortitude to ride the tough sections, which is why I don't want to ride there anymore. So, I stick to a bit easier trails that I still have fun on. Guess there comes a point where I just have to let some stuff go.

Thanks for sharing.
  • 1 0
 For me, I've been riding some of my local trails since the 90s. But there are steep, rooty lines that I rode on my 1994 fully rigid whatever-it-it was with steep geometry and skinny 26" tires pumped up to 40psi that I won't ride today. That's because at 62 I'm not indestructible the way I was at 35.
  • 2 0
 you guys need to sound great. Take a tour of Adobe shasta. Its AI for audio and makes everybody sound like they are in the same audio booth. It will blow your mind.
  • 4 0
 Just curious: did this sound like it came over cans & string to you? Sounded crystal clear to me in the car today...
  • 1 0
 Thanks for taking my question! I debated buying a bike to help my weaknesses vs one to suit my strengths, but realized I'm mediocre at everything and bought a mid-travel 29er. Looking forward to the next field test
  • 1 0
 Agreed on bike videos being, for the most part, pretty uninspiring. Cool, dude hit a gap, blew out a turn, or turned themselves sideways with some sort of whip. None of that is going to get me to go out and ride.
  • 5 0
 Prayers up for Alicia!
  • 3 0
 My concussions disagree with my progression.
  • 3 1
 I love that Levy knows (and played) Nicky Nicky Nine Doors. If it was the 80s MVDP would have punched me for sure.
  • 1 1
 this episode with all the talent in one room sounded super. Its when you have zoom or skype calls.. ha.. skype...Im suggesting trying the beta of shasta Adobe IA. its just amazing.
  • 3 0
 So what bike was Matt on that was so bad?
  • 2 0
 Would be awesome to get a real coach on the podcast. Not fitness but bike skills. Like Joel from Blueprint kinda caliber.
  • 4 0
 Yup, working on that.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Darren from Endless is an amazing coach and has a great way of explaining the skills...took my PMBIA course with him...highly recommended. He may be a bit busy with the indoor MTB park...but if you let him plug it on the podcast it could work out...lol.
  • 2 0
 Simon Lawton from fluid ride is amazing and I've learned a tonne from him
  • 1 0
 Just so you know, and because his stuff is so good, the "I used to do and I still do" is from comedian Mitch Hedberg RIP.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqHA5CIL0fg
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy Ho Chi min right hander sent me otb….literarily can’t see the hole when flying down those speed turns
  • 1 0
 Those Ho Chi Min corners are SO GOOD tho, love them.
  • 1 0
 My ability to remember crashes and resultant injury has progressed. That count right!
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