Cross Country mountain bike racing (XC, XCO, XCC) is a complete test of bike riding skills and fitness. Action-packed and fun for all, races are relatively short and consist of multiple laps loaded with features such as technical climbs, rock-gardens, singletrack trails, roots, drop-offs and jumps.

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Mountain Bike Coaching

Coaching tips – Good competition breeds success

During the summer and leading up the Nationals in Maydena during February and Oceania’s April at Mt Crosby I’ll be passing on some tips. Some I have learn’t from others and from my experiences from the race scene.

Now if you’d like to join our team I’ll share a link later or go to

Good competition breeds success. That’s why I’m always willing to share my knowledge or help out when I can. Also always keen to learn, so don’t be afraid to share some advice too.

I’ve always said it takes a community to make a champion.

So firstly, any good training program starts with a good diet, proper hydration and rest. Lack of either of these 3 will hinder your progress. So knowledge is power and you need to research what will work for you and seek the best advice you can get. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

A good source of information is from Marzia Bell (Life + performance nutrition)

Her latest post is on the value of quality protein, carbs and good fats. You must have fresh food and vegetables and limit your intake of processed foods. Fats are an essential nutrient for us humans. There are vitamins we only absorb with fat (A, D, E, K), we need fats for hormone production, cell structure, maturation, insulation etc. So getting enough fats in our diet is important. if we only concern ourselves with getting just the right amount of fats, we may forget to look at the quality of the fats. ⠀

Not all fats are created equal. Saturated fats are not great for our health, they negatively impact on our cholesterol levels without the positive impact that unsaturated fats have. ⠀

Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. They provide us with Omega 3 and Omega 6. Omega 3 fatty acids are extremely important for our brain, helping fight depression and anxiety. They are also shown to improve eye health, reduce symptoms of ADHD in children, fight inflammation and autoimmune disease. ⠀

Another good source is Healthylifestyles. You’ll find good information about how to eat while training/racing.

Protein and fat can provide the necessary energy; however, carbohydrate is the body’s main source of fuel, because it is easily broken down and can provide sustained energy.

During endurance exercise longer than 2hours in duration, the aim is to look after our carbohydrate stores, by refueling every hour with snacks that are high carbohydrate, moderate-low protein and low-fat, in order to meet the body’s increased energy and carbohydrate requirements. Studies also show that carbohydrate depletion can induce fatigue and lead to decreased performance as some of you doing keto will definitely recognise, particularly once you start to increase training intensity as an example.

The quantity of carbohydrate required per hour can vary between 20g to 90g, depending on your size, body composition goals and the length of the ride. Planning ahead is essential as it can be difficult to eat while training. Some examples of suitable snacks have been listed below.

Gels are good for racing and training but always test out your gels in training first. For longer rides look at taking some real food, your stomach will be happy you did and your ride will be far more enjoyable. Again this is something over time you’ll work out what is best for you.

Life can get in the way, so work on consistency, not perfection.

Finally for today. Success isn’t always about being on top of the podium and we all have different goals. Whether it be riding all the A lines, getting on the podium or just not dying at the end of the race. Set your goals, enjoy the process and learn.

See you on the trails.

John Russell
Phone: 0409 646 398