Four tips from Ned Overend
Here are Deadly Nedly’s top age-defying tips. Ned Overend has been riding and racing mountain bikes for four decades now, but how the hell does he do it?!
1. Risk management
Crashes are inevitable, but it’s important to know the limits of your abilities and when to pull back from riding on the ragged edge… even if it requires getting off and walking a section or two.
I’ve learned the hard way that too much machismo, when riding with people who have more skills than I do, is a bad recipe: It takes longer to recover from an injury as you get older.
2. Rest up
I have been sidelined more from overuse injuries than crashes. These little injuries are often what cause people to lose their enthusiasm for cycling.
Sore knee, hips, back, arse, neck, shoulder, hands: I’ve learned that I have to pay attention to little aches and pains before they become big ones. If I am riding, and I have a sore knee, I don’t continue on a long ride and ignore the pain, as I may have done when I was younger. If I think I’m developing an issue, I will cut the ride short and address it with rest, and maybe some stretching and ice.
3. Slow skills
The best drill you can do to improve your ability to ride low-speed, technical sections and minimise falling, is a track stand. If you’re comfortable balancing your bike at low speeds you can put more attention into negotiating tight switchbacks or climbing over logs and rock ledges. It also gives you that extra second or two after you stall out to unclip your foot before you fall off the edge of the trail.
4. Bike fit
Get a professional bike fit and you’ll go some way towards reducing those overuse injuries, and you’ll ride more comfortably too. A good bike fitter will adapt your position on the bike to your dimensions and flexibility, which can put less stress on your hands, shoulders, neck and back. They also have tools to easily measure what width saddle you should be using.
As I get older, I spend more time working on my flexibility and strength, which helps prevent overuse injuries and it can also help minimise damage from crashes.