Alrighty, I'm stoked. I bought a road bike 18 months ago and a used MTB a few months later. I love biking almost as much as skiing and want to become much better at it. I have some questions that I like to have your inputs on.
1. Gear: I often hear it's the indian, not the arrow when the question of gear comes up, be it photography, skiing, or biking. But I definitely would not want to be in knee deep power on SL skis if I have access to powder boards. The useful question to me is a what level gear matters and by how much for the same terrain/activity. My road bike is an aluminum Specialized with Shimano 105. I have been advised to get a better bike, carbon frame with better grouppo. But saving 2-3 lbs doesn't seem much from a total of 170 lbs. Will such a bike help me go faster and longer significantly, say by 10%?
2. Training: It looks like the big focus for road biking is building a big engine. There are lots of training materials from Friel, Carmichael, Coggan, etc. that are enough, though not always clear, to help me experiment and have fun. But on the skills side, especially for MTB, how do I improve besides riding more and hoping not to develop bad habits?
3. Instruction: Are there effective bike schools you recommend? Books and videos? A friend of mine, competitive racer in both road and MTB, feels I am just too old to acquire skills he picked up as a kid. But I also started skiing late. By methodically studying and practicing it, I am proficient enough to expand greatly my range of comfort and enjoyment over different terrains and conditions. I hope to get to that stage with biking too. There are good instructional materials, both books and videos, for skiing to build up the skills from a very low level. (Another big help in learning to ski is that crashing on snow is a lot less painful than on rocks.) The MTB books I have read are like "Ski the whole mountain" by Eric and Rob D. very good books to be sure, just not useful for beginners. I remembered the first time I read STHWM. Everything made perfect sense, except that I just couldn't do it in real time on snow. I just didn't have the basic skills, balance, and confidence to execute. I hope my friend is wrong and I can find good instructional materials to help me with my modest goal.