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Training Advice - Flat Avoidance with Training on MTB Trails

I usually train on the road and dedicate one day a week to cx specific training in a grassy park.  This works well until we race a course with technical single track sections.  So, I decided to take my cx bike to a local MTB trail for some technical training.  I flatted after 10 minutes.  Normally, I train and race on Challenge Grifo Tubulars.  So, I purchased clinchers for training after a long hike a bike home from the MTB trail.

Question:  Does anyone else practice technical riding on MTB trails using their cx bike?  If so, do they train on clinchers?  How do they avoid flats?  Higher PSI? Wider clinchers?  What advice do you have for someone looking to get in one day a week on some easy single track with sections of roots/rocks.

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I love riding my CX bike in the woods, as do a lot of folks.

I don't know what they do to avoid flats, but for me...


Higher pressure for sure, maybe around 40 psi.  I usually ride 30 on my tubeless clinchers.  145 lbs.

Since they're tubeless, I have sealant in the tires already, which helps.  I race on the same wheels.

Riding in the woods is great, it makes you really practice your finesse and be "light" on the bike.



I run a lot higher pressure off road. Say 45psi vs 30. Yes, you're bouncing off a lot of stuff but it's better than a flat. And don't be afraid to run any bumpy sections either. Grifos are actually great for off road use, just run more pressure. I'd basically run any rock sections, those are the worst.

Yes, I ride my cx bike on MTB trails as often as I can. In fact, I've turned over the MTBs to my boys years ago.

It depends on the trail conditions (rocks, roots, etc.) but generally I run my "sturdy" wheelset with my "mud/rough stuff" clinchers at a bit higher pressure than I would in the cx course - like the other gentlemen have mentioned about 38-40 lbs is my starting point (I'm at 180 lbs). Those tires are a bit wider, too - 37c.  And like mentioned in the others replies, you'll bounce around a bit more but it's better than the pinch flats. And I almost inevitably hit a rock or root harder than I intend at least once per ride, so I don't want to knock my good wheelset out of true too badly (yes, I have done it before). I run clinchers all the time, but the "race" set is set up tubeless.

If there's a rock garden or rooty section then practice your dismount and running. Too steep to ride - hey, it's a run up! You will be slower going in the rougher sections because you have to really pay attention to your line and it may take a half dozen passes before you see a better line or learn how to set up going into a tight turn. You'll learn how to ride lighter I think. I've even ridden at a crawling pace through some rockier sections just to see if I could do it. Not particularly applicable to cx but I was just out having fun.



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