Got up early and met 6 other guys for some dawn patrol in the wasatch backcountry. 6 out of the 7 of us in the group are cyclists. Climbing mountains in the winter is about as close to mountain biking as it gets. The lungs burn, the legs get worked. A lot of suffering is required to earn the downhill. You would think that any cyclist could maintain good form and transition to backcountry and be fast.
But here is the thing. Ben, the only non-cyclist in the group, is and always will be the fastest climber. It's weird. I have no idea how he maintains his fitness over the Summer/Fall months. He was able to put significant distance between all of us without coming close to redlining it. The guy is a freak. At one point, I managed to catch up to him or at least within talking range and ask how he stays so fit. His reply was disturbing. "I sit around and eat crap". The thing is, he wasn't joking. In fact, at the top of the first lap, he busted out a baggie of chocolate chip cookies. It was 7:30am and he was sugar loading on cookies.
I've joked about giving him a road bike and making him time trial up Suncrest to see what time he could post. I wouldn't be surprised if he could break 20 min on his first try (north side). This spring, as soon as the road is dry, I'm going to do that. I must know what he can do on the bike.
Genetics go a long way I guess. Some have it. Some not so much.