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Old 03-09-09, 10:56 AM   #1
sac02
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What's the second-best way to improve my climbing?

I know the best way is "climb more".

If "climb more" is not an easy option (the nearest climbing workout is probably 30 miles from here), what can I do?

This weekend I confirmed one thing and learned another:
1) Confirmed: My ability to accelerate and then recover is lacking - I'm assuming due to the fact that I've been JRA and doing club rides at 8 or 9/10ths intensity. I'm planning to address this with slightly shorter, but much more intense, work-outs including short interval sessions.

2) Learned: My climbing is much worse than I thought. I simply could not keep up with the couple guys I was working with on the two hills on the course. Both were pretty short "climbs" (less than 3 minutes each I'd say) but that's pretty much all we have with within 30 or so miles.

I'd say my overall fitness is OK for a rookie (I took 8th out of 38 finishers), but I'd like to address what I in this race as my two main weaknesses currently.

Thanks,

Mac
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Old 03-09-09, 11:01 AM   #2
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Explore different techniques. There are several.
I did this until I hit on one that unlocked a whole vault of speed/power. I used to dread hills. Now I know how to get up them.

Be prepared to hear a hundred answers regarding power workouts and wattage increases, but all of that will come with time. You should start focusing on technique right away.
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Old 03-09-09, 11:07 AM   #3
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lose weight.
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Old 03-09-09, 11:12 AM   #4
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I don't know what will work for you, and I really am not sure what will work for me, but what I have been doing is one long ride (50+ miles) every week that's full of hills.

I attack every hill at 100% and recover on the flats/downhills by soft pedaling.

This usually results in me feeling very nauseous/stomach sick but, from what I've heard, that's an indicator that I'm properly taxing my body's anaerobic system.
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Old 03-09-09, 11:13 AM   #5
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Intervals with short recovery times between each one.

Climbing has a lot to do with goof technique and knowing how to pace yourself, don't hit the foot of the hill too hard.

Do you blow up on climbs?
If you have the power pshing a bigger gear will keep your heart rate in check, it may feel unnatural and feel illogical while you're mashing but for me, pushing a big gear and pulling all around the pedal stroke gets me up the hills faster and with less chance of blowing up.
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Old 03-09-09, 11:16 AM   #6
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I don't know what will work for you, and I really am not sure what will work for me, but what I have been doing is one long ride (50+ miles) every week that's full of hills.

I attack every hill at 100% and recover on the flats/downhills by soft pedaling.

This usually results in me feeling very nauseous/stomach sick but, from what I've heard, that's an indicator that I'm properly taxing my body's anaerobic system.
you're doing it wrong.
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Old 03-09-09, 12:21 PM   #7
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3-5 reps of 5 minute intervals, as hard as you can, without completely blowing up. Rest 5 minutes between each interval. Great for short fast Texas hills.

What I would do if I were still in BCS: Start 1/2-1 mile before McMountain at a harder-than-time-trial-pace, then as the road turns upward, stay seated, downshift till you find the right gear, then focus on a complete smooth pedaling motion (use your quads, glutes, hip flexors, and hamstrings all together), still going as hard as possible without popping. As you crest the hill, upshift to maintain effort, increasing your speed, and keep pushing all the way to the turn off for the road that goes by Lake Bryan. That should be about 5 minutes give or take. Turn around and do it again and again. Take 5 minutes of complete rest, spinning easy.

I would probably start with 3 of these, as they should HURT, and you should be at the maximum effort you can sustain for 5 minutes. Do it once a week till you get to 5 reps. Take a full day of recovery before and after these, especially if you are new to this.

You should be breathing EXTREMELY heavy after the first 60-90 seconds. If you are not breathing like someone sucked out all of the oxygen in the air after 90 seconds, you are going too easy.

This will build your vo2 max power, and decrease recovery time. You may even contemplate skipping the Tuesday ride for a while and do these instead. You can always get in some longer rides on Thursday and Saturday if you want distance.
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Old 03-09-09, 12:26 PM   #8
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Explore different techniques. There are several.
One technique question I have at the moment is about standing. If I'm tired on a climb, I will often find my standing pedal stroke getting very jerky - my leg will just "fall" to the bottom of the stroke, and then I will pick it straight up to the top, like I'm only moving my feet up and down like climbing stairs instead of in circles. When I realize what's happening, one way I've found to counter it is to kind of "squat" a little lower over my saddle instead of maintaining my full upright normal climbing position. Would anyone care to comment on this particular strategy?

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Climbing has a lot to do with goof technique and knowing how to pace yourself, don't hit the foot of the hill too hard.
Do you blow up on climbs?
If you have the power pshing a bigger gear will keep your heart rate in check, it may feel unnatural and feel illogical while you're mashing but for me, pushing a big gear and pulling all around the pedal stroke gets me up the hills faster and with less chance of blowing up.
No, not really - I'm just slow all the way up. For example, on the finishing climb Saturday I let the two guys I was riding with go with only about 30 seconds into the climb, I know if I had tried to stay with them at the pace they were already going, I would have blown up badly 30 seconds later.

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3-5 reps of 5 minute intervals, as hard as you can, without completely blowing up. Rest 5 minutes between each interval. Great for short fast Texas hills.

...Description of McMountain workout...

This will build your vo2 max power, and decrease recovery time. You may even contemplate skipping the Tuesday ride for a while and do these instead. You can always get in some longer rides on Thursday and Saturday if you want distance.
That sounds like a really good workout that I could do fairly easily. I was thinking of possibilities like driving out to Roans Prairie and doing repeats of the Three Sisters; I totally forgot about McMountain closer to home. When and how long was your stay in BCS?

Mac

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Old 03-09-09, 09:07 PM   #9
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No, not really - I'm just slow all the way up. For example, on the finishing climb Saturday I let the two guys I was riding with go with only about 30 seconds into the climb, I know if I had tried to stay with them at the pace they were already going, I would have blown up badly 30 seconds later.
Bigger gear and push with both legs simultaneously 360 around the stroke.
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Old 03-09-09, 10:21 PM   #10
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That sounds like a really good workout that I could do fairly easily. I was thinking of possibilities like driving out to Roans Prairie and doing repeats of the Three Sisters; I totally forgot about McMountain closer to home. When and how long was your stay in BCS?

Mac
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