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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-22-07, 08:04 PM   #1
Mobiker50
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Going Uppity-Up-Up!

I'm looking for some hill advice. As a group of a certain stature, I figure some of you have shared that wonderful experience of finding that going up hills can hurt! I have a suspicion that some of that pain has to do with the fact that I'm pushing a bunch of weight up that hill (around 265). Since I started riding on the road again this June-July (previously I was mostly on flat trails), I'm looking for advice, training recommendations, strategies that will help me conquer the hills around here. And in Mid-Missouri, we've got some pretty decent hills!

Any advice gladly received.

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Old 10-22-07, 08:17 PM   #2
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It may seem too simple to be true, but the answer is easy; " Just ride em". The more you ride hills the quicker your body acclimates to the new stress. As a side benefit the hill training will dramatically improve your overall cycling efficiency. As the Nike slogan says "Just Do It."
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Old 10-22-07, 08:17 PM   #3
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Ride them again and again and again.

Focus on using smaller gears at easier cadence. Stay in the saddle as much as possible. Try doing some lower body focused weight lifting, particularly using low weights at high reps. Work on improving your pedaling form by doing form drill on flat land (in simple terms work at spinning a very high cadence 90-100 rpm) as this will improve you power efficiency at all cadence and effort levels.

Oh. and Do it again and again and again and again and again.
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Old 10-22-07, 08:45 PM   #4
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Ride them again and again and again.

Focus on using smaller gears at easier cadence. Stay in the saddle as much as possible. Try doing some lower body focused weight lifting, particularly using low weights at high reps. Work on improving your pedaling form by doing form drill on flat land (in simple terms work at spinning a very high cadence 90-100 rpm) as this will improve you power efficiency at all cadence and effort levels.

Oh. and Do it again and again and again and again and again.
+2^65536
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Old 10-22-07, 08:52 PM   #5
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Be glad you're pushing "only" 265 . 290 is a bee-otch.
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Old 10-22-07, 08:54 PM   #6
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Be glad you're pushing "only" 265 . 290 is a bee-otch.
Yeah I started at 320... much easier at 240

Another thought, I've recently built up a fixed gear and that's helped allot as well with pedaling efficiency.
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Old 10-22-07, 09:02 PM   #7
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Ride them again and again and again.

Focus on using smaller gears at easier cadence. Stay in the saddle as much as possible. Try doing some lower body focused weight lifting, particularly using low weights at high reps. Work on improving your pedaling form by doing form drill on flat land (in simple terms work at spinning a very high cadence 90-100 rpm) as this will improve you power efficiency at all cadence and effort levels.

Oh. and Do it again and again and again and again and again.
I'm working on the 'doing it again and again and again' part. As for the cadence, I've actually done the math and I'm usually at 90-95 rpm on the road or trail, and I've tried to keep a high cadence on the hills. But they still hurt (major waaahhhhh!! statement).
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Old 10-22-07, 09:05 PM   #8
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Be glad you're pushing "only" 265 . 290 is a bee-otch.
Yeah, when I started it was "Flat City" for me, but I was about 330 at the time. I would have really popped a blood vessel if I'd have tried hills then
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Old 10-22-07, 09:15 PM   #9
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Shoulda tried it when I resumed cycling at 450! Hills were.........well, impossible!
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Old 10-22-07, 09:20 PM   #10
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Shoulda tried it when I resumed cycling at 450! Hills were.........well, impossible!
450? Pounds???? And how many wheels did YOUR bicycle have, my friend?
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Old 10-22-07, 09:26 PM   #11
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450? Pounds???? And how many wheels did YOUR bicycle have, my friend?
2, it was a mountain bike, converted to a street ride, and it gets better, I had to use Oxygen to ride


when this bike broke, it was replaced with this one

and today
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Old 10-22-07, 10:13 PM   #12
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I'll never tire seeing those shots Tom!

A caveat to the 'again and again and again' Stagger your training. Let's say you do some hill repeats on day 1 (get to that biggest, baddest, dauntest hill, get yer arse up it, ride down, do it again, repeat for an hour). Next day do an easy ride - try to find flat and keep an easy pace. Third day rest. Repeat.

There's lots of formulas and methods - above is a suggestion and not a hardened rule but part of training will be a recovery ride of sorts to clear your muscles of built up lactic acid and a day to let your body repair. Without those you will probably do damage at some point and notice a decrease in performance (which could lead you to being discouraged and a dusty bike in the garage) - it IS possible to train too hard.

But first step is doing it
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Old 10-22-07, 10:22 PM   #13
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2, it was a mountain bike, converted to a street ride, and it gets better, I had to use Oxygen to ride


when this bike broke, it was replaced with this one

and today
I was going to send some pics to reply, but 1) can't figure out how to post them, and 2) couldn't come close to matching those! Tom, you are definitely da man! I've dreamt of getting some oxygen at times (usually on the hills I'm talking about here), but never actually had to strap any on (oh, except for the week after the heart attack in 2001). I promise to get the picture thing figured out sooner than later; I think we can all do with some comparisons.


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Old 10-22-07, 11:38 PM   #14
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This is a practice thing, not a theory thing. Just get out there and ride the toughest hill you can manage for three weeks. Then add more hill the next three weeks, and then more, then more...

If you're aerobically fit, it doesn't mean that you're anareobically fit. Building up anaerobic fitness takes time too. Work on clmbing and recovering (while you ride) over short rollers too!
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Old 10-23-07, 05:21 AM   #15
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Pics posting: Easiest way: Photobucket Account----->Paste in the forum code------>Publish Insta-pic!
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Old 10-23-07, 06:43 AM   #16
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Well, I'm also about 265 (up from about 250 due to this spate of business travel I'm doing - to much restaurant food and too little exercise) and started riding in May of this past spring. It's very hilly where I live, and I started riding a 4 - 1/2 mile loop on the roads around my house. At first I couldn't make it without pushing the bike up the hills. It was a great victory when I made it the first time around withoug having to put of foot down! I kept increasing my distance, and now ride about 15 miles - still very hilly - on each ride. I'm at the point now where I'm looking to bump the distance up some more.

Ditto what was said about using lower gears and spinning up the hills. My first bike was a Trek 820 mountain bike, and in late June I took delivery of a Surly Long Haul Trucker with equally-low gearing. Spinning is good, but now I'm strong enough and stable enough (the Surly helps here with it's long wheelbase and inherent stability) to attack some of the hills by standing and pedaling in a higher gear.

Who was it that said "Don't ride upgrades - ride up grades"?
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Old 10-23-07, 07:13 AM   #17
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Pics posting: Easiest way: Flicker Account----->Paste in the forum code------>Publish Insta-pic!
Fixed that for ya

We have a Flickr community where you can add your pics to a pool - all free and nice way to consolidate.

Here's a thread on posting.

Also, not to derail but here's the thread for weight loss pics or just posting pics

Oh, and this inspired me to create a 'Community' section in my sig too if anyone's interested.
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Old 10-23-07, 10:44 AM   #18
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I actually use both Flicker and Photobucket. PB has the codes right there though to paste direct
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Old 10-23-07, 02:18 PM   #19
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Tom, everytime I see those photos, I'm floored! Absolutely fantastic. I have a young friend who is about 462 who I'm trying to get to work on it so he will see age 30. I have showed him those photos and they are an inspiration to him also. Sorry 'bout the thread hijack.
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Old 10-23-07, 06:44 PM   #20
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I think I've got some pictures up. Did the Flickr thing and posted a pre-bicycle and a post-bicycle picture, not the best but it gives you an idea.

Pre-bicycle is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/1591225...n/pool-clydes/
Post bicycle is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/1591225...n/pool-clydes/

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Old 10-23-07, 06:47 PM   #21
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OH, and did I mention (per the post-bicycle picture) that I am something of a Luddite and have trouble adapting to new technology (like the fancy cord holder I was given for a gag birthday gift in the picture)?
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Old 10-23-07, 07:17 PM   #22
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You guys are my heros! I am trying to lose 20 or so pounds and dont feel like its coming off quick enough. Matter of fact, since its been raining the last few days and because the sun is departing sooner, I am feeling like I have stopped losing and have started gaining. You guys rock!
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Old 10-25-07, 09:28 AM   #23
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I ride a lot of hills, and at 240, it's still pretty difficult. I have found that most riders tend to downshift too soon when approching a hill. Let your already established momentum carry you up part of the hill by staying in the same gear. Don't try to mash the gear to maintain cadence or a blowup is inevitable. Let the hill bring down your cadence while exerting nearly the same effort as you would while spinning on the flats. Once you get near normal climbing speed, start gravitating toward your climbing gears.

Hope this helps.

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Old 10-25-07, 10:22 AM   #24
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Well...I'm just a tad under your weight. I just make sure I'm spinning a high cadence up hills.

But then again, minus bridges and overpasses...there really aren't that many "hills" in my area.
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Old 10-25-07, 05:08 PM   #25
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I ride a lot of hills, and at 240, it's still pretty difficult. I have found that most riders tend to downshift too soon when approching a hill. Let your already established momentum carry you up part of the hill by staying in the same gear. Don't try to mash the gear to maintain cadence or a blowup is inevitable. Let the hill bring down your cadence while exerting nearly the same effort as you would while spinning on the flats. Once you get near normal climbing speed, start gravitating toward your climbing gears.

Hope this helps.

RK
One technique with climbing depends on what comes before the hill, if you have rollers, where you go down one hill then up the next, you use a different technique then if you have a long flat stretch or the hill that goes on for a long distance, then gets steeper.

If you go down then up, you want a full head of steam in a high gear going down, and let momentum carry you up the other side, you may actually go up in a fairly high gear. A flat stretch you can use a similar technique, build up a full head of steam going along, and then start gearing down as you start to get pedal pressure building up.

If your going up a small hill that gets steeper, it depends on how big the hill is, if it's short you may be able to stand and mash over it, if it's a long steep hill, you just need to decide at what speed you give up and walk it, for me it's 5km/h because I can usually walk faster....
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