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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 01-27-08, 01:02 PM   #1
JohnnyC
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Will it get easier?

Went out for a ride in the countryside today - aiming to climb one or two hills. Over the 21miles, I climbed 1693 feet - proberbly nothing special - but it really took it out of me. One of the climbs was a mile long - I managed to get to the top, and was pleased I didn't stop - although the thought did pop into my head.

I currently tip the scales at 266lbs and am 6'4'' tall. I was on my hybrid, with rack and pannier - this weighs 32lbs. So what I'd like to know is - will it ever get easier?

I'm seriously considering buying a road bike - something like a Specialized Roubaix - will I notice the difference whilst climbing? I did use the equivalent lowest gear (on the hybrid) that the Roubaix has with a compact fitted, and found I could just about deal with it.
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Old 01-27-08, 01:21 PM   #2
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Yeah, it will get easier especially as you lose weight.

Five years ago I had a knee problem that kept me off the bike for a long time. I was roughly your size, 6'3" and 255 lbs. when I was cleared for action. That spring my mission was to drop the flab that I had accumulated. I rode a 30 mile ride with 3,000 feet of climbing every other day. I hit the gym for an hour on off days. I dropped 30 lbs in 2 1/2 months and put on a substantial bit of muscle.

But starting out sucks. Every spring that ride would kill me for about three weeks before my cardiovascular system could catch up.

The important thing is to keep going out as often as possible, even if it is for short rides or a quick climb. Once you build up some endurance, those hills will be fun. If you're strictly a weekend warrior, it's not gonna work.

And yeah, if you wanna get a Roubaix w/compact, by all means go for it. But you'll have to tack on a few extra miles to get the same workout.
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Old 01-27-08, 01:43 PM   #3
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Sounds like you worked hard v1k1ng1001 - thanks for the advice.

I commute to work and go out every night. Have just built up to 60 miles per week - and have put in 172 miles this year. So - I'll keep at it! I do wonder if hills will ever be fun!
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Old 01-27-08, 02:55 PM   #4
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They do get fun after a while. I thought I was good at hills, but then I went touring in the Appalachian mountains in PA. Humbling, that was.
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Old 01-27-08, 02:56 PM   #5
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Hills are always fun......on the way down You just have to work a bit to get to the fun part. Look at it as a reward

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Sounds like you worked hard v1k1ng1001 - thanks for the advice.

I commute to work and go out every night. Have just built up to 60 miles per week - and have put in 172 miles this year. So - I'll keep at it! I do wonder if hills will ever be fun!
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Old 01-27-08, 03:03 PM   #6
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It never gets easier you just get faster.
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Old 01-27-08, 03:20 PM   #7
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1600 ft would have killed me, so I say congrats. My mountain is the Acosta Bridge but have never gone over it enough to equal 1600 ft.
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Old 01-27-08, 03:27 PM   #8
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I had the problem of charging into the mountains rather than pacing myself at first. Big mistake.
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Old 01-27-08, 03:56 PM   #9
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Getting your weight down helps a LOT--I'm 6'4", too, and a couple of years ago I'd ballooned to almost 270. I lost about 35 pounds, and rode up most hills at least a full chainring higher than I had for years. My speed on the flats didn't change a lot (it did go up a little), but I could really feel the difference on climbs.
FWIW, I haven't found that weight-weenying three or four pounds off the bike is very effective compared to taking 20 or 30 off the rider. When you weigh 178 and you're 7 percent body fat is soon enough to worry about finding a lightweight bike.
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Old 01-27-08, 04:07 PM   #10
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I say, "congratulations on getting to the top of the hill." The easy way out is to stop. Make sure you are having fun, though. If not, stopping becomes a more real possibility.
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Old 01-27-08, 04:25 PM   #11
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Although pushing myself wasn't comfortable - I did have fun - especially enjoying the scenery. I agree with losing the weight of myself first - I'm just going to ride some hills more and let the weight sort itself out. A road bike will be like a reward, I have the money to get it now - but will hold back for a few months.

When I got back into town today, I was crawling at 10 - 12 mph, and had a nice headwind to cool me down.

Velo Dog - I will never weigh 178lbs - I would be like a skinny stick insect. I think 225 is more like it!!!
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Old 01-27-08, 04:37 PM   #12
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Most of the above have about the same answers as I would give, as most of us went through the same thing in a way. I had my Jamis set up for touring and at the time it weighed 35#, I took some things of and got it down to 30#. I bought a carbon fiber Roubaix in Oct. and I can climb hills much easier now, but I still like riding the Jamis as well. You can get some pretty good prices on 2007 models now.
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Old 01-27-08, 05:50 PM   #13
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One thing I find is that I ride around here in town for my daily rides, and go to White Rock Lake on weekends, and both of those are basically flat- very little climbing involved, so my training doesn't include climbing. But, most of these organized rides are out of town and do include some hills or a lot of hills. So if you want to do better on hills, actually train on them. Weight will help, but just doing them in the first place will help.

I found hiking up a steep hill was great exercise. One thing that helped me track my progress there was to time myself every day. Something less obvious is that you build up stamina. If you go up a 1,000' hill every day, it'll be a heck of a lot easier to go up 5,000'.
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Old 01-27-08, 06:36 PM   #14
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It never gets easier; you just get faster.
Rats! you took the old cycling adage right out of me mouth.

That little classic saying comes to us from Greg LeMond, and it seems a lot of folk agree. BUt there are some differences from just starting out, to when you get a few more hours under your belt. Some things will definitely be a little bit easier and less painful.
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Old 01-27-08, 06:52 PM   #15
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I say, "congratulations on getting to the top of the hill." The easy way out is to stop. Make sure you are having fun, though. If not, stopping becomes a more real possibility.
well said
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Old 01-28-08, 08:22 AM   #16
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They do get fun after a while. I thought I was good at hills, but then I went touring in the Appalachian mountains in PA. Humbling, that was.
Not just for you. :-(
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Old 01-28-08, 08:28 AM   #17
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Went out for a ride in the countryside today - aiming to climb one or two hills. Over the 21miles, I climbed 1693 feet - proberbly nothing special - but it really took it out of me. One of the climbs was a mile long - I managed to get to the top, and was pleased I didn't stop - although the thought did pop into my head.

I currently tip the scales at 266lbs and am 6'4'' tall. I was on my hybrid, with rack and pannier - this weighs 32lbs. So what I'd like to know is - will it ever get easier?

I'm seriously considering buying a road bike - something like a Specialized Roubaix - will I notice the difference whilst climbing? I did use the equivalent lowest gear (on the hybrid) that the Roubaix has with a compact fitted, and found I could just about deal with it.
Sounds like a good excuse to repost my little ode to my first ever climb of the hill on Lucas Road:

Lines Written On My First Ever Climb of the Hill On Lucas Road, December 8, 2007

On the Lucas Road there's a lil' ol' bump.
If hills were like trees, it's a lil' ol' stump
But that Lucas Road and it's lil' ol' bump,
It was too much hill for a Clyde!

Near there was a Clyde - we'll name him Neil,
For sake of the rhyme, no other appeal-
That Lucas Road bump made him squeal,
It was too much hill for that Clyde!

It wasn't too long, it wasn't too high,
It was steep and short and curved to the side,
And that steep and short and curve to the side
Made it too much hill for that Clyde.

Time and again he'd ride his bike
up half of the hill, and then take a hike,
It was just too much hill for that poor bike,
And too much hill for that Clyde!

Time and again he'd throw his heft-
belly a-bouncing, head tilted to the left-
on the Lucas Road and have nothing left
to climb that hill like a Clyde!

"Other cyclists climb that hill" said he,
"sometimes in groups of two or three,
And other Neils more fine than me
have climbed that hill like a Clyde."

"Why can't I climb it?" said Neil in distress.
"If that hill beats me, I'm in such a mess
I should give up cycling and take up chess,
but I can't climb that hill. I'm a Clyde."

And then on a cold, dark December day,
the sunshine peeked from a bleak sky of gray,
And Neil thought he'd try again that day,
To climb that hill as a Clyde.

Down Penn, down Ward, and downward he sped,
Down Nottingham Lane the Neil-clyde ped-
eled, faster and faster he sped,
To the hill too much for that Clyde.

His legs were a blur, his lungs were a gasping,
His Shimano Index Shifters were rasping,
As for the lowest gearing he was grasping,
As he climbed that hill, did that Clyde.

He huffed and he puffed and he rode that bike clear
over the top of the hill, and folks far and near
heard him shout, "I'm not even in my lowest gear!
I climbed that hill like a Clyde!"

Stories are supposed to have morals, yasee,
Some meaning for you, some meaning for me,
I know what I think, and that's fine with me,
Meaning I'll let you decide:

Whenever you face a great big hump,
Whenever you face a lil' ol' bump,
Remember Neil and his lil' ol' bump
and climb that hill like a Clyde!
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Old 01-28-08, 11:52 AM   #18
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Being a lot older and fatter than I used to be, I had to learn to swallow my ego to ride hills comfortable. So I got a Mountain Triple, and a 11-32 rear and just take my own sweet time getting over the hills. Living in the Northern Rocky Mountains, the hills here tend to be long and not so steep, but I have my choice of going uphill for 10+ miles anytime I want. And since gearing lower I don't mind the uphills, and the downhills are a pure pleasure.
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