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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 08-08-08, 08:36 PM   #1
cod.peace
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So when do the hills get smaller?

I took a trip to the post office today during lunch, about a 5 mile round trip ride. You know, from the car a 3% grade over 0.6 miles doesn't seem that bad, but on the bike I used the very lowest gear I had (30 front, 32 rear) after the 1st half of the hill and managed to maintain a steady 5 mph. Sheesh. I feel pathetic just posting those numbers. On the other hand, I did do a nice 31 mph down the hill, assuming my Sigma Sport cyclocomputer is accurate .

So, how much riding does it take to make the damn hills easier??
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Old 08-08-08, 08:51 PM   #2
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If it gets easier, you'll just do it faster and in a higher gear to make it harder again, won't you?

At least, according to Greg LeMond, who said that cycling “never gets easier, you just go faster.”
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Old 08-08-08, 09:05 PM   #3
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I have a nice hill near my house. When I first started riding, I ended all my rides by climbing that hill. It only took a week or two to get used to it. Now I attack that hill in a high gear every time (much higher than when I started). So, my advice is to keep climbing!!!
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Old 08-08-08, 09:44 PM   #4
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I suppose I wouldn't mind it so much at 12 mph in a higher gear
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Old 08-08-08, 09:46 PM   #5
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If it gets easier, you'll just do it faster and in a higher gear to make it harder again, won't you?

At least, according to Greg LeMond, who said that cycling “never gets easier, you just go faster.”
I agree , after only 8 weeks , some of the hills I was doing in my granny gear , I'm going up them with my 3rd (highest ) chainring now . I didn't use the 3rd chainring at all to begin with, except for going faster downhill . I now use the long downhills for rest . kirby
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Old 08-09-08, 05:31 AM   #6
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There are hills which last year I thought I'd have a heart attack going up each time. Now they get the blood going but don't threaten to pop a vein. I noticed when I began putting larger numbers of miles in everything got easier.
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Old 08-09-08, 06:03 AM   #7
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i've noticed they have gotten longer as i get older.
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Old 08-09-08, 07:02 AM   #8
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short of another glacial retreat skimming the tops off, I think we just need to ride them more!
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Old 08-09-08, 07:26 AM   #9
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I've always had trouble on hills. But I've also been 200+ lbs for many years. I've upped my weekly mileage this summer, doing 70-100 miles per week, but don't see a lot of increase in my hill climbing ability. I just think it would ease the task, if I were loose more weight (down 37 pounds this year, need to loose that much again).
I've not been able to do this, but I've read where to increase you hill climbing ability, find a hill that takes 10 minutes or so to climb. Get out of the saddle and climb for one minute, then back in the saddle for two. Repeat til top of hill.
I'm in the Arkansas Ozarks, no trouble finding hills to climb!
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Old 08-09-08, 09:12 AM   #10
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I have been riding the same hills for over a year and they haven;t gotten smaller yet. The only difference is that I have beaten them enough that I have the confidence to get up them each time.
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Old 08-09-08, 09:55 AM   #11
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I have been riding the same hills for over a year and they haven;t gotten smaller yet. The only difference is that I have beaten them enough that I have the confidence to get up them each time.
I agree with this. The mental strength will pull you over the hill once you know you can do it, plus you sort of figure out how to attack the hill as you ride more of them. And if you keep riding, you will get stronger and hopefully drop some weight, if you're not in great shape already, and both these factors will make the hills manageable/faster.
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Old 08-09-08, 10:15 AM   #12
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Actually I suspect that when I'm not looking some villagers from Wales come along and add to the top of the hills.

This of course is not true since I live in Houston. Flat coastal plains, but you folks that have have hills are welcome to use the Welsh villager excuse.
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Old 08-09-08, 10:18 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by cod.peace View Post
I took a trip to the post office today during lunch, about a 5 mile round trip ride. You know, from the car a 3% grade over 0.6 miles doesn't seem that bad, but on the bike I used the very lowest gear I had (30 front, 32 rear) after the 1st half of the hill and managed to maintain a steady 5 mph. Sheesh. I feel pathetic just posting those numbers. On the other hand, I did do a nice 31 mph down the hill, assuming my Sigma Sport cyclocomputer is accurate .

So, how much riding does it take to make the damn hills easier??
Would someone please answer the question. How much riding for how long to get results. I went on my first group ride today and I did OK except on the damn hills, then it got embarassing. So I'd like the answer to the question. I've been riding two months,(less two weeks on vacation) I'm closing in on 700 miles. I ride six miles each way to work four days a week, and I'm up to 20 to 25 miles a day on the other three days. Eventually, like everyone else I read here, I want to go further and faster and justify purchasing another bike. Right now, I'd just like to go up the hills faster.
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Old 08-09-08, 10:39 AM   #14
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Keep pedalling, Red. As your legs get less sore, the hills get easier. At least, that's how it's working out for me.

I just stretched my daily loop to 40+ miles, so my legs get sore again. But the first 30 is still pretty nice, hills or not.
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Old 08-09-08, 10:50 AM   #15
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I agree with this. The mental strength will pull you over the hill once you know you can do it, plus you sort of figure out how to attack the hill as you ride more of them. And if you keep riding, you will get stronger and hopefully drop some weight, if you're not in great shape already, and both these factors will make the hills manageable/faster.
That is true. I have figured out how to go uphill better as far as not losing my cadence and shifting at the right times so my legs don't blow out trying to mash up the hills and I think that does help. Other than that, I think the only thing that will make the hills smaller for me is when I get smaller. If I lost 30 or 40 pounds, the hills would probably flatten out a lot. If I lost 80, it would probably be like going downhill.

I am glad my hills are molehills and not mountains. lol
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Old 08-09-08, 11:11 AM   #16
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Would someone please answer the question. How much riding for how long to get results. I went on my first group ride today and I did OK except on the damn hills, then it got embarassing. So I'd like the answer to the question. I've been riding two months,(less two weeks on vacation) I'm closing in on 700 miles. I ride six miles each way to work four days a week, and I'm up to 20 to 25 miles a day on the other three days. Eventually, like everyone else I read here, I want to go further and faster and justify purchasing another bike. Right now, I'd just like to go up the hills faster.
Since you are closing in on 700 miles have you seen any results at all? Is your six miles to work easier, your 20-25 miles rides any easier? You also have to take into account how long have these people on the group rides been riding vrs your 6-7 weeks.

I find the best way to go fast up hills is to ride up hills over and over and over. Try spinning up hills in a lower gear and keeping your pace up, stand and pedal up hills using your whole body but keep riding until you find what works best for you in each situation.
Some days I can plow through hills without even backing off that other days I need to drop down to the granny gear and spin my way up.
I find group rides in hills pretty difficult. I have at least 100lbs on all these other folks who are riding much lighter racing bikes with me there on my huge heavy bike so unless I was alot better rider they are going to drop me on hills just due to gravity. 8,283 miles for me since last May and I'm still getting dropped on hills if they really want to drop me but I'm keeping up a little better.
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Old 08-09-08, 11:20 AM   #17
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8,283 miles for me since last May and I'm still getting dropped on hills if they really want to drop me but I'm keeping up a little better.
Almost 8300 miles in a year and change = keeping up a little better on hills. I think that answers the question! Hills never get easy. lol
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Old 08-10-08, 12:27 PM   #18
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Would someone please answer the question. How much riding for how long to get results. I went on my first group ride today and I did OK except on the damn hills, then it got embarassing. So I'd like the answer to the question. I've been riding two months,(less two weeks on vacation) I'm closing in on 700 miles. I ride six miles each way to work four days a week, and I'm up to 20 to 25 miles a day on the other three days.
I've decided this week to make my two of my lunchtime rides hill-training ones where I repeatedly ride up shorter hills as fast as possible. I'll try this for a few weeks and see if the intervals help (they should).

Quote:
Eventually, like everyone else I read here, I want to go further and faster and justify purchasing another bike. Right now, I'd just like to go up the hills faster.
I still need to work up to commuting to justify the $500 on the 1st bike, nevermind the next one. I have been thinking that a folding bike to toss in the minivan would be handy when we take our 4 year old to the park for bike rides
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Old 08-10-08, 03:44 PM   #19
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There is no answer to your question. Or rather, it has already been given:
Quote:
"Cycling never gets easier, you just go faster."
As your fitness improves, you have two options:
  1. Ride faster but harder, or
  2. Ride the same speed but easier.
Of course, if you ride the same speed, you will stop improving.

Besides, everybody's different and so there is no correct answer for everybody. if there were, everybody would be doing it.
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Old 08-10-08, 07:27 PM   #20
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So, how much riding does it take to make the damn hills easier??
You know, it takes as long as it takes. Everyone is different. But what I can tell you is that it does get easier. Not *easy*--you keep pushing, but it gets so you don't think you'll die every time you go over a hill.

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Old 08-10-08, 07:44 PM   #21
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Wow. The hills on my normal rides got a LOT smaller after today's ride. We did some real climbing. Something like 4600 ft over the first 30 miles (55 total, the last 20 was mostly downhill). Now those hills that I used to think were tough and big are a lot smaller.

So if you want your regular hills to be smaller, go ride up some mountains!
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Old 08-10-08, 09:15 PM   #22
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This is how I explain it. I ride the hill the first time in granny if I have to. Then the next day or a few days later depending on how my legs feel I ride the hill again. This time with confidence I can make it without stopping or walking, in granny gear if needed. Then I keep at it. Next thing I know I maybe doing parts of the hill in higher a gear. Then one day I get a burr under my saddle and really attack it. I then strangle that bad boy and put it in my back pocket. The next time I find a hill challenging I recall that bad boy I beat before and I know I can conquer the new hill. Tomorrows ride will include three steep climbs only one of which I have ever done before.
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Old 08-10-08, 09:40 PM   #23
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dbikingman - Great description! I remember going from "OMG, I made it over the hill!" to finally not worrying, each time I approach it, about whether I'd make it or not. It took a while. You're right that riding in granny gear is nothing to be ashamed of. Each trip over the hill makes the next one easier.
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Old 08-11-08, 05:52 PM   #24
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I still haven't figured out a way to make them smaller but I did stumble upon a way to make them bigger. Ride them with loaded panniers. lol
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Old 08-11-08, 06:10 PM   #25
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So when do the hills get smaller?



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