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Thread: Hills!

  1. #1
    I wave to Freds monkeyevil's Avatar
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    Hills!

    Hey everyone! I've been riding on and off my whole life, but this year is the first I have taken it seriously and started "training." I usually ride on a few local group and shop rides. I like riding in a group because it is a great way to stay motivated and have some camaraderie.

    I don't know if this is a training issue, a weight issue, or both, but here goes.

    On the flatter rides, or rides with rolling hills that tend to be short distance wise. I have no issue keeping up with what I'll call the medium pace group (17-19 average MPH.) Many times I have no issues helping pull.

    The shop rides leave from a different part of town, and it involves lots of climbing (well as much as possible in Michigan.) The main factor is at mile 4 until mile 5.5 there is a constant climb that is about 300 feet total. I ALWAYS get dropped here... every week. By the time I recover and get back on pace, the group is around 2 to 3 min ahead of me. It's like the hill is just long enough I can't stand and sprint it with the group.

    It's frustrating because I end up riding alone the rest of the ride at the same pace as the group ahead of me. If I fall back a group I end up feeling like I'm cheating my workout.

    Anyone share my pain on this one

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    monkeyevil, For a Clyde/Athena the enemy isn't necessarily weight, surprisingly. There are two ways to climb a hill, have the horsepower and technique to pull a higher gear, or use the granny gear. Both work, but the granny gear is slower. I suggest riding some hill repeats, working on transitioning from seated to standing and back, along with the gear selection for both techniques (often a single or double upshift when standing). Learn to use your handlebar as a lever to get more drive into each standing pedal stroke.

    Brad
    Last edited by bradtx; 07-09-11 at 07:15 PM. Reason: sp

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    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    "Does anyone else here have the same issue?" You do realize you posted in the Clydes & Athenas section??

    Let me illustrate a little:

    About 5 weeks ago, I purchased a PowerTap wheel. I used it for the first month just getting used to it and the numbers when I rode a certain way. Then, 2 weeks ago, I decided to test my FTP. This is the power level that (theoretically) I should be able to maintain for one hour. The test called for a 20-minute all out test: how hard could I go for 20-mins without "blowing up"?

    In my neck o' the woods, there's a nice 5 mile climb. It takes just about 20-mins to ride (for me anyway). The climb starts off shallow enough, around 1-2%, but over the course of the 5 miles gradually steepens. It tops out at about 5-6% until the last 200-meters, where it pitches up to 11%. Perfect format for the test.

    I took my 15 year-old son with me as he is also "into" racing and we wanted to start him on a formal training program. So I did the test, then he did it after me using the PowerTap. I completed the climb in 22mins, 16secs at an average power output of 376-watts. I weigh over 120kg.

    My son did the test. He weighs around 80kgs or some-such. He completed the climb also in 22:16 (or pretty darn close). But, here's the kicker: his power averaged at 260-watts!! I had to put out 100w more than him for 20-mins just to match his time!

    This holds true whether it's my son, or some of the guys from the shop ride. When climbing, it is all about power-to-weight ratio.

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    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    This holds true whether it's my son, or some of the guys from the shop ride. When climbing, it is all about power-to-weight ratio.
    Pretty much highlights the reality of the laws of the universe.

    Great post, btw.

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    I wave to Freds monkeyevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    monkeyevil, For a Clyde/Athena the enemy isn't necessarily weight, surprisingly. There are two ways to climb a hill, have the horsepower and technique to pull a higher gear, or use the granny gear. Both work, but the granny gear is slower. I suggest riding some hill repeats, working on transitioning from seated to standing and back, along with the gear selection for both techniques (often a single or double upshift when standing). Learn to use your handlebar as a lever to get more drive into each standing pedal stroke.

    Brad
    I feel like I understand the concept, but I just don't have the gas. Lol.

  6. #6
    Senior Member JT Burkard's Avatar
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    There is a 2+ mile 3% grade on the local rail turned bike path that I ride. Yesterday was the first time I really went at it with any gusto. The first mile was pretty good, I had a steady pace of around 8.5 mph but the second mile was starting to slow me down (7.5 mph). I gritted my teeth and kept at it knowing the top of the "climb" wasn't too far ahead. I turned around and my wife was about 100 yards behind be starting to suck wind. I turned around to go back to her. I told her its not a competition and I will be glad to hang back with her. I also told her if she can make it to the top without stopping she will feel a great sense of acomplishment. We hit the top and she was more then happy to be on the down side of hill. Most importantly, it was the first time she made the whole hill without stopping.

    Moral of this story is it will take you some time before you can stay with everyone but keep doing it and you will be able to climb like the rest of the group. You are not cheating your workout because you are stilling giving it your all. Before you start, see if there is some one or a few people that will hang back with you if you loose steam on that section. This way you will not be alone. I have found that group rides have some very nice people and they are willing to help out in situations like that. They can also give you the moral support and boost you need to complete the ride, as well as company so you are not alone.
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    Senior Member jr59's Avatar
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    This is simple; Hills rip the pack apart, EVERYWHERE!

    Look at the TDF; Hills shell out weaker riders. That is a fact of life.
    Don't worry, when you get in better shape, you will ride hills better.

    But they will still break the pack apart!

    So what to do, Ride hills MORE! Find steeper hills to include in your ride and ride them more.
    Hill repetes also work. The only way to get better on hills is to ride them more.


    Or you could buy a power tap wheel and some high $$$ other stuff and learn to train with it, and I mean TRAIN !
    It's is about power to weight and overall fitness. There is no easy way.

    Don't worry about cheating yourself, only you can do that! In fact, Chasing VERY hard to try to get back on, would also make you work harder and improve your overall fitness.

    Good luck!
    Gravity hates us all, but it hates me more than thin people!

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    Quote Originally Posted by monkeyevil View Post
    The shop rides leave from a different part of town, and it involves lots of climbing (well as much as possible in Michigan.) The main factor is at mile 4 until mile 5.5 there is a constant climb that is about 300 feet total. I ALWAYS get dropped here... every week. By the time I recover and get back on pace, the group is around 2 to 3 min ahead of me. It's like the hill is just long enough I can't stand and sprint it with the group.
    Consider riding ahead of the group before the climb so they catch you near the top. Then you may not get dropped overall and still be able to finish with the group. Good climbing is a combination of training, technique and attitude.

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    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Keep riding with this group. Obviously, they're inspiring you to become a stronger rider. Do some hill repeats until you can keep up on the climb. You'll be there before too long.
    Don't believe everything you think.

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    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Okay, several have mentioned it ... what's a "hill repeat"? Riding to the top of a hill, going back down, and riding up again? How many times (in a single "workout")?
    Deut 6:5

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  11. #11
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by volosong View Post
    Okay, several have mentioned it ... what's a "hill repeat"? Riding to the top of a hill, going back down, and riding up again? How many times (in a single "workout")?
    There's variations, depending on what kind of hills you have access to and what you're looking to accomplish.

    I do long hill repeats (1.5 - 2 mile climbs) on sub 7% average grades, and the idea is to get my HR near threshhold but keep it within range. This means climbing more deliberately, and paying attention to form and HR to get in a full set of 5 or 6 of those climbs. You get a nice rest on the way back down.

    I do consistent climbing (10 - 20 mile climbs) on sub 7% average grade mountain roads and the point is to climb without any break. Keep your HR in mid-range (zone 3) and don't push any more than necessary to keep yourself moving up the hill. It's all about the endurance power on these, and there is no break from the climbing.

    Finally, I do hill sprints. I pick a hill that I can summit in about 30 - 45 seconds and I hammer up it without regard to HR. Go until your heart is ready to pop out of your chest. Turn around, ride to the bottom, recover to zone-2, and do it again. Try to keep your pace within 5% of the first one, for all consecutive sprints. Do these until you hate your bicycle, then go ride someplace fun until you don't.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by volosong View Post
    Okay, several have mentioned it ... what's a "hill repeat"? Riding to the top of a hill, going back down, and riding up again? How many times (in a single "workout")?
    That's exactly what it is. Notice how Clifton does a few different types of hill repeats, and he does them because they're like the types of rides he does. Ideally, you would climb the death hill that's getting you dropped a few times, every few days. How many times depends on how much time you have to train, how long the hill is, how much it takes out of you ... really, think of it like lifting weights, and do it until you've got a good set in.
    Don't believe everything you think.

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    What is it that hurts, your heart or your legs?

    If it is the heart, you need more top end training, it will feel as if your heart is gonna come out of your chest. Do some hills on the other days by yourself and cut on the other type of riding. So on the other days ride smoothly, take your time, and show up to that climb by yourself. Do it 4 to 5 times, rest in between so your heart rate goes back to normal and monitor how much it takes to come back down.

    Its all about giving the proper stress, consistency and recovery. Of course shaving some fat would help, but that is not the main problem. I have seen good climbers, and even guys pacing who are "overweight" and its amazing the strength they have. I many times I would like to tell them that if they lose a few pounds they would be hammering everyone, but I back up and let it be, to each its own.

    Cut training on what you are good, and moderately add more training to the weaknesses. It is a proven fact that people who have had that extra pounds all their life, and then decide on losing it become very strong athlete as the muscles have developed to handle the extra weight.

    Kudos for starting training this year!

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    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info, Seattle and Clifton. Plenty of hills to choose from around where I live.
    Deut 6:5

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    "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'".
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