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  1. #1
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    Stopping on a Ride

    http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/jsQPhp2w4g4

    I had crazy fun yesterday riding to a lake just down the road from my house and back to my house. It's mostly downhill with a few climbs on the way, and then the opposite coming back up. The total ride was about 11.5 miles (got too dark my wife had to come and get me 1/2 a mile from my house) and the most I've ever done before then was ~5.5 miles.

    I had to walk up a few hills that defeated me, and therein lies my question. Should I find somewhere I can pedal constantly (i.e. flat ground with hills that I can handle) or is it okay to challenge myself this early out and have to walk up a few and take a break? I paused Endomondo the couple times a car got behind me and wouldn't pass until I got off the road, and the one time I stopped at the bottom to take a picture.

    I'm super proud of yesterday, and I realize I won't do it everyday, but I'd love some help on efficiency in training.

    Thanks!

    Last edited by tjakins; 08-11-11 at 08:06 AM. Reason: picture!

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    You had fun and challenged yourself, and even walking up those hills was good. If i were you i'd concentrate on the having fun part and you'll do it more often than if you find a level boring ride. Enjoy yourself and everything else falls into place, soon you'll be powering up those hills and loving it.
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    The only way to get better at riding hills is to ride hills. Do your best, and don't sweat the rest. Each time you ride, see if you can go a little further up the hill. Even if it's only a couple yards. Before long you'll be making it all the way to the top.

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    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    What's your gearing like? Perhaps instead of finding a flatter route it might make more sense to get some lower gears for the time being and then go back to normal gearing when you're more acclimated to the climbs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    What's your gearing like? Perhaps instead of finding a flatter route it might make more sense to get some lower gears for the time being and then go back to normal gearing when you're more acclimated to the climbs?
    Thanks for all the encouraging replies. I'm not sure how to answer this question - I'm not sure of the year, but I'm assuming it's a 2008 Trek 7.3 FX. It could be a 2007, but from what I can tell, it looks like they have the same gearing. I don't know anything about gearing, so any help would be appreciated.

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    To ride up a steep hill, use the small chain ring in the fornt, use the large cog on your rear casstte.
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  7. #7
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    i am working on hills too. I tackle them in two different ways:

    1) before going up the hill, change to a easier gear

    2) The other way I approach it is if I am coming off a flat into a hill and ride like I would on the flat until its a little tough and then I switch gears. Before going into an easier gear I do try to get as much out of the gear as my body will allow. I know this inceases the lactic acid in the legs but I think it will happen whatever way you tackle the hills.

    I dont know much but thats all I know. I do try to plan on working some hills once a week (hill training). Just hard to find hills in south jersey!

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    This year's athletic news has been that sprinting is better for training than long, slow efforts. Hills are a lot like sprinting, you push until you can't do it any more. So keep climbing!

    And don't feel bad about walking. I walked quite a few hills on my TransAm trip a couple years back. No shame, just regret that I wore out the soles of my Sidi shoes.

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    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjakins View Post
    The total ride was about 11.5 miles (got too dark my wife had to come and get me 1/2 a mile from my house) and the most I've ever done before then was ~5.5 miles.
    You need to buy a light set. You can get decent ones that will light up pot holes before you hit them, and let oncoming cars know you're there, for $20 to $30. I was against buying lights for a while - I had spent most of a grand on a bike, sprang (sprung?) for a computer, etc, and lights ... where does it end? But they're really nice to have, and dark times are coming.

    Quote Originally Posted by tjakins View Post
    I had to walk up a few hills that defeated me, and therein lies my question. Should I find somewhere I can pedal constantly (i.e. flat ground with hills that I can handle) or is it okay to challenge myself this early out and have to walk up a few and take a break? [...]I'm super proud of yesterday
    There lies your answer. You had a good time, and you're proud of yourself for the effort you put in (and the results it got you) so yes, it's perfectly ok. There aren't really (m)any hard and fast rules to cycling; you're doing it for yourself, and I think the real goal for most people is to have a good time.

    Also, if you enjoy yourself on rides with hills, you'll wind up climbing more and more of them because they're part of a fun route, and you'll get better at climbing.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  10. #10
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    1) walking is still exercise and 2) how you improve each time you tackle those hills is a measurement for you.

    I love to mountain bike. On a weekly ride there is a hill that for 6 years, I have had to walk but each time I tried it, I got alittle closer to the top. I eventually was able to ride all the way. You have no idea how great that was and how wonderful I felt. "It is better to have tried and failed then to not try at all". Keep challenging yourself.., don't stop.

    Just some advice: I finally made my hill by perfecting technique, not strength. I am plenty strong, that was never my problem. What I lacked was the skill and technique to climb the hill. You need to disect why you failed... are you trying to muscle up each hill and then run out of stream and have to walk? If so next, time do this... lower your gearing as you approach the hill... once on the hill, pulled yourself forward on the saddle. This is will send more power to the pedals by using different muscles. Try to maintain a steady not choppy stroke. If this is difficult for you, practice a smooth stroke on the flats. Remember to relax up a hill not try and over power it. You overpower a hill when you know you can ride it.

    Anyway, just remember to enjoy the ride.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjakins View Post
    Thanks for all the encouraging replies. I'm not sure how to answer this question - I'm not sure of the year, but I'm assuming it's a 2008 Trek 7.3 FX. It could be a 2007, but from what I can tell, it looks like they have the same gearing. I don't know anything about gearing, so any help would be appreciated.

    Ok so the 7.3 has a small chainring of 28, and a big cassette cog of 32. With 700C wheels, that gives:
    Low ratio: 0.875
    Low Gear Inches: 23.0

    Which means that for every time you spin the pedals, the wheel spins 0.875 times.

    Not "optimal" for gigantic climbs; many people recommend going down to 18-19 gear inches for loaded touring; since we're clydes I'd say that our weight makes us similar to "loaded" tourists . But 23 gear inches is hardly a bad gear to climb in either; my lowest right now is 27.6 GI (though I will be lowering it soon to 21.4 to tackle hills, very close to your lowest gear).


    I notice you didn't specify which gear you were attempting to tackle the hill in, and normally I wouldn't ask this question for fear of offending the rider... but since you seem unfamiliar with your bikes gearing... were you in your lowest gear on the hill? If not you should definitely downshift as low as you need to go.


    If you *were* in your lowest gear, then there may be a mechanical solution, but it's not going to be cheap. Your cassette is pretty good; 32 is a great low gear in the rear. I think the only thing that's commonly available that is lower is 34, which won't offer you much of an improvement on how low it can go. If you swap out your cassette for one that has a 34 low gear (Probably $40 or so), you go down about 6% in gearing, which will hardly be noticable, from 23 GI to 21.7 GI.

    You may need to swap out your chainrings (looks like you have 28/38/48), which could be more work and a lot more money depending on what kind of crank you have. Since Trek changes specs every year, I can't say for sure whether the 7.3 FX in 2007 had welded chainrings or removable chainrings. If they're welded, you may have to replace the entire crankset and go with a 22/32/44 rather than a 28/38/48. This will be expensive.

    If they're not welded, however, you may be able to replace your smallest chainring with a 22, and keep 22/38/48, which gives you a new low gear of 22/34, which is about 27% lower than 28/34. I don't know how well this might work, because it's a large jump from 22 to 38, so you may need to have a bike shop look at it and see what works.


    If you don't want to spend money, then it may be time to try out the flatter routes and ramp up to the hills, though.

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    Thank you everyone for the advice and encouragement.

    The more I think about it, Mithrandir, the more I realize that I was just dead tired by the time I got to the lake - and then the first thing that hits you on the way out is the hardest climb. I would start out in a very low gear, spinning quickly, and then just go as low as possible until my legs wouldn't push me anymore. I will work on technique, but power is also a problem since I'm so new (and I generally eat very few carbs. I've been drinking gatorade lately, but I'm not sure if it's helping or hurting).

    I think I will start climbing more, rather than less, and just generally beating myself up until I'm no longer a clyde. :] The entire reason I made that ride yesterday was because I read a post about challenging yourself here. I've seen what 520lbs feels like, and I never want to go back there. My wife says I'm not fat anymore, but until I'm to the point that I'm happy with my physical condition, I won't stop!

    Thanks guys and gals.

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    Looks awesome. Where part of Daniel Boone do you live in? I grew up in Letcher Co.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjakins View Post
    Thank you everyone for the advice and encouragement.

    The more I think about it, Mithrandir, the more I realize that I was just dead tired by the time I got to the lake - and then the first thing that hits you on the way out is the hardest climb. I would start out in a very low gear, spinning quickly, and then just go as low as possible until my legs wouldn't push me anymore. I will work on technique, but power is also a problem since I'm so new (and I generally eat very few carbs. I've been drinking gatorade lately, but I'm not sure if it's helping or hurting).

    I think I will start climbing more, rather than less, and just generally beating myself up until I'm no longer a clyde. :] The entire reason I made that ride yesterday was because I read a post about challenging yourself here. I've seen what 520lbs feels like, and I never want to go back there. My wife says I'm not fat anymore, but until I'm to the point that I'm happy with my physical condition, I won't stop!

    Thanks guys and gals.
    Gatorade will help. I've noticed a definite improvement in the length of my rides when I drink it on the ride. I don't go full strength though; I usually go about 75% strength (ie: use 3 scoops instead of 4 for the powder; or water it down 3:1 for non-powder).

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    Quote Originally Posted by olejason View Post
    Looks awesome. Where part of Daniel Boone do you live in? I grew up in Letcher Co.
    Very near to Cumberland Falls in Whitley County.

    Edit: if you still live around the area, I'm looking for someone to ride with.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjakins View Post
    Thank you everyone for the advice and encouragement.

    The more I think about it, Mithrandir, the more I realize that I was just dead tired by the time I got to the lake - and then the first thing that hits you on the way out is the hardest climb. I would start out in a very low gear, spinning quickly, and then just go as low as possible until my legs wouldn't push me anymore. I will work on technique, but power is also a problem since I'm so new (and I generally eat very few carbs. I've been drinking gatorade lately, but I'm not sure if it's helping or hurting).

    I think I will start climbing more, rather than less, and just generally beating myself up until I'm no longer a clyde. :] The entire reason I made that ride yesterday was because I read a post about challenging yourself here. I've seen what 520lbs feels like, and I never want to go back there. My wife says I'm not fat anymore, but until I'm to the point that I'm happy with my physical condition, I won't stop!

    Thanks guys and gals.
    That bolded part is what I would think about each time you try the hill but keep in trying, you WILL make it eventually and will likely enjoy riding it after that, I was once upon a time 534 pounds and I too had a hill that would kick my arse to the point where I needed to walk the top part of it. That hill is now just part of my "strength workout ride" and last year I was riding my daughter to school in a bike trailer each day, no walking all pedaling up that hill, the kids in her class called me "the bike dad" all year

    Stopping to walk is fine, as long as you keep on riding you will get stronger, your skills on a bike will only get better and like I said, you will very likely enjoy the hills after a while, I know that I do now

    and just for reference when I first made it up that hill I would have to drop the chain to the small gear (22) in front with the largest in the back and now I can do it on the middle ring up front which is 32 and not even need to go all the way to the biggest gearing in the back.

    keep on riding the hill, rinse repeat, you will get there.

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  17. #17
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    I personally have always loved hills, even know I will never be a "climber". Ride every hill you can find, find a gear that works for you in that hill, probably in your smallest gear in the front, and settle into the best rhythm or cadence you can maintain. Speed is nit the goal, getting to the top is!

    When climbing I would always use "goals" when I would feel like I needed to stop..... Just make it to the next mail box, the next guard rail, the next tree. Whatever. Keep from letting yourself get off. If you do need to get off, stop and regain your heart rate and composure, and get back on. I would always try to ride the whole hill or climb even if I needed to stop ( no walking ). Mentally I felt more as I'd I had "made it" and I ways almost always able to go back and do that same hill or climb without stopping when I had the confidence that I could male it up that climb (. Don't doubt the psycological aspect of riding a bike!)

  18. #18
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    You are doing great.

    When you have a really big hill, gear down early, and go as slow as you can.

    As time goes by, you'll get better.

    Your gearing is nice and low.

    However, my low is a 24/34 and it helps on the monster climbs.

    Something to consider.
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  19. #19
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with stopping. Sometimes you just have to stop or die. But my philosophy will not allow me to walk or snake up a hill. I have to ride straight up or deep in my little black book of accomplishment, I didn't do it. Others think differently but my own thoughts are I have to ride every inch of the hill. It's either straight up or throw up.

    In the case of the OP, I think it's great, stop, walk some, puke if you have to. The fact that he is working at is the key! I only mention my thoughts in response to other posters.

    Keep at it tjakins!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dbarkertarmac View Post
    When climbing I would always use "goals" when I would feel like I needed to stop..... Just make it to the next mail box, the next guard rail, the next tree. Whatever. Keep from letting yourself get off.
    I need to employ this stategy. I did, to some degree, today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Nothing wrong with stopping. Sometimes you just have to stop or die. But my philosophy will not allow me to walk or snake up a hill. I have to ride straight up or deep in my little black book of accomplishment, I didn't do it. Others think differently but my own thoughts are I have to ride every inch of the hill. It's either straight up or throw up.

    In the case of the OP, I think it's great, stop, walk some, puke if you have to. The fact that he is working at is the key! I only mention my thoughts in response to other posters.

    Keep at it tjakins!
    I'm the same way, Mr. Beanz. I set a goal today - that was to get down the same route and up it before dark (I get off work at 5:00, get home around 5:30 and don't get to ride until around 6:30). There is a hill that I think someone in great shape would reconsider, so I had to walk up it. I did get 40 feet farther than I did the last time. That's something. I still feel like I haven't accomplished the route, but it's a 12 mile route and I just started biking, so some walking is considerably better than not getting on the bike at all. In all, I probably walked 1/2 a mile out of the 12. Here's how I did(http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/19010739) today compared to yesterday (http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/jsQPhp2w4g4).

    Thanks again, guys. The motivation was really needed.

  21. #21
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjakins View Post
    I need to employ this stategy. I did, to some degree, today.



    I'm the same way, Mr. Beanz. I set a goal today - that was to get down the same route and up it before dark (I get off work at 5:00, get home around 5:30 and don't get to ride until around 6:30). There is a hill that I think someone in great shape would reconsider, so I had to walk up it. I did get 40 feet farther than I did the last time. That's something. I still feel like I haven't accomplished the route, but it's a 12 mile route and I just started biking, so some walking is considerably better than not getting on the bike at all. In all, I probably walked 1/2 a mile out of the 12. Here's how I did(http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/19010739) today compared to yesterday (http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/jsQPhp2w4g4).

    Thanks again, guys. The motivation was really needed.
    That's good, new rider attacking the hills. That's great cause believe me, many riders void them.

    It's actually good that you walk at times. Reason being is that a rule of training on climbs is that you don't want to do too much in one week. I use a no more than 2 times per week when I am training for a taxing event. If you over do it on the climbing ,you run the risk of knee injury and over training resulting in a burn out. One of the hardest things for a rider to do, and new riders to understand is that you need recoup time. Recuperation also comes on easier spinning low effort rides not necessarily time off the bike. I might do a hard ride then the next day or next ride is like a walk in the park....but on the bike.

    Maybe you might want to change a day or two to a similar course minus the hill. The build up of saddle time will make you stronger. Sooner or later, with the right combination of hard efforts and recoup time, you'll float over that hill.

  22. #22
    pbd
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    This is also just me personally, but I never walk myself up a hill. I have absolutely zero problem with stopping on a hill to catch my breath if needed, but I don't take a step forward. It's just my personal thing, everyone is different, but I feel like I've truly conquered a hill when I pedal all the way to the top, even if I had to put a foot down on the way.

    But either way, it's about what motivates YOU, keeps YOU having fun, and keeps you coming back for more. If it works for you, keep doing it, and soon enough it won't even be a concern any more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pbd View Post
    This is also just me personally, but I never walk myself up a hill. I have absolutely zero problem with stopping on a hill to catch my breath if needed, but I don't take a step forward. It's just my personal thing, everyone is different, but I feel like I've truly conquered a hill when I pedal all the way to the top, even if I had to put a foot down on the way.

    But either way, it's about what motivates YOU, keeps YOU having fun, and keeps you coming back for more. If it works for you, keep doing it, and soon enough it won't even be a concern any more.
    Nice!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Gatorade will help.
    +1

    If I am going much over 20-25 miles , especially over the summer, I usually take watered down gatorade. I notice a big difference in my average mph when I don't drink straight water.

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    I also prefer to just stop, and ride the rest of the way up after a drink, nature-break in the nearby bushes, etc.

    I agree with Mr. Beanz about not pushing it too hard with hills. I usually follow a hard hill-day with a slow-ride or rest day.

    Attack the hills when you are on them, and then rest and heal-up when you are not.
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