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  1. #1
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    hill climbing training plan for Clyde?

    so I signed up to climb Mt. Washington this summer. it's a race, but I'm not racing. I just want to finish. it's supposedly one of the harder climbs in the country, a 12% grade on average for 7.6 miles. I ride a lot (5k last year) but am probably twice as heavy as the guy who will win the race.

    been looking around for tips on hill climbing, but most of what I read is intended for racers and other denizens of the zero-body-fat crowd. standing on the pedals? fat chance.

    luckily I live 5 miles away from Great Blue Hill, which is only 1/10 the length of Mt. Washington though a very similar grade profile. I've started doing hill-repeats "hillpeats" on the weekend, which are of course not the same thing as climbing continuously but I hope will help build the leg muscles.

    a racer friend who is also signed up said it is as important to practice sustained effort for the 2+ hours it will probably take me to do the climb (racers will finish in 60-75 minutes). he suggested finding a circular route where I don't have to stop AT ALL and just ride that for a couple of hours at a heart rate similar to what I experience while climbing (170-180). on the flats that means maintaining 20mph or so. I also have a stationary bike at home, which maybe I could use on inclement days.

    of course there's only so much one can do on the numerator of the power/weight ratio and so I am trying to slim down on the "liquid starvation diet" - mostly protein shakes. good results so far, and while I'm sure I'm losing some muscle I could stand to be 100# lighter.

    as for test runs, mt. Washington is closed to bikes except on race days. there is however an accessible mountain 2.5 hours away in Vermont where I plan to do monthly or maybe semi-monthly test runs to see whether this is even possible. I'm certainly open to the idea that this is too much to bite off.

    would love to hear any Clyde-specific hill climbing/training tips!
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  2. #2
    Senior Member pat5319's Avatar
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    If you dont' have muct h time, do "intensity" and don't neglect the othe typs of riding you need to do
    Pat5319


  3. #3
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    "Ride lots."
    If you go by what people on BF say, anything you have that is not Trek, Specialized, Cannondale or Giant will someday explode next to a school bus full of orphans driven by a nun.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Move to California. I have no choice but to do hills. My home is half way up one.

    I started on as flat a terrain as I could find, then started on gradually increasing the amount climbed. MapMyRide is a website that allows you to trace a route, then it displays and elevation profile. I find it very useful for planning training rides. I did one today that was 18 miles with over 1000 ft. Not my longest ride, but so far my climbingest. I have several rides planed for the next several weeks with increasing length and climb.

    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/65073848

  5. #5
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Don't knock the standing on the pedals technique. It's not just for the sub-160 "climber's build" guys. Even when I was closer to 250 I would stand on the pedals for a different position and to use different muscles during extended climbing. I'm not saying for the entire climb, mind you. Just as a way to change things up for a minute every once in a while.
    Now that I ride exclusively singlespeed I've got no choice. Well, that's not true... There's the choice between stand and hammer, or get off and walk.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  6. #6
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    I can only speak from my experiance. Hill have been daunting but I am learning to like them.

    You might consider changing out your cassette and derailure to a mtn bike set up. Allows for me gear options. I have not done this yet but plan to in the future with my rode bike.

    Slow and steady gets you up the longest and steepest hills.

    For me being a fat guy, I like spinning. At the end of the day, you can spin or mash your way up the hills. Spinning taps into the cardio side and mashing taps into the muscles. Both are great to use but you need to find what works for you. Mashing works for me on shorter hills but spinning on longer hills and easier on my knees.

    Drop the liquid diet. Go for something that will actually be long lasting and HELP YOU IN THE FUTURE. Again... just my opinion.

    Commute to work if you can. It really will help you. Commute on a mtn bike commuter. It will make you stronger and help drop the weight. At least it has for me.

    Its about eating ride pre ride, during the ride and after the ride. You will want to eat every 20-30 minutes while riding. I have a great recipe for for a bar you can take with you. Feel free to drop me a PM if you want it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post

    You might consider changing out your cassette and derailure to a mtn bike set up. Allows for me gear options.
    I have promised to reward myself with a carbon fiber bike when I hit 180. At the low end price point for such a bike the cassette choices are between Shimano 105 and Sram Apex. Of the two, the gear ratios of the stock Sram are more hill friendly

    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post

    For me being a fat guy, I like spinning. At the end of the day, you can spin or mash your way up the hills. Spinning taps into the cardio side and mashing taps into the muscles. Both are great to use but you need to find what works for you. Mashing works for me on shorter hills but spinning on longer hills and easier on my knees.
    This is good advice. Unfortunately, the gearing on many bikes, including my entry level road bike with Shimano Sora, doesn't allow for spinning up hills. I try to race to the bottom of small hills, spinning madly, then drop to the small chain ring just before the bottom of the hill, while shifting up one or two gears on the cassette. If it is a long hill I shift down on the cassette to keep my cadence up as long as possible, until I wind up grinding in bottom gear. If it is a short hill I can sometimes stand on it while still in second or third to blast over the top.

    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post

    Drop the liquid diet. Go for something that will actually be long lasting and HELP YOU IN THE FUTURE. Again... just my opinion.
    There are a lot of opinions on this and I have read a lot of them, including articles at Active Cyclist, and other sites. Mine is similar to the Chef's. I try to eat a good, but not to big breakfast of cereal, or oatmeal, and a banana. Yesterday I went on a ride with mild rolling hills for 36 miles. I ate a Fiber One about 20 minutes before, and half of a Clif peanut butter at the half way. I tried the gel stuff once. -eh-. As for water; I don't try to hit any targets for water consumption. I just take enough water, in my case a full Camelback and if the ride is over twenty miles, a small bottle of sports drink. I drink when my body tells me to.

    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post

    Commute to work if you can. It really will help you. Commute on a mtn bike commuter. It will make you stronger and help drop the weight. At least it has for me.
    I have been doing this for over a year, and I am alert and focused all day. I ride a commuter train for fifty miles and keep a Trek 7.2 in a locker at the work-end station for my ten mile bike round trip (all flat).

  8. #8
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    A few years ago, I trained for a long climb (not nearly as steep as this!) by riding on a rolling country road with no stops for 20 miles. I tried to keep my heart rate in a narrow range that I could maintain for the whole distance. It takes concentration to do this on flat roads, because it's easy to slack off the effort on the flats.

    If I was going to try this climb, I'd install really low gears, so my cadence wouldn't be down in the 40s or 50s.

    Even the top racers have special low gear setups just for this race.

    from this blog:

    Last year I watched Ned Overend ride away from me, with his ultra-low mountain bike gearing, something like a 24/32, as I slogged away in my 34/27. Don’t get me wrong, he would have climbed away from me even if we had the same gearing, but he sure looked more efficient spinning than I felt grinding. This year I decided to figure out a way to get a sub 1:1 low gear and at the same time be able to use my Quarq power meter. The solution I came up with was to use a SRAM XX 10-speed cassette and SRAM XX long cage rear derailleur, in conjunction with my RED double-tap shifters.

    An old BF thread:
    This is the only occasion I ever use a non-standard crankset. 33T/22T with a 12T-25T cassette.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Last year, I climbed two miles up Pilot Mountain--see this ridewithgps recording. The main climb averages 10%, with 15-18% switchbacks. I was climbing in my 34-29 low gear, standing on all the steeper parts. I weigh about 170.

    On the main 1.9 mile climb, my average cadence was only 48 rpm, and average speed just 4.3 mph. This took about 25 minutes. I could have used lower gears if I had them. Mt Washington would be way too hard for me.

    My lower back was sore after the ride. I should have done a lot of core exercises before I tried this.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 02-12-12 at 09:39 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
    A few years ago, I trained for a long climb (not nearly as steep as this!) by riding on a rolling country road with no stops for 20 miles. I tried to keep my heart rate in a narrow range that I could maintain for the whole distance. It takes concentration to do this on flat roads, because it's easy to slack off the effort on the flats.
    great, that is roughly what I was thinking. now I just have to find a country road without stops ... I live a little too close to the city.

    If I was going to try this climb, I'd install really low gears, so my cadence wouldn't be down in the 40s or 50s.

    Even the top racers have special low gear setups just for this race.

    from this blog:

    Last year I watched Ned Overend ride away from me, with his ultra-low mountain bike gearing, something like a 24/32, as I slogged away in my 34/27. Donít get me wrong, he would have climbed away from me even if we had the same gearing, but he sure looked more efficient spinning than I felt grinding. This year I decided to figure out a way to get a sub 1:1 low gear and at the same time be able to use my Quarq power meter. The solution I came up with was to use a SRAM XX 10-speed cassette and SRAM XX long cage rear derailleur, in conjunction with my RED double-tap shifters.
    definitely. my road bike can take a 24/28 setup, but I am wondering if I can do a 24/35 on my folder with small wheels. THAT would be low gearing, which I might need

    Last year, I climbed two miles up Pilot Mountain--see this ridewithgps recording. The main climb averages 10%, with 15-18% switchbacks. I was climbing in my 34-29 low gear, standing on all the steeper parts. I weigh about 170.

    On the main 1.9 mile climb, my average cadence was only 48 rpm, and average speed just 4.3 mph. This took about 25 minutes. I could have used lower gears if I had them. Mt Washington would be way too hard for me.

    My lower back was sore after the ride. I should have done a lot of core exercises before I tried this.
    I was a little slower than this on my last run of the 3/4 hill where I train. didn't stand at all but maybe I should try that on the steeper parts. maybe ther eis hope!
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

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