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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 06-02-12, 08:57 PM   #1
BikinPotter
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Hello Hills, I've Decided to Love You!

Short ride today, with a number of small hills, which I purposely chose in order to practice climbing hills.

I have the perfect little spot near home...recently closed to motorized traffic. The first hill I had to bail on halfway up, because I didn't correctly anticipate, so I wasn't in the correct gear which meant too high to push through seated...my thighs started burning like fire, but not high enough for me to comfortably stand.

A less steep hill worked out well for climbing seated. Even had a couple of walking folks cheer me on. Then I hit a short, steep hill. This one I anticipated correctly, and was able to stand and power up. Very satisfying.

The best part was the ride home. Part of which I had done a few weeks ago, which was a real thigh-grinder...you know what I mean...a long, slow, ascent which has you practically crying at the end, because your legs get so tired. But not today, my friends. Thigh grinder was no more. Legs felt good. Which means I'm getting stronger! I won't lie...hills still hurt. But it's slowly getting better! Yeah! I'm gonna do this thing!
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Old 06-02-12, 09:05 PM   #2
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Thats great. Hills are my worst fear right now. For some reason, standing doesn't even seem like an option to me, am I too tall? To belly weighted? I'm 6'3" and 320 currently. I'm not sure if it's my size or just something I have to just figure out.
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Old 06-02-12, 09:22 PM   #3
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You will figure it out, eventually. We have SO many hang ups and judgements about ourselves and what we "should" be capable of doing. We of the Clythena ilk need to be kind and self-encouraging when we're starting out. Feel free to avoid all the danged hills you want, until you bike a bit and get a little stronger. Even if you do 2 miles on a perfectly flat stretch, that's 2 miles more than the smegger sitting on his couch eating chips and watching "Dancing with the Stars" or some stupid bull**** like that. It all counts. The teensiest effort counts. There are some folks here who are just amazing, the changes theyve made are so inspiring. You take it easy, take it slow, and you too will do more than you ever thought you could do.
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Old 06-02-12, 10:10 PM   #4
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Hills are hard, especially when you're heavy, but they don't get easier by avoiding them. Keep at it!
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Old 06-03-12, 01:24 AM   #5
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I find that it is a big energy user to stand up and climb hills. I can really feel how much energy it uses up. Best for me to stay seated and spin it out.
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Old 06-03-12, 04:52 AM   #6
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I'm 6-5, 310. My training route has many hills. I stay in the saddle. I NEVER come out. Every ride gets easier.
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Old 06-03-12, 05:51 AM   #7
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On yesterday's long ride I stayed in the saddle to conserve energy. On shorter rides with rolling hills I find I do best if I take advantage of the momentum I get from a down hill to stand just as I start slowing on the uphill (after downshifting at least out of the big ring) and pedal for 10 to 15 revolutions and then sit, drop the gears and spin to the top. I have a lot more speed to crest the hill. But this only seems to work well on rollers. And I will wear myself out if I push this too hard for too long. But I think it can be very effective for that kind of hill.
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Old 06-03-12, 07:06 AM   #8
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Glad to see that you've embraced them. Hills are like saddles, everyone will like something different in their form.
Depending on the hill I'll sit and spin or if there's a short distance to the top I may stand and let my weight 'walk me up the stairs'.
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Old 06-03-12, 07:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
Hills are hard, especially when you're heavy, but they don't get easier by avoiding them. Keep at it!
Oh, I'll keep hitting the hills, I just wish they did hit back so damn hard!
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Old 06-03-12, 10:17 AM   #10
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I find that it is a big energy user to stand up and climb hills. I can really feel how much energy it uses up. Best for me to stay seated and spin it out.
I stood today for the first time. 5 or 6 pumps in my legs were on fire, you could smell bacon cooking. I though, "ooooh that's what he meant!" then I sat back down!
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Old 06-03-12, 11:27 AM   #11
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Good job Potter!

I've found that I can use my weight to turn the pedals while out of the saddle.
I actually do this to change up muscle groups when I'm getting tired.
When I first started trying out of the saddle efforts, I could barely get 10 revolutions before my legs were on fire.
I've worked hard on out of the saddle efforts, and can now go several minutes at a time.
I usually drop 2 gears harder and then stand up and go.
It's like climbing stairs, when you use your weight to turn the cranks.
I find I have to get my weight well over the front of the bike to not use too much muscle and avoid the burn.

I've tried this on my mountain bike, and it doesn't work nearly as well as on the roadie.

I used to have this fear of breaking my bike if I stood up and pedaled.
I always feared I would snap my chain, or bend a chainring or something.
I have destroyed a couple freewheels with hard efforts.
I needed a wheel upgrade to remedy that.
Built up some wheels with shimano 105 hubs and they have been bombproof.
I was having issues with aluminum FH bodies on cheap china wheels.
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Old 06-03-12, 05:38 PM   #12
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Today I did a 17 mile ride. I confess, after my hill climbing practice yesterday my legs got tired. But it's bicycle Sunday on Lake Washington and I wanted to go. There's a bit of hill between where i live and the Lake. First steep hill I approached like a bat out of hell, to get as much momentum as possible. I almost made it to the top by standing out of the saddle. I would have made it if I had shifted down one more gear. Second hill I had walked up last time, but this time was able to ride (seated) all the way to the top. I was sucking wind like an old Hoover, but I did it. Good job, Potter.

I went through the intersection where a man, a computer programmer, was hit by a gangbanger's bullet, meant for someone else. The man was in his van with his kids and his parents, whom he had just picked up from the airport. He slumped over and died in his father's arms. So sad and so senseless. Using a gun to prove how tough you are doesn't seem very tough to me. A knife at least puts you within striking distance of your foe, assuming you have something to prove. A true contest of skill and strength. If it were up to me, we'd all be carrying swords. But a gun...how did it become a good idea to shoot people we don't like? And a week later, a massive shooting at Cafe Racer...another hangout of mine. Five people dead? Or six because the crazy mo-fo shot himself in the head when the cops closed in. No loss, but couldn't you have done that BEFORE you killed all those innocent people?

But here I am, alive, and I get to enjoy the sensation of moving through space using just my muscles to power an elegant machine. And my machine isn't all that elegant. A mountain bike with slicks. Slow as a turtle, but tough as a tank. Every time I look at it, I fall in love all over again. Maybe if we all rode bicycles we'd be too tired to kill one another in senseless ways.

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Old 06-03-12, 07:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
Hills are hard, especially when you're heavy, but they don't get easier by avoiding them. Keep at it!
+1

When I first got my road bike I chose routes that minimized hills, then one day I just said "go for it". Now I seek the hills, being careful to not bite off more than I can chew. Yesterday I did 59 miles +2800 ft. Last year that would have been unthinkable. Keep at it. The feeling of accomplishment is worth every breath.
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Old 06-04-12, 04:20 PM   #14
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Nice work, Potter! I used to hate hills, but over time I've learned to love them. Tough love!

Mountains, on the other hand, are another story (I live in Colorado). I love the mountains, I'm just not fond of the way that they suck the life out of my legs.


I have had a similar love/hate relationship with the wind. When I first started riding, I would dread the days of the 20-mile per hour head wind. Now I look at the wind as a challenge.
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Old 06-04-12, 05:50 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by savagemann View Post
Good job Potter!

I've found that I can use my weight to turn the pedals while out of the saddle.
I actually do this to change up muscle groups when I'm getting tired.
When I first started trying out of the saddle efforts, I could barely get 10 revolutions before my legs were on fire.
I've worked hard on out of the saddle efforts, and can now go several minutes at a time.
I usually drop 2 gears harder and then stand up and go.
It's like climbing stairs, when you use your weight to turn the cranks.
I find I have to get my weight well over the front of the bike to not use too much muscle and avoid the burn.
+1

Actually, getting the right cadence is critical for me if I want to stand up and pedal. The amount of effort has to be just right... too easy is awful and too hard kills my legs but I'll go a minute or more out of the saddle

Another nifty trick I'll use when I'm wiped out is to just go as slow as I can - for some reason it's almost relaxing.
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Old 06-05-12, 03:22 PM   #16
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SWEET!!! Way to go!
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