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Thread: Hill Tactics

  1. #1
    Senior Member Podagrower's Avatar
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    Hill Tactics

    I live in Florida, so maybe I should say Incline Tactics. Four(ish) months ago I picked up cycling again after a 20 plus year absence. I am fat, and "round" is not the kind of shape I should be in. There are 2 routes I ride around my house, 12 mile round trip with 91 feet of climbing, and 5 miles with 81 feet of climbing; not staggering heights, but a good workout for most out of shape people. I want to ride farther, faster, higher cadence, and for a longer time and those 4 goals can not be accomplished at the same time. I finally realized that riding the hills would be a better workout to eventually accomplish all my goals. At first, 1 trip around was more than I wanted and had me huffing and puffing. Now it's the third trip around that makes me want to walk home. I'm pretty sure if I could make 50 miles in these hills, I could ride anywhere in Florida without worry.

    There are 4 uphill stretches in the route, 1 so short it hardly counts, 2 about 1/4 mile long, and 1 about a mile long. I have the 1/4 mile long ones figured out, keep an eye on the cadence, downshift as needed to stay above 60 rpm and sprint them out (I am a masher, but trying to reform). The long hills are killing me, though, it's 3/4 mile slight incline, then 1/4 mile at twice the grade. I run out of gears, or cadence, or oomph before I run out of hill. What is your preferred hill tactic? Is it just a matter of building stamina until I can sprint the whole way, or is there magic involved?
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  2. #2
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I think in your case as you get fitter, those hills will become far less daunting.

    Start doing your 12 mile loop twice.

  3. #3
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    stopping on a hill is fine if you're running out of leg power or breathing too hard. Good time to take a breather and pic too. Next week try to go long before stopping and soon you won't have to stop at all. Just keep at it and don't avoid the inclines. Learn to embrace them they will feel like nothing in the future.

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    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    The only magic is desire and perseverence.
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    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    IF your want to get better on the "hills" then I would suggest doing hill repeats - interval training. Find a hill, go hard up it, coast to the bottom, hard up the hill again, coast down so on. depending on the length of the hill, 5 or 10 of these will very rapidly ncrease your ability to ride up the hill.
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    I agree with the above. and then there is my never fail matra, "what hill? there is no hill."

  7. #7
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    OH by the way, despite the bi-monthly proclamations of Bicycling magazine, there is no was to make hills easy, and no easy way to be able to ride hard up hills. It takes work, and effort. Nor is there, I have learned, no easy way to loose weight.
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    Hill repeats are part of my routine. I've got a real beauty on the back side of my subdivision on a very lightly traveled road. Half dozen times makes a great workout. I also ride occasionally with a couple guys that are much faster (and lighter) than me. Keeping up with these flyweights on the hills, which only happens about half the time, is another way to get better at climbing.

    Sometimes I ride with my teenage son. One of our routes has a big hill that he calls kick a$$ hill, because that's where he kicks mine. He's on my old road bike and I really need to take the seat off and put some lead shot down in the frame to weigh the kid down and slow him up a bit. He doesn't even wait at the top for me, just keeps on going. Kids!

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    Take it slow and easy getting back in shape. Having fun is more important than pushing so hard that you decide that riding is not for you.

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    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Shift early, stay seated as much as possible, and spin. I live in the flatlands but don't have to travel far to get into areas of long, rolling hills. Hit it hard and mash out of the seat doesn't work well for long hills, especially when you have three, four or nine in a row.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    IF your want to get better on the "hills" then I would suggest doing hill repeats - interval training. Find a hill, go hard up it, coast to the bottom, hard up the hill again, coast down so on. depending on the length of the hill, 5 or 10 of these will very rapidly ncrease your ability to ride up the hill.
    ^ This.
    Today's was:

    Distance 10.5mi


    Elevation Gain 1,732ft


    Moving Time 01:03:42

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