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Old 01-21-06, 02:46 PM   #1
Digital Gee
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When I took up cycling last summer, I had no idea if I'd like it. But I did. It was the most fun thing I could do which was actually good for me.

As time went on, I was able to increase my mileage more and more, and I really liked achieving particular mileage, um, milestones. So much so that I committed to two goals: more and more mileage and always having fun. And I have had fun on every ride -- even the ones that weren't any fun. (I know you know what I mean.)

But the other day I discovered something by accident -- I could hammer up a hill that had previously been to challenging. And now I want to get better at hills. (I am almost shocked to hear myself say that, to be honest).

But all my eggs are in the long-distance basket. I'm concerned that by taking days to work on hills I'll be putting my mileage targets in jeopardy. I can only put so many hours in the saddle, after all. So how do I reframe my thinking?

If you're curious, my goal is 3,000 miles in 2006. That's my basket, the miles are my eggs. I'm at 254 miles so far (would have been more if I hadn't been such a quitter the other day trying for a metric century -- J/K!!!).
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Old 01-21-06, 03:08 PM   #2
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Gary,
Head for the hills. You will probably become a stronger rider as a result. If you're concerned about the mileage, don't be. A stronger rider will probably be able to ride faster. You'll make up the miles and have improved climbing ability to boot.
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Old 01-21-06, 03:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
But all my eggs are in the long-distance basket. I'm concerned that by taking days to work on hills I'll be putting my mileage targets in jeopardy. I can only put so many hours in the saddle, after all. So how do I reframe my thinking?
My suggestion: Throw away the bike computer and wrist watch. Ride as much or as fast as you feel like it and enjoy; then stop. Repeat as often as you feel like it.
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Old 01-21-06, 03:41 PM   #4
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I agree with ILTB, but since it's your goal, here are some numbers to think about:
3000 miles is just over 8 miles per day for 365 days, maintaining that average over 21 days, you should be at 172.6 miles today - so at your present 254, you averaging 12 miles a day, well ahead of the average you'd have to maintain to reach your goal. Also consider that if you work hills, you are still putting on miles, and there is no reason why you can't do some climbs and ride flats all in the same ride. Relax and have fun.
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Old 01-21-06, 03:56 PM   #5
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I remember reading somewhere......or someone told me......to get better at hills you have to do hills. I think there is a lot of truth to that.

The cadence is slower, power output much higher, speed ridiculously slower plus the mental aspects can be terribly challenging. You just think you hear voices now!!! Folks pass me on long climbs and wonder who the heck I'm talking to sometimes!

Eventually you should find that anything that reduces the weight going up the hills makes a noticeable difference. For rides with long climbs and hills I've lightened my bike, use lighter tires and wheels on mountain rides, lost body weight and changed my gearing to a 30/27 granny-all in the name of making it less effort. Don't laugh, but at the base of some mountains near a finish, I've even dumped fluids from my water bottle to lose a pound.


Climbing is also a lot about finding a cadence or rhythm that suits you. For longer climbs it probably helps to even change the position-like going from the saddle to standing-to change the leg muscles being used.

While hills can be tough, I'd take a hill over a headwind any day!! With the winds you ride in, you should be well prepared. Go get 'em!!
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Old 01-21-06, 04:18 PM   #6
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I like to ride at least one longish ride per week. I try to alternate between very flat rides and very hilly rides.

We have a rails to trails path that satisfies the flat requirements, and for hills you can go almost anywhere around here. I did a loop through nearby Stone Mtn park yesterday that was only 26 miles but featured over 1200ft of climbing, including a couple of slopes that were easily 12-14% grades for short distances.

So why not both?

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Old 01-22-06, 01:08 PM   #7
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Distance is one thing - hills are another. Problem is to train for distance, you have to put in the distance and time is not always available for that. We have a form of training on our rides which can ce termed interval training. Hills do occur and we hit them at a comfortable pace- except for the last 200 metres. Then we go for them. Actally sprint them and it may be that we start flagging before the end. No problem as we have got the heart rate up, put some use on the legs that will pay off, and found the limits of what we can go for. If hills are not available, we do it between 2 markers- lamp posts, 2 trees that are the same distance, or anything else. After you have done this sprint, you will be shatterred, so fully recover by pedalling at a high cadence to get rid of the lactic acid in the legs, and untill the lungs come back- but with no effort involved.

Training like this hurts, so no more than 3 initially on a ride. Gradually over a month or so- they get easier and recovery time comes down, lungs get better- legs get stronger and your 90% mental part of a ride gets nearer 105%.
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Old 01-22-06, 01:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
My suggestion: Throw away the bike computer and wrist watch. Ride as much or as fast as you feel like it and enjoy; then stop. Repeat as often as you feel like it.
+1 on this one, Gary. When you obsess with mileage targets to the degree that you do, it's better to just stop completely. Focus on enjoying your rides, use the computer, but DON'T LOOK AT IT!! Check your total mileage once per month or so and just let the world go by.

Of course, knowing your psyche the way we do, these suggestions won't sink in at all. Proceed with what you're doing and don't forget to stop and smell the roses. Happy Trails!
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Old 01-22-06, 01:33 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
My suggestion: Throw away the bike computer and wrist watch. Ride as much or as fast as you feel like it and enjoy; then stop. Repeat as often as you feel like it.
+1!!

Goals? My goal is to keep riding and keep enjoying it, and hopefully not die.
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Old 01-22-06, 07:30 PM   #10
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I hate hills.

IMHO

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Old 01-22-06, 07:49 PM   #11
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My guess is that Gary and I have the same sophomore cycling disease.

I pretty much started riding again last year at about the same time that he did.

I too am using my cycle computer and tracking my mileage to achieve a goal I set for myself this year.

It's a motivational thing.

But, I'll probably stop being so religious about it after being devout this year.
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Old 01-22-06, 07:52 PM   #12
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When I started blasting up hills I knew I had hit a more important milestone than milage. I started to keep up with the young guys.
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Old 01-22-06, 09:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarHorizon
Of course, knowing your psyche the way we do, these suggestions won't sink in at all. Proceed with what you're doing and don't forget to stop and smell the roses. Happy Trails!
Thanks, Far... I will spend time on the saddle mulling over these great suggestions. But you know me too well. Heh heh...

In all seriousness, I do see the point that working on hills will make me faster on the flats in the long run, thus allowing me to achieve my mileage goals in the less time, which gives me more time to work on hills, and so on. Hadn't considered that.

But throw away the computer? Stop and smell the roses? Well....maybe once in a while! If truth be told, I'll probably hammer away to achieve the monthy mileage goal well before the end of the month, giving me "free time" to work on hills. Now there's a plan!
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Old 01-22-06, 09:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithA
My guess is that Gary and I have the same sophomore cycling disease.

I pretty much started riding again last year at about the same time that he did.

I too am using my cycle computer and tracking my mileage to achieve a goal I set for myself this year.

It's a motivational thing.

But, I'll probably stop being so religious about it after being devout this year.
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Old 01-22-06, 10:14 PM   #15
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I recommend "hit the hills". I starting cycling last March and I find that I can't get a decent workout on long, flat rides. But on the hills, it's a completely different story. It's very easy to get the HR up to any level I want. And you get a much greater sense of accomplishment when you reached to top (especially if you set a PR). good luck
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Old 01-22-06, 10:19 PM   #16
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DG,
The reason that I didn't cycle before was because I live amongst some hills. But I have come to see that hills are your friend.

You are going to blow that 3,00 mile thing out of the water.
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Old 01-22-06, 10:24 PM   #17
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I'm also a sophomore cyclist, and Gary's path and mine have been similar in many respects. Where I live it's hard to avoid hills if you want to go anywhere interesting, and I'm tired of ducking my club's hillier rides. But in all my sports over the years--running, x-country skiing, backpacking, now cycling--I've been a distance person.
What I'm doing so far this year is to build one tough hill into each ride, no matter how short. I'm not ready to do hills-only drills though.
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Old 01-23-06, 12:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithA
It's a motivational thing.
I agree. Linda and I had a lot of fun watching our milage pile up last year. It also motivated us to keep going. I know on my birthday, I was having a "bad day" - no energy, no legs, just pooped - but we wanted to a) ride my age on my brithday, and b) it was also going to be the night we hit our goal for the year. Without the cyclometer, I might have just said "pfffft" and taken the night off.

Gary, I think you're doing great. It's been a lot of fun reading about your escapades on the bike (you're a good writer, BTW) and watching the progress you (and others, myself included) have made in the last year. Keep doing whatever works for you!

Take care,

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Old 01-23-06, 04:49 AM   #19
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Gary,

I just had a chance to read this latest post. Everyone seems to be forgetting the reward at the end of the hill--- THE TOP and the ride down the other side! For me it's not so much the climb, it's the whooooooooosh at 40+ mph and the prayer on the way down! What do I pray? "Lord, don't let a moose wander out of the woods and onto the road in the next 60 seconds. Amen." So far they've been answered!

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Old 01-23-06, 07:35 AM   #20
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Call me sick but I enjoy the climb! Maybe it's a metaphor for being on top of the world.
The downhill part scares me!
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Old 01-23-06, 08:42 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
.................... Keep doing whatever works for you!

Take care,

Steve

Steve really makes sense.

I have been riding since early in 1982. I've been through several stages. The only stage I've continued to this day is keeping a daily log. I began recording everything, HR, miles, average speed, times over weekly courses, etc. I raced USCF, I toured, I group rode, I soloed, I TT'ed. I've done it all. For the past 10 years I rarely consult a computer during a ride unless I need to know the time. The bottom line is that I've structured my weekly workouts to suit my needs. I used to be sure Mondays were recover rides, Tuesdays were local training crits. , Wednesdays were long slow distance, Thursdays were hill intervals, etc., etc. Now, I just get out and enjoy myself. No targets, just time in the saddle, and good friends or family riding along. I no longer feel compelled to chase down every break. Funny, I can judge to within a half a mile how far I've travel on each ride just by watching the time in saddle. My daily log no long contains HR, Average speed, etc. It now contains entries such as:

Nice ride today, 35 degrees at start, 43 at finish, no wind. Freddie, Mary and Bill on the tandem, and Dave rode with me. Through the Methodist camp grounds, stopped in Tradeville at the grocery store for a drink and homemade ham biscuit, then back through Cane Creek. A couple of cat and mouse chases down Legends Road, then easy conversation back to the house.

If you enjoy it, you will be lucky and enjoy it for life. When you wake up in the morning and don't want to ride, don't ride. Listen to your body. Make riding a lifelong pursuit and you'll be healthier for it. I only ride 3 or 4 days a week now. I still log between 4 and 6 thousand miles a year. That's down from a high of 9 to 12 thousand a year in the "good ole' days." Back then I wanted to ride 25 and 35 days in a row without a day off the bike. Now if I ride 3 days in a row, I look forward to a day or more of rest.

"KEEP DOING WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU!" -Steve / 2006-
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Old 01-23-06, 09:04 AM   #22
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You want to work hills? The Knickerbikers are going to Alpine this Saturday. If you haven't already tried climbing Alpine, it will be a challenge for you. It's not that hard, but long and steedy. It will definitely let you know what a hill is. If you have climbed Torrey Pines, it's a little harder then that.
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Old 01-23-06, 09:19 PM   #23
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Whatever keeps you going; that's what you should keep doing. I have computers and check them to see how I'm doing, but I don't obsess over speed or distance goals too much. I do plan to ride 3 centuries and do a lot of riding this year. I'm not doing any specific training, but I'll be doing a lot of hilly rides and some hard work on the trainer because I want to be ready for this year's Bicycle Ride Across Georgia which will cross the North Georgia mountains this summer. As long as I have enough fitness to handle big climbs without dying, I really enjoy hills and mountain riding. I'm not fast, but I'll climb all day.
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Old 01-23-06, 09:39 PM   #24
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Please forgive me if I start sounding like a road weenie. When I first started riding I got completely enamored with mileage. I wanted to ride longer distances on a given day as well as piling up huge numbers of miles per week but not particularly fast. Much later I found out that once you get to a certain fitness level (after you have established a "base") you really needed to push yourself HARD to get to a higher level of fitness. This involved interval training. Interval training on the flats takes real dedication and discipline. You can, however, choose hilly routes for the same effect. These all out efforts followed by recovery that you repeat over and over will make you a much stronger rider. So "Head for the hills, DG, Head for the hills."
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