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Thread: Hills?

  1. #1
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Hills?

    For any of you that ride on the flat- you can bypass this- but where I live there are a lot of hills. Whether it be onroad or offroad. None of them have the great altitudes to reach that some of you have but you can be talking about a hill that starts at Sea level and gets up to 250 metres or 750 ft. Then the gradient. Not many will be below 5% as we are talking about a ridge that climbs sharply up from the sea to max height and the roads will generaly be old Drovers roads for cattle or Stagecoach routes where there will the occasional flat bit to rest the horses. A long and winding route will take a mile or so to climb 400ft so that is where you will get the 5%. then there are the direct routes straight over the top for less than a mile to reach 750ft. Probably 15% with the occasional steep bit in it.

    Climbing these on my mountain bike with very low gearing is not hard. Just grind away and eventually you get there. I was reminded today of the advice that I give all Novices- or non-hillclimbers. Start the hill in a sensible gear that keeps the cadence where you want it. As it gets hard- change down. Harder still? then change down again and again. When you run out of gears and it is still hard- Then SLOW down.

    Reason for mentioning this is that Last sunday was the UK's big ride for casual riders. This takes in one hill that is 10% to 15% all the way up for one mile. For a new rider, and at 50 miles onto the ride, this is going to hurt- especially when you get off the bike and walk. I told this method of hill climbing to one of my customers that was on the ride and he showed up his more experienced riding companions by being the only one in his group to climb Ditchling Beacon. He phoned me up today to tell me the good news that he had made the hill. Considering he only started riding 2 months ago to get fit for the ride- he was elated. So elated that he will be carrying on riding.

    Attachment is of the range of hills I am talking about- Not high, but enough to say they are an achievement if you climb them. This is one of the offroad climbs but the Roads don't get much coverage from me yet.
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  2. #2
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    You go guy!

    That's the way to climb hills. Keeping your knees is more important than powering up a hill. I use all those stages on my daily commute across one end of the Ouachita Mountains.

    There is one stage you forgot though. If the hill is so steep that your ligaments complain, get off and walk. At our mature stage, it's no shame. I have one hill like that on my commute. I can make it up, the legs and the heart have no problem, but the knees complain so I indulge them, they have been so good to me for so long.

    I don't attempt to pedal down that hill either. No need. Wheeee!

  3. #3
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Spinning is definitely the smart way up a hill. But I do try to avoid the shift down, shift down, shift down, wish I could shift down game. I try to guess what gear I'll need to get through the worst part of a hill and shift into that gear as soon as the hill has slowed me down enough that I can spin that gear without bouncing all over the saddle. I try to keep on top of that gear, spinning my way up the slope. If I start to lose momentum, I may shift into a harder gear, stand up just long enough to bring my speed up, then sit, downshift and continue to spin. I notice that often as I approach the top of the hill and start shifting into higher gears, I will sail by people who pounded ahead of me at the bottom and have nothing left to push with at the top.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  4. #4
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    ... Climbing these on my mountain bike with very low gearing is not hard. Just grind away and eventually you get there. I was reminded today of the advice that I give all Novices- or non-hillclimbers. Start the hill in a sensible gear that keeps the cadence where you want it. As it gets hard- change down. Harder still? then change down again and again. When you run out of gears and it is still hard- Then SLOW down.

    Reason for mentioning this is that Last sunday was the UK's big ride for casual riders. This takes in one hill that is 10% to 15% all the way up for one mile...
    This evening's ride definitely reminded me of this.
    Short-ish (anything under 2-3 miles), Steep (anything 12%+), not so sweet.
    I'm back here in Northern NJ, visiting the parents for the month and riding most days as a good 'release' of pressure. After the longer climbs I'm now accustomed to in CA, thinking of NJ hills didn't really enter my mind much as 'challenging', at least til you hit a choice few. 2-nite's was one I had forgotten, climbing a back street from West Orange up to So. Mountain Res., 3/4 mile long, but once on it, unrelenting 12%-15%, with the ocassional 15%+ (is that where the horses were supposed to rest?).
    There really is no 'spinning' way up a 12+ grade. I pick something reasonable in a gear and hope it all ends soon.
    Everyone's idea of 'spinning' on a climb is different. Personally, if I can pick up an 'mph' or 2 and do a 60-65 rpm pace, I'll 'grind' up in that gear. If I can alternate between sitting and standing for sections of a climb, then I'm in the right gear for me. If I'm forced to stand in a gear, with no other options, then I'd better be close to the top, because I'm doomed to be 'blowin up' not too far up the road. Some riders seem to relish 'Out of the saddle' for an entire climb; but anything over a mile out of the saddle will doom any effort I make.
    It's interesting to note that some climbs are more 'enjoyable' than others of the same general grade and plan. Not sure why that would be, scenery aside. But definitly the grind up from Millbrook Villagen near the Del Water Gap is way more enjoyable that 2nite's surprising little hurt dance, even though the climb out of Millbrook is both steeper overall and somewhat longer. That now seems true of other climb comparisons.
    Anyone else find that for themselves?

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