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Old 04-28-07, 07:17 PM   #1
jppe
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How do you stop on hills?

Pretty good training ride for Mt Mitchell today in the NC/SC mountains. We covered about 82 miles and had 8400ft of climbing. Some of the climbs were so steep I was actually "resting and recovering" on the longer climbs where the grades dropped down to 10-11% by just slowing down a little. Now that felt pretty strange to be resting on a 10+% climb and if my cadence had slowed any more I probably would have been going backwards!!!

On the last climb of the day at about the 78 mile mark I was pulling a guy up a hill. He had jumped on my wheel 2-3 miles before in the flats and I was glad for him to ride along. I could tell by his breathing and "grunting" that he was suffering so I was just glad to hopefully help make his ride a little easier.

The last climb is about 1 1/2 miles long and has grades up to 15%. With all the climbing and steep hills we had already done it felt even steeper!!

About 1/2 the way up apparently he decided he had to stop and tried to unclip and stop in the middle of the road. I heard him unclip and then I heard him fall over and hit the pavement. It was a pretty steep stretch and was a really tough place to try and stop--not to mention I'm sure his legs were pretty well spent by then. I looked back over my shoulder and hollered to see if he was okay. He said he was fine so I kept grinding away.

I saw out of the corner of my eye that he was layed out on the road. I suspect he had one heck of a time getting going again. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't walk it up to the top and then jump back on.

I'm not sure I could have easily stopped even if I had tried. As bad as it hurts to keep going, I've always used the "fear of stopping and getting back started again" to keep going on a climb. I was on a really steep hill by myself last summer where I did stop about 1/2 the way up and it took me 5 tries to get clipped back in and going again. This year I've tried slowing my cadence for a short stretch to rest a little and it seems to have helped.

I wish I could show you the elevation of today's ride but my photo shop is messed up and I've having problems creating files with it. There are a number of large "spikes" in this one.

Any tips on stopping on a hill are welcome!!
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Old 04-28-07, 08:29 PM   #2
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When I start zig zagging across the road I know I'm in trouble...especially late into a ride. Like your partner, I've had to walk up a few once I've stopped. Just no way to push off and clip-in on the steep. Pointing downwards and doing a U turn often doesn't work because, around here, the steepest climbs are also often the narrowest roads. As for stopping, I borrow from downhill skiing. Let the bike stop as you unclip and then slide backwards while turning so you are "across" the road. Quickly brake to a stop and put your inside toe down. Gotta be quick. Not good for the vanity but saves you from flopping over.
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Old 04-28-07, 11:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jppe
I looked back over my shoulder and hollered to see if he was okay. He said he was fine so I kept grinding away.

I saw out of the corner of my eye that he was layed out on the road. I suspect he had one heck of a time getting going again. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't walk it up to the top and then jump back on.
!!
JPPE: A little mercenary, but I approve. At least you looked back to make sure he was okay.

Two comments: I know you are in great shape but pay attentiion to your knees and back. The amount of elevation and distance you are doing is fantastic but...stretch, recover and get adaquate rest. We did a very fast TT practice tandem ride today and after which I went to the gym, steamed, stretched and got a two hour massage.

I suspect you are using a double with 34/25 as the low gear. On really steep stuff if you stop, you are screwed. That is why you were wise to let the guy on the pavement and not stop. You were alreading mashing at that point. I agree with Cross Chain but...it depends on what gears you have and how steep it is. Good luck on your upcoming event.
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Last edited by Hermes; 04-28-07 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 04-29-07, 08:40 AM   #4
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Hmm. I had a similar issue yesterday going DOWNHILL on a mountain bike. There's a point where it gets so steep that if you keep going you're doomed, but if you stop and dismount you know you will lose your balance and die. Unfortunately, I skidded the rear tire out of despiration, which I know you should never do. But it was either me or the trail.
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Old 04-29-07, 10:24 AM   #5
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getting going on a steep uphill is pretty common for me on the mountain bike. the only way i can do it is to be in the very lowest gear, and start with my clipped in foot at the top of the stroke and not even try to clip in with my other foot, but just pedal and try to keep my other foot doing some work and not slipping off the pedal till i get some momentum and then clip in while still pedaling. i never tried that on the road bike, i dont know if it would work or not.
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Old 04-29-07, 10:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Weak Link
Hmm. I had a similar issue yesterday going DOWNHILL on a mountain bike. There's a point where it gets so steep that if you keep going you're doomed, but if you stop and dismount you know you will lose your balance and die. Unfortunately, I skidded the rear tire out of despiration, which I know you should never do. But it was either me or the trail.
Only one thing to do on fast downhills AND IT GETS OUT OF CONTROL and that is forget the brakes and pray the tree moves before you hit it. Uphill is a different matter- Never stop uphill. If you fall off and have to restart- make certain the back wheel has grip underneath it and point the bike at 45 degrees across the trail. two attempts to restart and if that fails- See how the shoes grip on the mud.

Like JPPE- I am worried about stopping uphill. I will slow down to make certain I have energy to finish it- Or I find that little bit extra to make certain I can climb it. MTB's are Heavy and I hate walking anywhere.
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