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Old 04-29-07, 07:36 PM   #1
rck
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hills

Have you ever noticed that the toughest hills you climb are not necessarily the longest or the steepest? Or is it just me?
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Old 04-29-07, 08:00 PM   #2
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no, I don't think it is just you...

There are two near the golf course that taken counterclockwise in the forty mile route are even fun, short steep, but sunny in tte morning, just made for climbing. When I take them clockwise, the shadows and dampness from the redwoods, the chipseal pavement and just how long they are, not to mention they are 30 miles into the ride, all add up to my peronal name for them, The Hills of Molasses, the pavemnt just seems to grab the tires, slowing me beyond reason.

it all in our heads....
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Old 04-30-07, 06:48 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by rck
Have you ever noticed that the toughest hills you climb are not necessarily the longest or the steepest? Or is it just me?
You're not alone. We were discussing this on our regular breakfast ride yesterday. Near the end of the ride is a short, slightly steep hill and it seems so much tougher than the larger hills we encounter during the early miles of the ride.

I've heard that attitude plays a big part of being able to climb and you need to adopt a "can do" approach to those hills. Unfortunately my legs don't always buy into this mode of thinking
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Old 04-30-07, 07:33 AM   #4
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From my observations the structure of a hill has quite a bit to do with it. Our big local hill has a "front" side and a "back" side. They are both the same height but the back side kind of staircases up and that gives you a slight break every now and then and it makes the back side no where near as hard as the front side.

Also, I know of other hills that are sneaky. We have one where all you see is the front steep part of the hill as you approach. What you don't see is after the steep part, there is a long gradual climb. Quite a few people get eaten up on that section because they push it too hard.
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Old 04-30-07, 08:07 AM   #5
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I recall reading that ultra-distance cyclist Lon Haldeman thought of Pennsylvania hills as more challenging than the Rockies. It's like crossing a giant wasboard. You crank hard up a fairly steep grade. A minute later you're at the bottom facing another fairly steep grade. Now imagine this scenario continuing for several hundred miles.
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Old 04-30-07, 09:04 AM   #6
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Blind curves and false summits greatly affect one's attitude and perception of a long climb. One has to be on guard against givng that last little burst, only to round a bend to face yet another uphill segment.
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Old 04-30-07, 10:29 AM   #7
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I recall reading that ultra-distance cyclist Lon Haldeman thought of Pennsylvania hills as more challenging than the Rockies.
I've never cycled the Rockies, but I can tell you the hills here in the Keystone State are pretty amazing- the Appalachian ridges are tough! People I know who've done the entire Appalachian Trail will tell you that PA has the toughest segments anywhere. Even the hills in Philly are nasty, BTW. For a not-so-subtle climbing experience, go to Manayunk (a section of Philly that has the infamous "Wall") and you'll see what I mean. It's as much as 17%, a total length of about 0.5mi.
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Old 04-30-07, 11:00 AM   #8
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I have noticed that I have two hills on my commute home, actually, if you want to be honest, I have a pretty ugly 2 miles of hill going home everyday. Since it took me two months to final be able to ride up it cleanly, it has a special place in my heart - perhaps a touch of dread at times - especially when the sun is beating and there is no wind.

The funny thing is that for enjoyment I will ride 6+ miles of the same stuff - and not even feel it was that bad. I think I am mentally scarred for life...
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Old 04-30-07, 11:09 AM   #9
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From my experience where the hill is in a ride has a lot to do with how tough they feel. I've seen where some hills that are not too bad on fresh legs bring down even the fittest riders if they are deep into a long ride...and it makes it even worse on warmer days.

I chuckled at John E's post. I've done some rides that have lots of hills and where I had done them enough to know the upcoming turns and hills. I've been beside riders that have anticipated a "break" rounding a curve only to see it continue up and sometimes even get a little steeper. They usually let out a pretty pitiful groan or moaning sound when they see it continue on after rounding the curve.........

On the other hand there is a hill at about the 90 mile mark of Blood, Sweat and Gears that is about 1 to 1.5 miles long at 10% that doesn't have any curves so you can see the top of it. And that's the problem. You see other riders ahead of you and know what you have in front of you......ugh.......
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Old 04-30-07, 11:13 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by MTBLover
I've never cycled the Rockies, but I can tell you the hills here in the Keystone State are pretty amazing- the Appalachian ridges are tough! People I know who've done the entire Appalachian Trail will tell you that PA has the toughest segments anywhere. Even the hills in Philly are nasty, BTW. For a not-so-subtle climbing experience, go to Manayunk (a section of Philly that has the infamous "Wall") and you'll see what I mean. It's as much as 17%, a total length of about 0.5mi.
I rode the 40 mile (really 45) Livestrong ride in Philly last year. We passed the Manayunk Wall but thankfully didn't have to climb it There was one really challenging climb on this route and I hope I'm better prepared for it this year. I manged to ride it but had to stop a couple times to rest
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Old 04-30-07, 11:15 AM   #11
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One trick I use for hills is to find a comfortable range and then think about ANYTHING other than the hill (favorite pies might be good for this group). The last thing you want to think about is discomfort. If I can do this successfully, before I know it, I am at the top of the hill.

Thinking about something that irritated me is pretty good for conquering the biggest hill - and getting the frustration out of my system.
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Old 04-30-07, 01:22 PM   #12
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Because I live at the top of a hill, the last 1.5 miles of any ride is uphill and always tough because they are always at the end of the ride. On the upside, last year I had to rest during that last 1.5 miles, this year I don't.
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Old 04-30-07, 01:33 PM   #13
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jppe said "especially on warmer days" and, while I am no where near the beast he is, that's true enough at any level, I guess. I know I hit it on Saturday a couple of times. Not think about it definitely helps or the other tip I've heard and tried which is to pick a short, easy goal you know you can pull off and repeat all the way up the hill. Like, "I'm going to ride up to that sign... OK, now I'm going to ride up to that mailbox... now that tree, now that driveway... now...Hey! I reached the top. Sometimes I do just fix my eyes on the prize and focus on it coming closer and closer. Trick your mind with whatever it takes.
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Old 04-30-07, 02:21 PM   #14
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There is a hill at Eastbourne that goes from Sea level to around 600 ft. It is about 2 miles from sea level to the top. The first 1 1/4 miles it only rises 150 ft and it is a long drag. Then you start on the hill on a bend and if you look straight ahead- the footpath to the top is steep. I have tried riding in on the MTB and it is not possible so is probably 40 degrees. Thing is that the last 450ft climb on the road is about 3/4 mile so is around 11%. That is dead easy as it is like an Alpine hill with 3 or 4 hairpins in it. Between the hairpins it is steady and no problem. It steepens on the hairpins but the climb is so easy that I take Novice riders up it at a slow pace and it gives them real encouragement for hills.

Then there is the basket route up to the same spot. It is 3/4 mile again for the same height climb so average of 15%. Only thing is the last 400 yards is flattish. So what it is in the steepest part we can only hazard a guess at 20%. First time we climbed this hill we were in granny and took it steady. Nice and slow and we made it with ease. We also worked it out that we could have done the hill in middle ring as we still had 3 gears left in granny. Never had the courage to try it in middle ring though.
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