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Thread: Hill Repeats

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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Hill Repeats

    Working to get ready for the 3500 ft climb on 6/20 - here is yesterdays and last sundays hill repeats. Not sure why there is this long gap in the data for Sunday - I assure you it was up & down 4 times.
    Note how the GPS syas there is as much as 17% grade and in one case a 25% spike - I assure you this is not the case - when plotted on a program like mapmyride it is 9% to 12% at the worst and Sundays ride is 7% to 9% at teh worst. My Forerunner does not have a altimeter. Sundays ride was 1100' per repeat, last night it was 1200'. I was hopping for 3 repeats last night but the hill is so steep I am afraid to go down it so I take a less steep route which puts me 7 miles mile or so out of my way - we ran out of daylight and did not get back to the car until a little after 9PM.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Are you doing these once per week?

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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Are you doing these once per week?
    Up until two weekends ago I was trying to get in one 1000' climb per week. Then weekend before this past I did a 1000' climb on both Sat & Sun as part of a 50 mile ride each day (the single 1000' climb in the middle with the usual additional ups and downs along the way). Last weekend I started the repeats and the guy I am training with and I will do this one more time next weekend probably on Sunday. Sat I will do a 60 mile club ride which will be fast and usually includes about 3000' spread out over the route - Sunday it's probably another 4 repeats up the hill we did last Sunday or one with a little less grade, we have not decided yet.

    Then next week its just flat easy riding and then on the 20th it's Whiteface - 3500', 8.5 miles. After that I just plan to keep up one day/week of hills through the summer. I would have liked to have started the repeats a month ago but my knee had gotten sore and although I still pushed it - I did not want to totally put myself out of the race so I waited before I started the more intense training. The knee gave me no trouble last night except some stiffness when getting in the car. Today it was fine on the commute to work.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Good luck in your training and race. My wife had a Garmin Forerunner and the grade measurement was very poor and overstated the grade dramatically. We have the Garmin 705 and it is very good and the grade measurement seems accurate and is repeatable i.e. riding the same climbs all the time.

    With respect to hill repeats and racing, here are a couple of unsolicited comments.

    Hill repeats up 1000 to 1400 vertical foot climbs in 3.2 to 3.5 miles are very tough and difficult from which to recover. 4 repeats seems like too much to me.

    When we were strength / power training last October - December, our coach had us do repeat climbs up similar hills. One up for time and one up in the big ring. Our coach had the Elite Cat 1/2 guys go up 3 times. We then as a team worked on speed / pace line drills after the hill repeats. He told us to expect our speed to diminish due to the effect of the hill work and scheduled us for more recovery type of work along with weight training.

    My concern vis a vis the race is that you are going to be too tired and only good at going slowly up the hills but you can do it 4 times. That is not going to yield a great hill climb time. Our coach constantly reminds us that racing is about speed. You need speed up the mountain. You have to practice speed up the mountain to simulate race conditions.

    My suggestion is to do less hill repeats but add in some VO2 max efforts on the hills on a different day. This is the 3 to 5 minute hard as you can go up the hill with a 5 minute recovery. You do 3 or 4 of these VO2 max intervals. What this will do in increase your power and speed up the hill and they are easier from which to recover. IMHO, you need more power. You have enough endurance and technique, I think.

    This is where a coach is invaluable. I am purely guessing and post this to stimulate your thinking. This is not a "you should do this". I am clueless. And VO2 max efforts uphill can be very tough on your knees and back if your technique is not perfect i.e. climbing position, spin efficiency, and etc.

    It would be interesting to see what Allegheny Jet has to say about this.

    Edit: Or BikeWNC or JPPE. These guys ride a lot of mountains.
    Last edited by Hermes; 06-11-09 at 12:28 PM.

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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    In my attempt to recover some of my lost fitness and peak in late Sept. I got out and did my first hill repeats today. Of course, where I live everything can be a hill repeat if not careful. So I did 2 x 8 min efforts at 20minCP+. That was plenty for a first effort today. I have another long, 115 mile 8000' century in 10 days so I may do one more session of these this weekend if rested. My idea is to use these to build up to 2x20 intervals so I can raise my FTP.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    In my attempt to recover some of my lost fitness and peak in late Sept. I got out and did my first hill repeats today. Of course, where I live everything can be a hill repeat if not careful. So I did 2 x 8 min efforts at 20minCP+. That was plenty for a first effort today. I have another long, 115 mile 8000' century in 10 days so I may do one more session of these this weekend if rested. My idea is to use these to build up to 2x20 intervals so I can raise my FTP.
    Yea yea...you just want an excuse to ride the S Works and shift electronically at high power. But for the fact that I have a ridiculous chest cold that will not quit, I am supposed to be doing 4X5 VO2 max intervals with 5 minutes rest on the TT bike and motor pacing. This is for the district track championships in July. I am hoping to get back to that next week. All I can do right now is survive 50 minutes on the trainer to keep my fitness.

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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Yea yea...you just want an excuse to ride the S Works and shift electronically at high power. But for the fact that I have a ridiculous chest cold that will not quit, I am supposed to be doing 4X5 VO2 max intervals with 5 minutes rest on the TT bike and motor pacing. This is for the district track championships in July. I am hoping to get back to that next week. All I can do right now is survive 50 minutes on the trainer to keep my fitness.
    LOL, I rode the Parlee because it has the PT on it.

    edit. My wife must have the same cold you do. She's had it a week.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Since Hermes invited me to add my 2 cents, here it is.

    I think Hermes is correct in that VO2 Max intervals are needed to develop the speed part of your fitness. You do seem to have the endurance part down pat since you are riding the hill mutiple times when compared to last year. In the race you may want your effort to be right at or just below threshold pace. If you go above LTHR you may not be able to recover enough to get your climbing rythym back because the climb just keeps coming at you with no breaks.

    My coach had me ride 10 to 12 minute hills in the big ring in HR Z4 early in the season to develop endurance and to get used to being uncomfortable and not being able to catch a break on the effort. In May we started to attack the hills in shorter reps and higher HR. One workout was to ride up a hill for 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min, 3 min, 3.5 min, 4 min, 4 min, 3.5 min, ... back to 1 min with 5 min recovery between efforts. We were supposed to hit Zone 5 at the end of the reps. On the shorter reps you wont see Z5 since the rep is complete before the HR gets up there. A couple weeks later we did a ladder workout on the same hill starting at 1 min and adding 1 minute per rep until we topped out at 6 minutes for the last rep, all with a 5 minute recovery between efforts. last night's workout was to do 2 sets of 4 x 1 mile intervals hitting Z5 with 5 to 8 min easy spin recovery between reps. Riding 1 mile intervals @ 26 to 28 mph hurts just as much as attacking the hills. As Hermes stated, the VO2 Max work is to make you faster and stronger.

    One thing I would add is that if the race is a priority to reach a goal or for your season, it's time to scale back the riding and recover. You can still do the "hard stuff" but limit the saddle time to either really hard and really easy. At this point you don't need any 3 hour Z3 training rides to build endurance. 2 hour rides in Zone 2 will allow you to keep form while not wearing down the body. Good luck, I hope I didn't confuse you any.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    At this point I am not sure I do have the endurance thing down. Whiteface is a substantial effort. Although it is a race my goal is to make it to the top without having to stop - I'll take what ever time I get. My partner on this ride and I discussed this weekends ride schedule during our training ride this AM and we came to the same conclusions you guys have, we are planning to train Sat (not Sunday) with maybe two repeats up Lake Desolation (not 4) - which is about 1/3 per lap of Whiteface, but with similiar if not a little less grade. After that we will do our normal AM rides but in Z2 - not the typical intervals we usually do. We plan to get a lot of rest & sleep next week.

    During the climb my strategy will be to find a pace where I can keep a sustain effort, if I pass a rider on the way up or get passed so be it, I don't plan to let other riders set my pace. From what my friend tells me - you need to hold a little in the bag because there is a steep switchback near the top and then it lets up, he told me you can pass a lot of riders on this last bit because they don't know it's just about over. Thanks for the tips.

    I really have not trained enough to do this ride at peak form but I'll do what I do. One good thing though is my weight has come down 10 lbs since early April so there is less of me to drag up the hill.

    BTW - my friends daughter did the race last year, she had only done one big climb prior to the race and she won her division (she was the only one in her division - female uner 16) She will do it again this year - I don't think she has done a single climb this year
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    When I went to France a few years ago- I realised I had to get used to steeper slopes than I have ever done before. Well not steeper- but they were longer. 13 miles at an average of 7.5% was definitely going to take it out of me. So I tried hill repeats up a 15% for 1 mile hill. first time up and twice was enough. When I got to 5 repeats I got bored so just went out and found about 3,000ft of climbing on a hilly route over about 15 miles. Then when I got to France- I found hills again and just spent 2 or 3 hours a day going up them.

    I don't think it was hill training that worked for me- well not directly. What happened was that I got into a rhythm. Once I had that rhythm set in the legs and the mind I did not even notice the hill till it went down to about 4% at one point. I was still going uphill so was loath to change up on the gears but it broke the rhythm for a mile or so with the higher cadence.
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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    This stage of the madness is now over - did four more repeats on Lake Desolation, the same course as last Sunday. Unfortunately I did not have my GPS because I had left it on and the batteries were dead. I do know my climb times on the first 3 climbs were better than last Sunday as my friend said his were better and I was not as far behind him, i.e. he passed me on his way back down when I was higher in the climb. Some other observations, on last Sunday I could "hear" my heart pounding but not today. Also my breathing was much more relaxed today. I also climbed several gears higher, on the second climb I stayed in the 39 and never dropped to the 30. The last climb was so as I was near the end of my reserves.

    No more intense hill repeats until after the 4th of July when I get back from vacation. There will be lots of climbing, but none of this up and down nonsense for the sake of building strength.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  12. #12
    pedo viejo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    One workout was to ride up a hill for 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min, 3 min, 3.5 min, 4 min, 4 min, 3.5 min, ... back to 1 min with 5 min recovery between efforts. We were supposed to hit Zone 5 at the end of the reps. On the shorter reps you wont see Z5 since the rep is complete before the HR gets up there.
    In your experience, how long do the reps have to be before you see Z5 on your HRM? I've been trying to add these kinds of efforts into the mix (50-60rpm at ~2min/rep, Friel's F3 workout, I think). Once in a blue moon I'll see Z5, but usually I max out right around LT, and those suckers hurt!

    One of these days I'll have to try your pyramid style.

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    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palookabutt View Post
    In your experience, how long do the reps have to be before you see Z5 on your HRM? I've been trying to add these kinds of efforts into the mix (50-60rpm at ~2min/rep, Friel's F3 workout, I think). Once in a blue moon I'll see Z5, but usually I max out right around LT, and those suckers hurt!

    One of these days I'll have to try your pyramid style.
    I had a 1 mile interval repeat workout this week that I was supposed to hit Z5 on. On the intervals that took around 2.5 minutes to complete my HR didn't reach Z5 until the end of most even though I was hammering from the get-go. On the first couple of the intervals I was having difficulty getting the HR up to Z5 before the mile was completed. After that I upped the cadence to 90-95 which helps to get the HR up a little higher. You can see form the GPS data where I warmed up then threw a couple hard efforts in to get the HR up then the 8 intervals with a 5 to 8 minute recovery except for a 12 minute recovery between the two sets of 4 intervals. All in all, it was a pretty painful ride with a modest 18.9 mph ave.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Allegheny Jet; 06-13-09 at 01:49 PM. Reason: additional info
    oldschool areodynamic brick

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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Looks like a tough workout AJ. I was doing intervals like this last year but have really not started them yet this year.

    But I need to start serious intervals again after I get back from vacation. I am what I am for the Whiteface race next weekend, all I can do now is do some moderate spin rides and rest until Next Sat.
    I will probably do 4 - 75 mile rides over vacation after the race, these will be up in the Adirondacks so the terrain is all "climb and descend". That and a lot of hiking and canoeing, can't wait.

    From this point on there are 4 events which I will train for, I have dates for 3 of them but the 4th has not been scheduled yet. They fall in August and September. They are mostly distance rides, two are 75 milers and two are centurys. This season I just could not get my head around it until about 3 weeks ago. The motivation is starting to come back.

    I need to see about getting a new camera for next weekend so I can take some pics along the way. I'll be the old fat guy chuggin up the hill.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    Looks like a tough workout AJ. I was doing intervals like this last year but have really not started them yet this year.

    need to see about getting a new camera for next weekend so I can take some pics along the way. I'll be the old fat guy chuggin up the hill.
    I think you will do well. You are riding hills better than before and you have a "game plan" that will enable you to use your head to lead the body. Good luck! Race report before the vacation is a must.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Here is a tweet from your favorite coach Joe Friel...

    One of quickest way to build high intensity fitness is 5 x 3 min hill reps at your power/HR/effort @ VO2max (3 min recoveries). Twice/week.

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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Here is a tweet from your favorite coach Joe Friel...

    One of quickest way to build high intensity fitness is 5 x 3 min hill reps at your power/HR/effort @ VO2max (3 min recoveries). Twice/week.
    Hermes - This is close to what my Tue/Thur morning ride is although I do a 5 min max effort on a moderate rise, then spin, then a max effort up a hill which usually takes a little longer than 5 min and then repeat on the way home. Total distance 18 miles. I do this with a partner at 6AM before work so we push each other. But as I said before - I just couldn't get my head around it until a few weeks ago. Anyway - I think I am in good enough condition to make it up Whiteface. Thanks for the help and advice.

    BTW - did a recovery ride today, a 28 mile loop I really enjoy. Just went out to spin the legs out, was alone during the ride. My average when I got home was 17mph, which was my best time on this loop for this season and my best all time average was year before last at 17.4mph. I was not trying for speed, never even got breathing hard. The whole ride just flowed.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

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