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  1. #1
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    question about climbing

    Last night I did a 12.5K climb up Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver for the first time. 7-8% grade for most of it. Ouch!!!! I usually need at least 20-30K with some short hills to warm up, did not have that here. Gritted my teeth and made it up. I sat the whole way, and when I reached the top, I could barely walk. Sore sore sore in the area below the groin in the inner muscles. I was told that its important to stand on the pedals every once in a while.

    My question is: At present I am usually in the lowest gear for this kind of climb, so when i stand on the pedals, the spin is too fast. Do most people shift up before standing for a few strokes and then shift back down when sitting back down?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    I always drop a gear or two just before I stand unless the hill has a sharp incline change and standing will match the constant effort. When standing you want more resistance so you don't need to stop your stroke because the foot is hitting the bottom too fast. It would be good to practice standing on the flats to get the feel of the different cadences and how your body reacts. Sometimes I stand, and work it, thinking that I'm doing an easy run and adjust the running effort the same as if I were running up a hill and needed to save some energy to get over the top, since the run will continue. If you are standing to relieve some muscle fatigue you don't want the standing to be a sprint that takes the HR through the roof.

    One thing to keep in mind when standing is not to panic and relax and let your bike and muscles work together. There will be some aches and pain to the leg's muscle right above the knee which is normal. If you practice standing for a lenght of time you will find some of the new aches and pain go away as you continue the interval.
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  3. #3
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Yes, that is what most people do.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Yes, shift into a larger gear and then stand. I sometimes do long climbs seated and do not stand and sometimes I stand a lot or alternate.

    I do not understand some of your facts and story. You had no warmup before starting the climb? How fast were you climbing?

  5. #5
    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    I always drop a gear or two just before I stand unless the hill has a sharp incline change and standing will match the constant effort. When standing you want more resistance so you don't need to stop your stroke because the foot is hitting the bottom too fast. It would be good to practice standing on the flats to get the feel of the different cadences and how your body reacts. Sometimes I stand, and work it, thinking that I'm doing an easy run and adjust the running effort the same as if I were running up a hill and needed to save some energy to get over the top, since the run will continue. If you are standing to relieve some muscle fatigue you don't want the standing to be a sprint that takes the HR through the roof.

    One thing to keep in mind when standing is not to panic and relax and let your bike and muscles work together. There will be some aches and pain to the leg's muscle right above the knee which is normal. If you practice standing for a lenght of time you will find some of the new aches and pain go away as you continue the interval.
    I like this advice!
    I have been trying to do just this, I sit most the time but do stand as well and shift just before standing and try to keep cadence the same. Working the bike and muscles together is good stuff..

  6. #6
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    I always drop a gear or two just before I stand unless the hill has a sharp incline change and standing will match the constant effort. When standing you want more resistance so you don't need to stop your stroke because the foot is hitting the bottom too fast. It would be good to practice standing on the flats to get the feel of the different cadences and how your body reacts. Sometimes I stand, and work it, thinking that I'm doing an easy run and adjust the running effort the same as if I were running up a hill and needed to save some energy to get over the top, since the run will continue. If you are standing to relieve some muscle fatigue you don't want the standing to be a sprint that takes the HR through the roof.

    One thing to keep in mind when standing is not to panic and relax and let your bike and muscles work together.
    There will be some aches and pain to the leg's muscle right above the knee which is normal. If you practice standing for a lenght of time you will find some of the new aches and pain go away as you continue the interval.
    I am not sure I would use the word "normal". I suspect that if OP had no warmup and started up the hill AND it was a real 7 to 8%, he overcooked the start (HR dramatically lagged power and he flooded his system with lactate he could not process). Once this happens, it is impossible to recover on a steep climb because you cannot go slow enough and spin out the lactate. He has enough fitness to keep going but when he got to the top, his legs were fried.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    I am not sure I would use the word "normal". I suspect that if OP had no warmup and started up the hill AND it was a real 7 to 8%, he overcooked the start (HR dramatically lagged power and he flooded his system with lactate he could not process). Once this happens, it is impossible to recover on a steep climb because you cannot go slow enough and spin out the lactate. He has enough fitness to keep going but when he got to the top, his legs were fried.
    I agree 100%. Based on the OP's post he knew that he should have warmed up. I was suggesting that during training for the specific task there would be some pains that are not common to riding while seated, which may not be limiters to the interval.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  8. #8
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    As others have stated - shifting to higher gear for standing is the norm. For me it has gotten where I don't even think about it, as I am rising up my fingers are clicking the shifters. My standing cadence is less than my sitting cadence so I need to drop several gears unless as was stated the hill grade change dictates less. I also find that my range of accelleration is significantly less when standing so there is only so much speed gain up a steep incline unless I start shifting even higher and that is real hard. Standing and climbing takes a lot of discipline, Hermes and AJ can probably give you more informed advice.

    What I find is that on a long climb, standing to use muscles differently helps to spread the pain out but if the climb is long don't be tempted to use the climb as a way to get a lot more speed - maxing out in Z5 is too easy and you may still have a ways to go, if I need a recovery from a burst and there is a lot of hill left I find I will loose more than I gain.
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  9. #9
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    Thanks. I am a new rider (1 year) and 53 with still a few extra pounds. I find that I usually need at least 30K with a few short hills to get what I consider fully warmed up. I had this on Saturday when I climbed a mountain ride that seemes to be mostly 5-7% grade. http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/canada...r/514729421059

    This one yesterday we only had about 10 minutes of riding before the mountain start. You can see the elevation profile here. http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/canada...uver/448687273 Look at the section on the right that goes up, the numbers there are 15,20,25 (This is not my ride, just using this for illustration.)

    My legs were not bad, its the groin/inner upper thigh that hurts like hell. (better today)

    So, gotta practice standing from now on, thanks.



    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    I am not sure I would use the word "normal". I suspect that if OP had no warmup and started up the hill AND it was a real 7 to 8%, he overcooked the start (HR dramatically lagged power and he flooded his system with lactate he could not process). Once this happens, it is impossible to recover on a steep climb because you cannot go slow enough and spin out the lactate. He has enough fitness to keep going but when he got to the top, his legs were fried.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    What I find is that on a long climb, standing to use muscles differently helps to spread the pain out but if the climb is long don't be tempted to use the climb as a way to get a lot more speed - maxing out in Z5 is too easy and you may still have a ways to go, if I need a recovery from a burst and there is a lot of hill left I find I will loose more than I gain.
    I'm doing a stage race beginning tomorrow so my intevals last night were cut in 1/2 with 100% intensity. The workout was 1/2 of a Z5 pyrimid on a hill after a 45 minute warmup which included Z4 riding and some hard efforts. I had to do 1 min on with 2 min recovery, 2 min on/4 min recovery, 3 min on/6 min recovery, 4 min on/8 min recovery and finished up with 5 min on/ 30 min cool down. On the first interval I was not able to reach Z5 because there is a lag from effort to the elevated HR. The 2nd interval I got to Z5 with about 15 seconds to go. The 3rd interval I paced myself and got to Z5 with about 30 seconds to go. The 4th interval I got to Z5 with 1 minute to go and topped out at Z5B, which was a little too high, making the end of the interval too difficult due to latacte buildup in the legs. On the last 5 minute interval I got to Z5 at around 2.5 minutes then I maintained a low Z5 HR to the end by adjusting cadence and gearing as I topped the hill and still needed some more time in the zone. Like CF states, you need to know what effort creates latacte acid and or exceeding VO2 max causing you to blow up before getting to the top.

    I understand the road race I'll be in on Saturday has two climbs that will cause a lot of discomfort. That's OK as long as I don't go too hard matching a pace I can't sustain and not be able regroup to race once over the top. I'll be constantly making note of my HR, cadence and how much hill is left. If needed I'll let some of the guys go away in order to save my race.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  11. #11
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cervelo-van View Post
    Thanks. I am a new rider (1 year) and 53 with still a few extra pounds. I find that I usually need at least 30K with a few short hills to get what I consider fully warmed up. I had this on Saturday when I climbed a mountain ride that seemes to be mostly 5-7% grade. http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/canada...r/514729421059

    This one yesterday we only had about 10 minutes of riding before the mountain start. You can see the elevation profile here. http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/canada...uver/448687273 Look at the section on the right that goes up, the numbers there are 15,20,25 (This is not my ride, just using this for illustration.)

    My legs were not bad, its the groin/inner upper thigh that hurts like hell. (better today)

    So, gotta practice standing from now on, thanks.
    BTW, I did not see an elevation profile but it does not matter. 10 minutes is not enough warmup but okay and it depends how fast you started at the bottom of the mountain with respect to warmup.

    The soreness is from overuse. You use muscles differently when you climb. On a steep climb, there is no rest whatsoever and the weakest link in your muscular skeletal structure fails first. I do not think it would have made a difference standing or not. However, standing does relieve some pressure from the knees and back uses muscles differently. Some may argue this point, but it does for me.

    I believe in programatic approach to cycling. If you want to start climbing mountains, pick an easier one and work your way up. There is less chance of injury. There is not a lot to be gained by very sore legs.

    And the muscles you describe are smaller and easier to pull. A groin / hip flexor pull is painful. You use the hip flexor to lift the knee. On flat rides, you have not been using your hip flexors as much. Your pedal stroke needs some work and you need to strengthen your hip flexors. Good luck.

  12. #12
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    When I did Ventoux it was straight into it. But at least the start eased in at a gentle 6% for the first km or so.

    Take the first couple of miles steady and spin- if you can. Get warmed up on the slopes before you have to work on the steep bits.

    And as for standing-I had plenty of standing on the steep bits and I did not have to drop a gear. I was going slow enough to need to stand to keep a cadence above 60.
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  13. #13
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    I'm doing a stage race beginning tomorrow so my intevals last night were cut in 1/2 with 100% intensity. The workout was 1/2 of a Z5 pyrimid on a hill after a 45 minute warmup which included Z4 riding and some hard efforts. I had to do 1 min on with 2 min recovery, 2 min on/4 min recovery, 3 min on/6 min recovery, 4 min on/8 min recovery and finished up with 5 min on/ 30 min cool down. On the first interval I was not able to reach Z5 because there is a lag from effort to the elevated HR. The 2nd interval I got to Z5 with about 15 seconds to go. The 3rd interval I paced myself and got to Z5 with about 30 seconds to go. The 4th interval I got to Z5 with 1 minute to go and topped out at Z5B, which was a little too high, making the end of the interval too difficult due to latacte buildup in the legs. On the last 5 minute interval I got to Z5 at around 2.5 minutes then I maintained a low Z5 HR to the end by adjusting cadence and gearing as I topped the hill and still needed some more time in the zone.
    Sounds like your Wed night was like mine. I was going to do two long climbs but the storms kept me close to home so I did intervals on a hill I use for training that is just about perfect length. I did exactly the same thing you did except my third repeat was most intense and I backed off on the fourth. I'll have to try your version. Although I don't have a race Sat I have a club ride that could be intense.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    Sounds like your Wed night was like mine. I was going to do two long climbs but the storms kept me close to home so I did intervals on a hill I use for training that is just about perfect length. I did exactly the same thing you did except my third repeat was most intense and I backed off on the fourth. I'll have to try your version. Although I don't have a race Sat I have a club ride that could be intense.
    Besides the intervals making one stronger they also let you practice getting close to the edge of blowing up. You find that it is possible to expend just enough energy to keep on pushing the pedals and adjust the effort.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

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