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Old 07-31-09, 01:10 PM   #1
cyclinfool
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I folded

Yep - like a cheap suit.

Last night I went out for my hill climb workout. Lately I've been getting cockie, trying really steep stuff.
I started out on a 1200' climb - 2.5 miles so approximately 10% average grade - so you know there is some 8% and some 12%, done this hill many times before, it's not fun but it's strength training (mental and physical). Then down to another climb - this one I had not done before but heard it was a killer, Last week I had tackled 0.1 miles of 16% grade in the middle of an 850' climb - thought that was the worst. I started up the hill and it seemed OK, hit 12% grade fairly quickly, I was tired from the first climb, came around a bend and looked up - holy s..t. Map my ride shows it at 20% - I did not know that at the time. I hit that wall, went down in the drops to keep the front wheel on the ground and it started beating me, stood up and it was still beating me, heart rate was hitting 190 and I took two more licks on the pedals and stopped -mentally and physically crushed. Put my head down and panted like a rung out hound dog, after a few seconds I lifted my head up and water poored out of my helmet. Oh well - maybe that should have been the first climb of the evening. Put the bike across the fall line and high tailed it out of there like a spanked cat. This hill is do-able as the 20% grade section is only supposed to last 0.1 mile before it does back to a gentle 12%. I must have made it about 1/2 way up it.

Tell me again why we do this...
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Old 07-31-09, 01:27 PM   #2
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Only one way to do a hill like that and that is to pass a couple of youngsters on mountain bikes just before you hit the steep bit. Then if you feel like stopping- look behind to see them both walking their bikes and looking at you. No way can you stop now- and you will find out what your Max HR is.

Been there and done it but only on the .71 mile 16% we have.
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Old 07-31-09, 01:32 PM   #3
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.

Tell me again why we do this...
Because you want to be the man. Next time you will own that hill.

I went on a group ride last night. I had just got back from 4 days of riding 75 to 87 miles a day across PA. My legs were sore and I did take Wednesday off so I thought I could get some of the hurt out by riding along with the B group. Well the ride started and I ended up riding with the front runners (A group) and stayed with them over the first two climbs and rollers for 14 miles. I love the dynamic of fast group rides. I didn't plan on racing this weekend due to the long rides earlier this week, but my performance indicated I could race. I made an instant decision to race this weekend and told a couple guys in the group that "I'm going off the back and don't worry about me". I rode back to near the starting point then rode Z4 up a long hill two times. My Wed workout, which I skipped, was supposed to be 4 long hills in Z4. I figured that the two hills during the ride at Z5-B counted as two of my Z4 hills. The same question as you, why do we do this?
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Old 07-31-09, 02:45 PM   #4
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One of these days you're going to wonder why it was such a struggle......congrats on even jumping out on the darn thing and to keep pushing the limits! Four things that will make it easier over time:

Lose some weight (body + bike)
Make sure you have the right gearing (I use a 34/32 just for those sections instead of a 34/27)
Start the climb with your HR in the lowest zone you can
Keep doing hills

Sometimes the mental piece can be the toughest-you can't allow yourself to quit......it only feels like crap while you're actually doing it!!
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Old 07-31-09, 03:55 PM   #5
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Sounds to me like another climber is born. Always looking for harder climbs, eh? Bwa-ha-ha... that's how you get suckered in.

There is nothing more enticing for a climber than hearing about some "evil" hill you haven't tried yet.
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Old 07-31-09, 05:51 PM   #6
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Lose some weight (body + bike)
So not only are you calling me fat - but my bike too!

I wish it were that simple - the bike is an 18 lb CF Specialized Tarmac (and that includes the fully loaded wedge and bottle cages) and I am 5'11" and 170 lbs. Last summer I got down to 160lbs and could barely do the first hill I described. The problem - if there is one is really one of leg strength and mental toughness. 10 less lbs on me would be nice but not at the expense of muscle mass.
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Old 07-31-09, 06:17 PM   #7
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Don't let it get you down, you'll conquer it.

On my commute is a significant elevation drop/rise. I have three reasonable routes up. The shortest (and steepest, of course) is clearly the oldest road in the neighborhood. It's steep enough that even in good weather I feel a bit uncomfortable in a car, and in conditions with any threat of slipperiness I won't go near it. (Heaven help the horse-and-buggy crowd from a century and more ago. I know it was their only way up back then.)

But I'll sometimes climb it anyway. Occasionally people have said things like "There must be a better way....". My answer was "Yes, but this is over with quickly". That is part of the reason, it's true. But also "Because it's there".

Gotta admit, though, that I don't tackle that one very often. But now that you've reminded me, I think I'm going to have to go conquer that hill again one of these days.

Thanks....
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Old 07-31-09, 06:30 PM   #8
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....it only feels like crap while you're actually doing it!!
I may make this my new sig line.
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Old 07-31-09, 06:43 PM   #9
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I have been working on climbs myself of late and enjoy them up to a point... but long climbs over 12%? I'm going to recommend psychoanlysis!
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Old 07-31-09, 07:21 PM   #10
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As a point of reference, I had a crummy July with only 158 miles due to a broken bike, too much heat, and other commitments. In that 158 miles, I climbed 1378 feet. 1200 feet in 2.5 miles sounds like insanity.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:28 PM   #11
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So not only are you calling me fat - but my bike too!

I wish it were that simple - the bike is an 18 lb CF Specialized Tarmac (and that includes the fully loaded wedge and bottle cages) and I am 5'11" and 170 lbs. Last summer I got down to 160lbs and could barely do the first hill I described. The problem - if there is one is really one of leg strength and mental toughness. 10 less lbs on me would be nice but not at the expense of muscle mass.
Fat is a relative term!! Sounds like you and I are about the same size. I completely agree about the rigors of getting lighter. It ain't purty!!

I don't know the weight of your wheels but at some point you might want to check out various options as that is the easiest way to get some help on the hills-other than gearing. If your wheels are 1600-1700 grams you'll be amazed at the difference that 1400+ gram wheels will make on climbs. PAlt can tell you about the DT Swiss wheels he picked up. I've just ordered a set of HED Ardennes that are under 1400 grams to go on the bike I use on steep hilly rides.

Anyway-steep hills never get easy-but you'll get there.

Best climbing advice I ever got was when a fella told me that as long as the bike is moving forward I was getting closer to the top.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:51 PM   #12
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I don't know the weight of your wheels but at some point you might want to check out various options as that is the easiest way to get some help on the hills-other than gearing. If your wheels are 1600-1700 grams you'll be amazed at the difference that 1400+ gram wheels will make on climbs. PAlt can tell you about the DT Swiss wheels he picked up. I've just ordered a set of HED Ardennes that are under 1400 grams to go on the bike I use on steep hilly rides.
Wheels: Easton Orion II weight: 1477g

Gearing: at the point of defeat I was in a 30/26.

I have no excuses.

No regrets either - the goal of the ride was to work my legs to total fatigue and that I did.
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Old 08-01-09, 06:13 AM   #13
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Legs, lungs, heart and head.
Equipment comes in somewhere after these factors.

Last edited by BluesDawg; 08-01-09 at 06:29 AM.
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Old 08-01-09, 06:47 AM   #14
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I've been there...that place where you just can't turn those crank arms over even one more time. For me it serves as motivation to go after it again. (Or, find a different sport, which I'm not about to do). Everyone meets their wall at some point. So, what's the plan for going after it again?
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Old 08-01-09, 10:48 AM   #15
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Ha ha ha StrapFam Cyclin is getting old he would jest let those mtn guys push on past whilst he dofts his cap./Kenneth
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Old 08-01-09, 12:51 PM   #16
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Legs, lungs, heart and head.
Equipment comes in somewhere after these factors.
+1 - It all comes down to the engine.
My vision of the engine and reality are widely separated. But I know that of all the things in cycling this is both the cheapest yet hardest thing to improve.

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I've been there...that place where you just can't turn those crank arms over even one more time. For me it serves as motivation to go after it again. (Or, find a different sport, which I'm not about to do). Everyone meets their wall at some point. So, what's the plan for going after it again?
Oh - I meet my wall every year - last year it was the first hill I climbed that night, my first attempt went into abort 2/3 of the way up - this year I have done that hill many times (one night I did it twice). This new challenge may get attacked again next week or may have to wait. I need to start watching my training carefully now as a series of major rides start next weekend and I don't want to over train. I did a metric today - rode well but the one big climb in the ride had me sucking wind pretty hard - I still felt the effects of Thursday night. Next weekend is a mountainous 85 mile ride with a fast paced group. I suspect I'll need to get lots of rest.
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