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Old 06-16-11, 07:58 AM   #1
leob1
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The mental game

My wife(1.5 years before she is legal here), like to ride, and we ride often. She rides well, and is an LCI. The problem is hills. I see a hill and think of it as a challenge, she sees a hill and thinks "I'm never gonna make it up that hill." She is defeated at the bottom. Last night we where on a road that had some rollers, one spot as you went down hill, you couldn't see the top of the next hill because of low hanging branches. It looked like a wall of pavement. Before we even got to the bottom of the she said she couldn't make it up and would meet me at the top. She was planning on walking. Turns out it wasn't a big deal, and she didn't even have to down shift to get over!
Any body have any tips on how to get her out of the "there's a hill, I'm gonna die!" mindset? It would make a whole new set of roads available for us to ride together.
BTW, on the flat it's not unusual for her to drop me.
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Old 06-16-11, 09:19 AM   #2
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Perhaps offer the following for thought?

If you suffer, thank God! -- it is a sure sign that you are alive. --Elbert Hubbard

Bless a thing and it will bless you. Curse it and it will curse you...If you bless a situation, it has no power to hurt you, and even if it is troublesome for a time, it will gradually fade out, if you sincerely bless it. --Emmet Fox

The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it. --Helen Keller

Pain is never permanent. --Teresa of Avila
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Old 06-16-11, 10:18 AM   #3
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Old 06-16-11, 10:29 AM   #4
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mental game

the bicycle allows one ,self-propelled self-empowerment ! Google bicycle zen proverb ,immerse yourself in the experience of cycling.P.S. it gets easier.
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Old 06-16-11, 10:45 AM   #5
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I look at a hill and break it down to figure out how I will climb it. Some one can just blast up. Others especially those with changes in gradient require a varied pace approach. The thing about hills is that often they are not as bad as they look. So don't convince yourself that you are beaten before you start. There is plenty of time to be beaten when you are beaten.
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Old 06-16-11, 10:59 AM   #6
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May I suggest that you don't just assume it is all "mental?"

When she fails on a hill, stop immediately and start assessing what happened. Was she too out of breath? Knees hurt? Thigh muscles feeling too weak? Once you know what caused her to actually stop peddling, look at what can fix it. For example, if her thighs felt too weak to keep going, perhaps she needs to do strengthening exercises specifically for them, or perhaps she is not using the gears optimally and therefore working too hard on the hill.

If you will listen to her and help her with changes to address problems, then any "mental" issues will take care of themselves.

Hope this helps!
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Old 06-16-11, 11:33 AM   #7
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Make sure her bike has low enough gearing that she can make it up anything. And of course that she's using those low gears.
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Old 06-16-11, 12:11 PM   #8
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There's a confidence factor in there, too. She may improve her "mental picture" once she gets some climbs under her belt.

Then again, she just may not like the feel of lactic acid flooding her legs!

Has she explained why she doesn't like to climb?
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Old 06-17-11, 05:50 AM   #9
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My problem is that my S.O. never wants to ride with our club because she can't keep up. That's not true but it's what she believes. As a result she doesn't do the Saturday group rides and that keeps me from doing them as well. This year she's barely riding because she doesn't feel confident and doesn't ride and doesn't get in shape and thus fulfills her "prophecy." Nothing I say helps.
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Old 06-17-11, 06:39 AM   #10
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At the risk of sounding misogynist, it may be a Venus vs. Mars communications matter.

Women seldom say what they really mean. They'll approach a subject obliquely in order to minimize the risk of hurt feelings.

In bruce19's case, she may be saying she can't keep up with the club, when what she really means is that she can't keep up with you when your adrenaline pumps and you head off with the break on the club rides.

Pure speculation, but I'm citing that as an example of the way it works.

Back to the climbing thing, she may be saying she can't climb, when what she means is she doesn't like to climb. Not everyone enjoys the challenge of the climb. I know guys who will ride ten miles out of their way to avoid a 200 foot climb. They just plain don't like it. But guys will say so directly.
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Old 06-17-11, 06:39 AM   #11
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hills, group rides etc.

Bruce19 and I have something in common, although I'm just starting to enjoy riding myself.

My wife won't ride with me because she knows how hard I push myself and thinks that I will make the ride hard on her. She needs to do it but she won't.

I need to climb hills more and improve in every area. A couple of weeks ago, I had to bail out of a group ride because I couldn't keep up. By the time I rode back to my car, I had done less than half of my regular/everyday ride but I was so physically stressed, I had to rest for about 10 minutes before I could drive. So, I know something about the pressure of rising beyond my own ability and I don't intend to take a ride with a group again (except for a charity event or something where I can get by on moderate effort).

As to defeated at the bottom of a hill, if I leave my driveway with the intention of taking hills, I go straight for the nearby hills and do it until I'm satisfied. Then, the rest of the ride (whatever my goals are that day) is on my normal routes. I enjoy it for what it is.

When I am not interested in burning my thighs to juice and searing the inside of my lungs, listening to my hear rate alarm incessantly blowing its little beep into my ear, I just ride away from them, and at those times, if I unexpectedly find myself at the bottom of a hill looking up, I dread it like going to a hospital (where I am almost certain they will kill me).

Either way, hills are pain. Pain is not my goal. It's just an unavoidable consequence of life. Glad to have it.
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Old 06-17-11, 07:35 AM   #12
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If this thread is going to be about what women Really mean, than I'm atta here.
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Old 06-17-11, 07:45 AM   #13
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If this thread is going to be about what women Really mean, than I'm atta here.
If you want to know what I'm thinking, ask me - I'll tell you. Usually. I mean it! ;~)
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Old 06-17-11, 07:50 AM   #14
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Experience. That's all that's ever worked for me. People can give all kinds of advice on how to approach hills, mentally as well as physically, but until you get a lot of them under your belt, it can be hard to face one with a positive attitude.

One thing I learned a long time ago about rollers, though, is that the coming hill always looks much worse from the top of the current hill. Much worse. Once you get to the bottom of the first hill, the second one looks a lot more manageable. Once you get that through your head, you can approach them with a little more positive spin.
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Old 06-17-11, 08:54 AM   #15
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I'm female and agree with your wife when I see hills, I'm gonna die, too. I would give up quickly and start walking. I finally realized that that wasn't helping my hill climbing abilities. So, now I tell myself, I'm going to RIDE up that hill, even if I have to stop along the way and take breaks, because I'll still be strengthening the climbing muscles more doing it that way than getting off and walking. And next time, I'll be a little stronger and maybe will take one less break getting up it.

You also might try riding the same hill over the next few weeks instead of new ones all the time. Once she gets to know it personally, she will be able to gauge her progress up it. And if she knows it only took her three breaks to get up it last time, but she still made it and she's still alive, she might be willing to push herself a little more.

Works for me!

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Old 06-17-11, 09:23 AM   #16
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May I suggest that you don't just assume it is all "mental?"
I think this is a really good point. A former female riding companion was in remarkably good shape (or so we all thought). She was strong, trim, flexible and could ride for hours at a time. However, hills just took it out of her. Turns out she had a leaky aortic valve. Normal riding nver pushed her to the point where the leak was an issue. However, when she got into the red zone with her heart rate, the leak was significant in terms of her ability to deliver oxygen to the parts of her body that needed it.
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Old 06-17-11, 11:35 AM   #17
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In bruce19's case, she may be saying she can't keep up with the club, when what she really means is that she can't keep up with you when your adrenaline pumps and you head off with the break on the club rides.
I can see why you'd speculate but she and I ride together we go at a decent pace and she enjoys our rides. When we ride in the group I never let her go off the back without me. And, quite frankly, she doesn't often lag behind. She just has this anxiety thing about not being good enough even though she could be a very strong rider if she'd just ride more. One of my problems is that her reluctance to ride with the group keeps me from getting miles in. FWIW, I don't ride aggressively except for one day a week when I ride my 15mi. TT solo. Then I kick my own butt.
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Old 06-17-11, 01:18 PM   #18
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vive le difference

NOS88 is going where I was going to go... you have to appreciate what (as my GF calls them) your 'man muscles' can do for you on a climb - generally men have greater musculature, for a given body weight. It simply isn't going to be as hard for you as it is for her. My GF has some real respiratory issues and is close to tears of frustration some days, so we simply back off and take the hills at the pace she can sustain. I assure her I'm not disappointed and that is it about OUR ride, not my/her ride. Riding with a significant other is a real treat and has to be valued and nurtured.
I agree also with the idea that you should focus on the same hills/routes, and as she sees herself improve on them, confidence will improve and the mindset will diminish.
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Old 06-17-11, 05:08 PM   #19
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Just forget about it and enjoy the fact that she will ride with you at all. I would just try to get as many miles in with her as I could and maybe over time she will climb more. With my wife, the more I push her the harder she digs in.
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Old 06-17-11, 05:15 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tabriz View Post
I'm female and agree with your wife when I see hills, I'm gonna die, too. I would give up quickly and start walking. I finally realized that that wasn't helping my hill climbing abilities. So, now I tell myself, I'm going to RIDE up that hill, even if I have to stop along the way and take breaks, because I'll still be strengthening the climbing muscles more doing it that way than getting off and walking. And next time, I'll be a little stronger and maybe will take one less break getting up it.

You also might try riding the same hill over the next few weeks instead of new ones all the time. Once she gets to know it personally, she will be able to gauge her progress up it. And if she knows it only took her three breaks to get up it last time, but she still made it and she's still alive, she might be willing to push herself a little more.

Works for me!

Tabriz
Excellent advice, Tabriz!

I'm a brand new rider and this is going to be really helpful to me.

Thank you!
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Old 06-17-11, 05:22 PM   #21
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Never look beyond five feet in front of the bike on a hill.

The mind is much more powerful than any other part of a human. Don't give it any information that it could use against you. If you don't see the top of a hill your mind won't be able to convince the rest of you that the hill is unconquerable.
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Old 06-17-11, 08:29 PM   #22
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NOS88 is going where I was going to go... you have to appreciate what (as my GF calls them) your 'man muscles' can do for you on a climb - generally men have greater musculature, for a given body weight. It simply isn't going to be as hard for you as it is for her. My GF has some real respiratory issues and is close to tears of frustration some days, so we simply back off and take the hills at the pace she can sustain. I assure her I'm not disappointed and that is it about OUR ride, not my/her ride. Riding with a significant other is a real treat and has to be valued and nurtured.
I agree also with the idea that you should focus on the same hills/routes, and as she sees herself improve on them, confidence will improve and the mindset will diminish.
I know a lot of women that are climbing machines. One pair I ride with from time to time (both mothers of multiple children) can climb like goats. It really is a matter of how you train and how much pain you are willing to endure. IMHO it is not a gender thing. Women may not be able to reach the very highest levels of competition, but they can get pretty darn close, and many get further than any of us ever will. I am not suggesting that the OP's wife just HTFU, I am suggesting that anatomy has little to do with it at a recreational level of fitness. You have to want it bad enough and being a great climber may not be her ambition.
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Old 06-17-11, 08:38 PM   #23
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Any body have any tips on how to get her out of the "there's a hill, I'm gonna die!"
Well what happened to the OP?

The best strategy to deal with people who don't share your goals when cycling is to make allowances and introduce other "goals." In this case, one possible method is to go ahead and completely slow down at the base of the hill and gear down to an easy spin. The slowly take the hill in an easy gear - commenting on how "cool" it is that bicycles have multiple gears.

The main thing when riding a bike is to have fun and engage in an activity that promotes health at the same time. Riding up hill very slowly, using low gears is a great opportunity to share your love of cycling with your mate.

Once in a while try to think of others, and adjust your point of view as necessary.
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Old 06-17-11, 09:31 PM   #24
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I see a hill and I want to conquer it. When I was a newbie commuter I had a mile-long hill right at the end of my commute. At first I had to walk up, then I got halfway up before I had to stop and walk. The first time I made it up without walking I thought my lungs were going to explode, but I was so happy that I'd finally made it without walking.

The only way for your wife to get over her fear of hills is for her to ride a lot of them. Once she gets comfortable shifting into an easier gear and spinning, they shouldn't be a that big of a deal.
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Old 06-17-11, 09:58 PM   #25
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Get rid of her bike!
Get rid of your bike!


Get a Tandem!
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