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Old 07-06-12, 08:00 AM   #1
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Nothing like doing Hills

Unlike past years I really have not done very much climbing training this year. My weight was so high this Spring I was focused on longer rides just trying to burn calories. Plus I also knew what a sufferfest it would be if I tried to climb some of the hills with the 15 extra pounds and I just could not get interested in that level of pain.

We went to visit my daughter over the 4th. She lives in Boone and just a few miles from a pretty good climb-Snake Mountain. I did a very short ride-under 20 miles-that included climbing Snake. There was a good 15 mph headwind that made climbing Snake even more challenging..........and I really suffered. For the first time all year I really had to grind out the gears for an extended period and at a very high HR. Some of the suffering probably had to do with the pitcher of Margaritas we enjoyed the night before.

Anyway that steep climb seems to have helped me find a little additional leg strength. Our group rode last night and I could tell I had a little extra on the climbs from what I'd had days before. I'd forgotten how much riding steeper hills helped me with power. Or on second thought maybe it was the Margaritas after all.

Now if I could just lose those extra 5 pounds I still have........
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Old 07-06-12, 08:48 AM   #2
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Excellent! Hills are your friend. Last year I lost 35lbs of bodyweight. I'm after another 10lbs below that this year. Every 2lb loss can be felt on the hills.

Do you have a smartphone with Strava? That is what has helped me on hill-attack runs this year. We have 2 hills that are nasty, almost like a Michigan version of your Snake Mt. When you track your performance and see it improve as you enjoy the summer.....it puts a little zip in the spinning.

Congrats on the climb!
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Old 07-06-12, 09:04 AM   #3
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15 pounds and you can tell a difference? I lost about 70 in the last 18 months and can certainly tell a difference. I'm figuring half the perfromance boost is strength I've gained, and half is from being lighter. I guess another 50 and I should fly up those hills.

I agree, that I am enjoying the challenge of the hills now. I went out last night intending to do 25-30 miles. Once I got that close to what we know as "Nice Hill", I couldn't turn around without attacking it, so I went a bit further.
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Old 07-06-12, 09:52 AM   #4
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I'm thinking guys like jppe should be required to carry a sack full of bricks to keep up with me. It isn't fair....

Edit: by "keep up", I really meant "keep down" of course.

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Old 07-06-12, 10:01 AM   #5
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15 pounds and you can tell a difference? I lost about 70 in the last 18 months and can certainly tell a difference. I'm figuring half the perfromance boost is strength I've gained, and half is from being lighter.
I'm sure you've got stronger, but the weight is the thing. The extra power required to haul seventy pounds up a hill is huge. According to my calculator, if I put on 70lbs I'd need an extra 80 watts or so to achieve the same speed up a 6% gradient.

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Old 07-06-12, 10:14 AM   #6
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I'm sure you've got stronger, but the weight is the thing. The extra power required to haul seventy pounds up a hill is huge. According to my calculator, if I put on 70lbs I'd need an extra 80 watts or so to achieve the same speed up a 6% gradient.
Last time I flew somewhere, my suitcase was about 52 pounds. I imagine hauling that around on my bike and how much it would slow me down. I guess It would be easy to test. Put some panniers on one of my bikes, load up 70 pounds of gear, then see what the effect is.
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Old 07-06-12, 10:18 AM   #7
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Last time I flew somewhere, my suitcase was about 52 pounds. I imagine hauling that around on my bike and how much it would slow me down. I guess It would be easy to test. Put some panniers on one of my bikes, load up 70 pounds of gear, then see what the effect is.
I do a lot of touring. Fully loaded, my touring bike and baggage weighs in at about 60lbs more than my road bike. If it had the same gearing, most of my tours would involve a great deal of walking.
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Old 07-06-12, 10:20 AM   #8
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Being from Florida, I'm not much of a hill climber but vacationing here in Illinois and talking to some of the local cyclist, I have discovered that the hills up here fall into four categories; small to moderate, moderate to medium, medium to steep and Holy S**t. I have come upon more of the later then the others on some of my rides up here. I really admire you guys that climb these hills all the time.
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Old 07-06-12, 11:39 AM   #9
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15 pounds and you can tell a difference? I lost about 70 in the last 18 months and can certainly tell a difference. I'm figuring half the perfromance boost is strength I've gained, and half is from being lighter. I guess another 50 and I should fly up those hills.

I agree, that I am enjoying the challenge of the hills now. I went out last night intending to do 25-30 miles. Once I got that close to what we know as "Nice Hill", I couldn't turn around without attacking it, so I went a bit further.
I had lost 60 lbs and kept most of it off for 8-9 years but for various reason put 20 lbs on late last year. Hopefully it will be the last time that happens.
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Old 07-06-12, 12:31 PM   #10
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I'm sure you've got stronger, but the weight is the thing. The extra power required to haul seventy pounds up a hill is huge. According to my calculator, if I put on 70lbs I'd need an extra 80 watts or so to achieve the same speed up a 6% gradient.
I have lost about 13 pounds over the last 2 months, and the other day I found myself riding comfortably in the drops...........and noticed my knees were not hitting my gut!! Today on a couple of steep hills I felt strong and confident.....now I just have to keep up the momentum and keep down the beer and ice cream consumption.
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Old 07-06-12, 12:37 PM   #11
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Going up is good for you of course and we must do it..... BUT....few people seem to talk about the joys of going down a hill or mountain. Now I'm a big fan of that!
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Old 07-06-12, 03:40 PM   #12
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I have shared that pain many times, as you know. Snake ALWAYS seems to have some degree of wind, though the repaving near the top made it a bit more bearable this year. See you at Dog Days on the 8th?
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Old 07-06-12, 05:59 PM   #13
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Hills rock and roll.
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Old 07-06-12, 06:31 PM   #14
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I hate hills!

But, still seem to ride them more often than not when given the choice of deciding where to ride.
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Old 07-06-12, 06:50 PM   #15
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Our club does a regular hill work out at the University of West Florida's drive. It is 6 miles of good climbing for this pancake area. Two laps will let you know you did some work. I'm adding these to my workout to get ready for the rollers in the Fenner O'Connell Memorial Ride's metric century in October. I'm a sick puppy that actually enjoys suffering on the hills.

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Old 07-07-12, 05:44 AM   #16
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I have shared that pain many times, as you know. Snake ALWAYS seems to have some degree of wind, though the repaving near the top made it a bit more bearable this year. See you at Dog Days on the 8th?
I hope to. As hot as it is I think my strategy will be to "just finish"!
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Old 07-07-12, 05:54 AM   #17
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Good job on dropping 15 of the 20. I picked up 20 this past year too and have not lost any of it. Hills are a lot harder and slower. I don't anticipate with my current demands and lack of motivation I will be able to drop more than about 5 of it this year. Although cycling is still a big part of my life it is not the center, am now doing more hiking and backpacking with my daughter. I need to do this before she gets into those tough teenage years.
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Old 07-07-12, 12:30 PM   #18
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Or on second thought maybe it was the Margaritas after all.
......
Did you ride your "mountain roadster" Trek?

You know......you can get a 34 for the back in 9 speed, or 36 teeth in 10 speed. It's much easier to change gears than to lose weight.
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Old 07-07-12, 01:58 PM   #19
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My corner of Rhode Island is relatively flat but not dead flat. Few hills here are very long, (one mile max) or very steep, (8% to 10% max). I divert from regular routes to ride some of these hills when they are close. One hill goes up to a bluff overlooking a river and is much steeper than most but no longer than, say 1/4 mile. After getting lower gears on the bike of 23 gear inches, I gave it a go. I made it but was very glad to see the top.

Some weeks later, out of curiosity, I made a protractor like device, used with a carpenters pocked level to measure the slope. Standing at the top and looking down it feels like standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon staring into vast depths. I was very disappointed to measure a mostly 12% slope with a short roll at 13%. I've come to believe that those who claim climbs of 18% of 22% should have their mouths washed out with soap. I wish now I'd never measured it - ruined an epic tale.
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Old 07-07-12, 01:58 PM   #20
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The best part of doing hills on regular routes is watching your speed as you crest the hill.....the mph as you finish. It just gets better and better. Greg Lemond was right.
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Old 07-07-12, 04:52 PM   #21
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^^^^^ Or to put it another way, it hurts the same but you get there faster.
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Old 07-07-12, 05:47 PM   #22
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Losing weight always makes the hills better. I'm 68. I lost some 30 lbs. over the past 6 months and my little hill loop - and it's pretty flat here, but I found a 3 mile loop with 5 short steep ones - goes very well. Good workout. Although I have retired I still get the Bar Journal and there's a photo of an MLS 150 entrant on his bike that is shocking - can't believe he'd let them publish that photo of his gut in full riding kit. For that matter, I can't understand why he would ride that ride in that shape. There is just no downside to keeping one's weight below 25 BMI, I don't care how old you are or how much you like to eat. I agree there's nothing that beats riding hills in Texas summer heat!
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Old 07-07-12, 09:46 PM   #23
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You'll lose those extra pounds if you keep after those hills! I know the feeling of not wanting the pain. Where I am in Nevada there are plenty of hills. It's sometimes frustrating as I'm in low gear and cranking like a mad monkey, sucking wind for all I'm worth and there will be a some guy in a jersey/spandex outfit blowing past me as if that hill didn't exist! Just wait.....I'm working on it!!
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Old 07-08-12, 10:36 AM   #24
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Hills are the barometer that tells me I'm getting stronger. When I anticipate a challenging hill on a ride I haven't done in a while and don't recall where the hill is on the route, and realize I just completed it --- and it seemed flatter than last time --- I know I'm getting stronger.

According to the self-assessment in Friel's Cycling Past 50, climbing is my strength. Endurance [currently] is not, but historically it was so I'm working to get that back.
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Old 07-08-12, 11:40 AM   #25
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Did you ride your "mountain roadster" Trek?

You know......you can get a 34 for the back in 9 speed, or 36 teeth in 10 speed. It's much easier to change gears than to lose weight.
I did ride it and was glad I did. As you know I have the 11-32 cassette and for now the 32 is still a winner. I hardly used the 32 in Colorado-mostly the 28-- but there was probably a section or two where I dropped down just to spin a little easier for bit. If I were down to my climbing weight it would make a gear or two difference.

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Hills are the barometer that tells me I'm getting stronger. When I anticipate a challenging hill on a ride I haven't done in a while and don't recall where the hill is on the route, and realize I just completed it --- and it seemed flatter than last time --- I know I'm getting stronger.

According to the self-assessment in Friel's Cycling Past 50, climbing is my strength. Endurance [currently] is not, but historically it was so I'm working to get that back.
That happened to me the other night. I was on a hill near the end of my ride that many times I'll drop down into my small chainring and chug along 10-15 mph. However Thursday night I was with a group and looked down and we were doing 23 mph up that darn thing. Nice!! Keep riding. Your endurance will come back. A lot of times it comes in "step changes" as opposed to gradual improvements.

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You'll lose those extra pounds if you keep after those hills! I know the feeling of not wanting the pain. Where I am in Nevada there are plenty of hills. It's sometimes frustrating as I'm in low gear and cranking like a mad monkey, sucking wind for all I'm worth and there will be a some guy in a jersey/spandex outfit blowing past me as if that hill didn't exist! Just wait.....I'm working on it!!
I can relate completely. With getting a little older and carrying the extra pounds it feels like those guys sprinting past me on the hills is getting to be a more common occurrence. It used to really frustrate me but now I'm okay with just riding my own pace.
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