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Old 01-03-13, 07:57 PM   #1
ol geezer
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Do you have a "mental" hill?

I live in the Virginia piedmont - lots of rolling hills, few flat areas, and an occasional short but nasty hill.

All of my favorite rides seem to have at least one short but nasty hill within the final few miles of the ride. I find myself thinking about these hills well before I actually get to them ... and I almost dread them since I know that by the time I get to them, I'll be at the stage in the ride where I'm beginning to fade. I say these hills are "mental" because I think I "over-think" them. I've never failed to make it over these hills and usually once I'm over them I realize it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated.

Do you have a "mental" hill and, if so, how do you deal with it?
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Old 01-03-13, 08:12 PM   #2
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Clarify "short" and "nasty" so we can formulate a response.
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Old 01-03-13, 08:15 PM   #3
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I had two but for different reasons I am down to one. The second one beat me two out of three tries that I attempted it. I didn't have to walk it but I had to stop and recover the first two times. On the third try I picked a good gear, controled my pace and made the hill and I felt justified. The one that is still in my head I have made four times. All four times I felt I it was going to beat me. It has four stages or kicks to it. The first is a bump of about 4 percent for 1/4 of a mile then hits 6 just as it crests. You have about 25 yards of 3 percent before the second bump that hits 6 or 7 for 1/4 of a mile before another 3 percent for about 30 yards. Step 3 starts at about 7 percent and just touches 11 to 13 before cresting after another 1/4 mile and a 3 percent hump. The brain keeps telling me the 4th step will kill me but it never gets past 5 percent and feels almost flat for the last 1/4 mile. I should know if I make step 3 I have it made but I always forget and dread step 4. In five years I have only fould myslef hitting that hill 4 times and I will go out of my way not to take it. Yes I know, it is in my head.
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Old 01-03-13, 08:41 PM   #4
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Instead of dreading them, look forward to them.
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Old 01-03-13, 08:58 PM   #5
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The Mt. Baldy Ski Lift climb is mental for me since it's beyond category for the pros. Then I would add Decker and Potrero, and climbing up Deer Creek (which is mental for other reasons on the descent).

All of these are Southern California climbs, so you probably haven't heard of them in VA. But they're tough for out here.

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Old 01-03-13, 09:45 PM   #6
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Instead of dreading them, look forward to them.
this
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Old 01-03-13, 10:05 PM   #7
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This would be the one: http://app.strava.com/segments/1026571
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Old 01-03-13, 10:07 PM   #8
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There is a hill across town, about 10 miles from home, that I used to love/hate. I dreaded it but found myself riding toward it every weekend. Then I started riding with a group near Louisville, where the hills are longer and more frequent.

Finding a harder hill is one way to make a scary hill go away.
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Old 01-03-13, 10:18 PM   #9
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The data is so course it's hard to tell, but by eyeball the grade for the 50' climb would be way over 45%, above the limit of traction. 'splain!
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Old 01-03-13, 10:33 PM   #10
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Live where I do and you have hills. You get used to them but there is one I hate.Only about 3% with a couple of short 10% sections on it but it is 2 miles long. It gets through to me and I hate it. It isn't steep- not really long but it is a bit exposed and you can bet that there is always a wind on it. And it is mostly a headwind. I will take a 12% for 1/2 mile to avoid that one whenever I can.
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Old 01-03-13, 10:38 PM   #11
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These threads are fun, but invite testosterone-fueled responses. I'm old and don't have much "T" going on, but my experience has been that the toughest climbs are the very steep pitches usually found at the top of long climbs. Henry Coe is a tough, 2500' climb, but the steepest pitch is very close to the top, hitting 19% or so; it's all I can do to avoid falling over. Lone Tree is a similarly hard climb and, again, the steepest stretch, at least 1/2 mile long and hitting 14-15%, is right at the top.

If you do a climb or climbs regularly you're aware of what's ahead, can measure out your effort and rejoice at conquering the climb, but on unfamiliar routes a nasty climb near the end can be very difficult.
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Old 01-03-13, 10:50 PM   #12
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I love climbing ... but my least favorite hills are the long, straight desert climbs up alluvial fans. Those suckers look almost flat and go on forever. On top of that, they're not so much fun to descend when it's time to turn around.
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Old 01-03-13, 10:56 PM   #13
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The Mt. Baldy Ski Lift climb is mental for me since it's beyond category for the pros. Then I would add Decker and Potrero, and climbing up Deer Creek (which is mental for other reasons on the descent).

Rick / OCRR
That ski lift climb is a bit much, lots of 15%. Climbs like that aren't fun for me, I've been up there a few times but it seems pointless. At least with Decker and Potrero you can use the climbs to get somewhere.
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Old 01-03-13, 10:58 PM   #14
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I love climbing ... but my least favorite hills are the long, straight desert climbs up alluvial fans. Those suckers look almost flat and go on forever. On top of that, they're not so much fun to descend when it's time to turn around.
You must be talking about Whitney Portal. Climb that sucker for 30 minutes and it doesn't seem like you are getting anywhere until you turn around and look back down.
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Old 01-03-13, 11:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
These threads are fun, but invite testosterone-fueled responses. I'm old and don't have much "T" going on, but my experience has been that the toughest climbs are the very steep pitches usually found at the top of long climbs. Henry Coe is a tough, 2500' climb, but the steepest pitch is very close to the top, hitting 19% or so; it's all I can do to avoid falling over. Lone Tree is a similarly hard climb and, again, the steepest stretch, at least 1/2 mile long and hitting 14-15%, is right at the top.

If you do a climb or climbs regularly you're aware of what's ahead, can measure out your effort and rejoice at conquering the climb, but on unfamiliar routes a nasty climb near the end can be very difficult.
True but you can get some honesty as well. We can admit if there is a hill that is in your head even if it isn't the worst hill you have to climb. The one I listed isn't the worst in our area it is just the one that stays in my head.
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Old 01-04-13, 03:13 AM   #16
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Do you have a "mental" hill and, if so, how do you deal with it?
Easy, be here now. What's the point of psyching yourself out about a mere hill. Worst comes to worst you walk up it. While you are not on it, don't think about it. Open your eyes and ears, feel your breathing, don't waste fun bicycling time having a bad fantasy about bicycling.
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Old 01-04-13, 07:45 AM   #17
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I try to approach the few I run into in the same way John Travolta in his character as Michael in the movie Michael does.... Battle!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWpA-2-KdDo
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Old 01-04-13, 07:52 AM   #18
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The "mental hill" I have is the one that keeps me from getting on the bike in the first place. I just think "You're going. Now stop talking to yourself and get dressed."
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Old 01-04-13, 08:35 AM   #19
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Yeah, my wife and I have a nasty short, steep hill we regularly avoid. Once in a while we will attack it to see whether we can do it. Ugh.
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Old 01-04-13, 08:46 AM   #20
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I enjoy hills, but it took a few years of effort to feel confident enough about my climbing ability.

Last spring I found myself climbing a final hill after a 70 mile ride. I normally had to mentally push myself to finish this hill. But instead, I caught myself dreaming about something unrelated.

I knew then that I had overcome my tendency to over-think hills.
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Old 01-04-13, 09:23 AM   #21
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You must be talking about Whitney Portal. Climb that sucker for 30 minutes and it doesn't seem like you are getting anywhere until you turn around and look back down.
Yea, that's one of them! Any of those climbs from the valley floor to the base of the Sierra. I like it better when roads wiggle their way up the hill. It makes for a more entertaining ascent/descent and at least it looks like you're climbing.
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Old 01-04-13, 10:19 AM   #22
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I love climbing ... but my least favorite hills are the long, straight desert climbs up alluvial fans...
Me too. I really like long straight climbs, as long as they are not in the desert and up alluvial fans.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:03 AM   #23
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I hate all climbs short or long. I have one very long climb maybe 2 miles that fortunately I can avoid by going another route but I come down that one and its a joy except when really cold out. I have another very short but steep climb that I have to do to get home but I walk that one. Much less strain and alot easier on the bike and it takes the same amount of time.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:48 AM   #24
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I live in central NJ. We can only get around 300 ft of continuous climb around here. My current nasty is Federal Twist Road which shows up on this ridewithgps.com track. I'm not sure how ridewithgps calculates the grade. I believe it does some smoothing. In any case, if you just look at difference in altitude divided by distance, you get the average grade is about 10% (for about 224 ft of gain) and there's a 101 ft section with a grade of 13%. Sometimes I make it with out stopping and sometimes I pull into a driveway at the end of the 13% section to catch my breath. It's very important to make it into the driveway so you can get started and get your feet in the pedals on level ground!

I've been a regular at the Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour every June. (Where one of the 50+ rides was held.) Often there is a ride around Lake Seneca, which if you start from camp (some drive into town to start), requires riding route 409 from Watkins Glen to get back to camp. This goes up 600 ft in a mile and a half and comes after 80 miles of riding around the lake. This was a hill I always walked. Two years ago, I measured the grade carefully on the way down (it's about 8%) and decided it was comparable to hills I could do, so I made it that year and last year. I think part of the reason was talking myself into it and part of the reason was doing a better job of keeping hydrated and electrolyte balanced on the way around the lake.

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Old 01-04-13, 12:03 PM   #25
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Looking forward to the descent, rather than the ascent, usually worked for me.
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