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JayhawKen 05-28-06 07:48 AM

Gravity is Evil
 
Random observations from my first ride since Gerald Ford was president...

First, I can't believe what I've been missing all these years. This is a really cool sport. Compared to running, you get to cover so much more distance in a given amount of time, you have a nice breeze cooling you down, and the downhills are something you actually look forward to. These are all good things.

The dark side is that what goes down must come up, that is if you intend to finish your ride where you started. I had no idea that climbing takes that much power! Almost 30 years of running did absolutely nothing for developing the muscles necessary for climbing hills on a bike. For all the former runners out there - do you develop that strength fairly quickly in the quads? On almost every little upslope I was dropping gears faster than W is dropping in the polls.:eek:

Finally, a humble request for all you really fast riders. When you come upon some out of shape beginner like me huffing and puffing up a hill - at least have the courtesy to sound a little out of breath when you pass. Today some guy about 20 years younger on a really cool looking bike (Pinarello?) with Zipp wheels literally was by me before I heard him coming. Nice enough guy, but the casual way he said "Good Morning, beautiful day isn't it?" was just about enough to make me want to rip his lungs out. Okay, got that off my chest.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to many years in what seems to be a great sport.:)

Banzai 05-28-06 11:23 AM

My first commute was over a year ago. I was a regular runner before that, so I thought "hey, this will be a piece of cake!" 1 hour and 20 minutes later on my 9.5 mile route, after huffing and puffing and toiling uphill most of the way, I thought I could die!

Now it takes me 45 minutes to get to work, and under 30 to get home (you can guess which way the hills are!) I don't really "push" or sprint either, just keep a steady pace. The point is; it does get better.

Remember, primarily you want to keep your 80-100 rpm spin, in whatever gear you can sustain that in. However, some mornings go a bit slower on the flats and downhills, and then really push the uphills. Maintain at LEAST 60-80 rpm in a gear that has your quads burning. Then at the top, stop and drink and rest before moving on.

If you don't do any "hill training", the mere act of cycling regularly will eventually find you at the point where you're wondering when the improvement actually happened, but happen it did. A little over a year after my 9.5 mile ride of pain, I just completed a century ride, at a good pace with the "main group", and it was great!

Just like running...it is different muscles, but stick with it and you'll find that you do get better.

By the by, are you a KU grad?

JayhawKen 05-28-06 12:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by banzai_f16
By the by, are you a KU grad?

Oh yeah - Rock Chalk, baby. (BSME)

Nermal 05-28-06 03:04 PM

Someone said that it never gets easier - you just go faster. Also, if you end up where you started, it averages out to dead flat road. Well, that's about it for the encouragement, but it is more fun, isn't it?

Oh, where ever the downhills are, that's also where you find the tail winds.

stapfam 05-28-06 03:10 PM

Some people can climb hills and others struggle. I have been riding for 15 years and in some Groups I am the slow rider, others the slow rider up hills, and even with some- I am up amongst the leaders. What I do find though is those that can climb- can rarely descend.

Building up leg muscles and in particular the quads is a must. I have quads to show up any weight lifter but I still do not climb fast. What I do though is actually climb the hills. Unless I lose grip, I never walk a hill. Gets a bit annoying that those that do walk catch me up but that's the way it goes.

You have it wrong with the fast riders in that they are hardly breathing. They have learnt the trick and you haven't. They are breathing hard but only show it when other riders are not about. If you are breathing hard- Slow down until not only the legs get better- but the lungs do too. Or control the breathing when other riders pass you.

Incidentally- the hills do not get any easier-- They just take less time to climb

supcom 05-28-06 05:38 PM

Since you spend a lot more time going uphill than downhill, it's best to embrace the hills as your friends. Enjoy them. Savor them. Seek out longer, steeper hills, and ride them for the pure satisfaction of achieving the summit.

Hills make me strong.

edp773 05-28-06 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by supcom
Since you spend a lot more time going uphill than downhill, it's best to embrace the hills as your friends. Enjoy them. Savor them. Seek out longer, steeper hills, and ride them for the pure satisfaction of achieving the summit.

Hills make me strong.

I agree. When I first got back into riding, I chose routes with the fewest hills. After a couple months of riding, I planned out hill routes. Hills were my weak point, so I practiced my weaknesses. I look at a hill as a good workout, especially if the wind is in my face while ascending.

BroMax 05-28-06 08:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JayhawKen
Random observations from my first ride since Gerald Ford was president...

... Today some guy about 20 years younger on a really cool looking bike (Pinarello?) with Zipp wheels literally was by me before I heard him coming. Nice enough guy, but the casual way he said "Good Morning, beautiful day isn't it?" was just about enough to make me want to rip his lungs out. Okay, got that off my chest...

If the guy were twenty years older I could understand your grievance; but he was twenty years younger. Let the kid have his fun.0:)

john bono 05-28-06 09:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by supcom
Since you spend a lot more time going uphill than downhill, it's best to embrace the hills as your friends. Enjoy them. Savor them. Seek out longer, steeper hills, and ride them for the pure satisfaction of achieving the summit.

Hills make me strong.

I hate them. I damn them to perdition with my granny gear, then I damn my granny gear. I make a point when I reach the top of any hill to spit on the hill to show my contempt for it. I bought stock in Caterpillar simply to instill fear in the hills around my house. Every morning, I walk out with my shovel, and utter strange incantations in Latin to ward off the spirits of incline.

ericgu 05-28-06 10:25 PM

Among serious riders, one of the goals is to hide your pain. Racers do it because it's tactically useful - if you pass somebody and don't look like you're working too hard, they're less likelly to chase.

Serious riders do it because racers do it, and to taunt their friends.

It's the same reason that people speed up when they pass you.

mayukawa 05-29-06 12:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JayhawKen
The dark side is that what goes down must come up, that is if you intend to finish your ride where you started. I had no idea that climbing takes that much power! Almost 30 years of running did absolutely nothing for developing the muscles necessary for climbing hills on a bike. For all the former runners out there - do you develop that strength fairly quickly in the quads? On almost every little upslope I was dropping gears faster than W is dropping in the polls.:eek:

Do a lot of running up steep hills...you'll get faster up hills on your bike. When I used to live in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, I would almost run up Coit Tower every night, run down (or rather slowly jog zig-zag down) toward Pier 39, and then I run toward what's now AT&T Park (along the Embarcadero), and then I loop back up Coit Tower and then walk back down toward home. I don't know if I run funny or what, but I found running to cycling a smooth one-->I'm mostly a masher, so maybe that's why. I'm spinning more now that I have to fight the wind often coming home from work. I don't run much anymore, though I do "intervals" on the StairMaster at work (on days that I don't commute to work); usually alternate between 5 minutes at half speed and 5 minutes at full speed (for a total of 30~45 minutes). That helps with climbing also. Of course you can do the regular hill intervals.

Cavedog 05-29-06 07:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by john bono
I hate them. I damn them to perdition with my granny gear, then I damn my granny gear. I make a point when I reach the top of any hill to spit on the hill to show my contempt for it. I bought stock in Caterpillar simply to instill fear in the hills around my house. Every morning, I walk out with my shovel, and utter strange incantations in Latin to ward off the spirits of incline.


Amen brother!

Kabloink 05-29-06 08:02 AM

If you think gravity is evil, wait untill you experience the 20mph head wind.:D

silversmith 05-29-06 08:25 AM

I agree, head winds are diabolical.

I'm also in the "hills are your friends" camp.

One steep local hill, a Mississipi River bluff for those who think Iowa is flat, beat me for a long time. I kept pointing my bike at the slope. Now I can stay in the saddle and get to the top without gasping for breath.

Quote:

Finally, a humble request for all you really fast riders. When you come upon some out of shape beginner like me huffing and puffing up a hill - at least have the courtesy to sound a little out of breath when you pass. Today some guy about 20 years younger on a really cool looking bike (Pinarello?) with Zipp wheels literally was by me before I heard him coming. Nice enough guy, but the casual way he said "Good Morning, beautiful day isn't it?" was just about enough to make me want to rip his lungs out. Okay, got that off my chest.
Keep at it and you'll be leaving lots of younger riders behind before you know it.

You might also seek some help by adding a cassette with a bigger cog.

supcom 05-29-06 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kabloink
If you think gravity is evil, wait untill you experience the 20mph head wind.:D

120 continuous miles of it Saturday, no joke. But the tailwind heading back was nice until the sun went down and the windspeed dropped to only 10 mph.

Bikepacker67 05-29-06 09:05 AM

Funny that a thread that deemed gravity as evil would mention Gerald "Whoopsy" Ford.
:roflmao:

Nermal 05-29-06 04:57 PM

You're trying to tell us, supcom, that there really is such a thing as a tailwind?

ericy 05-29-06 05:46 PM

I have a nice little hill that I have to climb to get home from all of my rides (the ones I start from home, anyways). I am guessing about 0.2 miles long. I don't know the grade (probably around 10%), but even in the granny gear, it is a fairly tough climb, at least for me. The only thing that sucks is that I have to climb it to get home, so if I have tired legs it is even harder to climb than it would otherwise be. The nice thing about it is that it goes through a park like setting with a stream at the bottom.

I suppose if I get to the point where I can handle this one without any problem, that I can just do it twice. Or go up the other side:D .

I still find this one a challenge, but there are other less steep and shorter hills that I can just power my way over now that I used to have to downshift for.

DataJunkie 05-29-06 06:59 PM

Hills have a definite end. Wind doesn't and is generally torturing me through out my ride.
Plus, eventually I usually ride down that hill later. Wind tends to switch direction to make a ride miserable each way. :p

jur 05-29-06 07:08 PM

After my first tiny hill after 20 years off the bike, I was ready to toss my cookies. Now 18 months later the difference is HUGE. I love climbing hills. That same tiny hill now doesn't even rate heavy breathing.

Just keep going. Don't avoid hills, don't attack them either. Just ride up.

In Absentia 05-29-06 07:13 PM

No kidding. Every time I ride into a headwind, it changes direction at the same time I do so I can't escape it!

mayukawa 05-30-06 06:12 PM

BTW, isn't riding a bike difficult if there's no gravity? :D

edp773 05-30-06 08:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by In Absentia
No kidding. Every time I ride into a headwind, it changes direction at the same time I do so I can't escape it!

And I thought Mother Nature was just picking on me.:lol: .

JayhawKen 05-27-07 07:28 AM

Out on a group ride yesterday, I realized it had been exactly a year since I started.

There are no long hills around here, but we did climb a couple of short ones that last year would have had me heaving in about 100 yards. Average grade around 15% or so for a 1/4 to 1/2 mile, and I was able to stay with the pack on both of them.

What a difference a few thousand miles make...:D

Tom Stormcrowe 05-27-07 07:34 AM

Ironically, when I was younger, I used to resent the old guy just spinning all day effortlessly along on his 20 year old bike on some level. Little did I know I'd become him!:p


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