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Old 07-30-09, 06:18 PM   #1
Vince868
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Hill climbing strategy

I'd appreciate feedback regarding strategy for climbing hills on rural country roads in regards to staying on the seat vs standing. Is it recommended to stay in the seat and keep cadence or is standing common. Appreciate the feedback.
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Old 07-30-09, 06:36 PM   #2
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Nothing wrong with either. Most people tend to utilize both since they use different muscle groups. There's really no right or wrong answer, just do what feels right. One thing that I have always heard about seated climbing is to scoot a bit back on the seat when you do. Good luck.
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Old 07-30-09, 07:19 PM   #3
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If you do a search in the Road Cycling Forum you'll find a ton of discussions on this very topic... and maybe a few of my questions in there.
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Old 07-31-09, 12:25 AM   #4
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for short climbs i can see the top of i would normally do high gear and mash...pounding up the hill for a short amount of time. something i cant see the top of, or is very steep, i'll usually mash at the start, first 200 yards or so, then take a seat and grind it out in a low gear
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Old 07-31-09, 02:28 AM   #5
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Two reasons for me to stand (first choice is to spin): when the grade gets above 10% or so, and for butt relief. On a real long not-too-steep grade, I probably stand at least 10-20% of the time just to keep my rear from going to sleep and to use a different set of leg muscles.

I'll also stand on a section that ticks up in grade for just a short section, or often around switchbacks where it gets steeper around the corner.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:30 AM   #6
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Vince, you mention specifically on rural country roads. Are these paved/chip-sealed, or dirt/gravel?

For me, paved and hardpack surfaces don't present a problem for either style of climbing. Looser dirt and gravel (or snowy/slushy pavement) can cause slipping issues when you're standing. Your weight is not as heavy over the back wheel and you're putting a higher force to the pedals. I've got my bike geared so I can comfortably sit and climb even a 15% grade (34t ring, 32t cog).
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Old 07-31-09, 08:27 AM   #7
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I vary back and forth for butt relief but generally stand a lot on hills. I can stand for a long time and enjoy it -- once had to stand for 5 miles because my seatpost broke and that did not cause me any particular problems.

I like to reserve a gear or two for further up the climb so that I can sit and take a rest, as it were, then gear up again and stand some more.

As others have said though, it's up to you and the style that you develop.
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Old 07-31-09, 09:38 AM   #8
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I usually mix both. Standing is usually accompanied with many silent prayers to quickly see the top!

Cheers,
Geary
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Old 07-31-09, 10:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
Vince, you mention specifically on rural country roads. Are these paved/chip-sealed, or dirt/gravel?

For me, paved and hardpack surfaces don't present a problem for either style of climbing. Looser dirt and gravel (or snowy/slushy pavement) can cause slipping issues when you're standing. Your weight is not as heavy over the back wheel and you're putting a higher force to the pedals. I've got my bike geared so I can comfortably sit and climb even a 15% grade (34t ring, 32t cog).
Good point here sbout rocky, gravel or hardpack (lees so)
Going down hill try to get into the big ring and larger gears which keep your bike engaged with the road and less slipping from easier gears
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Old 07-31-09, 02:46 PM   #10
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I do both, although I generally sit and spin more when my legs are tired or sore.
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Old 08-02-09, 07:36 AM   #11
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On yesterday's 200k Permanent, it started to pour rain just at the last 2k, which is an uphill with sections of 14% +. Since I get out of the saddle for those, my rear wheel slipped four times (!) while powering up the hill. No problem with keeping straight, but that sure is a weird sensation.
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Old 08-08-09, 06:15 PM   #12
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On a really steep hill I have to stay seated, mash my low gear. keep a death grip on the hoods and hope I dont fall backwards off the saddle.
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Old 08-08-09, 07:11 PM   #13
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correct answer:
it depends.

it depends on the length and steepness of the hill
it depends on the length of the ride
it depends where the hill is in relation to the end of the ride
it depends on how many other hills come after this one
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Old 08-10-09, 09:23 AM   #14
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I ALWAYS sit and spin to climb. But then I ride a 'bent - the only way I can stand and climb is to get off and walk!



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Old 08-10-09, 10:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince868 View Post
I'd appreciate feedback regarding strategy for climbing hills on rural country roads in regards to staying on the seat vs standing. Is it recommended to stay in the seat and keep cadence or is standing common. Appreciate the feedback.
Staying in the seat and using a higher cadence is less effort and less stress on the bike. Generally, people can't stand for very long.
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Old 08-10-09, 11:47 AM   #16
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Standing uses more energy, makes more demands on the muscles, hence you tend to go
faster or not slow down as much. It is easier to exceed your lactate threshold standing.
Standing increases the contribution of the upper body to climbing: pulling on the bars is
a bigger part of the energy expenditure and this increases down force on the pedals
compared with sitting. Unless you train for it standing can wear you out faster. Try it
both ways and see how far you can go up a longer (1/4-1/2mi or so long) hill that is
steep enough to slow you to 8-10mph sitting. Also what seems comfortable and recoverable
from at 60-100mi may not at 150mi.
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Old 08-11-09, 07:18 PM   #17
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Quote:
Is it recommended to stay in the seat and keep cadence or is standing common.
NO question mark - why?

There is no answer, how you ride a route is dependent on your status and the prevailing goal and conditions. If you are training, you "exaggerate" each technique to improve....
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Old 08-11-09, 07:35 PM   #18
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Climbing is all about increasing gear size (harder), start a bit conservatively and then accelerate to the top. Let people who go super hard at the bottom go, and you will often catch them by the top. When they downshift, they lose a ton of momentum. As well, they usually mess around with shifting, trying to find an 'easy' gear when they are gassed, further slowing them down. Learn how hard you can go on different distance climbs, and aim for a consistent effort throughout.
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Old 08-12-09, 11:38 AM   #19
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I generally stay on my seat and pedal at a good rate... then when I finally start to lose momentum I stand and pedal pretty hard... then when I'm about at the top I'll slow down and let the momentum carry me that last little bit. I personally look forward to hills and attacking them. I dedicate two of my four biking days to doing nothing but climbs.
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Old 08-23-09, 06:52 AM   #20
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I do both. I tend to use bigger gears than everybody in my group. I feel more comfortable with a little slower cadence and keeping my breathing under control. I've noticed that those in my group who try using a faster cadence and a lower gear tend to blow up and run out of energy way to early. My advice would be to find a cadence which is comfortable to you,and keep your heart rate under control. The more hill climbing that you do the stronger you will get.
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Old 08-23-09, 09:54 AM   #21
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I stand more than most people, and keep a rhythm kind of like "jogging"...at least when I'm fresh. I keep that at anywhere from 12mph for a gradual climb to 4-5mph for an steep climb.

I try to get my gears high as long as I can, my biggest mistakes climbing have been go to the granny gear right away and try to spin up it. I save that granny gear for towards the top usually, if I use it at all.

Just try to keep your breathing controlled as long as you can, and just get up it!
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Old 08-23-09, 11:31 AM   #22
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I tend to stay seated except for the really steep hills.
It's not a science to me, I just do what I feel for any given climb.
On difficult climbs anything that keeps the wheels turning is good.
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Old 08-23-09, 01:17 PM   #23
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I tend to use gears that are too high, so if I find myself standing, I'm doing it wrong. Either that or I ran out of gears.
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Old 08-23-09, 02:45 PM   #24
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Haven't seen this mentioned yet but another thing to consider is whether you are thin or overweight. Overweight/heavy body types wear out much faster when standing so they probably spend a lot more time in the saddle, if not the entire time.
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Old 08-24-09, 01:29 PM   #25
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. . . I generally sit and spin more when my legs are tired or sore.
I sit and spin so that my legs don't GET tired or sore.
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