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  1. #1
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    Need advice for hill climbing

    hello everyone,

    I started serious riding 3 months ago. I don't really have any hills around my place except one which is about 2 km long and 5 to 8% (found the info on internet). I've been only riding on flats and I went to ride that hill last weekend ; I was surprised to see how I sucked! I can easily keep a 33km/hr average on flats, but could do better than 13-17km/hr over there. So I wonder, especially if I consider racing some day (next summer, who knows!), what should I do to really improve on hills? I intend to ride that hill as often as I can, but what I would like to know is what is the most effective work out I could to on that hill to improve? should I ride it all the way up in LT, or should I do intervals to suffer even more (I love to suffer )? by the way, most of the races I'd be taking part in are crits that take place on flat roads. Although, what I mostly need to work on would be quick accelerations. so would doing that on hills improve my skills on flats also? I wonder so, since I think that being a good «flat rider» does not make you a good «hill rider».

    btw, I'm 5'11 and 150lbs (20 y-o), feel better in endurance than sprints (long efforts in general ratter that short but more intense)

  2. #2
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    The first thing is to ride that hill a lot. I would suggest doing some sort of hill intervals or repeats. You could ride up the hill, descend, and repeat as needed, or do one of my favorites. You go up the hill in an easy gear at 85 or 90 rpm for 30 seconds, then upshift a few gears, stand up, and do a 10 or 15 second sprint on the hill, then return to the easy gear for 30 seconds, etc... until the top. Recover, then do some more. Either way, if you're not riding the hill hard (not necesarily at LT), then you will not see nearly as much improvement as if you make the hill a hard effort. Anytime you work your cardio system hard, it will benefit your riding and ability to suffer across the board. Hill work will help more with the hills than the flats, but if you train hard, you will se improvements all around, especially if you're just starting out.

  3. #3
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    This article by one of my local clubs may help. It's geared toward racing, but the principles still apply.

    I take heart in the opening paragraph under the subhead "Climbing", "Contrary to popular belief, climbing ability is determined much more by time spent climbing than by natural ability", as I am definitely not a "natural climber"!!

    In a nutshell: get out there and climb, as much as you can, as often as you can. It will provide benefits not only in the hills, but on the flats as well. 3 months is not long (but easy to get frustrated); keep climbing and in 3 more months, 6 months, a year from now you'll wonder what all the fuss was about

    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    I agree w/ the previous posts - Go out and do A LOT of hill repeats. The only way to get better is to do them over and over. If you can do an hour, great! if not, work up to at least an hour. Something I do, Go up seated in an easy gear and keep the cadence very high. Fly down (This is a good time to practice your dwnhill handling skills). Go up next time standing in a hard gear. Keep alternating. Another "rule" I have when I am climbing a training hill; If I stand at any time during the climb, I have to stay standing all the way over the top. Always push it over the top too. Try to bring your cadence up as you near the top - push it ALL the way over. You'll be surprised how many people you can drop on climbs if you can learn to do it smoothly.

    The keys are pain endurace and leg strength. If hills are not readily available to you. Goto the gym and learn how to properly execute squats and lunges. You can do them on the smith machine or "free" w/ a barbell. Do extrememly high rep sets.

    Another key that will help all aspects of your cycling; Smooth round spin.

  5. #5
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    thanks a lot for the advices, I'll try those 30 secs-15 secs intervalls, alternating sitting and standing up. I just love to see how much I improve, it's a great source of motivation for me, so any advice that helps me to train more efficiently is very appreciated!

    and, yes, it can get sometimes frustrating when I don't see a lot of improvements, but I know I have to turn it up a nutch, suffer if I wanna get better!

    just wondering, by doing such short intervals, therefore I practice accelarations, would that help me on flats as well for quick accelarations? This is one out of many points I'll have to work on!

  6. #6
    jur
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    The most important ability you need for climbing is fitness - ie endurance. You must be able to sustain a good enough uphill speed for a long time. You only get that by elevating your HR and keeping it there for extended periods. Get to your target HR, say 140, and keep it at that level for 30 minutes. As your fitness improves, you will find your uphill speed is getting better and better at that HR.

  7. #7
    Dragons are so stupid. gnosbike's Avatar
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    I have a Carmicheal (Lances Coach) training video specific to hill climbing. This is done indoors on a trainer. It's a pretty good workout if you can't find a decent hill.
    Cycle with alacrity.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur
    The most important ability you need for climbing is fitness - ie endurance. You must be able to sustain a good enough uphill speed for a long time. You only get that by elevating your HR and keeping it there for extended periods. Get to your target HR, say 140, and keep it at that level for 30 minutes. As your fitness improves, you will find your uphill speed is getting better and better at that HR.
    this would be amazing (seeing my average speed going up) as it is one of my objectives and a big source of motivation, and I will try to also add some short intervals with that, since I want to really improve my accelerations. I find it harder to quickly accelerate then to keep a high level of intensity, especially when I am already tired of climbing !

    I am wondering whether I should do the intervals at the beginning of the hill or rather at the top? it's easier at the beginning but I would guess more benefitial at the end since you are already tired and can recover more easily afterwards (you don't have to climb anymore!)

  9. #9
    Senior Member SirScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youngster
    I am wondering whether I should do the intervals at the beginning of the hill or rather at the top? it's easier at the beginning but I would guess more benefitial at the end since you are already tired and can recover more easily afterwards (you don't have to climb anymore!)
    Consider doing intervals based on distance then, not on time. So...spin and take it easy on the bottom part, then start your interval maybe 5k from the top and push it at 80% to the top. Turn around, recover on the descent, and then turn around and head back up the hill at the same point you started at. Depending on the steepness of the hill and your fitness level, probably 3-5 intervals is reasonable. Watch your time as you're doing this and when it goes up by a large amt as someone has already noted...then you're done. Turn around, enjoy the descent, and go have a beer.
    FTW Racing Crew

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