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  1. #1
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    becoming a climber

    Looking to get some 'climbing legs' for 2006

    My climbing hadn't been the best this year, but my time trialing seemed to be a lot better, probably cause I concentrated on it more. My weight isn't too bad, but I probably didn't focus enough on climbing so...

    Want to concentrate some more on my climbing during the winter and was wondering whats the best plan, during the winter. I know a lot advocate just staying seated to build up strengh. What are all the climbers doing?

  2. #2
    Senior Member spunky's Avatar
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    Ride lots of hills. The best way to get better at them is to ride them. Do it in different ways too. Sometimes do the same hill in a lower gear/higher cadence seated and other times with higher gearing/lower cadence and standing. On rollers, I like to train with as high gear as I can push seated while keeping my cadence in the 80-90 rpm range. Get used to having your heart hammering in your chest and your stomach trying to find it's way outside your body. Although learning to pace yourself on a climb is a very important skill too. If you attack them too hard at the beginning, you'll blow up and will have nothing left by the time you crest it. Finally.....enjoy it. Hills can be challenging and a lot of fun with the right mind set. If you ride with friends, it can be fun to challenge each other to race up the hills. Some clubs even have weekly hill climb races in the spring and summer. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    to be a climber, you need good power to weight. so lose some body fat, and increase your power. Right now would be a decent time to work on the weight part, and save the power part for a bit later on. I'd instead focus on getting a good base in, with maybe some LONG intervals in the high aerobic range.

    once February rolls around, try a "training camp" in someplace fairly warm with some good climbing (Nice?). you dont have to go with a guide and big group, just sort of take a vacation and do lots of riding in the hills. I've wanted to do thi for the past two years and havent had the opportunity, but if you can do it, I think it would be extremely benificial.

    one other thing that I'd suggest is to see about a coach, or at least find someone in a cycling club that knows more about cycling than you. often, a second opinion from someone who actually rides with you can be really helpful on things like technique.

  4. #4
    BloomBikeShop.com BloomBikeShop's Avatar
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    Here's what I would love to do this winter...

    Go out in fairly light clothing and climb the biggest hill around. At the top, put my bike in a pickup truck and get escorted back to the bottom. Repeat.

    Or if you go somewhere warm, climb lots!

  5. #5
    Red Headed Step Child
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    This is slightly off topic, btu I don't feel it warrants a new thread.

    I live in an the western suburbs of victoria, australia, which is somewhat notorious for its lack of hills. Travelling to the eastern suburbs to ride hills isnt exactly an option because of my lack of car. Is there some kind of work out or riding style I could use to atleast gain some strength for climbing hills. While I can't train on them, I know when I eventually get into racing I'll face them, so I need all the help I can get.

  6. #6
    Senior Member sewupnut's Avatar
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    Besides some new light wheels, you gotta make up your mind to sit and push the highest gear you can spin. It hurts, but once you hit a rhythm, you'll catch all those guys that blew up trying to stay with the climbers you, me and few of us will ever stay with.

    sun

  7. #7
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    Don't forget about doing squats in the weight room. Get a spotter or have a good squat rack in case you lose control of the weights. Plyometrics are also good. Do this stuff in the off season and maybe even a little into the early season and then incorporate a couple of good hill workouts (include uphill sprints, interval and pace work at seperate workouts). Do sit-ups and other core strengthening exercises. Believe it or not, you do need some balanced strength in you torso to climb efficiently and have strength left over for recovery. I like doing lat pulls with high reps and moderate weight to build up erector(that's what we called them in art class, might be different names using medical terminlogy) muscles along the back and sides. And what was said about weight to strength ratio is a very important bit. The less non-working mass you have to haul up the hills the more efficiently your muscles can recover. It's just dead weight. Which reminds of a friend who would load up panniers with books when he did strength workouts on the hills. Hope this is helpful.

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    Hi, you wanted to know what the climbers are doing and i would consider myself a climber sssooo ill tell you what im doing and try and give you some other tips. You should remember that the 'climbers' in proffessional cycling dont just focus on hills, they develop as good all round riders too (rasmussen rode well in many classics races before his tour success, virenque won paris-tours and heras rode a brilliant time-trial in the vuelta- albeit doped), you should do this too and while its fine to emphasise climbing in your training you should still work on your other elements of fitness (improving your TT will compliment your climbing anyway).
    First of all, body weight is quite important with climbing but its not the be all and end all, im just under 5foot 7 and i weigh 125 pounds in the racing season (not wet btw). Losing weight will always help but improving your fitness will too. Right now im still recovering from a very hard hill climb season here in Britain but when i resume normal base training im going to do some climbing but not a lot, im going to incorpate repetitions of an 8.5km climb once a week and do a ride in the hills once a week, later in the season i will be doing lots of intensive hill repetitions to get myself into shape. My main focus this base season will be to improve my leg speed and my ability to ride at high intensitys on both flat and hills as this will be an area which i need to work on for the type of races im going to do next season. Also i would advise to not just do steady miles this winter, if you want to improve your climbing you should do at least 2 sessions a week which involve hills and also incorporate SOME higher intensity work, you need to maintain the elements of fitness that you will need for racing (speed is lost far more quickly and takes far longer to be regained than endurance) as well putting in the miles. I apolgise for spelling, im in a bit of a rush

  9. #9
    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    Well, I'll tell you what I'm doing this winter.

    I'm down to only 10-12k feet of climbing per week, and about 10 hours. That's a quarter to a half what I do during the summer.

    Months of long, hard climbing, followed by taking time off, has reduced my muscle mass and aerobic capacity. I'll need to build both up again. Right now, I'm focusing on low cadence seated strength climbing once or twice a week. I'm climbing in as big a gear as I can while maintaining a cadence of at least 50. This simultaneously works the cardio system and builds quad/glute strength. I've been doing this for a couple of weeks now, and I'm already able to ride two cogs higher.

    After a few more weeks of this, I'll switch over to doing tempo climbs, using a cadence of 70-80. That ought to take me into the Spring and the better weather, when I'll begin to raise the training volume.

    The most important thing to improve as a climber is to raise your weekly training volume in the hills. Those who climb a lot get faster, those who avoid the hills don't.
    Managing Director, Undiscovered Country Tours

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    Quote Originally Posted by DC Bruz

    I live in an the western suburbs of victoria, australia, which is somewhat notorious for its lack of hills. Travelling to the eastern suburbs to ride hills isnt exactly an option because of my lack of car.
    Umm, you could ride your bike there.

  11. #11
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    Western suburbs of Melbourne do you mean?

    You don't need realy big hills to practice your climbing. Medium rollers will do just fine and there's plenty of those in downtown Melbourne and thereabouts.

    Regards, Anthony

  12. #12
    Red Headed Step Child
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    Quote Originally Posted by DamianM
    Umm, you could ride your bike there.
    I'm not in a position, physically, to be able to ride 2+ hours to the opposite side of the city and still have the strength to continuously train on hills. If I were to try right now I'd be lucky to make it there and back, let alone the hill training in between.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DC Bruz
    I'm not in a position, physically, to be able to ride 2+ hours to the opposite side of the city and still have the strength to continuously train on hills. If I were to try right now I'd be lucky to make it there and back, let alone the hill training in between.
    Won't take you long to grow accustomed to getting there and back, then you can work on hills

  14. #14
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    I live in a very hilly city and climbing those hills everyday really do help. Most of the hills take me less than 15 minutes each. I think that you should get yourself a heart rate monitor, set your max, then do hills being carful not to go over 80% of Max HR. After a few weeks you should see great improvement. I personally like to pedal at least 60 rpm on hills. I think that the ideal climbers height to wieght is something like 2 pounds per inch of height. I am more like 2.5 lbs per inch, but can climb without much issue.

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    cmon, you gotta have fun riding down the hill!

    Quote Originally Posted by BloomBikeShop
    Here's what I would love to do this winter...

    Go out in fairly light clothing and climb the biggest hill around. At the top, put my bike in a pickup truck and get escorted back to the bottom. Repeat.

    Or if you go somewhere warm, climb lots!

  16. #16
    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninjaRoller
    cmon, you gotta have fun riding down the hill!
    Yeah, sure. Descending's all lots of fun until you crash. Roads around here are wet much of the Winter. I'm still recovering from a crash on 12/28/05.

    Speaking of wet, the sun's just come out. Time to pull out the rain bike.
    Managing Director, Undiscovered Country Tours

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DC Bruz
    This is slightly off topic, btu I don't feel it warrants a new thread.

    I live in an the western suburbs of victoria, australia, which is somewhat notorious for its lack of hills. Travelling to the eastern suburbs to ride hills isnt exactly an option because of my lack of car. Is there some kind of work out or riding style I could use to atleast gain some strength for climbing hills. While I can't train on them, I know when I eventually get into racing I'll face them, so I need all the help I can get.
    My only thought is to shift to higher gears. If you are already spinning a 53-12 at 100 rpm; well, look around for some hills.

  18. #18
    Blue Straggler Starclimber's Avatar
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    No hills? Try a gentle, continuous application of the brakes while you ride. For added misery, squeeze'm harder and stand and fight for all you're worth.
    Coach Bill

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