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Thread: Hills vs. Flats

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    Hills vs. Flats

    Soon, in about a month or so I'll be living in a region that is very hilly with virtually no flats. I'm thinking that's positive and that biking in the region will make me stronger than if I lived in a flat region. However, are there any benifits of biking on flats that you can't get with only climbing?

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    On the right
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    LSD rides, if that's your thing.

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    I can always ride in my lowest gear...unless I still need to mash my lowest gear to get up the hills. in which case I guess I'll be doing a lotta walking. Walking takes a long time and is very slow, so works for two of the three attributes of a LSD.

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    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    However, are there any benifits of biking on flats that you can't get with only climbing?
    The only thing I have noticed is that on the downhills it is easier to slack off than when you have nothing but pancake flat riding. Also rolling hills are much easier than flat land leading up to a big hill. If the region is hilly enough, then you can effectively be stuck doing intervals, where you are anerobic or bordering on it on the uphill, then recovering on the downhill. I have also noticed that on rolling hills my average speed is higher than on the flats. This would imply that my workout is actually easier on the rolling hilly region. I have noticed that some hills are just the right size to permit me to fly down them at high speed and moderate effort, only to be able to climb the next one without significant effort. It feels like cheating.

    Also, one advantage to flats is that you can tailor your workout to your needs, instead of the land dictating the intensity level. I can do LSD, intervals, or just about any range of HR that I want on the flats. But, that being said, living in a hilly region forces you to get stronger. I know personally I have a hard time forcing myself to push it on a trainer. Whereas, on the road I have to climb the hill whether I like it or not.

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    Oh. The first part of your post made me sad....I was looking for confirmation that hills were better damnit! But yea, I think the hills where I'll be living will be closer to mountains than rolling hills At least I hope.

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    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Oh. The first part of your post made me sad....I was looking for confirmation that hills were better damnit!
    Yes, they are better...my observations are based on pathetically small rolling hills of South Jersey.

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    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Whereabouts are you moving to? I live in a fairly hilly area, and can kick my own ass with climbing if I really wanted to.....not much in the way of flat rides, but I do have one short (16 mile) loop that I use for a recovery ride or time trial loop, since it only climbs like 500 vertical feet.....which works out to an average of 31 feet gained per mile, so that's not too bad.

    On the flipside, I did a climbing interval workout on Monday in which I climbed 800 vertical feet in total of 9.9 miles. Considering that about 85+% of the climbing was done in three 1 mile climbing repeats (so, in 3 miles), it was a pretty rough workout. My sides hurt by the end of the 3rd repeat.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

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    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    It's very hilly around here so it's made me a good climber. I actually enjoy riding hills and mountains.

    The first time I rode our local rails to trail 75 mile ride (very flat!) it kicked my butt. Even though I had done some hilly centuries, the flat ride was a serious challenge.

    Now I try to do some of both and it has improved my overall riding noticeably.

    Az

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    Mad scientist w/a wrench
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    Hills are probably what keep lazy kentuckians from doing more serious biking.
    Upon moving to hill country, your mantra will become that of the little engine that could: I think I can I think I can... followed by elation when you reach the downhill and the spaghetti that was once your rock hard legs thanks you for giving it a 10 second vacation before the next hill.

    there was some advice given me by a (car) driving instructor that almost works if you're in a place with lots of little hills: it's ultimately easier to accelerate into a hill (haul butt on downhills/flats before you hit the hill), rather than lose your inertia by starting the hill at a lower velocity and have to mash 1/2 or more of the hill. I haven't perfected this yet, but it certainly helps and I don't walk as many hills as i used to.
    Proudly wearing kit that doesn't match my frame color (or itself) since 2006.

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    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    there was some advice given me by a (car) driving instructor that almost works if you're in a place with lots of little hills: it's ultimately easier to accelerate into a hill (haul butt on downhills/flats before you hit the hill), rather than lose your inertia by starting the hill at a lower velocity and have to mash 1/2 or more of the hill. I haven't perfected this yet, but it certainly helps and I don't walk as many hills as i used to.

    this is definitely true. The hard hills come when it is flat, then gets progressively more sloping leading up to the steep hill. Your energy gets sucked before you even get to the hill.

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