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Old 12-02-03, 10:03 AM   #1
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help climbing

Hello, I am fairly new cyclist who loves the sport for various reasons, weight loss, fittness etc. But recently I went for a ride with a local club and noticed that these guys are climbing hills as if they were on flatland. I avg 16 mph of flatland but on hills I drag. Any advice on how often to train a week and how to train any pointers. I read as much as I can on the subject and some books I feel that they were written for other cyclists but me. I can ride easily 60 miles on flatland, it's the hills.

It's always about the hills

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Old 12-02-03, 10:24 AM   #2
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Three words: Ride More Hills.

Also, if you have excess body fat, lose it! Weight training exercises such as half squats, step-ups, and leg presses will help. Get a training manual such as Joe Friel's "The Cyclist's Training Bible" which includes tips for improving your climbing skills.
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Old 12-13-03, 09:40 PM   #3
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Here's a kicker---which I won't advise to anyone but the crazy. I switched out my cog set from a 12-27 to a 12-23. It forces my bail out gear to be lower so that I pretty much had no choice but to work my ass off on hills.

I found this worked really well when I first started biking. Now, I'm one of the best climbers in our group.

Lots of general advice that's already well known:

Hill repeats once a week while working on high cadence rpms works well. I really had to work on my spinning to make sure that I made the most use of my pedal stroke.

Another one is to stick yourself on a high gear and wear your cadence is around 60-70rpm so that you get used to the resistance, providing your knees can take it.

Standing or sitting is up to you.

Also, try to position yourself so that you open up your lungs for better breathing to better flush out the lactic acid in your system---exhale very deeply.

Last, but not least---ride, ride, ride lots of hills.
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Old 12-17-03, 03:14 AM   #4
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You know, my advice is just the opposite of Jedi's. I think that most bikes do not have low enough gearing and I run 13-25 with 53-39 chain rings. In areas with long sustained climbs, I use a triple.

But a large part of that is my climbing style. I spin at a pretty high rpm whilst climbing so I tend to use pretty low gears. I was out in Wyoming on a climb and this guy with a double on his bike caught me at the beginning of the climb. He was out of the saddle at low rpm and I was sitting and using high rpm. He never did pull away.

Climbing hills better will be helped by just becoming stronger on the bike. When I started there were hills on this one road that I rode every now and then that seemed like mountains. Then I got into better shape and then they seemed almost flat.

Of course, nothing helps hill climbing better then hill climbing. Funny thing is that you really do not have to push it. I have gone out west a number of times and spend a week or two riding mountain passes. Typically, I just spin up and don't push really hard. There is nothing worse then giving out 3/4 of the way up a steep grade. But I get back here to central Florida and I can do all the hills in a gear higher then before. There is something to a couple of hours of climbing per day that really helps even if it isn't all out.
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Old 12-17-03, 06:50 AM   #5
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Well first off are you strapped in?

Clips or straps? hopfully one of the 2. If your riding street you need to work thoughs legs at the gym buddy and/or find a food that really fuels your rides... mine is PIZZA! I eat a half of a large pizza before a hardcore ride and Im pumping like a las vegas hooker. lmao. seriously pizza does wonders for my stamina. Also are you riding with a Camel back? Constant hydration can make a HUGE difference in any riders stamina.

These both apply to street and XCMB.

If your havign problems climbing on your MB than you need to take a lesson from one of your buddies if they know how to climb right. Some basic preperation and rules of the climb:

1. Must be strapped in either Clips or Straps
2. Push and Pull "spin" those pedals evenly like a machine perfectly smooth very fluid dont be "stomping" on the pedals.
3. 100% ATTITUDE you have to know the hill is your Bit*h
4. Some nice BAR ends are a huge help as well ... make a big difference in body position and general bike control.
5. The basic position is this" and theres no way I can or anyoen else can really show you here youd have to see it and perfect it yourself inperson"

1.GRAB THOSE BAR ENDS! Tip of the seat up your butt ...butt off the set but tip hitting you in the butt is a decent place to begin" at your lowest point"
2.Knees in and tight ....spread them for added balance if needed of course.
3.Spin the pedals "fluidly" dont pump them.
4.Your body weight will need to shift back and forth depending on the terrain your handling... Warnign to much weight forward and your kissing the roots pal so be conscience of what your doing or your gonna get hurt real fast. You will want a sense to keep the weight back enough to keep traction on the climb.

Now these are a very very rough example like I said Id have to show you in person to be effective but will give you an idea if your totally screwing up. This is the way I have been climbing for years now and Im the strongest climber of the bunch here and the fastest.

Im from Indiana so we have very steep very fast climbs all hard pack with lots of roots. Sometimes it seems liek your approaching a wall ... no joke. All of our MB trails are very fast all hardpack rocks and roots. I actually train alot of the time with semi slicks... lol ya you think thats funny huh well let me tell ya you should try it and then youll see why I do you will learn a whole other level of control on the trail. Then when you pop on you teeth after a couple months your a machine.

Anyway hope this helps ya out. Sorry I cant just show ya in person.

Last edited by DV8R; 12-17-03 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 12-17-03, 07:39 AM   #6
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i love climbing hills. Find hills and practice or i've heard a good headwind will work.
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Old 01-03-04, 09:00 AM   #7
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There is alot of good advice on how to climb hills, but at the end of the day you need to have a lot of guts, determination & willpower especially if your going to hit them hard.

Sometimes, hills literally scare me especially when I begun cycling because I knew it was going to hurt. They do get alot easier believe me.

When the pain gets a little unbearable, I count in my head.
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Old 01-03-04, 09:25 AM   #8
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You can't produce any more power on the hills than you can in flatland. Pick your work-rate. Pick a gear which gives a good cadence. Spin yourself up. You can't aim to climb at a particular speed, just at a heart-rate which is maintainable.

I alternate between honking and twiddling. If I want accelerate, I get up and when Im fast enough, I sit down, slide back on the saddle, and keep spinning.

Moving from flatland to a place with lots of short, steel hills, Ive come to the conclusion that riding long flat distances is no preparation for hills. You have to ride hills.
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Old 01-04-04, 09:05 PM   #9
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Hill repeats, hill repeats, hill repeats.

Stay out of your granny gear (if you have one).

When I first started riding, my lowest gear was a 39x27 (I think). There were two hills in my area that I targeted, each between 6 and 7 miles. I would pedal at a fast cadence until my heart rate would go through the roof and I'd have to stop. I'd wait till my heart rate came down, get back on the bike and keep my cadence up again. When I first started I had to stop a ton of times (too many to count). Little by little I cut the stops. Then started up'ing the gearing.

I'm not so gung ho anymore. My current climbing style is fast seated spinning interspersed with sections of slow standing on steep sections to bring my heart rate back down.

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Old 01-04-04, 10:49 PM   #10
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I ride xc. This is how I tacke hills:
1. Get your breathing under control. Make sure you're exhaling, and your body will inhale.
2. pick the hardest gear you can spin comfortably and maintain a rhythm. It's all about the rhythm.
3. Stick with it. The more climbs you stick out, the easier the next one becomes.
4. Go have a beer.
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Old 01-04-04, 11:49 PM   #11
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Climbing is my achille's hill too. Especially long gradual climbs, they are worse to me than short steep ones. To improve my climbing I started doing one hill repeat day a week. I'm still not the greatest climber but I have improved a lot. I dreaded those days the first few times but I have actually come to look forward to them.
some photos
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Old 01-05-04, 02:26 AM   #12
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Unless it's overly steep, or I'm nearly dead or working on low cadence power, I climb at about 90rpm. If I'm attacking I will be up to 110. I was attacking the other day and was out of the saddle and looked down to see a cadence of 96rpm!

On the flat a cadence of up to 125 is not uncommon for me. Decending I often see a little over 140 if I am pushing it. Sprints, I have managed 192!

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Old 01-06-04, 01:27 AM   #13
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That's why riding with a club will make you a better rider. It's a pissing contest. Everyone can ride faster but they save some for the hills. You should be riding faster at the top of the hill than at the bottom. At the bottom of the pedal stroke, practice "wiping the mud off your feet" - make a round pedal stroke. Pull up on the pedal and keep your shoulders and arms loose. REMEMBER: "Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body". No matter how much it hurts, you gotta save face. You have to say, "I love that hill and want to win", not "Oh, Gawd, another hill" Get excited, ride those hills.
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Old 01-06-04, 08:11 AM   #14
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also, practice climbing out of the saddle too. i used to think it was uncouth to get out of the saddle (for road cyclists, at least), but my friend would do it all the time. in the beginning, i couldn't do more than a couple pedal strokes out of the saddle.... now i can keep it up for a pretty good amount of time
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Old 01-07-04, 04:50 PM   #15
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Depending on your size, standing may not be the best way to go. At 6'2 and 205 lbs. I need to keep by big ole self in the saddle. My 5'-5" 140 lb training partner can stand all he wants. If you've got access to Tour tapes look at the climbing style of say Heras vs Ulrich. They both get up there but they have 2 differing styles based on their physiology.
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