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Old 01-02-09, 01:14 AM   #1
merlin55
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Climbing, out of the saddle is good training?

I'm trying to prepare for a several day climb fest/group ride later in the year, which will include several long15% pitches in the mountains. In a typical 50 mile ride I'm trying to do at least 10 out of the saddle climbing intervals, from 1 to 5 minutes. It seems to use slightly different muscles than riding in the saddle and is just plain hard.

Comments from any of you Cat 1/2 guys and gals? I want to improve my ability to respond to sudden attacks on the climbs, and to handle the really steep portions of climbs.
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Old 01-02-09, 12:52 PM   #2
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What kind of gear / cadence are you using?

When prepping for my annual Arkansas backroad leg breaker hill vacation, I do that kind of stuff on the trainer, put it in top gear and stomp out a 60-80 cadence for a while. It helps to have that kind of muscular endurance to get up the crazy steep stuff where you have no choice but to stand and grunt.

But have no illusion that it's going to speed up your overall climbing on more normal roads, or your ability to respond to attacks. Those are both determined by your overall fitness level and how you're feeling at the moment.
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Old 01-02-09, 01:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by merlin55 View Post
I'm trying to prepare for a several day climb fest/group ride later in the year, which will include several long15% pitches in the mountains. In a typical 50 mile ride I'm trying to do at least 10 out of the saddle climbing intervals, from 1 to 5 minutes. It seems to use slightly different muscles than riding in the saddle and is just plain hard.

Comments from any of you Cat 1/2 guys and gals? I want to improve my ability to respond to sudden attacks on the climbs, and to handle the really steep portions of climbs.
Your multi-day group ride has sudden attacks that are hard enough that you need to train for them?

Training for being able to stand up steep climbs in the middle of a lot of climbing is different than training for hill attacks. For one you want to learn how to stand on the steep stuff without going over threshold, for the other you're going all out.

The benefit of and problem with standing is that it uses the upper body. Being able to recruit more muscles means that you can make more power, and it also means that your heart rate will go up. If you are already on the rivit on a climb and stand, even going the same speed, the extra 3-5 BPM can put you over the edge and make you crack.

I'd suggest doing the intervals if you really need to be able to respond to or make attacks. They don't all need to be standing. You should be able to accellerate standing and seated, and maintain a high pace either way. There's a need for both.

For being able to handle a lot of steep stuff that you have to stand to get up as part of a long multiday ride, you should practice standing on steep climbs while keeping your heart rate at your normal endurance pace. It's practicing technique rather than doing intervals. In order to do a long ride with a lot of standing without killing yourself, you have to practice standing without going too hard. The more you stand the better your technique will get and the less energy you will waste.
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Old 01-02-09, 04:37 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=ericm979;8113081]Snip[QUOTE]

Yes, this is very true. I find that i am a big stander i can draw alot more power up a hill when i am standing but also find that it will exhaust you really quick. Can easily drop 10km/h off your speed if you do a big burst up a hill then hit a flat or another steep. I found though the more i did this the better i got at it to the point where i was able to stand up and feel good and get lots of power to the ground. Now after i stand i seem to not have much to any loss after i do this. And the good thing is i can make lots of power up a steep than i was able to before.

Practice this to Perfection!
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Old 01-05-09, 08:02 PM   #5
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We will have a group of 8 to 12 riders, in the "A" group of about 4 riders we are well matched and quite competitive. We will be riding some 5 to 10 miles climbs, also with some 12% or steeper portions, much like Alpe de Huez, but at higher elevation. Attacks happen, but then we regroup and let the slower guys regroup....race pace at times, with some recovery sections

In the saddle I climb at 75 to 95 cadence, but shift up 4 to 7 teeth on the rear when out of the saddle. Out of the saddle raises clearly raises my heart rate, for a constant speed, but on the steeper sections the smallest gear is still too large.
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Old 01-05-09, 08:26 PM   #6
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We will have a group of 8 to 12 riders, in the "A" group of about 4 riders we are well matched and quite competitive. We will be riding some 5 to 10 miles climbs, also with some 12% or steeper portions, much like Alpe de Huez, but at higher elevation. Attacks happen, but then we regroup and let the slower guys regroup....race pace at times, with some recovery sections.
That sounds like A LOT of fun
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Old 01-06-09, 12:04 AM   #7
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When I'm climbing standing for power, like attacking, responding, or sprinting, I pry on the bars, meaning that I shift the bike left while my right foot comes down. That intensifies the power stroke. When I'm climbing standing to rest or just because I can't sit it, I shift the bike earlier, so that it's already over when the foot comes down. IOW, pressure on the bars to go hard, little force on the bars to rest.

I'm fastest on a long climb when I'm geared to sit 9 minutes out of every 10, no matter how steep. I'm fastest on a short (200') climb when it's about 50/50. YMMV.
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Old 01-06-09, 12:10 AM   #8
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Excellent work for the core and upper body.
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Old 01-06-09, 03:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by merlin55 View Post
We will have a group of 8 to 12 riders, in the "A" group of about 4 riders we are well matched and quite competitive. We will be riding some 5 to 10 miles climbs, also with some 12% or steeper portions, much like Alpe de Huez, but at higher elevation. Attacks happen, but then we regroup and let the slower guys regroup....race pace at times, with some recovery sections

In the saddle I climb at 75 to 95 cadence, but shift up 4 to 7 teeth on the rear when out of the saddle. Out of the saddle raises clearly raises my heart rate, for a constant speed, but on the steeper sections the smallest gear is still too large.
Sounds like a fun ride... where is it?

I'm a big fan of bringing low gears to these kinds of rides. Nothing sucks quite as much as struggling up some steep pitch in too high a gear. Besides being slow, low cadence grinding takes a lot out of your legs, making the next climb or the next day even harder. Going to altitude makes it worse, as your threshold is lower. Different people are affected differently by altitude. If you don't know how you handle it then gear conservatively.

Usually when it's not a real race and people are just being competitive, there are plenty of lulls in the action that allow a rest.
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Old 01-08-09, 07:22 AM   #10
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Sorry to hijack, but I've been thinking a lot about hills lately. I read somewhere that one should aim for going faster uphill and rest downhill for an overall faster run, which makes sense. But then I'm thinking, does that mean low gears (which for me is kinda slower, but easier on the knees) or higher gears, i.e. standing most of the way?

Or am I thinking all backwards? I usually am.
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