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  1. #1
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    *pant*...damn hills..*wheeeeez*...

    Iíve always been a big guy. My weight has been around 260 since I was a freshman in high school. Iím 24 now, around six feet tall. Iíve worked in the trades since I was 16, so itís not like Iíve been a complete fat body. I was never ďfitď, but Iíve always been active, pretty strong, as in lifting really heavy ****. I suck at anything aerobic though.
    I got a job a year ago that said said ď**** youĒ to physical labor of any kind, and I quickly became very un fit. So I decided it would be cool to commute to work and school via bike, kinda to get back in shape. I started riding around a month ago, and its as fun as I remember it being when I was ten. Since Iím just starting out, I ride about six to ten miles every night. I love night riding. I live in a small city, so Iím doing side streets, two lane main streets, through alleys over sidewalks type of thing. No country roads or anything. The only thingÖ
    The hills are ****ing killing me. Propelling my substantial bulk up a steep/semi steep hill turns me into a sweating, slobbering mess. I cant commute to school or work due to some major hills on the way that I cant, for the life of me, make my way up.
    I work on these hills every night, and it seems like Iím not making any progress. They are as hard as they were the night before, every time.
    Will I be able to do it, or do I need to shed a few pound first?
    Any techniques, advice whatever would be appreciated. Or just some encouragement.

  2. #2
    Which is the top tube? gprodz's Avatar
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    First of, way to go man! Its great to see people making an effort towards better health, and being able to seek help when its not going well is even more of an inspiration.

    Losing some weight would definitely be a good idea. Biking will surely be easier, but the other health benefits alone are worth it. You should be able to overcome those hills without losing the weight though, its just going to be hard and take a lot of training. But keep at it!

    Whats your diet like? You might be able to make a few simple changes that could improve your weight/body composition.

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    S-h-i-f-t!

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    Keep at it. Watch your diet. Change will come before you know it. Been there. Wore that t-shirt clear out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gprodz View Post
    First of, way to go man! Its great to see people making an effort towards better health, and being able to seek help when its not going well is even more of an inspiration.

    Losing some weight would definitely be a good idea. Biking will surely be easier, but the other health benefits alone are worth it. You should be able to overcome those hills without losing the weight though, its just going to be hard and take a lot of training. But keep at it!

    Whats your diet like? You might be able to make a few simple changes that could improve your weight/body composition.
    thanks man. as far as my diet..I'm workin on that. Iíve been making some small changes. I cut out soda completely. Thatís a basic. Iíve been drinking more water. My meals schedule was really bad. I wouldnít eat all day and then chow down before bed. Now I eat a healthy breakfast. Small changes.

  6. #6
    Which is the top tube? gprodz's Avatar
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    I think the best thing you can do is start a food log. Once you have a record of what you've been eating, it becomes extremely easy to make adjustments. Try out www.fitday.com. The site also give you a link so that other people can look at your log, if you want.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    S-h-i-f-t!
    If you can, shift down to your lowest gear. If that does not work, you might be able to do some rather inexpensive changes to your gearing. You may be able to get a rear cluster with a much larger big cog which means a lower gear. Also you may be able to swap out your small chain ring for a slightly smaller one. Many road bikes assume a pretty high level of fitness and a high power to weight ratio. There is nothing wrong with having low gears. Of course, even with low gears, a steep hill is still a steep hill.

  8. #8
    Pokemon Master Darth_Firebolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froley View Post
    Iíve always been a big guy. My weight has been around 260 since I was a freshman in high school. Iím 24 now, around six feet tall. Iíve worked in the trades since I was 16, so itís not like Iíve been a complete fat body. I was never ďfitď, but Iíve always been active, pretty strong, as in lifting really heavy ****. I suck at anything aerobic though.
    I got a job a year ago that said said ď**** youĒ to physical labor of any kind, and I quickly became very un fit. So I decided it would be cool to commute to work and school via bike, kinda to get back in shape. I started riding around a month ago, and its as fun as I remember it being when I was ten. Since Iím just starting out, I ride about six to ten miles every night. I love night riding. I live in a small city, so Iím doing side streets, two lane main streets, through alleys over sidewalks type of thing. No country roads or anything. The only thingÖ
    The hills are ****ing killing me. Propelling my substantial bulk up a steep/semi steep hill turns me into a sweating, slobbering mess. I cant commute to school or work due to some major hills on the way that I cant, for the life of me, make my way up.
    I work on these hills every night, and it seems like Iím not making any progress. They are as hard as they were the night before, every time.
    Will I be able to do it, or do I need to shed a few pound first?
    Any techniques, advice whatever would be appreciated. Or just some encouragement.
    i wish my dad would read this.
    as for the bold, are you ever taking any rest days?

  9. #9
    Mekanicul Enjuneer wristwister's Avatar
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    Froley, I'm in the same boat, sort of. While I'm not quite as heavy as you, a 25 year career as a desk jockey has turned what there is of me to flab. I've been commuting on my bike regularly for a couple months now. In ~600 miles of riding I STILL get off and walk the bike up the nastiest of hills. I'm not progressing nearly as fast as I'd like. But ... I am making incremental progress. While I may not see the results I'd like day to day, I AM seeing impressive results month to month. My commute times have dropped, I walk the bike up hills much less than I used to, and I no longer collapse into a heap of soaking quivering burning flesh when I get home. Keep at it, ignore expected short term gains and pay attention to the long term gains.

    Oh, and here's a trick I recently found for getting up those hills, traffic permitting of course: Weaving up hills, why didn't you guys tell me about this!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth_Firebolt View Post
    are you ever taking any rest days?
    Yeah, I do. Iíve actually started a little five day a week regimen. There are some smallish hills that I practice on. Itís still really tough, my legs burn like theyíre on fire in my heart rate goes through the roof. Good times.
    I take a rest on the weekends usually, and only do some very light biking around the neighborhood.


    Quote Originally Posted by wristwister View Post
    Froley, I'm in the same boat, sort of. While I'm not quite as heavy as you, a 25 year career as a desk jockey has turned what there is of me to flab. I've been commuting on my bike regularly for a couple months now. In ~600 miles of riding I STILL get off and walk the bike up the nastiest of hills. I'm not progressing nearly as fast as I'd like. But ... I am making incremental progress. While I may not see the results I'd like day to day, I AM seeing impressive results month to month. My commute times have dropped, I walk the bike up hills much less than I used to, and I no longer collapse into a heap of soaking quivering burning flesh when I get home. Keep at it, ignore expected short term gains and pay attention to the long term gains.

    Oh, and here's a trick I recently found for getting up those hills, traffic permitting of course: Weaving up hills, why didn't you guys tell me about this!
    Thanks for the encouragement. There is this one ***** of a hill that leads to a really nice park in the City with an amazing view of the surrounding area. If I could bike up there, it would be a total Rocky jogging to the top of the stairs and shadowboxing type of thing for me.

  11. #11
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froley View Post
    If I could bike up there, it would be a total Rocky jogging to the top of the stairs and shadowboxing type of thing for me.
    Yep, that's how it starts...

    The feeling of conquering a climb is addictive.

    Try getting some lower gears for your bike. That'll help you get up the steeper stuff without stopping.

    I got back into cycling as a very unfit 40 year old. Now I'm 48 and I have finished the Death Ride 5 times and the
    Everest Challenge twice. It takes time but if you keep at it you'll be in much better shape.

    Try doing some longer rides without the steep hills on some days, and work on the hills on other days. Hills are going to be hard intervals for you until you get in shape, but you need to work on endurance too.

    Cultivate the attitude that you are not going to quit on a climb. You can do more than you think you can.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by froley View Post
    Iíve always been a big guy. My weight has been around 260 since I was a freshman in high school. Iím 24 now, around six feet tall. Iíve worked in the trades since I was 16, so itís not like Iíve been a complete fat body. I was never ďfitď, but Iíve always been active, pretty strong, as in lifting really heavy ****. I suck at anything aerobic though.
    I got a job a year ago that said said ď**** youĒ to physical labor of any kind, and I quickly became very un fit. So I decided it would be cool to commute to work and school via bike, kinda to get back in shape. I started riding around a month ago, and its as fun as I remember it being when I was ten. Since Iím just starting out, I ride about six to ten miles every night. I love night riding. I live in a small city, so Iím doing side streets, two lane main streets, through alleys over sidewalks type of thing. No country roads or anything. The only thingÖ
    The hills are ****ing killing me. Propelling my substantial bulk up a steep/semi steep hill turns me into a sweating, slobbering mess. I cant commute to school or work due to some major hills on the way that I cant, for the life of me, make my way up.
    I work on these hills every night, and it seems like Iím not making any progress. They are as hard as they were the night before, every time.
    Will I be able to do it, or do I need to shed a few pound first?
    Any techniques, advice whatever would be appreciated. Or just some encouragement.
    Pretty simple. You're riding them too hard.

    You can make gains in aerobic fitness by riding within yourself. If you kill yourself up the hill every day, you will make gains in anaerobic fitness but those will plateau quickly.

    This may require you to ride pretty slow in the easiest gear that you have.

    Also note that if the hills are really bad, you may be able to get lower gearing for your bike.
    Eric

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  13. #13
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    well I'm a big guy too, it took me a while to get those nightmarish hills out of the way.

    Here's what I did, well sure the best way to do the hills is by losing weight, since I didn't have that yet, I bought a set of road tires (I ride a mt bike) that made a huge difference with the hills. try somehow to make the bike lighter until you start losing weight.

    And also yes, I used to try and conquer a hill by going as fast as I could, that did not work, as I'd try and puke my guts out as soon as I made it to the top, and that also did not encourage me to continue biking (it's supposed to be fun after all!).

    I'd suggest continue practicing, go slow, nobody is gonna kill you for being the last one up a hill, and most of it all try and find a rythm! once you find a good pace when pedaling keep it and you'll sometimes even forget how steep that hill is since you're concentrating on keeping your pace.

    Also, try some small hills, get the rythm and go back to the hardest ones.

    nothing comes in one day, just keep going until you get the results you want

  14. #14
    Senior Member DX Rider's Avatar
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    FWIW, there isn't a secret formula to success. Some hills will take longer to conquerer. The first time you beat that hill it'll feel great. You are probably still building the stamina you'll need in your cardio vascular system, it takes time.

    While changing the gears is an option, I really view it as a last resort, since once you start to master the hill on a regular basis you'll probably wish you hadn't changed the gearing.

    I have a granny gear hill near my house that even the local jr high kids who are in decent shape can't make it up. I can ride the whole way up, but I really hate that hill. The important thing is not to get discouraged.
    Quote Originally Posted by stronglight View Post
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  15. #15
    Pokemon Master Darth_Firebolt's Avatar
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    maybe you should rest or take an easy ride on wednesday?
    getting enough rest is really important for me. ymmv

  16. #16
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    thanks so much guys. Lot to think about. I took two days off and I'm going out tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

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    Dont feel to bad froley I just started back cycling and I also pant and struggle up those cursed hills, and I only weigh 140lbs. I ride on a long rail trail near where I live which is used all the time by serious riders who compete. This trail has some long sloping hills that are a real killer for me. When I get tapped out and have to walk for awhile I have to endure many "look at the newbie" chuckles from these pros as they go flying past.

  18. #18
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX Rider View Post
    FWIW, there isn't a secret formula to success. Some hills will take longer to conquerer. The first time you beat that hill it'll feel great. You are probably still building the stamina you'll need in your cardio vascular system, it takes time.

    While changing the gears is an option, I really view it as a last resort, since once you start to master the hill on a regular basis you'll probably wish you hadn't changed the gearing.

    I have a granny gear hill near my house that even the local jr high kids who are in decent shape can't make it up. I can ride the whole way up, but I really hate that hill. The important thing is not to get discouraged.
    +1.

    Drop weight (which you're doing great at; keep it up!) and find a rhythm up those hills. I've also found that leg squats help after you plateau, but that will come later.

    Keep it up!
    Ride more.

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  19. #19
    Which is the top tube? gprodz's Avatar
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    Froley,

    Wanted to let you know that I was going to take the day off today, until I got an update about this thread on my BBerry.

    I got changed right then and headed for the biggest hill route I could find from my house, and it looked like it was about to downpour.

    Your an inspiration man.

  20. #20
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    I used to have a mean hill on my commute, I named it "Nemesis". I made it personal. I wouldn't let it get the better of me. Mind tricks help, IMO.

  21. #21
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    As others have mentioned, the easiest way to conquer the hills is by changing your gearing. What kind of bike and gearing are you riding currently?

    You might be able to make some pretty simple changes that will help out a lot.

  22. #22
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    You guys are freakin great. Thanks so much for the inspiration and the really good advice.
    I went out tonight aaaaand
    didn’t make the hill. I got further up then I have yet, but at a little more than ĺ of the way I had to quit. I coasted back down feeling really crappy, and really out of breath. My legs literally felt like they were going to explode. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I felt defeated.
    I wanted to quit for the night, so I headed home. I took it easy for a while until I got my wind. It was a really pretty night . The streetlight dappled the asphalt with a soft glow through the canopy of maple trees. It was so peaceful, and such a dramatic change from seeing the city through a windshield as I’m so used to. It hit me hard then what a blessed thing this is and how stupid it is to complicate it by setting illusionary goals and allowing myself to be feel bad when I don’t achieve them. I’m still going to go for them, but I’m not going to beat myself up over them. I’m sure it’ll happen.
    I biked for two hours after that, and I conquered some less bad ass hills, which was nice.
    So yeah, that’s where I’m at.


    As far as gearing, hehe, welll, I recently bought a Jamis Sputnik, single speed. Am I crazy?

  23. #23
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    Not sure if you're crazy, but having one gear doesn't give you many options for the hills. It does explain why you're having trouble though.

    Without changing that, your only option is time and training. Just keep riding and it will get easier.

  24. #24
    Back in the Saddle Again
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    I agree with 'make it personal'. The hills around my townhouse are my minions and I am their master. When I'm halfway up a long steep climb and my legs are burning, my heart is trying to pound out of my chest, and I'm just about to the point where I have nothing left all I can do is say to myself 'no way in hell am I letting a glorified mound of dirt beat me'. I've yelled at hills before. I should probably get checked out...
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  25. #25
    Who farted? Ka_Jun's Avatar
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    Climb, damn you, climb! Seriously, though. Takes your body a bit to adjust, push through the pain and revel in your increased strength!

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