I've been vacationing in beautiful Boulder, CO, and have realized that cycling in the Chicago area seriously sucks. I'd move, but have other obligations. I was specifically wondering what the best way is to simulate hills in order to at least somewhat train for them. I've been here a week and was horrible at climbing for the first few days, but caught on quickly. I like the way extended climbs feel and would love to be able to do them or fake them in the flat area of Chicago.
Alternatively, does anyone know of any rides with significant hills (even anything rolling) within a reasonable (even bikeable) distance from Evanston, IL? Doubtful, but you never know. I know that some parts a little north are less flat, at least.
I don't think you can really fake it. When climbing I can push the effort to a very high level and hold it, but it is extremely difficult for me to ride at the same effort (Heart rate) when riding on the flats.
You need rollers with a resistance unit. Performance has some reasonably priced ones. Then you need some workouts to do one them. I like doing one-legged pedaling intervals, very fast pedaling intervals, and lactate threshold intervals. Also try riding steadily in zone 3 and 100 cadence for a couple of 20 minutes intervals, 5 minute rest between. And building up to riding at 70 cadence in zone 3 continuously for an hour. Start with 15 minute intervals. All those things will really help your climbing, should you ever encounter a hill again. They're also pretty good for TTing.
Most folks don't want to spend a whole lot of time on rollers or trainers, so the thing is to push the envelope on them, so it takes less time to get the training effect. Otherwise, you'd be outside.
If you go to a gym, you can use a stair climber. It is not the greatest thing. But climbing on a stairclimber is pretty similar in feel (at least to me) as to climbing a hill on a bike.
I think the suggestions on trainers should work. You just crank up the resistance and get out of the saddle. If you want the complete feel, you can incline the bike.
Remember, the hills out in Colorado on the roads generally do not get steeper than 7% and that is not really that terrible if you have low gears. I have taken riding vacations out in the rockies and done fine on long climbs and I live in Orlando, FL which is pretty flat.