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Hills: A change of heart

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Hills: A change of heart

Old 08-26-08, 10:23 PM
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Nozzle
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Hills: A change of heart

Been cyclocommuting for a few months now. At first I was kicking myself for ever having moved into a place that was located at the top of some very steep hills (which requires me to ascend them coming home from anywhere). Even though the ride home from work is about 1.25 mi, it would really make me sweat.

After a few weeks of this I went on a few rides with some friends. We took various roads that included a wide range of rolling hills, all of which paled compared to the steepness of what's near my house. I found that I was able to take these longer rides quite easily while my friends were the ones breaking the sweat.

More recently my wife noticed that my quads are getting freakishly large. I looked down and flexed my legs just to confirm what she saw. Geez. Now I just need to work on my upper body / mid section...

With work being 2.5 mi RT it would be absolutely worthless as exercise were that commute flat. So yeah, hills are my friend now
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Old 08-26-08, 10:25 PM
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Oh heck yeah. I used to have a 3 mile round trip commute. But I gave 800 feet going in and gained 800 feet coming home. It was a brutal workout without really having a chance to warm up.
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Old 08-27-08, 02:52 AM
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You can always find a longer route to make it more fun, especially on the way home.
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Old 08-27-08, 06:49 AM
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Hills are where cycling prowess is acquired. I spent a few weeks biking in a hilly part of southern Wisconsin. Nothing major, mostly short but steep. What I used to call hills near my home don't even register anymore. I may be able to ditch the triple crank someday!
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Old 08-27-08, 06:54 AM
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Hills for me are fine. Being that my weight plus my bike are less than 150lbs combined, it doesn't bother me that much.

what DOES bother me, is wind. A Stiff headwind makes the ride sluggish and tough. Would take neutral wind and hills any day over a headwind.
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Old 08-27-08, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by cg1985 View Post
Hills for me are fine. Being that my weight plus my bike are less than 150lbs combined, it doesn't bother me that much.

what DOES bother me, is wind. A Stiff headwind makes the ride sluggish and tough. Would take neutral wind and hills any day over a headwind.
Double ditto. I'm a skinny runt on a stick. My first year of commuting, those "hills" kicked my trash. I thought going road bike would be a huge difference at first and it was a little. But now that I"m healthy, I don't even get on my lowest gear on the middle ring of my triple on the commute. I actually have to go out of my way on my weekend rec rides to use the granny gear now.

The wife actually compliments the legs almost daily. Nice change for once.

Going from the mtb to the road bike for commuting has also helped hating the wind. I still hate it, but it's easier to deal with thanks to the drops. I just bury my head and keep going whereas on the mtb I was a freaking sail and pedal like crazy going nowhere.
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Old 08-27-08, 10:10 AM
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After suffering going up "my hill" for the first year of my commute, I now look forward to it as a highlight of my day. It's as easy or as hard as I want to make it.

Like you, I'm convinced going up it every single day has made me a good climber.
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Old 08-27-08, 10:34 AM
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I like hills but love mountains. It is also a beneficial attitude to have given my location.
How else am I supposed to hit 50 mph without the help of a mountain? Climb climb and then your reward is the descent.
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Old 08-27-08, 11:02 AM
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hills are definitely something you get used to. i recently started riding again after years of not riding, and besides getting used to riding again (out of shape), i also am now living in a hilly place instead of where i had previously rode, where it was completely flat... (Long Islands biggest hills are overpasses, and they have notoriously low overpasses for the most part)

its definitely getting me in shape faster than otherwise. ive been at it for about 2 months now, and theres still some big hills that wreck me and leave me puffing for awhile when i go up them.

and like DataJunkie said, the reward is the descent.
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Old 08-27-08, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
I like hills but love mountains. It is also a beneficial attitude to have given my location.
How else am I supposed to hit 50 mph without the help of a mountain? Climb climb and then your reward is the descent.
That's how I've started looking at it too. I still don't like the climbing, but knowing it's only making me stronger is a plus...and hills will always offer the dedicated cyclist the best reward.

When I was struggling up a long, rocky ascent in the NC mountains (on the mtb...dupont state forest, which by the way I highly recommend) a few months ago, the view from the top and the ride back down made everything worth it. I relish climbing now, because the payoff is usually sensational.

Last edited by lmxloco; 08-27-08 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 08-27-08, 12:01 PM
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Here's why I like hills: it's like sprint training, only you don't go as fast. Which can be good when you're in congested areas, on MUPs, or in areas with low speed limits. And besides, cars just aren't expecting a bike to be going 30-35mph, so that can get dangerous.

For that reason, I don't do so much sprint training on flats, I just do it up hills.
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