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Reasonable climbing target.

Old 04-10-17, 03:31 PM
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Reasonable climbing target.

When I lived in northeastern Illinois, a lack of hills made it difficult to climb more than 1500 ft in a day. My big climbing days were few and far between and required a road trip to Wisconsin or a vacation in Italy. There, I could climb more than 6000 ft on a long, hard, day.

Now that I can find a few local routes that can provide 6000 ft of climbing and I'm starting to wonder: How much climbing can a 50+ cyclist do? What is your one-day climbing maximum? How often do you climb several thousand ft in a day?
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Old 04-10-17, 04:39 PM
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I've never liked to do more than a mile of climbing a day (5280 vertical feet). Although, I do hit over that every once in a while.

According to Strava, I got 9325 feet in 135 miles of loaded touring climbing in one day last year. WHEW!!! And, unfortunately a few miles short of my goal for the day.
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Old 04-10-17, 04:56 PM
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There's no easy answer. I'm very good with cumulative climbing in roller coaster terrain, but absolutely detest long sustained climbs.

What people can handle depends on what they normally have to handle, ir. where they live, and the nature of the climbs themselves. As for myself, I have to go out of my way to climb a total of 2,000 feet in a hundred mile ride, but if I really look for it, I can probably find about 5,000' or so, ie. 15 climbs of over 300'. Otherwise the highest single climb near here is about 1,000', and getting there and back would involve another few thousand feet of roller coasters.
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Old 04-10-17, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
How often do you climb several thousand ft in a day?
I live in the hills, finding routes that are suitable for riding a 70GI fixed gear takes planning while climbing does not.
It's a function of the Terrior, not the intent.

Live where the terrain is hilly and go ride your bike regularly is the obvious solution, unless I'm missing something.

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Old 04-10-17, 05:49 PM
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In a normal ride around the house in Piedmont NC we typically do about 4000-5000' over 100 miles. It's about the same ratio for routes with lesser miles. I can vary the 100 mile route and add about 1500' of climbing but really can't do much less.

When we head up to the mountains we'll do closer to 8000-9000' over 100 miles.

The most climbing I've done over a 100 mile ride is 11,000+'.

There is an organized ride in mid May in the mountains that is about 8500' of climbing over only 62 miles. You are either going up, or going down all day. I feel fortunate to have some hills in and around where we live.

When I rode across the US I'm thinking my average climbing was about 2000' over 85 miles or about 1/2 what I normally rode. The area I normally ride in was great training from that perspective.

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Old 04-10-17, 06:00 PM
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I have to look for options and routes that don't make my outings a prolonged hill climb. Everything here is so mountainous, but we do have long valley floors that are good for base building etc. And even those have 2,000 to 3,000 feet of climb on say a 20 mile route. If I take a left or right- its hill training time. I'm trying to avoid the big hills while I rehab this new knee- it ain't easy here But I guess the upside will be the long term gains I make climbing.
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Old 04-10-17, 08:54 PM
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Rowan and I have done this ride in February two years in a row now ... and it is tempting to try to get up there again before the snow falls.


Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Sunday 5 February -- Rowan and I cycled up Mt Wellington today. 73.4 km with 1636 metres (5367.45 feet) straight up the side of the mountain. Not an easy ride!!

We started with a 10% climb out of our suburb, and set of rolling hills, and then the real climbing began. Climbing from 8 km to 39.6 km ... there's even an HC category climb in the middle.

I was doing all right at first, all the way to Fern Tree (about 29 km into the ride), and then there's a turnoff for the main part of the climb to Mt Wellington, and it's steep in the first kilometre or so, reaching 17% at one point. With what strength I had, I kind of chuckled when I heard the kookaburra start up in the tree next to the road. Isn't that the way, just when I'm dying on a climb that bird had to start laughing at me!

It kind of eases off a bit at The Springs, and then goes into a long and steady climb of about 9%. That's when my lower back and right hip started giving me trouble. I also kept wishing for an easier gear ... one gear easier is all I wanted ... but one gear easier is not what I had, and no amount of wishing magically conjured one up.

3 km from the top it eases slightly ... to only about 6% or so.

Tired, and with various and sundry aches and pains ... we successfully made it to the top!!

And then the descent.

I find descents quite challenging ... as do my poor brakes ... but we made it down and faster than the last time we did it.


We weren't sure about the weather. All week, the forecast had been iffy for Sunday and even this morning, it had rained and they were indicating strong winds on top of the mountain. However, fortunately the wind wasn't a factor on this ride. It wasn't bad at all. And although it was cloudy, we didn't get any rain until we were nearly home, and then only just a little. It's raining more heavily now.

But one interesting thing was watching the fog come up over the Derwent and bay from above ... it rose as we descended until we were among it at one point. Mist hanging in the trees just above us.





In March, I entered Strava's monthly 7500 metre climbing challenge, and completed that. (7500 metres is 24606.3 feet.) This ride was our hilliest one and didn't include a climb straight up the side of Mt Wellington.


Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Saturday 4 March -- Rowan and I cycled the Tour de Granny Gear (not the official name )

Distance - 212.7 km
Elevation - 2,123 m (6965 ft)
Moving Time - 11:40:27
Elapsed Time - 12:48:25
Speed - Avg: 18.2 km/h; Max: 50.4km/h
Heart Rate - Avg: 144bpm; Max: 176bpm

Queen of the Mountain on a 58.8 km segment.


Challenging ride.

Hills: According to Ride with GPS, there's over 2400 metres of climbing ... Strava's total is a bit lower. Nevertheless there were a number of significant climbs (Cat 3 and 4) and numerous lesser climbs.

Weather: The temperature hit 29C, officially. My on-bike thermometer showed 37C at one point. Whatever it was ... it was surprisingly and unexpectedly hot. And believe me, slogging up a long Cat 3 climb in that heat was definitely more of a challenge than expected. And then we were hit with a strong sea breeze right at the end. Didn't need that.

Ride Length: Because of a last minute route change, the length of the route changed from about 203 km to 212 km, and yet it had to be completed within the same amount of time that a 200 km ride would be completed in. So not only were we faced with more hills than I usually do on a 200 km, but also 12 extra km.


But despite the challenges, it was a good ride. Although it was hot, at least we didn't have rain or much wind throughout the ride (until near the end). Plus, the event was well supported and the route was good. The ride organiser went out of his way to make sure we were fed and watered throughout the event.

For example, I have a set of waterbottles which are rather old but I'm still using them. Today I had a new waterbottle and an old one. The old one cracked mid-ride, so I could only fill it halfway up. The ride organiser met us between controls to refill our bottles because he knew it was hot and I was working with 1.5 bottles instead of 2.

So that's our March Century done and also my 32nd 200K.



I've entered Strava's April 7500 metre (24606.3 feet) climbing challenge, but I'm not sure I'll make it as our rides this month are relatively flat and I'm only up to 2748 metres (9000 feet) so far.

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Old 04-10-17, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
There is an organized ride in mid May in the mountains that is about 85000' of climbing over only 62 miles. You are either going up, or going down all day. I feel fortunate to have some hills in and around where we live.
Tying your bike onto a backpack and climbing a ladder?

85,000 feet climbing
-----------------------------
(62*5280) feet distance

= average of 26% slope.
16 miles of vertical climbing.
And about 3x the height of Mt Everest
Steeper climbing if one has both ascents and descents.

You might be able to do the climb on Olympus Mons, but the commute there is long. Lower gravity would be a benefit, but the extra gear would be tough, not to mention a lack of good roads.
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Old 04-10-17, 09:34 PM
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Sounds awful.



The only reason I ride the closest we have to a hilly route once a week is so I don't lag behind too much on group rides where we encounter one or two hills.

Mostly that means repeating a circuit of roller coaster hillettes. Some segments run as steep as 8% but only for short distances, maybe 50-100 yards. The overall average grade is only 1.5%-2% over a two-mile segment, but the actual climbs are much steeper, just for short distances.

On the plus side, it's a pleasant rural route through open prairie, very little traffic other than a couple of intersections. Over a 20-40 mile route I can get in 1,000 ft of total climbing, but it's all roller coasters.

My personal goal is to reach a 10 mph average over the steepest segment, and 16 mph over the 20-40 mile hilly route. Not particularly impressive. I know some local guys who aren't much younger than I who average up to 20 mph over the same segment, faster over the longer route. But they're roadies on lightweight carbon and aluminum road bikes. I'll be satisfied if I can manage 10 mph on that segment on my 1990s hybridized upright mountain bike. Over the past few months my average over the steepest segment has improved from around 6 mph to 8.5 mph, even on days with strong headwinds. So I'm expecting to make that 10 mph goal soon, especially on a calm day. Still won't impress anyone but me, and that's good enough.

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Old 04-10-17, 09:37 PM
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How much climbing can a 50+ cyclist do?


Till you run out of up.

What is your one-day climbing maximum?

8,300 ft on my medicare ride (day after turning 65)
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Old 04-10-17, 10:10 PM
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Just about every ride in North Georgia is 2500+ feet.

Flat rides are a treat.


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Old 04-10-17, 10:46 PM
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I'm not a climber at 65yo and 200#.
But on some wet days between rain showers, i do the hill up to our house.
500' vertical in 1.5miles. My best is 4 repeats = 2000' on a 6 mile ride.


edit: make that 12 miles for the 2000 vertical feet, i forgot the 6 mi downhill.

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Old 04-10-17, 10:49 PM
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I think one's weight is a huge factor, along with experience. I'm 62 and I know people older than I am who can climb as well as many much younger cyclists. These are thin or even tiny people who have been climbing for years.
I'm 210 pounds, or so, and I can do lots of climbing when I feel good but I can't stay near guys who are 60 pounds lighter than I am.
Our local mountain rides are typically 100 feet of gain per mile. I'd like to do 63 miles with 6300 feet of climbing for my 63rd birthday this month but I might not be ready.
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Old 04-10-17, 10:51 PM
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I grew up in Oakland, CA. Every ride was into the hills above Oakland/Berkeley, so hills always felt normal and flats were oddities. Then I spent twenty years in flat-as-a-pancake Davis. Now I'm back near the Pacific Coast Range and love the fact that I can ride in the hills again without enduring fifty miles of flat terrain to get to them.

The short loop from my house is forty miles with 3000 feet of climbing with a six mile flat warm-up and warm-down. I'll ride that loop four or five times per week with occasional variations to add other climbs. Weekend rides vary from 80-200 miles with 7000-20,000 feet of climbing, some of it on unpaved logging roads. I don't know what the maximum I've climbed in a day in recent years is, but I know I haven't turned down a climb because I had had enough of going up.

I just can't imagine putting a limit on climbing. I have limits on times of day I'll ride on certain roads for safety reasons and there are externally-imposed limits on how many hours I can be out on the bike, but I really like roads that tip up. Flats are what is tolerated on the way to the next hill.
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Old 04-10-17, 11:11 PM
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At 69, I like to ride hills. Maximum climbing? I don't know. Seven years ago I pedaled up 15,000 feet in a day. Two years ago I biked up to the top of Haleakala, on the Hawaiian island of Maui: 10,000 of climbing in one, long go.

I live a few miles from steep hills north and south of my mid-town Los Angeles home, where plenty of roads boast a 14% grade and some are higher. I've pedaled up 3,000 feet in those hills in a few hours many, many times after I turned 50.

So far this year I've ridden almost 68,000 feet. I've ridden as much as 10,000+ feet in a week this year, too, and well under 500 in a week.

I don't think many cyclists my age - or a lot younger - can match me. On the other hand, I'm not particularly special, as there are plenty of cyclists older than 50 who climb much more than I do.

How much can you expect to elevate yourself? I'd say the sky's the limit. ;-)



That's me, above, approaching the top of Mt. Lee and the iconic Hollywood Sign, last month.
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Old 04-11-17, 01:44 AM
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Cape Haze Peninsula, SW FL is were I live, since 1986. A 100 mile ride can have 100' rise or less if I don't ride over the canal humpback bridges in Rotonda West. 2015 the LBS owner tells me about a group of riders going to ride Six Gap, Ga. in 10 days. NEVER heard of it, 11,000'+ climbing in 103 miles. I register that night and ride it in 10 days besting all the other younger riders from the store. Ages....8 of them 35 to 55, me at 65.

Same group for 2016 Six Gap plus a rider who has been riding the Rockies for the month preceding Six Gap. I prepared by riding 53/12 into the wind while standing for 1 to 3 mile long stretches holding 15/17mph. When riding with our group I would draft while standing and hold 20+mph for up to 1 mile. First 3 climbs at Six Gap without stopping at sag stops in the 53 with a 12/28 and occasionally dropping to 28 in back was a goal I set and attained. Wanted to better previous year's time by 1/2 hour and did so by 45 minutes and faster than Rocky Mountain Rider who is younger.

To ride climbs one need not live where it is hilly.
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Old 04-11-17, 10:42 AM
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10,023 feet.

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Old 04-11-17, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by mpath View Post
10,023 feet.

Were you able to descend using your carbon wheels?
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Old 04-11-17, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
How much climbing can a 50+ cyclist do? What is your one-day climbing maximum? How often do you climb several thousand ft in a day?
My one day maximum is 20,000 ft. (and a few more) which was on the Devil Mountain Double Century in 2014.

https://www.quackcyclists.com/dmd.htm

We started at 5:30 AM on Saturday and I finished with my riding companion (Peg Miller) at 2:15 on Sunday morning. In 2014 I was 64 years old. I still have the photo that Victor (Biker395) took of us at the finish. We really do look done ("put a fork in me, I'm done!" as Peg says).

A couple weekends ago I rode 11,000 ft. in one day (at 67 - my Birthday Ride) but only 90 miles. That was fairly comfortable but took most of the day with a 7:30 AM start and a 4:30 PM finish.

In terms of how often; pretty much every weekend with the occasional exception.

Rick / OCRR
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Old 04-11-17, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
Were you able to descend using your carbon wheels?
No, because my wife was super-supportive enough to drive the SAG vehicle up, and once at the summit we explored the trails. Then drove down after sunset.

But I did bring an extra set of lower profile Mavic Ksyrium in case of flats (I ride tubulars) or the winds picked up (which it never did). The Mavics are only ~100g heavier, but I needed all the mental edge possible, hence rode with the Mad Fibers.

Now that I know what to expect, next time I plan on going solo up and down.
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Old 04-11-17, 02:49 PM
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Max was over 9,000' during mostly dirt metric century. During the height of the season for me, I do a lot of rides with 3-4k+ feet of climbing.


Going to be riding in Montana in June unsupported with full camping and cooking gear:


https://ridewithgps.com/routes/19192705


12 days of riding with one rest day somewhere along the line. Average elevation gain is about 3,300'/day. Most elevation in one day will be about 4,700' (in 52 miles).
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Old 04-11-17, 02:57 PM
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Most climbing in a day? Probably Alta Alpina's 8 pass challenge. It is in the same area as the Deathride, but does 8 passes instead of 5. The official total is just over 20,000 feet, but my VDO (which usually registers low) had more than 21,000.

Alta Alpina Challenge - 8 Pass
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Old 04-11-17, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
My one day maximum is 20,000 ft. (and a few more) which was on the Devil Mountain Double Century in 2014.

https://www.quackcyclists.com/dmd.htm

We started at 5:30 AM on Saturday and I finished with my riding companion (Peg Miller) at 2:15 on Sunday morning. In 2014 I was 64 years old. I still have the photo that Victor (Biker395) took of us at the finish. We really do look done ("put a fork in me, I'm done!" as Peg says).

A couple weekends ago I rode 11,000 ft. in one day (at 67 - my Birthday Ride) but only 90 miles. That was fairly comfortable but took most of the day with a 7:30 AM start and a 4:30 PM finish.

In terms of how often; pretty much every weekend with the occasional exception.

Rick / OCRR
Ah .... I remember that one! The Devil Mountain Double is truly an epic ride. It's a tossup for the highest climb in a day between that and the 8-pass challenge. They're both awesome.
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Old 04-11-17, 10:24 PM
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Most in one day, or 8 hours is 12,000 ft. 230 pound Clyde.

That was a timed event to the high point 72 miles (Onyx Summit). Heading down riders are off the clock for safety reasons.

4 times completed Ride Around the bear (9800 ft). Best official time is 7:40 for the 100 miles.



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Old 04-12-17, 08:07 PM
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Carbonfiberboy 
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I think 15,000' on a mountain 400k brevet in my mid-60s, an 18 hour ride. I do day rides of 7,000' - 10,000' every year. I'm 71.
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