Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Ran Out of Air on Hard Climb

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Ran Out of Air on Hard Climb

Old 11-12-20, 09:04 PM
  #1  
rsbob 
Sniveling Weasel
Thread Starter
 
rsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 3,408
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1279 Post(s)
Liked 2,416 Times in 1,403 Posts
Ran Out of Air on Hard Climb

Has this happened to you?

A day ago I did a new climb while running Strava. When I finished the ride and was reviewing the segments, I was surprised to see that I was tied for 10th fastest and but wasn’t going for it and didn’t know it was considered a competitive climb. The climb is short at 1/4 mile but steep with three pitches. Don’t have the gradients but am guessing 12 to 15.

After a 5 mile warmup with some gentle climbs (3-5%) I returned to the scene of the crime intending to get in the top 5, which is asking a lot at almost 66.
The climb starts immediately and was going about 80% effort, saving some for the next two pitches. Felt good, was working hard and had good breath control. The second pitch was tougher and longer and was out of the saddle while watching my speed go down while was at about 100% effort. By the time I finished that segment before the steepest and final climb, I was absolutely gasping for air. I could not breath fast or hard enough to feel like I was getting enough air for my lungs. I definitely felt like my legs had more to give but was suffering without enough air. Had to really gear down while standing and gutted out the last bit gasping for air hoping that I wouldn’t have The Big One. After cresting and heading down the backside for about 33 meters, I was able to get enough air again at the turn around. Was able to get back out of the saddle and power back over the summit with effort at 50%.

The good news is that I moved to 6th overall, but was one second from 5th and 2 from 3rd. Of course I would want top 5 but 3rd would be better since 2nd and 1st are unattainable. As background, I typically climb 1000-1500’ on each 20-35 mile ride, 5 days a week.

So first, who has had this oxygenation issue and what did you do to overcome it? (To excel in the hills one must train in the hills).
__________________
Beikforoom Cyclist “No regerts” 🚴🏾‍♂️





rsbob is offline  
Old 11-12-20, 09:11 PM
  #2  
Paul Barnard
For The Fun of It
 
Paul Barnard's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 5,497

Bikes: Lynskey GR300, Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1894 Post(s)
Liked 1,323 Times in 669 Posts
As someone who can gas himself on a 25 mile ride on flat land, I can't offer anything constructive.
Paul Barnard is offline  
Likes For Paul Barnard:
Old 11-12-20, 09:16 PM
  #3  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 32,783

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1248 Post(s)
Liked 977 Times in 488 Posts
Rest for 3 Days and give it another go.
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Likes For 10 Wheels:
Old 11-12-20, 09:47 PM
  #4  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 6,140
Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5627 Post(s)
Liked 8,571 Times in 3,698 Posts
At what elevation were you riding?
Koyote is offline  
Old 11-12-20, 10:15 PM
  #5  
netforest
Junior Member
 
netforest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 6

Bikes: Cannondale Carbon Topstone 105, Raleigh Super Course 1970

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Be grateful for what you can do and it's ok to slow down as you get older. A natural phenomena.
netforest is offline  
Likes For netforest:
Old 11-12-20, 10:21 PM
  #6  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 13,318

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 196 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4430 Post(s)
Liked 2,522 Times in 1,634 Posts
If you're in your 60s and have a top ten on a Strava climb that's ridden by a significant number of other cyclists, you're doing very well.

Beyond that, just more methodical training and appropriate rest.

I do HIIT once a week *or* a full gas one-hour ride once a week. That's all the serious training I can handle and still recover rather than slowly deteriorate. The rest are lower intensity, longer distance rides, 2-4 times a week. Plus core work and walking. I tried doing more than one interval or FTP session a week but wasn't recovering properly and ended up with chronic soreness and declining speed. Hazard of aging. Some folks might handle more frequent hard sessions but I have to accept what I've got.

I had several top tens and a couple of second places on some tough time trial segments with roller coaster terrain, many short steep climbettes. *Had*. But I knew those wouldn't last. I'm 62, and if I have a Strava top ten it means hardly anyone else is riding that segment. Even a world class athlete in his or her 60s cannot hold off comparably fit cyclists in their 20s-30s. Not unless we're doping or freaks of nature. And I am farrrrr from a world class athlete. I'm slightly better than middling.

I notice this year I lost all my top tens either to younger solo riders (no chance of regaining those) and to stronger middle aged guys riding pacelines. I might be able to nudge back into 9th or 10th if I catch a decent tailwind over my favorite 5 mile TT segment. And maybe add a clip on aero bar. I ain't too proud to use a tailwind, since every solo ride was tailwind assisted, and the rest were in pacelines.

Just being in the top 25% of hundreds of local cyclists, many of whom are pretty dang strong, seems okay to me. Five years ago I was loafing around at 8 mph on a 35 lb comfort hybrid, recovering from a broken neck. I'll happily take the occasional good days now.
canklecat is offline  
Old 11-12-20, 10:42 PM
  #7  
rsbob 
Sniveling Weasel
Thread Starter
 
rsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 3,408
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1279 Post(s)
Liked 2,416 Times in 1,403 Posts
You are an inspiration with some very good wisdom.

In my early 30s I was a pretty decent climber and could beat almost all the other club riders to the top. Was always in the top three. In my 40s went out with a group from a LBS with all ages. Paceline ran at an insane 25 for 7 miles. Then we got to the climb. That’s when the kids in their late teens and early twenties just blew the pack, including me who had been holding on for dear life, apart. That was reality's hard slap across the face. No longer young, no longer competitive. I will never forget that day. Except today when I ran out of breath.
__________________
Beikforoom Cyclist “No regerts” 🚴🏾‍♂️





rsbob is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 08:51 AM
  #8  
BobbyG
Senior Member
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 5,728

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 2007 Dahon Boardwalk, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International, 2006 Felt F65

Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1297 Post(s)
Liked 1,416 Times in 709 Posts
Not to make you paranoid, but decreased oxygen levels can be an early sign of Covid-19 even without other symptoms.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020...-oxygen-levels

You may want to see your physician.
BobbyG is offline  
Likes For BobbyG:
Old 11-13-20, 09:45 AM
  #9  
Cyclist0108
Occam's Rotor
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7,248
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 2,329 Times in 1,162 Posts
https://www.rcsb.org/structure/1eer
Cyclist0108 is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 10:32 AM
  #10  
jadocs
Senior Member
 
jadocs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 2,192

Bikes: Ti, Mn Cr Ni Mo Nb, Al, C

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 942 Post(s)
Liked 524 Times in 347 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Has this happened to you?

A day ago I did a new climb while running Strava. When I finished the ride and was reviewing the segments, I was surprised to see that I was tied for 10th fastest and but wasn’t going for it and didn’t know it was considered a competitive climb. The climb is short at 1/4 mile but steep with three pitches. Don’t have the gradients but am guessing 12 to 15.

After a 5 mile warmup with some gentle climbs (3-5%) I returned to the scene of the crime intending to get in the top 5, which is asking a lot at almost 66.
The climb starts immediately and was going about 80% effort, saving some for the next two pitches. Felt good, was working hard and had good breath control. The second pitch was tougher and longer and was out of the saddle while watching my speed go down while was at about 100% effort. By the time I finished that segment before the steepest and final climb, I was absolutely gasping for air. I could not breath fast or hard enough to feel like I was getting enough air for my lungs. I definitely felt like my legs had more to give but was suffering without enough air. Had to really gear down while standing and gutted out the last bit gasping for air hoping that I wouldn’t have The Big One. After cresting and heading down the backside for about 33 meters, I was able to get enough air again at the turn around. Was able to get back out of the saddle and power back over the summit with effort at 50%.

The good news is that I moved to 6th overall, but was one second from 5th and 2 from 3rd. Of course I would want top 5 but 3rd would be better since 2nd and 1st are unattainable. As background, I typically climb 1000-1500’ on each 20-35 mile ride, 5 days a week.

So first, who has had this oxygenation issue and what did you do to overcome it? (To excel in the hills one must train in the hills).
Do you suffer from allergies or ever been diagnosed with asthma? If so, I bet your lungs were a bit tight and it just got worse the more effort you put out.
jadocs is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 11:06 AM
  #11  
rsbob 
Sniveling Weasel
Thread Starter
 
rsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 3,408
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1279 Post(s)
Liked 2,416 Times in 1,403 Posts
Mostly allergies. But if I force an exhale I can hear some wheezing. Interesting.
__________________
Beikforoom Cyclist “No regerts” 🚴🏾‍♂️





rsbob is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 11:18 AM
  #12  
ofajen
Cheerfully low end
 
ofajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1,585
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 497 Post(s)
Liked 807 Times in 514 Posts
This spring I rode without ever using gears below 2.0 ratio (52 to 54 gear inches) and could already tell I was stronger and faster on climbs.

Now I’ve gone back to riding only actual SS for the last three months and that has also helped my climbing strength and aerobic capacity.

For one thing, SS basically forces you to put out a lot of watts into a headwind. I pretty much refuse to reduce speed and maintaining even 15 mph may require 350 watts or so into a wind of similar speed.

Then of course, there are hills and you either stand for a long time or maintain enough speed to stay sorta seated which is generally harder work and faster. That often means pushing hard enough that you start to lift yourself off the saddle.

When you do this routinely, you just get used to taxing yourself really hard and recovering while still pushing forward.

As always, YMMV. I’m only 57 and I’m sure things will be different in a few years but I hope I am still doing the SS thing even if I have to gear down a tad.

Otto
ofajen is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 11:20 AM
  #13  
jadocs
Senior Member
 
jadocs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 2,192

Bikes: Ti, Mn Cr Ni Mo Nb, Al, C

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 942 Post(s)
Liked 524 Times in 347 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Mostly allergies. But if I force an exhale I can hear some wheezing. Interesting.
That's it....get yourself a rescue inhaler and it will open your lungs back up.
jadocs is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 11:23 AM
  #14  
ofajen
Cheerfully low end
 
ofajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1,585
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 497 Post(s)
Liked 807 Times in 514 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Mostly allergies. But if I force an exhale I can hear some wheezing. Interesting.
Aha. Are there other climbs that don’t have this effect? Maybe this one has a local concentration of an allergen?

Otto
ofajen is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 11:25 AM
  #15  
rsbob 
Sniveling Weasel
Thread Starter
 
rsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 3,408
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1279 Post(s)
Liked 2,416 Times in 1,403 Posts
Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
At what elevation were you riding?
Only 300’. So no altitude excuses. Darn.
__________________
Beikforoom Cyclist “No regerts” 🚴🏾‍♂️





rsbob is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 11:27 AM
  #16  
rsbob 
Sniveling Weasel
Thread Starter
 
rsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 3,408
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1279 Post(s)
Liked 2,416 Times in 1,403 Posts
Otto, good ideas. Thank you. Not familiar with all acronyms yet, what is SS?
__________________
Beikforoom Cyclist “No regerts” 🚴🏾‍♂️





rsbob is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 11:29 AM
  #17  
Thomas15
I think I know nothing.
 
Thomas15's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: NE PA
Posts: 711
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 233 Post(s)
Liked 290 Times in 204 Posts
As a side comment I have a 1 mile hill right off of my usual "around the block" ride that I started using on a regular basis this year. Average 7%, min is 4%, max. is 14%. I have ridden up it about 15 times so far, never giving any thought to Strava segment standings. Finally one day I checked and to my amazement I was 6th. This is not a heavy traffic segment but still at 62 years old I couldn't believe 6th.

I have since moved up to 5th and need 20 seconds for 4th which I want to do as the person currently in 4th has been riding for decades and is the father of one of my son's friends from high school. This is the hill as far as total effort is concerned makes me the most uncomfortable in my normal rotation of routes and leaves me thinking that a little more air would be nice. I guess what I need to do is decide if I want to focus on climbing or aerobic/flat/endurance. While I think i can improve in all aspects of cycling I think I should make a choice and chase one or the other.
Thomas15 is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 11:45 AM
  #18  
rsbob 
Sniveling Weasel
Thread Starter
 
rsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 3,408
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1279 Post(s)
Liked 2,416 Times in 1,403 Posts
Originally Posted by Thomas15 View Post
As a side comment I have a 1 mile hill right off of my usual "around the block" ride that I started using on a regular basis this year. Average 7%, min is 4%, max. is 14%. I have ridden up it about 15 times so far, never giving any thought to Strava segment standings. Finally one day I checked and to my amazement I was 6th. This is not a heavy traffic segment but still at 62 years old I couldn't believe 6th.

I have since moved up to 5th and need 20 seconds for 4th which I want to do as the person currently in 4th has been riding for decades and is the father of one of my son's friends from high school. This is the hill as far as total effort is concerned makes me the most uncomfortable in my normal rotation of routes and leaves me thinking that a little more air would be nice. I guess what I need to do is decide if I want to focus on climbing or aerobic/flat/endurance. While I think i can improve in all aspects of cycling I think I should make a choice and chase one or the other.
First, congratulations on your achievement At 62 that is quite impressive

Second, as we get older, not an uncommon phenomenon, we all eventually will be faced with the choice of chasing all out max fitness or relaxing a bit and enjoying scenery and exercise for what it is. Maybe a bit of compromise is in order, but have not quite reached that point since I am surrounded by achievement oriented athletes. Maybe I need to find a better caliber of friends.
__________________
Beikforoom Cyclist “No regerts” 🚴🏾‍♂️





rsbob is offline  
Likes For rsbob:
Old 11-13-20, 11:51 AM
  #19  
Lemond1985
Sophomore Member
 
Lemond1985's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 2,690
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1627 Post(s)
Liked 1,051 Times in 627 Posts
I definitely felt like my legs had more to give but was suffering without enough air.
Race Across America champ Lon Haldeman says to spend an hour a week in that extreme breathless state, where you cannot even talk, in order to see real significant gains in fitness (short video 3:26):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FfA6VM7iT4

The fact that your legs felt fine is maybe an indication to use a higher gear when you start approaching your max on climbs. I was always taught, "Legs burn, use a lower gear, lungs burn, use a higher gear."
Lemond1985 is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 11:56 AM
  #20  
ofajen
Cheerfully low end
 
ofajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1,585
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 497 Post(s)
Liked 807 Times in 514 Posts
I should add that while SS or FG can be fun and will impose a certain burden of strength and conditioning on you, you will still get your best time on a geared bike where you can do the climb at an optimal cadence, but hopefully in the highest possible gear you can manage.

Otto
ofajen is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 12:00 PM
  #21  
ofajen
Cheerfully low end
 
ofajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 1,585
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 497 Post(s)
Liked 807 Times in 514 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Otto, good ideas. Thank you. Not familiar with all acronyms yet, what is SS?
Sorry, single speed, using a freewheel or single cog on a freehub.. FG being fixed gear.

Otto
ofajen is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 12:03 PM
  #22  
Gary in NJ
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Hilly NJ
Posts: 76

Bikes: 2020 Fuji Gran Fondo 1.3, 2015 Trek FrankenMarlin Gravel Thing

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Liked 60 Times in 31 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Mostly allergies. But if I force an exhale I can hear some wheezing. Interesting.
You have asthma. That's what the wheezing is. Go see a doctor.

I "had" asthma that was brought on by seasonal allergies. After taking allergy shots both the allergies and asthma are gone.
Gary in NJ is offline  
Likes For Gary in NJ:
Old 11-13-20, 12:17 PM
  #23  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 22,971
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 2,545 Times in 1,785 Posts
I have a lot of trouble with my asthma when it's hot and I'm on a long climb. I don't know if I have ever noticed it on a short climb, but I'm generally not working that hard on a 1/4 mile climb. I can certainly feel it kicking in on relatively short intervals.

I started taking singulair recently and it definitely has improved my asthma. It's relatively benign, but I think a doc will want you to try inhalers first.
unterhausen is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 12:21 PM
  #24  
freeranger
Senior Member
 
freeranger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 2,355

Bikes: 06 Lemond Reno, 98 GT Timberline mtn.bike

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 347 Post(s)
Liked 551 Times in 342 Posts
Yes, I have had it happen to me. I have allergies. At one time I had asthma, but I went to an asthma/allergy specialist who helped me stop smoking, and started me on allergy treatment. I still have allergies, but nowhere near as severe as I had at one time. Tho I'll probably never be 100% rid of allergies, I'm very pleased that mine are no worse than most that deal with seasonal allergies. I seem to get more winded on singletrack riding which has climbs in it, but that only makes sense. Road cycling, even with climbs does not seem as challenging, as not riding over rocks and roots and avoiding trees (hopefully) while climbing. I'd guess I'm no different than most in that on some days it seems I could climb a telephone pole, and other days may find me having a hard time on climbs which I usually don't find all that difficult. If I was consistently running out of gas on climbs (on which I don't usually), I'd consult a doc.
freeranger is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 12:29 PM
  #25  
jadocs
Senior Member
 
jadocs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 2,192

Bikes: Ti, Mn Cr Ni Mo Nb, Al, C

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 942 Post(s)
Liked 524 Times in 347 Posts
Originally Posted by Gary in NJ View Post
You have asthma.
Yep...no amount of technique is going to fix it lol
jadocs is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.