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tall rider needing pointers

Old 08-03-05, 08:33 PM
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Hpu42
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tall rider needing pointers

I am 6'6" inches tall and I am 240lbs. I have a Cannondale R800 and I have no idea how to ride hilly roads. When should I change gears or should I stay in one gear? Do I stay in a gear until it gets to hard then go down a gear until that gear gets hard again? Also, I think since I have never rode with anybody that my pace is ok. I'm riding 25 miles at 18.5 mph on average. I need some coaching on how to ride efficiently so I can improve my speed and time. I also feel like a billboard on 2 wheels when I ride I feel that I'm so tall that I'm working twice as hard becuase of all the wind I'm pushing. Am I on the right track as far figuring this sport out???

Thanks
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Old 08-03-05, 09:17 PM
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Well the most important thing i learned in cycling is pacing myself. 8 months ago i was always pushing too high of a gear and i would wear myself out. Now I have learned to keep a nice cadence going, and using the gears to my advantage. I try to keep the same general cadence regardless of incline/decline. There isnt really a set "climbing gear", its whatever allows me to keep that same general cadence and pushing roughly the same resistance. Unless its just a short steep little hill in which case i stand up and plow through.
I am not a roadie here, but thats what i do when i commute to work and its helped me a lot.
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Old 08-04-05, 01:39 AM
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Did you hear of that 6'7" or something track cyclist who just broke the 1 hour record. Taller people aren't disadvantaged too much in terms of wind.
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Old 08-04-05, 06:41 AM
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As long as you got a bike that fits you, you should be alright. I'm 6'7" myself and recently pruchased a Cannondale R900, just barely fit on the 63cm.

Other than the fit, I was unaware of any disadvantages of being tall on a bike. Seems like I can drop low enough to where the length of my torso makes little difference. Then again I'm only 170lbs, so maybe that makes a difference. I had a friend tell me that tall people were better at climbing hills, but I've suspected that his tails are tainted in the past and wrote this one off as another example of the love for his own voice.

Listen to phantomcow2 concerning the cadence. I've read that it's easier to recover from hills using a higher cadence, and from my experience I must agree.

Just keep it fun and you'll be alright, you big freak.
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Old 08-04-05, 06:47 AM
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sheesh now I feel short at a 6ft
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Old 08-04-05, 08:01 AM
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Consider yourself lucky. Whenever you go to buy pants, see how many 32"Wx37"Inseam you spot. I'm guessing they'll be somewhere near the snowballs chance in hell.
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Old 08-05-05, 07:46 PM
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Generally, larger riders find it easier to climb seated. It also helps to sit more upright for two reasons first aerodynamics aren't as important and second being hunched over tends to restrict your breathing. As far as climbing pace shift before the hill and if the cadence is too high shift up (harder gear). I use a speedo with a cadence counter and I climb best at a cadence of 75 to 85 rpm. This is personal preference and requires some experimentation. If the hill is very long it also helps to stand for a few pedal rpm just to change the muscles around. If you do stand your cadence will slow down so compensate by switching to a harder gear. Switch back when you return to the saddle. For very steep hills, in my case above 10%, standing is the only way I can survive.

It also helps to figure out what kind of climber you are. I am what is called a "tempo" climber. I find a cadence that is just below blowing up my legs but that I can hold for a long time and try to keep that effort up all the way. Others like Lance are more explosive and can vary tempo by standing and accelerating. If you are a tempo climber short hills are not your friend. The constant accelerations by the sprinters wear you out. If the hill is long however you just may be able to bring them back. Another good way to bring them back is to spin a bit in the gear that you climbed the hill when you reach the top and then jump to the next harder gear. People have a tendency to relax at the top of a hill and you can make up some ground for a small effort.

Hitting a hill in a hard gear an gradually dropping back to easier ones is a technique that works for me on shorter hills but if the hill is longer than say a half a mile it takes too much out of my legs so I wind up slower at the top.

By they way I'm 6'3" and 180 lbs not quite in your league but not small either.
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