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Novice rider's observation: Hills suck major ass...

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Novice rider's observation: Hills suck major ass...

Old 04-27-05, 01:34 AM
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When do you guys stand up and pedal...for hills?
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Old 04-27-05, 01:42 AM
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if we have to.

for overpasses, just go as far as you can seated...really overpasses are not "stand-worthy"
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Old 04-27-05, 02:12 AM
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I stand up to switch up the muscles I'm using in my legs. I'll sit right back down after a few yards usually, just takes a bit of the burn off. I'm getting better at this one hill, only had to stop once today so I could attack the final quarter mile (which is a rather steep quarter mile).
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Old 04-27-05, 02:20 AM
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Did Teddy Roosevelt yell "RETREAT!" at the base of San Juan Hill? No. He exclaimed, "CHARGE!" and the rest is history. Be a Rough Rider! Speak softly, carry a carbon fiber bike, and those hills will fall to your might. Teddy said so himself.
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Old 04-27-05, 02:35 AM
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Hills and wind are the essence of biking. It would not be biking without them. The challenge - live, eat, train and go out and ride for it.

Wind is my friend. He will make you a better rider. Just make sure you turn your back on him from time to time. He wont care.

Hills are my friend and the decent is so worthy a reward.
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Old 04-27-05, 03:15 AM
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I'm a fat oaf, (6'1" 208lbs) and I hate hills too. That, however will not make me change my route to avoid them. I just ride up them until I get to the top, even if it takes a while. If I have to get off and walk then so be it. At least I am out there going for it...not cruising up in some air conditioned gas guzzler. Hills can only help me in the long run.

Hangi in there. I am a newbie too.

Brian
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Old 04-27-05, 04:26 AM
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Big hills and mountains are one of the best parts of cycling. Thousands of cyclists holiday in the Alpes and Pyrenees to test themselves against big mountains and enjoy the scenery, very few go to Kansas for the flat land.
Dont be afraid to use low gears, too many amatuers and newbies want to use the same gear ratios as elite and pro riders when they dont have the same power (or power/weight ratio). Just pick a gear that allows you to spin up the hill at a comfortably quick cadence (50-80revs/min)
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Old 04-27-05, 06:29 AM
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Hills are cool. Once you get to the top of one you get to zoom down it . Wind sucks.
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Old 04-27-05, 06:43 AM
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Hills vs. wind....neither ‘sucks major ass’. Separately and together, they are the essence of cycling and what makes a good cyclist –

The ability to suffer and overcome.

Yes, you have to be in shape to climb well, yes you have to be powerful and have a decent position to fight the wind, but in the end it is how much physical discomfort you can stand that determines how far and how fast you ride and how difficult the terrain you conquer…..
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Old 04-27-05, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by kokodeselavy
Hear the word of those who live in the hills:
Love climbing and the cycling gods favor you.
Fear climbing and the gods chortle.
I love the word 'chortle'!

I have to put my bike in a car and drive and hour west to find hills.
Sadly I only have bridges to attack. but I almost always have wind.
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Old 04-27-05, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 53-11_alltheway
Learning to climb them makes you faster on flat ground though. Zooming around on flats is what makes a road bike fun.
Now, this is so true. Ever since I started to love hills so much (actually is a love/hate relationship) and started doing more and more of them, I've noticed - to my pleasant surprise - that I've become faster on the flats, I can keep up with guys I couldn't do in the past, and when we go over the so called "sprinter hills" I can crank it up just enough to maintain the same flat speed without getting tire or dropped, this is great!

My advice to the OP is, hang in there, keep climbing hills, make it a challenge to get better and use a higher gear everytime you feel a bit stronger. before you know it those "dreaded' hills won't be so horrific anymore just because they won't feel as such.
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Old 04-27-05, 07:04 AM
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Hills test the mental fortitude of the rider... The ability to suffer goes hand in hand with cardio strength and body weight.

Best you can do is lighten up... eliminate as much sugars as possible (simple and refined) and alchohol from your diet... eat only veggies, protein, and fiber for 6 weeks, ride 2 days hard, 3 easy each week... (treat yourself to ice cream once a week if you're good) and you'll be going up hills faster than ever.

5 years ago... I used to dred the hills. Hell, couldn't even hang onto a Cat 5 race.

Then I went from 190 -> 160 in 4 months... and once I got there, my metabolism sped up and I've been under 162 ever since. Pretty much eating whatever I want. Resting HR went from 68 -> 52... and now I live for the climbs, and trying go get from 4 to 3.
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Old 04-27-05, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by endform
I stand up to switch up the muscles I'm using in my legs. I'll sit right back down after a few yards usually, just takes a bit of the burn off. I'm getting better at this one hill, only had to stop once today so I could attack the final quarter mile (which is a rather steep quarter mile).

Generally, this is my approach. Try to sit as much as possible, stand for a bit to stretch/use different muscles and give the sitting ones a break. I always feel fresher when I sit back down.
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Old 04-27-05, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Sincitycycler
When do you guys stand up and pedal...for hills?
Standing increases your heartrate for the same effort (con), but it lets you put more of your bodyweight into each stroke so you can push a bigger gear (pro). So, it's good for powering over a short rise without changing gears; it's good for mashing through short steeper sections of a long hill. But for any kind of sustained effort you're going to want to shift down, sit 'n' spin, or you'll use up all your energy.
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Old 04-27-05, 07:23 AM
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An effective climbing technique is to alternate between sitting and standing with a 1 cog differential:

IE:

Sit -> 39x19
Stand -> 39x17

Never, ever, stand in your lowest cog... keep that for sitting... that is the easiest way to blow when the going gets as tough as can be. Always downshift 1 click when standing.
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Old 04-27-05, 08:00 AM
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Cadence on hills will tend to be lower than on the flats, but not by too much. Terry's cited differential is a little large; aim for no more than around 10 rpms slower and then push hard at the top of the climb. When standing, you should slow as well and drop into a smaller cog (higher gear). Pushing big gears on climbs is hard on the knees and you should work into that sort of force/pressure slowly over time by spinning a lot and then steadily increasing the pressure (using little bit bigger gears) as your tendons and ligaments get stronger.
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Old 04-27-05, 08:11 AM
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I used to feel the same way about hills. It took me a few rides in the mountains in North Georgia before I grew to love climbing. Now that I live in a place with very few hills, they are what I miss most. Keep at it and you'll find yourself seeking them out. I'm never happier on a bike than I am at the end of a particularly hard climb. The scenery is generally great and the sense of accomplishment is the reason I ride.

CJ
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Old 04-27-05, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich_W
Hills test the mental fortitude of the rider... The ability to suffer goes hand in hand with cardio strength and body weight.

Best you can do is lighten up... eliminate as much sugars as possible (simple and refined) and alchohol from your diet...
You REALLY want to test your mental fortitude try hills with a hangover.
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Old 04-27-05, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich_W
Never, ever, stand in your lowest cog... keep that for sitting... that is the easiest way to blow when the going gets as tough as can be. Always downshift 1 click when standing.
Standing in your lowest gear is not only permissible, it's downright necessary in some situations. If you're out of gears and still can't keep the pedals going around, get out of the saddle and mash.

Consider the finish of the Fleche-Wallone, on the Mur de Huy. Sections are at 20%. A standard racer's 39/23 is tough on that grade. Every rider was standing on the Huy. At 60 rpm, the bike speed is 8 mph, and nobody can maintain 8 mph on a 20% grade. It would take close to 600 watts.
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Old 04-27-05, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by alison_in_oh
Standing increases your heartrate for the same effort (con), but it lets you put more of your bodyweight into each stroke so you can push a bigger gear (pro).
Standing occasionally also rests your lower back and leg muscles, particularly your hamstrings.
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Old 04-27-05, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by GreyGoat
hills over wind anyday.. you reap the rewards of the climb when you descend.. there aint no escaping a head wind tho..
A really nice tail wind can be as fun as a descent.
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Old 04-27-05, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mnutini
I'm 6'1" and 237lbs. My only hope is that when I lose the weight I'll get to keep the strength from hauling my fat behind up those hills.
I am with you.
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Old 04-27-05, 10:22 AM
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The thing I like LEAST about going up hills are the DOGS in YARDS that know they have a half-decent chance of catching me.
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Old 04-27-05, 10:50 AM
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Old 04-27-05, 10:53 AM
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I love hills. Successfully attacking a hill is one of the most satisfying things to do on a bicycle IMO. And of course, the reward of going down the other side ain't bad either.
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