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Training for sustained climbs?

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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

Training for sustained climbs?

Old 08-24-20, 11:02 AM
  #26  
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What has worked for me to train for Mt. Diablo and Haleakala: longer FTP-building intervals, big ring, into the wind, sitting up with my hands on the tops or hoods exactly as if I was climbing a long hill.

Last edited by caloso; 08-24-20 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 08-24-20, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Thomas15 View Post
From personal experience in the actual real world and I acknowledge that I have seen in print that we are supposed to have down days but I rode up the same hill for 14 days in a row and I'm still alive and kicking. I did stop after 14 days but it was 14 days and it had the desired effect.
What was the desired effect? That you could make it up a hill 14 days in a row?

You didn't think you could before doing that?
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Old 08-24-20, 11:44 AM
  #28  
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Here is a link about climbing power versus time trial power. https://cyclingtips.com/2013/09/clim...-are-affected/

I have found via anecdotal evidence that the article is true for me. If I am going to do well at hill climbs, I have to practice climbing and if I want to do well on flat time trials, I have to practice on flat terrain.

My best anecdote was when I did a week cycling tour in France that included climbing Mount Venteux. I worked on climbing leading up to the tour and then spent 7 days on the bike climbing hilly terrain. I did pretty good on Venteux. I immediately went from France to a training session at Velo Sports Center the indoor velodrome. The first couple of days, my legs seemed almost useless on the track at higher cadence and totally flat high speed efforts.

Granted, my brain quickly reprogrammed the muscle recruitment and soon I was back to normal trackie status.

Having said all this, the bigger the aerobic engine and the lower the weight the better it is going to be to climb. That seems obvious. If one does not have climbs then I think that flat terrain into the wind is a better proxy for climbing or the trainer with the front wheel on a climbing block. In other words, kill the momentum and the speed while increasing power while cadence stays the same.
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Old 08-24-20, 11:58 AM
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Here is another article from Carmichael CTS suggesting low cadence intervals i.e. high force into the wind.

https://trainright.com/the-high-forc...ing-right-now/
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Old 08-24-20, 12:42 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Or just pretend you're climbing hills when you're not actually going anywhere!

I know that watts are watts and I have seen flatlanders climb well by training as you suggested. My question is about altitude. I know people react differently to altitude. Is this an issue to consider for an event? How to prepare for, say, 10,000 feet?
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Old 08-24-20, 12:47 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
What was the desired effect? That you could make it up a hill 14 days in a row?

You didn't think you could before doing that?
He did say he couldn't make it up an 8% grade so he was untrained. He started training, whether misguided or not, and made gains. Not surprising.
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Old 08-24-20, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I know that watts are watts and I have seen flatlanders climb well by training as you suggested. My question is about altitude. I know people react differently to altitude. Is this an issue to consider for an event? How to prepare for, say, 10,000 feet?
I think that's a whole different thing entirely and would require some solid acclimation and still vary depending on the person.

Personally, I've been "fine" trekking up to about 13,000, and then it was like the lights went out. I don't know how I could have prepared for that short of spending substantially more time at that altitude.
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Old 08-24-20, 01:30 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Zero need to train in the mountains to ride in the mountains. Do more workouts. Don't stand up on the rollers.

If the climbs are 20 minutes long, do 20 minute repeats. Don't stop pedaling, don't ease up. Constant pressure on the pedals.

This is where a powermeter simply can't be beat for training.
I do most of my riding near home, at sea level. Sometimes I drive somewhere pretty and ride over a mountain pass or up to a peak. Turns out a watt is a watt.

Also, things like peanut butter and iced cream don't help.
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Old 08-24-20, 04:17 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by wolfpack95 View Post
Get plenty of miles in relatively flat areas but did some riding in the mountains recently and my glutes seemed to be fatiguing quicker than the legs. My theory is that I get out of the saddle more in the flats for shorter climbs but mountains require a sustained sit and burn. Is there anything I can do besides the obvious of more mountain miles?
Long sustained climbs are different than everything else in that you never get a chance to let up. Even if you can shift your position on the saddle and mix in standing to rotate different muscle sets, the basic problem is that you simply can't let up.

Intervals and whatnot will make you stronger, but the real trick IMO is to figure out how you'll put out constant power for hours -- i.e. how you're going to rotate through your muscle sets, how much power to put out in different positions for how long, and so on.

For this, I'd think a trainer at relatively high resistance and lower cadence as you would on an extended climb would be the best option. However, that will be boring as heck. Also, be aware that a level trainer strains your muscles differently than an bike pointed up an actual hill so you may want to elevate that front wheel.

Another thing to consider is that might be more fun to skip the training and suffer more at a slower pace on the days you do go into the mountains. Training sucks, riding is fun.
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Old 08-24-20, 04:45 PM
  #35  
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Just sharing my experience living in a flatter area and climbing mountains. The Boston area can be hilly but nothing much more than about 8-10mins unless you venture out to wachusett. Anyhow a couple of years ago we took a trip to my parents’ hometown overseas and the house there is close to a cat 2 mountain climb. With the right training it’s perfectly doable if you don’t climb normally. I do a lot of sweet spot work and although my intervals tend to max out at 30mins per, a 40min climb at sweet spot wasn’t too hard. That said I’d love to go back and just workout by riding up and down that mountain.
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Old 08-24-20, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
Also, be aware that a level trainer strains your muscles differently than an bike pointed up an actual hill so you may want to elevate that front wheel.
Why? The relative position of the bars, saddle, and pedals don't change nor does the angle of resistance from the chain on the chainrings.
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Old 08-24-20, 06:11 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Why? The relative position of the bars, saddle, and pedals don't change nor does the angle of resistance from the chain on the chainrings.
Seems odd, I know. BUT I've heard it advocated, because lifting the front wheel changes the direction of gravity relative to all those things. Supposedly people end up sliding back on the saddle because of it and the idea is to get used to putting out power from that position.

Personally, I slide FORWARD about an inch on climbs and don't experience this sliding backward phenomenon. I mean, sliding backwards on the saddle on a 6-10% slope? Maybe they're putting chamois cream on the OUTSIDE of their bibs?
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Old 08-24-20, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
Long sustained climbs are different than everything else in that you never get a chance to let up. Even if you can shift your position on the saddle and mix in standing to rotate different muscle sets, the basic problem is that you simply can't let up.
I.E., the proper way to do intervals, climb or not.

I promise, with a powermeter, it's so, so, so easy to see all of this displayed real-time and you can train to not let up. And then riding on the flat is no different than riding up a mountain.
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Old 08-24-20, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
And then riding on the flat is no different than riding up a mountain.
Except, as you agreed above, it is.
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Old 08-24-20, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Except, as you agreed above, it is.
No, I didn't.

For someone invoking assertions of fallacies, you're ripe with them.
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Old 08-24-20, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
No, I didn't.

For someone invoking assertions of fallacies, you're ripe with them.
Then I misread when you wrote, “ I said I could understand that as an argument for specificity.“ But the linked article lays out a clear picture of why inertial load makes a difference (despite some confusion on fiber recruitment under high vs. low inertia pedaling).
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Old 08-24-20, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Then I misread when you wrote, “ I said I could understand that as an argument for specificity.“ But the linked article lays out a clear picture of why inertial load makes a difference (despite some confusion on fiber recruitment under high vs. low inertia pedaling).
Clearly you did, since this is now your second post about it.

I specifically stated specificity in regards to a climb being so steep it necessitates extended and pronounced periods of standing and extreme weight distribution.

As I said before, if you're so worried about inertial load, use your derailleur and shift gears.
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Old 08-24-20, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
As I said before, if you're so worried about inertial load, use your derailleur and shift gears.
An experiment for the reader (may be gedanken); ride up a moderate grade, 5-6%, in a comfortable gear. Stop pedaling, coast, and note how you slow down. Now repeat riding the same speed on a level road. Was there a difference in how fast you slowed down? Now do this again on the hill and level road, but in a different gear, harder or easier, it doesn’t matter. Did changing gear affect how fast you slowed down?
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Old 08-24-20, 08:39 PM
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Thank goodness I have actually climbs to climb, instead of having to pretend on the flat. No descent as a reward for half an hour or more of effort? Bleah.
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Old 08-24-20, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Thank goodness I have actually climbs to climb, instead of having to pretend on the flat. No descent as a reward for half an hour or more of effort? Bleah.
Even better on a trainer -- hop off the bike and grab a beer as soon as you finish the effort.
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Old 08-24-20, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Even better on a trainer -- hop off the bike and grab a beer as soon as you finish the effort.
A nice descent >> a beer.
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Old 08-24-20, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
A nice descent >> a beer.
Depends on the descent ... depends on the beer.
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Old 08-24-20, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Depends on the descent ... depends on the beer.
Ah, but after the descent (and the ride home) you can still have the beer. Win/win!
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Old 08-25-20, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Why? The relative position of the bars, saddle, and pedals don't change nor does the angle of resistance from the chain on the chainrings.
No, but your body position does whether you're standing or sitting
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Old 08-25-20, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Zero need to train in the mountains to ride in the mountains. Do more workouts. Don't stand up on the rollers.

If the climbs are 20 minutes long, do 20 minute repeats. Don't stop pedaling, don't ease up. Constant pressure on the pedals.

This is where a powermeter simply can't be beat for training.
100%

Last week I rode with a chap from Eindhoven in Holland here on vacation - a friend of a friend visiting him. He doesn't ride hills, he has none! But he is a powerful rider who follows a good training regimen and he wanted to explore our hills for the stunning views. We did over 2000m (6500ft) climbing, one climb alone was 17km, average 7% 900m hill. Some sections of other hills were over 20%. He was like a natural mountain goat.

I ordered a power meter last night. Never used one before but finally decided the time has come since training with HR alone is not as accurate. Also curious about what my real numbers are!
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