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Speed through Rolling Hills

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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

Speed through Rolling Hills

Old 08-05-06, 10:05 PM
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coulee_country
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Speed through Rolling Hills

17 mile race (part of triathlon). 3 mile section with short rolling hills. What is the best technique to maintain speed/energy?
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Old 08-06-06, 12:51 AM
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personally i try to spin on the flats, power up the hills (more like sprinting than true climbing form) and make sure i don't let up until i'm going down the backside fast, and i will gauge how much leg i can put into the downhill while i'm going down it. i d on't really know how to strategize in the wider context of triathlon though.
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Old 08-06-06, 05:34 AM
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Rolling hills means so many different things. If the downhills lead right into the next uphill (i.e., zero runout) then I usually try to milk the descent for all its worth. If you get your momentum up, you can get a good portion of the ensuing uphill basically for free. It takes some practice though to know which gear you should be in -- you can bog down in a hurry.

If they're just short little terrain variations then heck, I'd just get out of the saddle and sprint over them.
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Old 08-06-06, 09:13 AM
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Rolling hills are nature's intervals. Go hard up the hill and then get aero and catch your breath going down. If the hill is steep enough there's more time to gain on the uphill than there is on the downhill, and a lot of times you can go just as fast by getting way down low and coasting.

Say you can't coast as fast on the downhill and you can go 1 mph faster by going hard on your section of choice, but you don't have enough energy to go hard the whole time. You're better off pushing on the uphill because it takes more time to go up a hill than it does to go down, so you're going 1 mph faster for a a longer period of time.
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Old 08-06-06, 09:56 AM
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Technically, this can be tricky if you are not used to doing it.....the shifting is really important.

You can't get caught out as you bust up that series of hills.

My best advice to you is ANTICIPATION.
Think one step ahead when it comes to shifting.

Use the big gears to keep pedaling downhill and you'll have great momentum starting to go up the next. But you'll be surprised at how fast that gets used up and how quickly you need to keep popping into the next easiest gear.

Practice that....get a feel for when it feels right to you to click, click, click to where you are comfortable with the climbing gearing one step ahead of time.
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Old 08-06-06, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by coulee_country
17 mile race (part of triathlon). 3 mile section with short rolling hills. What is the best technique to maintain speed/energy?
A triathlon is a time trial. Best thing to do is find a power level that you can sustain for the whole race, and keep it. If you power up several hills and go into the red zone each, you're "burning matches" and won't be able to sustain power throughout the race.

If it's a triathlon that permits drafting, that's a different story. There's a big advantage to hanging with a group, even if you have to burn a couple of matches to stay with them.
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Old 08-06-06, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by DXchulo
Say you can't coast as fast on the downhill and you can go 1 mph faster by going hard on your section of choice, but you don't have enough energy to go hard the whole time. You're better off pushing on the uphill because it takes more time to go up a hill than it does to go down, so you're going 1 mph faster for a a longer period of time.
No drafting allowed in this tri. The hills are one after another with no flats between. Race isn't for a month so I'll have time to practice my shifting. If I can't push it through the entire section, I'll work on the uphills as I like the comment above.

Hopefully I'll find out after the first couple of hills I'm doing more passing then being passed.
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Old 08-06-06, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SaintAndrew
personally i try to spin on the flats, .
Spinning typically means "not going as fast as you could be going" which is not a winning strategy in a triathlon.
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Old 08-06-06, 03:17 PM
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I try to select the right gear, get out of the saddle and maintain a steady cadence over rolling hills. If my cadence drops really fast, I know I chose the wrong gear... I have also noticed being in the drops helps me out when I am going over rolling hills. Good luck.
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Old 08-06-06, 03:28 PM
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After getting as much speed as possible on the downhill, stay in a big gear as long as possible when you hit the uphill section. Downshift one gear at a time only when your cadence starts to fall off. You will keep your speed longer.
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Old 08-06-06, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by not2fast
Spinning typically means "not going as fast as you could be going" which is not a winning strategy in a triathlon.
for me i can maintain a faster average speed if i hold back a little on the flats and use tons of power up the hills.

basically what you're saying is to go 100% all the time so bang strategy solved just push the biggest gear you can the whole time wow you're a genius.
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Old 08-06-06, 05:57 PM
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If you can practically coast up (with flatland effort) the next hill by going balls out on the downhill, then its worth pushing hard for that section. You get a huge speed advantage, and generally feel pretty fresh at the top of the hill. If on the other hand, the uphills are harder and longer, then its a terrible position to be out of breath, your momentum used up, with more climbing to go.
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