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going up "grades" vs. climbs

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

going up "grades" vs. climbs

Old 08-06-06, 09:21 AM
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gregm
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going up "grades" vs. climbs

I commute daily on the bike and ride for fun on the weekends. I have about 2,400 miles under my belt so far for 2006, including a couple of 100-miler rides. A typical weekend ride might be 45-65 miles, anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 feet of climbing.

When I ride with the local recreational club, I tend to do fine with the group on the flats. On the climbs... say, something like at least 6% for a couple of miles, I tend to do *really* well, in the front ten percent of the group or so.

However, if there's a couple of miles that's not a proper climb, but more of what I'd call a "grade" -- guessing maybe 1% or 1.5% or so -- I get thrashed keeping up. After a couple of miles, I start to go off the back of some of the cats that I can beat smartly up the "real" climbs.

I'm about 5'10" and about 200lbs. (Ok, 205lbs.) I'm sure I'm heavier than most of the other folks I ride with. It's even kind of funny... if I coast alongside anybody else on a long, straight descent, I just slowly and steadily pull ahead. (Lots more weight, but not so much more wind resistance... almost as good as when I'm riding my tandem.)

Is this common for some riders? Am I just weird?

Thanks!
-Greg
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Old 08-06-06, 10:38 AM
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terrymorse
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For me, the steeper the climb, the more advantage I have over other riders. But then I weigh 135 lbs.
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Old 08-06-06, 10:46 AM
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That's pretty much the way I am, steep hills, no problem. Long long hills wear me out. I am 5'10" 185 with a 28" inseam
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Old 08-06-06, 10:59 AM
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Do you spin rapidly going up short hills? If so, unless you are lance armstrong, if you try to do the same thing up longer climb you may run out of steam-check your cadence up both types and see.
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Old 08-06-06, 11:01 AM
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gregm
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Originally Posted by maddyfish
That's pretty much the way I am, steep hills, no problem. Long long hills wear me out. I am 5'10" 185 with a 28" inseam
Not sure if we're saying the same thing?

I'm talking about "long" stretches of ascending in both cases -- say, at least a couple of miles -- but comparing, for example, 1% grade vs. 6% grade.

-Greg
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Old 08-06-06, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
For me, the steeper the climb, the more advantage I have over other riders. But then I weigh 135 lbs.
I think you are describing an advantage for you at all % grades -- but that this advantage increases with steepness. This seems to make more sense to me -- the steeper the climb, it seems like it should accentuate the differences.

For me, though, I'm finding that I am at a relative *dis*advantage on the very low % grades, but an advantage on the relatively-steeper climbs.

-Greg
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Old 08-06-06, 11:28 AM
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I can't comment on rides with others as I've never had that real competition to keep me pushing hard
But I do not like those roads, either.
To me, they're just not exciting enough. I look at true hills as being a challenge -a Goliath to be slain- and the only *competition* that I'm going to find ..so it pumps me up.
Those tiny inclines are more like a swarm of gnats that just seem to piss me off by pestering the **** out of me and offer no real satisfaction when I swat a handful of em ..cause there are many, many more I have yet to defeat.

Now, if I was riding with others and those others were good athletes and not just dudes out for a ride
I doubt I would even notice those things cause I'd be too busy mentally and physically trying to kick ass than to spend time worrying about a little gnat/mosquito buzzing around my head.
I think when the sh*t goes down you lose all inhibitions and just do it
Or, you don't get serious and instead keep thinking about how long the ride is becoming and not how soon the finish will come if you just pedal the b*tch out.

When tha SH*t goes Dowwnnnnn
Ya betta be Readyyy

I love Cypress Hill when riding the bike




You mention how you're beefier than most other riders
To me -IMO
For you to feel as though you need to mention this size thingy
That tells me something about you and as an athlete I would play upon that and probably count you out from the beginning of the race as a real competitor
Maybe you view the hills as where you can earn your badge that you are indeed able to compete on the bike and deserve some respect.
But then when stamina comes into play perhaps you know that you're not fit enough to blow by or even keep up with the pack by just mashing it out with brute force
so you defeat yourself and lay back because at that point nobody can really say anything because you'll always have that one thing over them
-The hills.
You become satisfied with that King Of the Mountain jersey and make yourself believe that the rest is either not as important or unattainable for a larger guy.


I may be wrong about you. Not saying I got it all figured out
this is just how I would view you in a race or any athletic endeavor and it would then be up to you to make me reevaluate your ability/devotion. I would feel
-compelled-
to beat you to the top of those hills so that you couldn't hold the KOTM jersey over peoples heads and
-forcing-
you to work harder the next time
and -if you were to accept the challenge to your manhood- you would soon become a fitter cyclist capable of truly competing throughout the entire race

This is what athletics are all about for me. Punishing and then challenging others to become better so that the sport can be more competitive/skilled than it was prior to getting into it. I think it's beautiful.
It doesn't really always matter who wins
It is how you play the game
and if you give up for just a second
you're not respecting yourself, the other players, or the game itself


Whatever the reason be
hope you make some progress
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