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How does going up and down a bridge compare to real climbing?

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How does going up and down a bridge compare to real climbing?

Old 07-01-08, 06:08 PM
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How does going up and down a bridge compare to real climbing?

Miami is wonderful for everything except training to race in mountains. I was wondering how riding up and down a bridge (the Rickenbacker Causeway bridge to those who know the area) compares to real life mountain experience.
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Old 07-01-08, 06:18 PM
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Real mountains are at least 2000 feet of elevation gain. If your bridge is a 100 foot climb, then do it 20 times.
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Old 07-01-08, 06:24 PM
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It doesn't compare at all.

You'd have to climb it 20 times, and somehow manage the reduction in oxygen concentration, without going down at all./
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Old 07-01-08, 06:26 PM
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it's the best you can do i guess.
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Old 07-01-08, 06:55 PM
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Try a long ride into a stiff headwind instead. Better replication of climbing, I think...
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Old 07-01-08, 06:57 PM
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As someone that has to climb bridges, it does not compare, but it's better than nothing.
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Old 07-01-08, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99
Real mountains are at least 2000 feet of elevation gain. If your bridge is a 100 foot climb, then do it 20 times.
I think 1000 feet should be adequate to count as a mountain climb
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Old 07-01-08, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99
Real mountains are at least 2000 feet of elevation gain.
You know that's a California definition, right? I think this is one of the few places that tried to define "mountain" by statute.

From Wikipedia:

"In the United States, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names lists hundreds of landscape features under 1,000 feet (305 m) (some as low as 100 feet) named as "mountains." This is true for all parts of the United States, including the west coast where such lofty ranges as the Cascade Mountains dominate. And yet the Board does not attempt to distinguish between such features as mountains, hills, or other prominences, and simply categorizes all of them as summit, regardless of what they are called or how high they are. However, the Board does list and categorize such low mountain ranges as the Mount Tom Range (with a high point of 1,200 feet; 366 m) as range."

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Old 07-01-08, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by JaRow
Miami is wonderful for everything except training to race in mountains. I was wondering how riding up and down a bridge (the Rickenbacker Causeway bridge to those who know the area) compares to real life mountain experience.
No. Not in any way at all.
I was just down in Miami in March. I took my single speed road bike geared 42-16. I was out riding, and picked up a group of roadies on a ride. I rode with them talking and generally having a good time. They kept talking about the big hill coming up. I was worried a little, I mean 42-16, me, and a big hill don't mix. They said "everybody get ready, here it comes!" and then I saw it. It was a bridge. One of those big hump bridges. I breezed over it. SOme of them (who looked to be in better shape than me) actually slowed down and had a little touble. I mean it was just a bridge. My 5 year old rides up a bigger hill to school.
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Old 07-01-08, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by maddyfish
I was just down in Miami in March. I took my single speed road bike geared 42-16. I was out riding, and picked up a group of roadies on a ride. I rode with them talking and generally having a good time. They kept talking about the big hill coming up. I was worried a little, I mean 42-16, me, and a big hill don't mix. They said "everybody get ready, here it comes!" and then I saw it. It was a bridge. One of those big hump bridges.
That is one thing you cannot get out of people's heads here. They think doing a bridge is a monumental thing. I live and ride down here too, but I know a bridge is a bridge. There is one thing we do have here that most people in hilly areas don't have and that is tons of wind. Especially the closer you get to the beach! I have done rides here in enough wind to compare to any nasty climb in terms of effort and watts produced. Is it like climbing? No, but as hard as it gets here.
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Old 07-01-08, 07:29 PM
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Its really flat where I'm from, and what we call hills, would probably make most laugh. You gotta train on what you have though.
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Old 07-01-08, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by dgasmd
That is one thing you cannot get out of people's heads here. They think doing a bridge is a monumental thing. I live and ride down here too, but I know a bridge is a bridge. There is one thing we do have here that most people in hilly areas don't have and that is tons of wind. Especially the closer you get to the beach! I have done rides here in enough wind to compare to any nasty climb in terms of effort and watts produced. Is it like climbing? No, but as hard as it gets here.

Come to Colorado we'll you give climbs that start at 5-8K end at 9-14K and we can give you plenty of wind to go along with it
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Old 07-01-08, 08:21 PM
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Is climbing up and down your stairs the same as climbing K2?
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Old 07-01-08, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg
Come to Colorado we'll you give climbs that start at 5-8K end at 9-14K and we can give you plenty of wind to go along with it
Yeah, every time I see someone compare a headwind to climbing, I wonder what we should call climbing into a headwind. I had some brutally windy rides earlier this spring, and the wind always seemed to be a headwind, no matter which way the road turned.
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Old 07-01-08, 08:27 PM
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I think bridges are more windy and therefore a pain. I hate climbing bridges. They also seem to have worse shoulders, more gravel type stuff, debris, etc. The big seams don't help either. If I have to climb something, I prefer climbing a normal hill.

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Old 07-01-08, 08:28 PM
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It's better than nothing.

I used bridge repeats to train for the Rocky Mountain 1200 (~25,000 ft of climbing) and Paris-Brest-Paris (~30,000 ft of climbing), and did all right on those rides.

I'm a better climber now that I live in an area with hills, but sometimes you've got to go with what you've got.
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Old 07-01-08, 08:51 PM
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Christian Vande Velde and John Devine both grew up in northern IL. I know Christian spent a good portion of this past winter training here.

They both seem to do alright for themselves...

Watts are watts.
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Old 07-01-08, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99
Real mountains are at least 2000 feet of elevation gain. If your bridge is a 100 foot climb, then do it 20 times.
Correct, yet... incorrect.

It depends who you're trying to ride with. In a race or competitive riding situation, I can assure you that a hill with 300' of vertical gain can and will turn out to be more mountain than your bike weenie legs can handle, depending on who's dropping you.

I've ridden 2000 vertical foot climbs in Europe (probably Category 1 climbs by UCI standards) that were lengthy, but ridden at my own pace alone, very pleasant. But half a mile behind the wrong Cat 2/3 dude on the wrong climb and my gaskets are all over the friggin road.
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Old 07-01-08, 10:01 PM
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I've tried hiking up and down overpass slopes (the steep part underneath) to simulate mountain hiking. It doesn't really work well because you just don't have the sustained grade. You go up a btg and down and up an down, and that's not the same as going steadily up for 3 hours.
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Old 07-01-08, 10:06 PM
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This is real climbing. One of my favorite rides, although they added an extra little section to it. Also they have the elevation wrong, they've listed it as at least a thousand feet less than it really is.
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Old 07-01-08, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing
I think bridges are more windy and therefore a pain. If I have to climb something, I prefer climbing a normal hill.

cdr

You've got to be kidding!......Try climbing Baldy Rd in 40 mph winds! Going down was even worse. I thought my bike was going to float out from under me!

I can climb a bridge sitting backwards on the handlebars!

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Old 07-02-08, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz
You've got to be kidding!......Try climbing Baldy Rd in 40 mph winds! Going down was even worse. I thought my bike was going to float out from under me!

I can climb a bridge sitting backwards on the handlebars!
lol I was thinking of that after I posted. Not Baldy Rd per se but some of the hills up and around MA, VT, NH, etc.

For me, in the low foothills of CT, I mainly deal with tree covered roads. I can't see far but the benefit is that I rarely get to deal with severe winds.

The bridges I've climbed were just in Key Biscane (sp?) and a bridge or two in Gainesville. I wasn't happy with either area's bridges. The first I did during Hurricane George (the thought of a steady 50 mph tailwind with gusts much higher than that really appealed to me - but I didn't realize how hard it would be to climb into that wind). The latter was during normal training conditions.

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Old 07-02-08, 07:51 AM
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How about a multi-story parking garage? I heard of some guy's from houston getting some hill work in that way.


Originally Posted by JaRow
Miami is wonderful for everything except training to race in mountains. I was wondering how riding up and down a bridge (the Rickenbacker Causeway bridge to those who know the area) compares to real life mountain experience.
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Old 07-02-08, 08:02 AM
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Hard to simulate the lack of oxygen on an 8400' mountain, or the steady, relentless effort of the 35 mile climb to get up there.
Of course, merlinextraligh lives in Florida and he did the Everest Challenge in the Eastern Sierras.
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Old 07-02-08, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by big john
Of course, merlinextraligh lives in Florida and he did the Everest Challenge in the Eastern Sierras.
In my experience, preparing for EC, and other rides with climbing (L'Etape de Tour, Brasstown, and a fair sampling of the HC climbs in the Tour de France) while living in Florida, Bridge repeats are not the answer.

Our highest bridge (that's legal to ride) is about 80 feet vertical, and takes less than a minute to climb at pace. Doing 10-20 repeats of that definitely helps your one minute power, but it doesn't do a lot to build your ability to do sustained climbs.

Long climbs are about Power to Weight ratio, and the ability to put out sustained power over a long period. So you need to train to raise your threshold power (or power at lactate threshold for heart rated based programs), and the time you can ride at or near threshold. The best way to do this is steady state intervals, like 2x20s. Doing these, particularly pushing a big gear into a headwind is going to do more for your ability to do sustained climbs, than bridge repeats.

I wouldn't say not to do bridge repeats, but I would not make it a core part of my training preparing for a ride with sustained climbs.
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