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How do you flatlanders do it?

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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

How do you flatlanders do it?

Old 09-13-10, 08:09 PM
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MrTuner1970
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How do you flatlanders do it?

Last week while visiting relatives, I had the opportunity to ride in central Nebraska (near Cozad and Gothenburg).

Flat, flat, flat! The biggest incline was maybe a 0.5% grade. Maybe. Roads were really straight with few curves and little variation. I went 22 miles and got kinda bored. Being from Mississippi where rolling hills are plentiful, I had often wondered what it would be like to ride where it was totally flat. It didn't take long, and I was really missing the hills and curves. Seriously.

Because I love riding, I suppose I'd still ride where it was totally flat. To be sure, Nebraska certainly has its share of wind, and riding into the wind was challenging. But I'd have to find some way to cope with the excessive monotony of the terrain.

How do you flatlanders deal with it? When you ride in areas with hills, do you find yourself longing for the flats that you're used to?
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Old 09-13-10, 08:36 PM
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I've lived in the flats of Kansas and I now live in the hills/mountains of Tennessee. Each has its own beauty and challenges.

A plains person tends to notice the bigness of the sky and the smallest, coolest things that hillbillies tend to miss. Wildlife is usually still alive in the plains (as opposed to the roadkill of the hills). Plains people actually feel claustrophobic in the tree'd hills. The plains are big. They feel like freedom. When I moved to Tennessee, I felt even the steepest hills were easy compared to the strong, ceaseless winds of the plains.

A hill person tends to think God left the hills off the plains. There's certainly not as obvious sensory stimulation on the plains. Hill people tend to be bored on the plains until their senses get more attuned to creation. But the hill person can take the plains person on that highway overpass that passes for a "climb" out on the frontier.
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Old 09-13-10, 08:46 PM
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Flat is boring and sucks but you deal with it because you have to. I live in a south-western part of Florida and the only hill I have is a small bridge which I always try to ride over and back once a ride. The few times I have ridden in northern, Florida (Gainesville), I loved it. Anyone in the Gainesville area should check out the Hawthorn Trail. I deal with the flatness by going cool places with nice sights. The only positive side to it being flat is always knowing how long it takes to get somewhere. Even if you've never been there before, just knowing the distance gives you a pretty good estimate on time.
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Old 09-13-10, 08:48 PM
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A bullet in the head.
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Old 09-13-10, 08:49 PM
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It's boring; but the rain/wind makes it interesting.
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Old 09-13-10, 08:51 PM
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Yeah...you need to come out to east NE. Completely different story.
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Old 09-13-10, 08:52 PM
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Some places are flatter than others. Here in Minnesota there are places like you describe, but if you go looking for them you can find quite a few modest hills, particularly near the rivers. And, owing to the lakes, there are lots of winding curvy roads.
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Old 09-13-10, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by sbxx1985 View Post
A bullet in the head.

Give me hills, or the dog gets it.


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Old 09-13-10, 09:10 PM
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pedal faster. If you are noticing the environment you aren't working hard enough.
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Old 09-13-10, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by MrTuner1970 View Post
How do you flatlanders deal with it?
Perhaps that one reason why we rarely see people from Nebraska here.
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People here don't get it.
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Old 09-13-10, 09:18 PM
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I like the flat sometimes. But I could not do it all the time.
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Old 09-13-10, 09:23 PM
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Nebraskan here! and yes we do have a lot of flat terrain especially west of Lincoln. I'm in Omaha and we have plenty of smaller rolling hills which keep me pretty entertained while riding. Riding my hybrid now but should be getting my full road bike after the new year.
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Old 09-13-10, 09:26 PM
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Flatlands are all about you and the bike. There's no terrain to lower your speed, no climbing, then descending, it's all about how fast you can pedal your butt. The only factor of nature is the wind. Ride on a calm day and the max speed on your computer is something you attained on your own, not with the help of a hill.
I live in an area that has the good fortune to have both hills and flats. If I head west or north I hit plenty of hills, some with names well known by all the local roadies. If I head east, I hit the flat lands near Clayton, NC. During the week, when I don't have time to drive east, I ride the hills to stay in shape. On the weekends when I'm doing a long ride, I head east, to ride the flatlands. I'll take the flats any day.
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Old 09-13-10, 09:26 PM
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My version of velo-hell would be riding on a never-ending, straight, flat, road with a huge headwind.

This hellish road would go on for days, and days, and the terrain would never change, leaving it up to my imagination to get me through the ride. The corn/wheat/whatever on the side of the road would move with the wind, but that's about as dynamic as it gets.

Actually that's probably what touring the midwest is like! No thx.. =]
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Old 09-13-10, 09:30 PM
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its really not that bad guys. If you stick to the highways its very flat but just off the highways are some nice hills, nothing huge but better than straight flat roads.
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Old 09-13-10, 09:37 PM
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Flat land is great for old timers that are also newbies LOL
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Old 09-13-10, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
My version of velo-hell would be riding on a never-ending, straight, flat, road with a huge headwind.

This hellish road would go on for days, and days, and the terrain would never change, leaving it up to my imagination to get me through the ride. The corn/wheat/whatever on the side of the road would move with the wind, but that's about as dynamic as it gets.

Actually that's probably what touring the midwest is like! No thx.. =]
I did the Death Valley century a while back. 105 miles, maybe 3000ft of gain, and a headwind in both directions. I **** you not.

I averaged 13.5mph for the ride.

Gorgeous country, but not enough to make up for the brutal ride.
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Old 09-14-10, 03:07 AM
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I lived near the Swiss Alps for the past 5 years, and can't imagine moving back to somewhere flat now. I've decided that if I ever do have to live somewhere flat (my work here is unfortunately not permanent) then I'd definitely get a recumbent bike. Recumbent bikes don't make much sense when climbing mountains all day, but upright bikes don't make much sense if every ride is flat. I could then entertain myself by learning about all the intricacies of recumbent mechanics and all the different designs - I'd hope that it could keep me amused for a couple of years at least.
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Old 09-14-10, 04:39 AM
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See my location. It sucks, plain and simple. The roads are not just flat, but dead straight with mostly all 90 degree turns.

The first six weeks with my bike, that's all I knew. I ruined it for myself, however, by taking a weeklong vacation with bikes to blue ridge, ga, where the riding was incredible. The hills were amazing and the curves addictive. I guess it's sort of like test riding a bike way better than yours for the hell of it. You might enjoy the test ride, but you are just ruining yourself for your current bike.

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Old 09-14-10, 04:59 AM
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Oh I forgot; we have parking garages with can do climbs with. However they are pretty short... hm.
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Old 09-14-10, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
I've lived in the flats of Kansas and I now live in the hills/mountains of Tennessee. Each has its own beauty and challenges.

A plains person tends to notice the bigness of the sky and the smallest, coolest things that hillbillies tend to miss. Wildlife is usually still alive in the plains (as opposed to the roadkill of the hills).
Maybe I went out on the wrong day. Never saw nothin' that moved. Except for the cows ... and what the wind blew.
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Old 09-14-10, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by jayvo86 View Post
Yeah...you need to come out to east NE. Completely different story.
I have a sister-in-law who lives in Martell (near Lincoln). We drive through that area on our way to central NE. Much better terrain.
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Old 09-14-10, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Imperturbable Ryuu Ichigo View Post
I ride in the flat all the time. You must have been there on a calm day... RARE. Battle a 20-25MPH headwind. I will take the hills.
Yeah, it was calm that day. Only 15-20 MPH winds.

Headwinds are truly a challenge. But you're still looking at the same flat scenery. OK, there were some hills off in the distance. Since I was on my MTB at the time, I tried to ride out to them. But the gravel country road that looked like it would take me there ended up as someone's driveway.
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Old 09-14-10, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
My version of velo-hell would be riding on a never-ending, straight, flat, road with a huge headwind.

This hellish road would go on for days, and days, and the terrain would never change, leaving it up to my imagination to get me through the ride. The corn/wheat/whatever on the side of the road would move with the wind, but that's about as dynamic as it gets.

Actually that's probably what touring the midwest is like! No thx.. =]
Ha! I was beginning to wonder if I had ventured into the twilight zone.
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Old 09-14-10, 06:07 AM
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I think the problem is more the straight farm roads than lack of hills. Give me some curvy roads, flat or not. Being able to see forever is a ridiculous motivation killer if you can't see anything interesting at the end.
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