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Training for 6 mile Cat 2 climb

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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 6 mile Cat 2 climb

Old 04-24-12, 09:51 PM
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Training for 6 mile Cat 2 climb

I am a 60 year old clydsdale that has done a few metric and full centuries over the past couple of years. Most of these have been relatively flat or rolling. There is a full century that I want to do at the end of June that is relatively flat but has a six mile climb classified as a Catagory 2. Will training on local 1-2mile hills with 6-8% grade give me enough stamina for the six mile one or do I need to find something that more closely mimics the actual climb length? Another bit of info is that the climb in the century is at about the 20 mile mark and I obviously don't want blow up at the first of the ride.
Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 04-24-12, 09:53 PM
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slow and steady, and good luck.

Have you posted in the clydesdale forum? Those guys might have more helpful insight
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Old 04-24-12, 10:26 PM
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What's the average grade and how many steep pitches are there? If it isn't any steeper on the average than your training hills and your effort on your training rides is sustainable, just keep on trucking until you get to the top. Of course intervals, etc. will help, but may not be necessary if you're getting one good climbing ride in a week plus some other hard effort.

Looking at some Cat 2 examples in Mapmyride a 6 mile Cat2 climb would be around 6%. This could be very doable or could be tough if there are 15% pitches that really test you. Basically, HTFU as those hereabouts fondly say, but what sort of pitch can you handle with your gearing without going all out?

Re-looking at your original post, with 75 miles left after this climb you've got to do what you can to get up to the top comfortably. You may have a lot of room to improve your gearing for the climb with only a small expense, so as others have suggested, tell us more.

Last edited by rdtompki; 04-24-12 at 10:56 PM. Reason: add'l info
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Old 04-24-12, 10:28 PM
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What are your chain ring sizes and cassette?
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Old 04-24-12, 10:32 PM
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It would depend on the climb. I know a Cat2 climb that's nearly 7 miles long, but quite easy (the old Lewiston Grade), and a Cat4 climb that's about 1/2 mile but is very tough.

So the questions are:

1. what's the grade like on the climb?

2. do you have the stamina to ride that grade for that far? If you don't, then divide and conquer... ride a mile, stop and have an energy gel and a gulp of water, take a photo or two, then ride the next mile.


Training on your local hills is certainly a good plan of attack, go for it.
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Old 04-24-12, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
What are your chain ring sizes and cassette?
this is huge. if you can gear down enough, you can ride it right now. but I'm guessing you are not on a triple with a 27+ largest cog.

because of the length, I would do hill repeats in the gear you intend to ride. if you can practice and ride it in your 2nd largest cog, that is always nice to save your last gear as a bailout.
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Old 04-24-12, 11:11 PM
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if you go up that 1-2 mile 5-8 percent grade enough times on a regular basis, you should be okay.
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Old 04-25-12, 12:16 AM
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Be sure to read all those helpful Bicycling magazine articles about Lance's Climbing Secrets.
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Old 04-25-12, 05:37 AM
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You'll be climbing for around 45 minutes just below your lactic threshold. Pick a gear and pace that mimics that and do a few hill repeats on your local hill.
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Old 04-25-12, 06:08 AM
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There is no big secret to mountain climbing (for most of us anyway). Weight is a big factor. Loosing a few pounds on you helps tramendously.

I've personally done dozens of Cat2 climbs over the last few months to get ready for the www.3state3mountainchallenge.com. There are two things that I do that really help. First, I get it stuck in my head that I'm never going to stop. No matter how much it hurts, I'm never going to stop. Second, I keep track of the distance and how far I must go. It personally helps me during the last half of a climb. Reaching the top of a big climb is a tramendous feeling.

To sum it all up, it's all in your head! If you are patient enough and determined enough, you will conquer it.
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Old 04-25-12, 06:56 AM
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It sounds miserable...don't attempt it!
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Old 04-25-12, 07:03 AM
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yeah, meh, it'll probably make you sweat and stuff. better pass on that one................
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Old 04-25-12, 07:32 AM
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I'm a 58 year old clyde and I like climbing rides. Gearing is important, as is finding a comfortable pace. Forget those around you and settle in to a rythym you can sustain. You can prepare for this on flat ground (somewhat) by training at a high effort.
A 6 mile climb shouldn't be that big of a deal if you're ready.
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Old 04-25-12, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by pdedes View Post
You'll be climbing for around 45 minutes just below your lactic threshold. Pick a gear and pace that mimics that and do a few hill repeats on your local hill.
This. Extended climbs are primarily a matter of power to weight ratio at functional threshold power.

You can raise the power portion of the equation by doing hill repeat intervals. Your 1 to 2 mile hill should be long enough for these. Start at 10 minutes at threshold, work up to 20, and do a total of 60 minutes on, so 10x 6 or 20x3.

Do those 2-3 times a week for several weeks, and it should help.

And dropping a few lbs, would help with the denominator in the equation.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:14 AM
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Don't forget to hydrate prior and during the climb. You'll be working hard and you can really get behind the hydration power curve on a climb. Don't know where you live, but June can be getting pretty warm in most parts.
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Old 04-25-12, 09:26 AM
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HTFU, it's your mental VS the climb! If you keep the mental strong, your legs will stay strong!
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Old 04-25-12, 10:29 AM
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Agree, it's mostly in your mind. This past weekend I did Boone Roubaix, which included 1 Cat 3 and 4 Cat 4 climbs, some on gravel and as steep as 20%, over a total of 50 miles. I'm 51 and close to Clyde, and for this ride I was on a '74 Paramount. Low gear was 36/32. Training was my commute which is 12 miles each way with a total of 550' of climbing each way and some 40-60 mile rides on the flat North Carolina coast, with only the wind to deal with.I made my goal of within 15 minutes of 3:00 as I did the ride in 2:58. Turns out I could have gone harder, had I pre-ridden the course in the week prior I would have know that.Bottom line, set it up and go. It's the motor and the head.
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Old 04-25-12, 02:31 PM
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Train like a Boss


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze9IO...layer_embedded

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Old 04-25-12, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
What's the average grade and how many steep pitches are there? If it isn't any steeper on the average than your training hills and your effort on your training rides is sustainable, just keep on trucking until you get to the top. Of course intervals, etc. will help, but may not be necessary if you're getting one good climbing ride in a week plus some other hard effort.
...snip...

I try to find out about big climbs in advance. I use ridewithgps.com, and draw a route that is just the climb itself. Then the route gives me total elevation, average grade, and hovering on the elevation graph gives the local grade percentage on the steep parts. (but sometimes it can be off a lot for a short distance, so don't worry if it shows 6%-14%-7%, it's probably not that steep in the middle)

Two ideas:

1. If the climb isn't "too" steep, train for putting out your maximum sustained effort.

I wanted to train for a ride that had a 9 mile, 3000 foot climb, mostly around 5%, but some sections near the top were 9%. SW Ohio has a lot of 300 foot-1 mile long- 6% grade climbs, and steeper ones, but nothing over 400 feet total. So I trained with a heart rate monitor on hour long rides at the heart rate I knew I could maintain for the whole hour. I tried to keep the same heartrate range on the big climb. The heartrate monitor really helps me on pacing.

Do a lot of the local 1 mile climbs, too! It would be great if the grades are similar to the big climb in June. Then you'll know you have the right gears and can handle it OK.

2. Once you do one big climb, you'll know it's not as big of a deal as you think.
I don't worry about long climbs any more. I know I can do them if I just don't push it too hard. A 6 mile climb isn't that much different than a 1 mile climb. I would be more concerned if there were a lot of steep grades, though.

Last edited by rm -rf; 04-25-12 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 04-25-12, 05:57 PM
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so you're actually training for a century that has a killer 6 mile cat 2 climb near the beginning of it. I suggest looking at running an 11-28 cassette so you can spin the hill and still have good gears, and some legs left for the rest of the distance.

Last edited by rangerdavid; 04-25-12 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 04-25-12, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by PeregrineA1 View Post
Agree, it's mostly in your mind. This past weekend I did Boone Roubaix, which included 1 Cat 3 and 4 Cat 4 climbs, some on gravel and as steep as 20%, over a total of 50 miles. I'm 51 and close to Clyde, and for this ride I was on a '74 Paramount. Low gear was 36/32. Training was my commute which is 12 miles each way with a total of 550' of climbing each way and some 40-60 mile rides on the flat North Carolina coast, with only the wind to deal with.I made my goal of within 15 minutes of 3:00 as I did the ride in 2:58. Turns out I could have gone harder, had I pre-ridden the course in the week prior I would have know that.Bottom line, set it up and go. It's the motor and the head.


Glad you enjoyed your trip to Boone!! The Roubaix is a great ride, isn't it? Now come back for the Blood, Sweat & Gears!!

Cheers!!

RD
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Old 04-25-12, 09:54 PM
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I've been away from a computer where I could answer some of the questions asked and give further information.
The century I'm referring to is the Bear Lake Monster Century. The Mapmyride course profile it gives at the website doesn't show any steep pitches on the climb, just a long steady climb of mostly 6-8%. Equipment-wise I think I am fine with a triple on the front with a 30 tooth inner ring and 13-28 at the rear. my LBS indicates that I am about at the limit of my deraillers (Campy Racing triple on the front and Campy Chorus on the back). It looks/sounds like the main work needs to be on the engine (me), and the main concern is if training on local 1-2 mile climbs will give me the stamina I need for a 6 mile climb. Further input is always appreciated.
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Old 04-26-12, 05:45 AM
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I will certainly be back to Boone for more riding. The summer schedule is still coming together. Good stuff up there, real good.
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Old 04-26-12, 06:08 AM
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mapmyride is pretty useless for info on climbs. They want to average out everything.

Here's the main part of the climb on ridewithgps. (the lower part is mostly a shallow grade). Even ridewithgps might be off a little on the switchbacks, since they are trying to determine the exact elevation of the road using known elevation points on the mountain slope near the road.

At the top right, pull down the map list and checkmark the Terrain option. Hover your cursor over the elevation graph and see the grade at that spot.

At the 3 mile mark on the graph, drag and highlight from there to the end. Then click the Metrics tab at the right. It shows that part is 1.9 miles at 6.5% and 560 feet. The switchbacks average 8% for a half mile and 175 feet.

Anyway, it's 1200 feet in 5 miles, about three of your usual local climbs. It has some steep spots, but also some shallow grade recovery sections. With your gearing, you can just sit and spin up the steep parts--perfect. There should be some great views along this whole climb.

If you can find a short 10% grade at home, test your gears on it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here's the full 10 miles from St Charles. 1670 feet total climbing. It looks like the lower sections have some very small hills mixed with flatter sections.

Last edited by rm -rf; 04-26-12 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 04-26-12, 08:12 AM
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I have an 8 mile 5.5% cat 2 hill 10 mins from my front door that I ride up to 5 times a week in good weather. If you have 1 or 2 mile hills you can train on that mimic the grade I would think that is good training. Do them a few times over and take note of your heart rate that is comfortable for you to maintain easily.

On the actual climb, watch your heart rate and limit it to the pre determined value. When there are lots of other people around you going faster, your biggest concern is to pace youself at YOUR comfortable pace so you last the rest of the ride.
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