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 a climb

Old 05-23-13, 08:35 AM
  #1  
mshred
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training for a climb

newbie question...

i live in the flatland of central IL. we've got minimal rolling hills, but certainly no sustained climb type of rides. i'm heading to CO in about 4 weeks and plan to do a 12 mile 3000ft elevation gain ride.

any thoughts on whether it makes more sense for me to focus the next four weeks on building leg strength or cardio strength to ease the pain of my CO climb? any tips for a newbie on preparing for something like that?

i know the elevation is going to kick my butt and that my HR will likely be through the roof, but i'm trying to do what i can to make the climb as enjoyable as possible.

Last edited by mshred; 05-23-13 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 05-23-13, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by mshred View Post
newbie question...

i live in the flatland of central IL. we've got minimal rolling hills, but certainly no sustained climb type of rides. i'm heading CO in about 4 weeks and plan to do a 12 mile 3000ft elevation gain ride.

any thoughts on whether it makes more sense for me to focus the next four weeks on building leg strength or cardio strength to ease the pain of my CO climb? any tips for a newbie on preparing for something like that?

i know the elevation is going to kick my butt and that my HR will likely be through the roof, but i'm trying to do what i can to make the climb as enjoyable as possible.
What's your weight/height/vo2max?
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Old 05-23-13, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by LuzArdiden View Post
What's your weight/height/vo2max?
How many people out there actually know their vo2 max?
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Old 05-23-13, 08:59 AM
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i have my goofy virtual one from gc v3.0

here's my advice. work on long intervals with low cadences. just sit in your 53/11 for 20 minutes working at threshold, rinse repeat (you want to do 2-3 of these). Also work on just riding as much as you can to try and lose a bit of weight. Other than that there's not much more you can do.
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Old 05-23-13, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by LuzArdiden View Post
What's your weight/height/vo2max?
6'4"
185lbs
30 years old (if it matters)
vo2 max is 48 (based on age and resting heart rate internet calculation)
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Old 05-23-13, 09:02 AM
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i doubt it's that low, that seems silly low. Don't go off of internet caluators that don't factor in some form of power,, or actual testing

edit: just did the calculation and i got 24 ml/kg/min (i think the highest ever recorded was 90 something)
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Old 05-23-13, 09:04 AM
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you can find some "climbs" in your area if you head over to peoria near the river valley. there are some roads that will give you some so-so grades for well over a mile along that area, might wanna check with a few Peoria bike shops to find 'em though. not ideal, but better than bloomington area for sure. if you have weekends available head to S. IL to the Shawnee Forest area and ride there, some good "climbs" there as well. focus on cardio, work on boosting it what little you can in the time you have. there's likely no way that climb isn't going to hurt, but will probably be worth the effort. the enjoyment will come when you get to the top and ride back down, going up is going to suck.
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Old 05-23-13, 09:05 AM
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Intervals.
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Old 05-23-13, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by jsutkeepspining View Post
...work on long intervals with low cadences. just sit in your 53/11 for 20 minutes working at threshold, rinse repeat (you want to do 2-3 of these). Also work on just riding as much as you can to try and lose a bit of weight. Other than that there's not much more you can do.
+1

Develop leg strength. Even if on the flats, it's still power and will help with climbing.
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Old 05-23-13, 10:50 AM
  #10  
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I can go out my front door, turn right and ride up 4200 feet in the first 16 miles.

My advice is find a power level you think you can handle for the length of time you plan to cover that 3000 feet and find a gear that lets you push that power on flat ground and train in that zone. My advice would be to try and stay at about 80% of your ftp for the climb to let you get use to both climbing and the altitude.
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Old 05-23-13, 11:00 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by jsutkeepspining View Post
here's my advice. work on long intervals with low cadences. just sit in your 53/11 for 20 minutes working at threshold, rinse repeat (you want to do 2-3 of these). Also work on just riding as much as you can to try and lose a bit of weight. Other than that there's not much more you can do.
Another + for that. I gear for ~70 cadence when doing that, rather than recommending a gear, and don't go to threshold, rather hang back maybe 10 beats below LT. I find that one can overtrain very easily doing these, so be careful. For LT workouts, I use normal 90+ cadence, targeting the aerobic system rather than the legs. I also do one-legged pedaling intervals of 2 minutes, but only on the rollers or trainer, which I think helps with long climbs. On the flat outdoors is too easy, they doesn't do anything.
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Old 05-23-13, 11:04 AM
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the issue is that on a flat road the 53/11 isnt that huge. it's only a 70-60 rpm gear most of the time (think of it like this 360 watts for 20 some minutes on a flat road, i need an even bigger gear if a downhill comes around )
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Old 05-23-13, 11:19 AM
  #13  
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Climbing on a wheeled vehicle is totally unnatural. Don't do it. Avoid at all costs. Move to Kansas.

Last edited by CrankAndYank; 05-23-13 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 05-23-13, 11:25 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by jsutkeepspining View Post
here's my advice. work on long intervals with low cadences. just sit in your 53/11 for 20 minutes working at threshold, rinse repeat (you want to do 2-3 of these). Also work on just riding as much as you can to try and lose a bit of weight. Other than that there's not much more you can do.
Good solid advise. But do you have any overpasses in your area? Does the wind ever blow? You can use both of those to your training advantage while following the basic info. provided above.
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Old 05-23-13, 11:27 AM
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For many years I did a similar kind of thing - I'd be training at home on a trainer in CT and then head out to SoCal and try and get to the top of Palomar Mountain on a long ride (about 100 miles round trip, climb is in the 15 mile range if you count the "pre-climb" as well as the actual climb). I happened to do a similar trip, again coming from a flat terrain and trainer regimen in CT and then going to Edwards CO and doing a big ride out there. As a distinct non-climber and non-enthusiastic rider on the hills in CT I almost never do hilly rides at home.

You'll be working at threshold on the climbs so you want to work on that, in terms of fitness.

For your bike make sure your lower gears are in working order. Since I don't spend a lot of time on hills my lower gears (39x25, 39x23) don't get used a lot. Each year in SoCal I had to fine tune my rear derailleur because I'm in foreign-to-me gears on the long SoCal hills.

It'll be beneficial if you don't coast a lot - climbing is consistent work. Trainer rides really reinforce constant pedaling; outdoor rides encourage a bit of coasting, especially if you have even minor hills. I prefer trainer rides for many reasons and that's one of them. If you can do 1-2 hours on the trainer with maybe 5-7 coast breaks (if you have a downloadable cyclocomputer Garmin etc you can see where your cadence goes to zero) then you're going to be okay pedaling for 12 miles straight.

Finally the biggest thing you can do is to lose weight. I went and did the Palomar thing for 7 years, going to SoCal for 1-3 weeks every Jan/Feb. I was super consistent going up Palomar except the year I showed up 30+ lbs lighter. Then I was 15 minutes faster, give or take. I'm not a climber so it's not like I'm fast, but I put down less power and went faster when I was lighter.

To put my weight in perspective when I first went out to SoCal in 2004 I was coming down from weighing 215 lbs over the winter; I was probably 200-205. Most years I went out there weighing 185-195 lbs. My light year I was 155. I'm 5'7".

When I went to Edwards it was that "light weight" year, visiting a former teammate and good friend that lives out there. Although I'm a sea level resident I had no problems at the base altitude of 7000 feet. We went over some climb, maybe 9000 feet?, and in the end of the day long ride I had played it so conservative (thinking about all the stories of how altitude is so hard) that I did a monster effort at the end of the ride, going super hard up a steep 1/2 mile hill. I learned the hard way that it's not that it's hard to go fast, it's hard to recover from such efforts. My effort in Edwards would have taken me maybe 60 seconds to get over in CT before I could pedal normally. In Edwards it was something like 5 minutes and I thought I was going to pass out from lack of oxygen, it felt like I was breathing into a garbage bag.

It'll be a change, that's for sure. I think you'll have fun just because it's different. Good luck!
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Old 05-23-13, 11:29 AM
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High intensity interval training, or Tabata method. 4 weeks is not much time.

whatever the training, make sure you have appropriate gearing.
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Old 05-23-13, 12:00 PM
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very helpful stuff here gents. definitely gives me some focus over the next four weeks.

i was huffing pretty good on my ride last night and the whole time i was thinking to myself "that mountain is going to KILL me!" should be fun
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Old 05-23-13, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mshred View Post
newbie question...

i live in the flatland of central IL. we've got minimal rolling hills, but certainly no sustained climb type of rides. i'm heading to CO in about 4 weeks and plan to do a 12 mile 3000ft elevation gain ride.

any thoughts on whether it makes more sense for me to focus the next four weeks on building leg strength or cardio strength to ease the pain of my CO climb? any tips for a newbie on preparing for something like that?

i know the elevation is going to kick my butt and that my HR will likely be through the roof, but i'm trying to do what i can to make the climb as enjoyable as possible.
for 4-5 years i found myself doing grand fondos. the proper kind in italy, not the ersatz crap they're pedaling in the US these days.

anyway, i was in the holland. not exactly the best place to train for climbs like the gavia, mortirolo, giau, or stelvio.

what did i do? i rode. i rode plenty. i raced plenty.

on top of that, i managed to get in a good 5-6 hour ride every week. on that ride i found myself on a 30km long dike, where the wind tended to be in your face. that's where i went into a bigger gear, and churned.

did i have fantastic times when i did the climbs? probably not. did they kill me? nope.
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Old 05-23-13, 12:22 PM
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http://everestchallengex2.blogspot.c...t-landers.html
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Old 05-23-13, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by botto View Post
for 4-5 years i found myself doing grand fondos. the proper kind in italy, not the ersatz crap they're pedaling in the US these days.

anyway, i was in the holland. not exactly the best place to train for climbs like the gavia, mortirolo, giau, or stelvio.
You sound way too cultured for this forum.
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Old 05-23-13, 01:20 PM
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Make sure you have enough low end gear to spin kind like you are on the flats doing a tempo-threshold ride. That's how I deal with the steep hills in Wisconsin when doing stupid things like the Horribly Hilly Hundreds -- my low is a 30f/36r (though I don't believe I've used it, even on a 25% grade). I can "spin" up a hill at 70-80 rpm, keeping it at my threshold or slightly above, and not burn my legs up doing it.

If you're undergeared for the grades and your power output (which will be lower at altitude) you will surely suffer.
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Old 05-23-13, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by svtmike View Post
(though I don't believe I've used it, even on a 25% grade).
Why would you even go near such a thing?
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Old 05-23-13, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankAndYank View Post
Why would you even go near such a thing?
To get the beer at the top of the hill.
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Old 05-23-13, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankAndYank View Post
Why would you even go near such a thing?
there are plenty of these little goat hills in WI, sometimes you plan your route without looking at a topo map and just go, they make for a nice surprise but in WI they are rarely very long
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Old 05-23-13, 01:38 PM
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I trained for the Mt. Diablo Challenge almost exclusively here on the Valley floor. Similar to botto, CDR, and Merlin: lots of riding at or above threshold. The heart of my training was 2x20' and 5x5' intervals. Into the wind, in a big gear, and on the tops or hoods to simulate the climbing posture.

And dropping ten pounds. For the month prior I cut all junk out of my diet: no baked goods, no soda, no snack foods.
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