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hills paradox

Old 09-04-14, 11:50 AM
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The posts in this thread reflect Rob E's thoughts. There is a link to a touring journal where one of the riders did use an e bike.

My post on the matter was intended as a whimsical suggestion. Good you got lots of serious thoughts on your question. As repeatedly noted, touring is largely a matter of attitude.
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Old 09-04-14, 01:58 PM
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Not everyone's cup of tea, but if you take some geology courses, and study ahead about the geology of the area you'll be crossing, then the roadcuts become like pages in a book you're riding through--anything to take your mind off the climbing!

For example, when you go up the very steep Ebbetts Pass in the Sierra, the general geology consists of the older basement granites that, unroofed by erosion, were then covered by a thick sequence of volcanic rocks back when the Cascade volcanism extended that far south--maybe 10 my ago. Along with the volcanoes came a lot of hydrothermal activity and mineralization, and since then, lots of faulting.

Anyway, going up the pass, you cross in and out from the older granites to the volcanic rocks as you climb and cross faults, plus see mineralized veins and such. It's not just a bunch of meaningless rock jumbles.
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Old 09-05-14, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser
Not everyone's cup of tea, but if you take some geology courses, and study ahead about the geology of the area you'll be crossing, then the roadcuts become like pages in a book you're riding through--anything to take your mind off the climbing!

For example, when you go up the very steep Ebbetts Pass in the Sierra, the general geology consists of the older basement granites that, unroofed by erosion, were then covered by a thick sequence of volcanic rocks back when the Cascade volcanism extended that far south--maybe 10 my ago. Along with the volcanoes came a lot of hydrothermal activity and mineralization, and since then, lots of faulting.

Anyway, going up the pass, you cross in and out from the older granites to the volcanic rocks as you climb and cross faults, plus see mineralized veins and such. It's not just a bunch of meaningless rock jumbles.
Big up dude, i noticed this magical effect when i am climbing a hill with many touristic attractions, i just completely forget the slow rythm and my pedaling knees! really that's a good trick of trying to make any long climb a big set of geological attractions at least
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Old 09-05-14, 06:05 AM
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I love the challenge of a hill! I feel so much better after reaching the top of the hill.
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Old 09-05-14, 11:28 AM
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Hills are a fact of life for a touring cyclist. As most people touring on a bike find out quickly; there is no such thing as flat. Ask anyone who has toured through northern Iowa, a supposedly flat state.

I developed an axiom about hills: When looking at a hill from a distance, it will either be easier or more difficult when you are actually climbing it than you anticipated.

Hills are just there, like wind, heat , cold, and rain, and are an integral part of touring. As Cyclebum said, "As repeatedly noted, touring is largely a matter of attitude."
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Old 09-05-14, 11:50 AM
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Gearing is the key, but part of the gearing issue is the road. The angle of the road is a gearing issue, I have climbed huge passes on rail trails, at 4% or whatever they are, and it was a pleasure the whole way. I find the hills in the small mountains where they randomly go straight up are way harder than well graded passes. There are city streets in Pittsburgh so steep one can't see over the hood of the car to know where one is going, once committed, nobody had better step out into the road. Don't have any desire to ride a bike up those. Though I would watch a Tour de Pittsburgh over the right route with interest.

So point is, gear inches on the bike are fine, but if you pick the wrong road you are still screwed.
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Old 09-05-14, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
Hills are a fact of life for a touring cyclist. As most people touring on a bike find out quickly; there is no such thing as flat.
The Netherlands, or the Fens in England...

In any case, there was no such thing as flat in Norway, but when we had crossed from Sandefjord to Stromstad in Sweden, the change was remarkable. Gone were all those constant tiny climbs and 'false flat' stretches.

Generally, I don't mind the bigger climbs, but going up and down all the time, with no flat stretches but no good descent either, really gets to me. The countryside north of Bastogne comes to mind, coming from the direction of La Roche en Ardenne.

(Oh and add my voice to those proclaiming the joy of knowing about the geology of the area you're in...but I have a small nuance to add to this. I find that knowing a bit about geomorphology is often even more enjoyable, because you need to know very little or nothing at all about an area to apply that knowledge, and you don't need to stop and look at rocks...)
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Old 09-05-14, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonathandavid
The Netherlands, or the Fens in England...
I won't disagree with you about your own country. However, when we rode up The Netherlands' North Sea coast, we had cumulative elevation gains of 600 m (from GPS). While not very noticeable, it was more like "mostly flat". I also remember a "hill" near the German border on the way to Nijmegen.

This little hill had drempels to slow cyclists.



You are correct. I'm just giving you a good natured hard time.

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Old 09-06-14, 04:56 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Doug64
I developed an axiom about hills: When looking at a hill from a distance, it will either be easier or more difficult when you are actually climbing it than you anticipated.
That is so true. And it points out that to coexist peacefully with the hill and the climb, you need to meet the challenge of letting it be as hard as it is. That's been a lesson for me anyway. I've had a tendency to preconceive a certain feeling and pace as I approach a hill. Then when the experience is different than I anticipated (i.e. more difficult) I would resist slowing down. I have a tendency towards that anyway. Power up the hill as confirmation that my physical fitness makes it no problem. But resist what the hill is doing to your legs, or internally deny what is happening and simply wish it weren't so and that you're going to somehow magically dial in something as sustainable as you'd hoped, and you pay the price.

So as natural a practice as it might seem, I've had to learn to let my legs tell me what the pace should be enroute. Let the hill be what it is. Let the pace be sustainable and hopefully even pleasant.

Often a hill is in fact easier than I anticipated. I don't dwell on that. I find those hills a boost to my ego. Confirmation that if I keep riding for most of the day, fitness and joy will follow. But this really points out some of the mystery behind it all. Sometimes a little hill feels really hard and at other times on the same day, a big hill feels easy. I think some of that has to do with the fact that judging the hill and the wind and the surface you're pedaling on, etc. is not always easy. You can't see a hill very good when you're on it. But another factor here is that you're a human, not a gas powered motor with comparatively simple equations related to the energy output that can be expected at any moment. You bring a history to the hill. What happened right before the hill is important. What you had for breakfast comes into play. How much sleep you got last night. And your life yesterday. And year to date. And before.

So the attitude I strive for is to let the hill be what it is, and find a beautiful symmetry with it that I can enjoy. There's a miracle of nature in my body and my bicycle. Finding that miracle and enjoying it is enabled by finding a pace that confirms it all inside me. For me that synergy is usually what feels like a moderately aggressive pace. It won't be found in soft pedaling in first gear. But I also won't be "feeling the burn". I'm constantly sensing what the road right in front of me seems to have in store and dialing in an effort that will make it all not only doable but somewhat matter of fact. This also lets my mind wander and enjoy the experience and think about all kinds of things in my life without a singular focus on my ride.
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Old 09-06-14, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
My feeling is that you can see the mountains from the bottom just as well as you can see them from the top.
Good one!
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Old 09-07-14, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeG
Good one!
Except that it's not true. There's usually a more grand and majestic perspective from the top of the mountain. And increasingly so as you go up. And there can be an invigorating and exciting feeling that comes from riding along for 1/2 hour or so, looking down, and thinking "look how high I am now!". In the appalachians where I live it's all heavily wooded. In the valleys you might not see a lot more than the woods around you. Going up the mountain you find breaks in the trees where a grand vista suddenly opens and gives you a new perspective or ideas about where else you want to go.

You can have a good time without going up the mountain. But that's not to say that there's not a rich and unique experience to be found in doing so.
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Old 09-07-14, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Sharpshin
when I hit NY State I encountered repeated hills where I had to strain and push hard, even at 17 gear inches. NOT fun.
I live in the Catskill Mountains - we do have some gnarly hills! Here is a classic... up to 15% and probably bits even steeper:

Peekamoose Rd in Woodstock, NY, United States | MapMyRide

My low gear is about 17 inches and even without much baggage there are hills here that stop me.
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