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Training for flats by doing hills?

Old 09-13-23, 11:14 PM
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Training for flats by doing hills?

I have a goal in mind where I want to ride a substantial distance just because I want to. Itís going to be a solo unsupported ride with no trophies or such, I just want to do it before I become too old.
Iíve selected a route that fits a few of my criteria (mainly safe) and Iíve intentionally chosen a flat route just to make it no harder than it will already be for me. Now with regards to training, I live in an area that is a Mecca for hill climbing so to save fuel and driving time, I train mostly right out my front door.
So my question being, how well does hill training work for a flat terrain route? Seems to me due to it being harder, it would work very well but perhaps Iím missing something?
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Old 09-14-23, 06:40 AM
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The only issue I can think of is that your local terrain probably doesn't encourage you to get used to pedaling for a long time in an aero position.
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Old 09-14-23, 07:44 AM
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On my TransAm, Kansas was an eye-opener because I had to pedal All. The. Time. I'd gotten used to being able to take a break and coast downhill.

After lots of climbing, you'll have the fitness, but you may have to adjust to easing back 5-10% so you can keep pedaling when you get to the flats.
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Old 09-14-23, 08:52 AM
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I'm in constantly up and down terrain too. My biggest issue in flat terrain is going too hard on the first part and being worn out for the second part. If you have a PM, learn to use it for keeping your power at a pace you can sustain the entire time on the flats.

Staying aero at the higher speeds you'll have on the flat road is also real important. But it's also important for the short hills too that you can climb at 16 - 20 mph or more. So staying aero whether on flats or hilly rides is a energy saver.
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Old 09-14-23, 08:57 AM
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what kind of distance are you talking about 100, 200, 300 or more single day or multiple day ? really just putting in the long hours in the saddle will get you ready and you should do fine if you are putting long hours at a time in whether up or down or flat.
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Old 09-14-23, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
what kind of distance are you talking about 100, 200, 300 or more single day or multiple day ? really just putting in the long hours in the saddle will get you ready and you should do fine if you are putting long hours at a time in whether up or down or flat.
Attempting a 200 mile
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Old 09-14-23, 09:41 AM
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Since I'm primarily a climber, I find it takes more concentration to maintain a decent power output on a flat course. That's probably because of some neuro-muscular-science-blah-blah thing.

I did some training for a flat-ish time trial once, just riding some flat roads at a high tempo. My flat speed improved, but I still didn't put out the same power on the flat as I could on the hills.

I'd recommend doing at least some training on a flat road, just to get used to the feeling of doing that constantly. A power meter would help, too.
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Old 09-14-23, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Tomm Willians
Attempting a 200 mile
you should be good training on any terrain as long as you are putting in some nice long 8 hour days in the saddle training rides leading up to it. sounds fun
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Old 09-16-23, 08:31 AM
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You will be fine. Hills are much harder than flat riding!

Your flat riding may not be optimised in terms of position, cadence etc, but it will feel relatively easy.
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