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The hills are killing my ride.

Old 06-16-07, 07:22 PM
  #1  
Anthony8858
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The hills are killing my ride.

Just a reminder.....This is my first time back on a bike after a 15 year layoff. I used to ride at least 25-30 miles daily, but now I'm overweight and out of shape.
At 49, I'm doing the best I can.

Anyway.....I put my bike on my car rack, and drove to a park with a flat terrain ride. I was able to do about 10 miles of easy riding, for what turned out to be a fun ride. I maintained a steady pace, and kept my HR in the 70% zone for my fitness level.

HOWEVER.....My house is surrounded by hills, and putting the bike on my car is not always convenient. So everytime I attempt to go for a ride near my home, my ride is drastically cut short, because the hills are burning me out in a second. I worked the gears without much help. My legs simply go dead.

Any suggestions?
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Old 06-16-07, 07:27 PM
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Anthony8858, just continue to ride through the discomfort...even if your ride is only six miles in duration. You'll get stronger and faster in due time. Good luck.
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Old 06-16-07, 08:47 PM
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Stick with it -- you'll probably be amazed at how fast you improve. But it's painful! Try to make progress, even if it's a very very small amount, each ride.
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Old 06-16-07, 08:57 PM
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Been there, done that. If you keep at it ,you will get stronger. Probably 3-4 weeks or there abouts. depends how often you ride. If you're really interested in gaining even a modicum of fitness I'd recommend you ride 3-5 times a week, doesn't have to be a lot of distance, just keep it regular and you will see improvement.
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Old 06-16-07, 09:04 PM
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You didn't mention what kind of bike you have. Appropriate gearing options for a beginner (or long lapsed returnee) when faced with significant hills is a real help. It won't make the hills go away, but at least you can "spin" your way up them.

P.S. You're allowed to take breaks on the hills, doesn't have to be long, just enough to let the lactic acid dissipate and get some of your breath back, a minute or two.
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Old 06-16-07, 10:17 PM
  #6  
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Anthony8858,

Don't stop riding. The first time I ever got on a road bike I was 49 and bought it because I quit smoking. At the very beginning I could only ride down to the bottom of the hill by my house and back up the hill. The total distance was one mile and when I got home I was huffin in puffin so hard I thought I'd never be able to ride.

I just kept adding a little distance each week. About .25 of mile. My first season was the most difficult but it was worth all the effort.

I'm into my 3rd season and do 30 to 40 mile rides 3 times a week, lost 25 lbs and feel great.

Just set you goals for a little at a time, this way you won't be disappointed.

Best of luck.
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Old 06-16-07, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Anthony8858
Just a reminder.....This is my first time back on a bike after a 15 year layoff. I used to ride at least 25-30 miles daily, but now I'm overweight and out of shape.
At 49, I'm doing the best I can.

Anyway.....I put my bike on my car rack, and drove to a park with a flat terrain ride. I was able to do about 10 miles of easy riding, for what turned out to be a fun ride. I maintained a steady pace, and kept my HR in the 70% zone for my fitness level.

HOWEVER.....My house is surrounded by hills, and putting the bike on my car is not always convenient. So everytime I attempt to go for a ride near my home, my ride is drastically cut short, because the hills are burning me out in a second. I worked the gears without much help. My legs simply go dead.

Any suggestions?
I agree with freemti.

You are simply working too hard on the hills, and need to figure out a way to ratchet back the effort. I think that a combination of proper gearing, not starting out too hard at the bottom of the hill, and learning to be able to ride at 4 MPH if you need it.
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Old 06-17-07, 04:43 AM
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I'll try to answer all questions:

I have a 2007 Specialized Sequoia Elite road bike. When facing a hill, I do change my gearing to something with a higher spin, but my HR shoots to almost 100%....then I'm done. As soon as I get out of my "comfort zone" of 70-75% HR, I IMMEDIATELY burn out. It's so frustrating!
OTOH, On flat terrain, I could maintain 70-75% HR for 30-40 minutes (or more) without issue.

My schedule allows me to ride either early mornings or evenings for about 30 minutes, and I'm going 4 times a week.

Your posts are very encouraging, and much needed. Thank you.

Here's the fun part....What goes UP, must come down. Yesterday, I managed to scale the hill that's been killing my ride. I took your advice, and took a break or two half way up, and eventually made it to the top. ( I felt like jumping up and down while listening to the "Rocky theme" ) At that point, I turned around and rolled all the way home. :-)
To give you an idea how steep that SOB is....I managed to ROLL down that hill up to a speed of 50mph! It was the most exhilarating feeling I've had in 15 years!

Last edited by Anthony8858; 06-17-07 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 06-17-07, 04:52 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Anthony8858
I'll try to answer all questions:

I have a 2007 Specialized Elite road bike. When facing a hill, I do change my gearing to something with a higher spin, but my HR shoots to almost 100%....then I'm done. As soon as I get out of my "comfort zone" of 70-75% HR, I IMMEDIATELY burn out. It's so frustrating!
OTOH, On flat terrain, I could maintain 70-75% HR for 30-40 minutes (or more) without issue.

My schedule allows me to ride either early mornings or evenings for about 30 minutes, and I'm going 4 times a week.

Your posts are very encouraging, and much needed. Thank you.

Here's the fun part....What goes UP, must come down. Yesterday, I managed to scale the hill that's been killing my ride. I took your advice, and took a break or two half way up, and eventually made it to the top. ( I felt like jumping up and down while listening to the "Rocky theme" ) At that point, I turned around and rolled all the way home. :-)
To give you an idea how steep that SOB is....I managed to ROLL down that hill up to a speed of 50mph! It was the most exhilarating feeling I've had in 15 years!



Well done! Sounds like a steep hill, but I'm sure you'll be able to cycle up it without stopping before the end of Summer.

Do you know what the gearing is on your bike?
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Old 06-17-07, 05:05 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Johnny_Monkey
Well done! Sounds like a steep hill, but I'm sure you'll be able to cycle up it without stopping before the end of Summer.

Do you know what the gearing is on your bike?
Yes.

I have a 9-speed 12-26t rear cassette, with a triple chain 50x39x30T crank.

Here's a link to all specs:

https://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkM...?sid=07Sequoia
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Old 06-17-07, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Anthony8858
Yes.

I have a 9-speed 12-26t rear cassette, with a triple chain 50x39x30T crank.

Here's a link to all specs:

https://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkM...?sid=07Sequoia

Ok, I assume you're going up the hill in 30/26 so I don't think a change of gearing is on the cards. All I can say is at least you have a goal to strive for.
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Old 06-17-07, 05:26 AM
  #12  
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Just stick with it - every time you climb a troublesome hill, set a new high point on the hill before you have to stop to catch your wind.

Also, don't attack hills at the bottom - roll into them at a very casual pace, drop gears very quickly to your very lowest (30x26) option, and don't spin like mad for the first few seconds. Almost sneak up on them

When I began riding just over a year ago, there was one particular hill that it took 5 attempts to climb without stopping - every Saturday morning I made it a bit further than the previous week. That was using a triple with a 30x25.

Today, I can roll up that hill in the 39x21 fairly comfortably (I won't lie and say easy).
I figure the day I can roll it in the big ring, it's upgrade time.

At 46, I'm making almost weekly progress - there are hills I can climb now that would have landed me in the cardiac ward last year.
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Old 06-17-07, 05:39 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Johnny_Monkey
Ok, I assume you're going up the hill in 30/26 so I don't think a change of gearing is on the cards. All I can say is at least you have a goal to strive for.
No.

I've been hitting that hill at 39 / 26
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Old 06-17-07, 07:16 AM
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You don't have any bicycling problem. You're problem is your attitude.

You expect instant results from your newly rediscovered interest bicycling. If there were anything worth suggesting, it would be as simple as saying SLOW DOWN. Realize, you have no right to expect to "go up hills" while you are a fat person. So start measuring your work outs, along with food intake, and realize that "time on the bike", not hill-climbing is the key to weight loss.

The right track, is seeing the long-term "big-picture", with regard to exercise programs. Bull-farting about hill-climbing is not your answer.
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Old 06-17-07, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Anthony8858
I've been hitting that hill at 39 / 26
Well that's your problem right there. Use the 30x26 that your bike gives you!
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Old 06-17-07, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Anthony8858
No.

I've been hitting that hill at 39 / 26
um.... why would you be doing that??

I'm relatively new to cycling, my story is pretty close to your story, and I still have problems with steep hills. My bike came with a 50/34 compact crank so my best hill climbing combination was 34/26. This was not enough for a) the hills in my area and b) my level of fitness (or the lack thereof). I switched my rear cog to a MTB 12-32 and this was just enough to handle most hills.

Point being, switch to your 30 ring up front and 26 cog in back and I think you might find that a lot of hills can be conquered! Not very fast mind, and you'll be spinning not "mashing" - don't worry spinning is good, mashing can cause knee issues and in your case is only good for a short distance anyway since your legs will give up
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Old 06-17-07, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
You don't have any bicycling problem. You're problem is your attitude.

You expect instant results from your newly rediscovered interest bicycling. If there were anything worth suggesting, it would be as simple as saying SLOW DOWN. Realize, you have no right to expect to "go up hills" while you are a fat person. So start measuring your work outs, along with food intake, and realize that "time on the bike", not hill-climbing is the key to weight loss.

The right track, is seeing the long-term "big-picture", with regard to exercise programs. Bull-farting about hill-climbing is not your answer.
I never did have any patience
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Old 06-17-07, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
You don't have any bicycling problem. You're problem is your attitude.

You expect instant results from your newly rediscovered interest bicycling. If there were anything worth suggesting, it would be as simple as saying SLOW DOWN. Realize, you have no right to expect to "go up hills" while you are a fat person. So start measuring your work outs, along with food intake, and realize that "time on the bike", not hill-climbing is the key to weight loss.

The right track, is seeing the long-term "big-picture", with regard to exercise programs. Bull-farting about hill-climbing is not your answer.
Igonore the above in its entirety.
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Old 06-17-07, 11:40 AM
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And for somethng constructive. This year I came back to cycling after 17 years off the bike. I am 47 and in pretty good shape, so losing weight wasn't an issue. But even so it takes awhile to get the muscles to adjust. All the rowing, yoga and climbing didn't make the hills all that much easier the first few weeks. After awhile your muscle's will adapt. My average ride is 90-100ft per mile of climbing, so it was kind of adapt or die. A few months later and I can hang with most of the young club guys, though in my younger days I was a pretty good climber :-). The point is that I had the same issue - when you start climbing your muscles aren't used to it and heart rate goes through the roof. It'll get a whole lot better with a little time.

So take it slow and use that small chainring upfront liberally! You are doing fine, and I think you'll be surprised at how quickly it starts to feel better.
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Old 06-17-07, 12:08 PM
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15 years older . . . ??-lbs overweight . . . 'used to ride 25 miles' . . .
This is now. You start from ground zero.
Mental attitude needs improving. Quite hauling the bike to the flat spots and ride that x*#@! hill at least every other day. Suck it up and move you're butt!
Good luck!
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Old 06-17-07, 12:09 PM
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Another way is to make the hill less steep. If you're in a residential area and there aren't many cars around you can zigzag your way up the hill.
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Old 06-17-07, 03:37 PM
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Stay away from the age trap. Just because you're 46 or 39 or 52... I've had the pleasure of training some awesome athletes that were twice my age, and twice my ability. Your age isn't the main factor. Your body will follow the mind- state and think your old, and you will ride that way.
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Old 06-17-07, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by AFPJ
Stay away from the age trap. Just because you're 46 or 39 or 52... I've had the pleasure of training some awesome athletes that were twice my age, and twice my ability. Your age isn't the main factor. Your body will follow the mind- state and think your old, and you will ride that way.
+1000. There are plenty of guys twice my age that can kick my butt on climbs.
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Old 06-17-07, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by AFPJ
Stay away from the age trap. Just because you're 46 or 39 or 52... I've had the pleasure of training some awesome athletes that were twice my age, and twice my ability. Your age isn't the main factor. Your body will follow the mind- state and think your old, and you will ride that way.
Totally. Tomorrow you'll be stronger but older than you are today.
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Old 06-17-07, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by freemti
um.... why would you be doing that??

I switched my rear cog to a MTB 12-32 and this was just enough to handle most hills.

up

Did you have to change derailleur?
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