Best way to improve climbing

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Faster Bortolo, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. Faster Bortolo

    Faster Bortolo New Member

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    I am looking to improve on my climbing
    what is the best way to do so?
     
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  2. xcgeek

    xcgeek New Member

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    Climb more, with people who can climb better than you. Fight like hell to stay on their wheels and soon you'll be able to climb with them. Also, in races I've found that when the going gets really tough on a long climb I attack. If you're hurting so is everyone else so put it to them. Even if you blow up it will look better than getting dropped and then blowing up.
     
  3. jmcmillanut

    jmcmillanut New Member

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    Here's what I've heard L.A. does:
    Find a steady climb several miles long, and alternate 2-minute intervals of big gear - slow cadence / smaller gear - higher cadence. You should never stand to climb during this exercise.

    For me, I usually just ride for the sake of riding. But, I use this strategy to some extent about 1 month prior to an event (century or double century) to get in better climbing shape. Typically, I do climbing rides twice/week. I've noticed improvements in my climbing when I add that routine to my training.
     
  4. pinarello65

    pinarello65 New Member

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    I have a situation that I find puzzling. With my group, I'm faster than the rest on the flat & downhill. Especially downhill, none of them can catch me. On the flat, I have much lower HR's than they do. So while they're all puffing, I'm just cruising. My Polar HRM reports 68 on the fitness test, higher than what they get.

    Climbing hills is a different matter. On a slight incline (<3% gradient), I'm faster. On a very steep gradient (7%+) over a short distance, I'm faster. I can power up using leg strength and ride past the whole group going their hardest.

    But on a long sustained climb, say around 4%-5% gradient over several km, I go backwards and am the slowest of the bunch. Where I live, just about every road which leads to the hills is this kind of gradient & about 8km-17km long depending which way you go.

    I find my HR soars...say 20bpm faster than the others. I'm at anaerobic threshold whilst they're at aerobic or low anaerobic HR's for the same speed. My legs feel fine but because my HR is so high, I'm burning up energy fast & hitting AT so go into oxygen debt if I try & keep up with the others. I notice I'm using the same gear as them too.

    Why is it so? What am I doing wrong? Any suggestions? It would seem I'm wasting energy somewhere. I remain seated, I only get out of the saddle now & then for a change of position.
     
  5. byron27

    byron27 New Member

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    ride more hills.....
     
  6. andrewbradley

    andrewbradley New Member

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    Sounds like you could be a larger rider.

    To a simple scaling model the large rider should be:

    Better anaerobically on the flat
    As good anaerobically on the hills
    As good aerobically on the flat
    Worse aerobically on the hills

    The model assumes that anaerobic power is proportional to body weight and that aerobic power is proportional to surface area.

    If you are not a large rider then you must be getting panick attacks. If you feel like you are fighting with the bike on hills you might try nudging the saddle forward (and up) and dipping the nose a tad.
     
  7. andrewbradley

    andrewbradley New Member

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    All you can do is keep your weight down and practice riding up the sort of hill that gives you trouble as fast you can.

    There are minor "specificity" issues as compared to riding on the flat - you get a slacker seat angle and a biopace chainring (effectively) and for some reason most people use a lower cadence, which is in part explained by the biopace effect.

    If you haven't got many hills nearby you could try a turbo trainer with the front wheel elevated, as you can get both of these effects on that.
     
  8. Aztec

    Aztec New Member

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    I hadn't thought of the seat tube angle changing with incline/decline. Interesting.
     
  9. CatSpin

    CatSpin New Member

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    Pinarello65:

    I would agree with Andrew here...sounds like your power to weight ratio is off. I bet too you are a fast sprinter.

    Strong, powerful muscles, even with low, to VERY low, body fat do not perform well on climbs. Those same muscles that power you along in flats in a 53/11 like it is nothing will kill you on the hills...why? Those fast twitch muscles weigh a lot, about twice as much as fat itself plus the larger, denser muscle requires more oxygen to "fire", thus you soar right up to your LT very quickly.

    Truth is my fellow muscle bound cyclist, you got to drop the weight by doing more long distance aerobic work, cutting out on the big weights (considering you might be lifting them), keeping a very close eye on your diet and LASTLY, continue to climb with your climbers on the ride. Try sitting in on the flats instead of driving the pace, save your energy and then hold the climbers' wheels as long as you can.

    I used to be very bad at climbing especially when I was closer to 195 lbs of mostly muscle, as I dropped the weight, I was able to keep pace with the climbers, then even drop some of my lighter teammates. Surprised by my performance one day, they (the climbers) commented., "it is a heck of a lot easier to drop the weight then try to get stronger." None of them could push a heavy gear in the flats.

    Sprinters can become good climbers (ie Jalabert) but it is a bit tougher for climbers to become good sprinters. It is a constant battle to balance both as loss in muscle weight will convert to a loss in power too. Race your strengths and train your weaknesses.

    Keep working at it Pinarello...it will come with time.
     
  10. andrewbradley

    andrewbradley New Member

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    Since "move saddle back for climbing" is still popular, i wonder how many riders have thought about that one.

    A good few years ago I switched to a saddle position that the UCI might object to these days. You take more weight on the arms on the flat with a forward saddle, but as i live in the midst of 10-25% gradients I have no regrets. If climbs are the critical factor in a riders race strategy, a forward saddle might be worth a try. I had improved results, and know others who now prefer this position. You feel more "solidly anchored" (although i do like a big gear on the hills).
     
  11. ffvelazquezh

    ffvelazquezh New Member

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    Have you checked your weigth??

    From your description it looks that you are a little overweigth and maybe that's the reason because your are fastest mainly down the hills or in the flats, in this sense the gravity force is working with you. But is totally different when you are climbing, in this case the gravity is working against you and that's the reason for your HR soaring.
     
  12. lumpy

    lumpy New Member

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    A buddy of mine would load up his bike rack with weights and go pick on hills. It made him into a mountain goat! He takes great pleasure now in blowing up other riders on hills!

    Tim
     
  13. will1988

    will1988 New Member

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