Can too much long hill climbing slow you down?



BiggMakk

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Oct 3, 2005
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I tend to ride a lot of hills, especially long ones. I guess I do this because I can. My logic says it's probably the most efficient workout - lungs, legs and mind. I would rate myself as a better than average climber. But that's about all I can do...

I have below average sprinting and speed abilities. Overweight people and old women are known to be faster than me on flats. It's really frustrating. Short, steep hills particularly are difficult. I also find I need a much longer warm up than most people.

Are riding long hills actually hurting my speed? Long climbs require a lower cadence and I just sit back on my saddle and grind my way up. May be my whole riding technique is now adjusted to this style?

If I do change my training to add more speed, could it affect my hill climbing?

I am not a racer. I consider myself a "DRR" : a dedicated, recreational, rider.

Thanks. I look forward to the feedback.
 

Spunout

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Sep 21, 2005
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Long steady efforts at low cadence might slow your speed down, for you it may be the hills.

You can alter your training to include accellerations (flats or the hills) and higher paced (legspeed too) work on the flats. Any of these alterations will not hurt your hill climbing.
 

jhuskey

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Oct 6, 2003
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All I have are hills here. I don't believe hills are slowing your technique. If I were to make a guess I would say you need to push yourself a bit more.
Going fast is largely mental. If you settle into a comfortable routine then there you will remain.
Try spriniting some of those short hills and see how you recover.
 

lanierb

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Aug 12, 2004
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BiggMakk said:
I tend to ride a lot of hills, especially long ones. I guess I do this because I can. My logic says it's probably the most efficient workout - lungs, legs and mind. I would rate myself as a better than average climber. But that's about all I can do...

I have below average sprinting and speed abilities. Overweight people and old women are known to be faster than me on flats. It's really frustrating. Short, steep hills particularly are difficult. I also find I need a much longer warm up than most people.

Are riding long hills actually hurting my speed? Long climbs require a lower cadence and I just sit back on my saddle and grind my way up. May be my whole riding technique is now adjusted to this style?

If I do change my training to add more speed, could it affect my hill climbing?

I am not a racer. I consider myself a "DRR" : a dedicated, recreational, rider.

Thanks. I look forward to the feedback.
Hmm. New York City -- long hills? I'm puzzled.

Anyway, I think the answer is yes and no. In the longer term, I think the overall fitness required is pretty much the same between the two. In the shorter term, however, if you're not used to hammering at higher cadence you might have trouble getting things going on the flats. However, in my view this can be quickly addressed through just a few 20 min interval sessions on the flats. This will get your leg speed going, and your flat speed will go up a bunch to reflect your true fitness.

A different issue is build. If you're a flyweight, then your power/weigth may be high (so you're a good climber) but power/drag still low (so slow on flats). In that case you can try to build strength/power for the flats, but you're always going to be somewhat of a hill-climbing specialist.
 

BiggMakk

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Oct 3, 2005
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Thanks to your responses. I've tried to up my pace the last three days. It hurts more but I think I'm getting the hang of it: harder intensity for shorter periods. I ride with a group once week in Central Park. My past ride I decided to not be a wimp about the pain and surprised myself by staying mid-pack and not my usual back position. It really is a mindset. Also, I was making the long warm up a crutch.

Long rides and long hills are similar to marathon training - long, slow, distance. Now I feel I'm doing more training for 10'Ks. I want to continue this way of riding for a few weeks but I will continue my weekend long rides and long hills. Hopefully the mix will improve my overall riding.

And yes, there are hills in the NYC area north of the City.