Climbing Improvement

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Ken Papai, Mar 6, 2003.

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  1. Ken Papai

    Ken Papai Guest

    OK, here are some things I espouse and believe in and they are the first ten things that come
    to my mind:

    1. You'll never be a good climber with a triple-front chainring. Too easy to bailout and not get
    stronger. Unless you're racing up the Angliru in Spain the triple is for tourists.

    2. Set goals for yourself. I do that every year and throughout the year on various hills around
    here. "My goal is to climb that entirely in my 53x17, rather than my current 39x18." Also, when
    you set that 53x17 goal is to speedily climb up -- not be a total masher to just say you
    completed the goal.

    3. Have an eye for the summit! When you see the summit coming up then shift down and think like a
    racer and sprint, or go hard all the way to over the top! Drop your companions and go for a
    little training day gold.

    4. Start easy and get into bigger gears by the top. A two-mile climb -- start in your 39x19 or 21,
    then eventually be in your 39x15 at the top. THIS is a key to improvement -- using bigger gears
    AS YOU GO UP (not smaller gears as you get tired). (the 39x23 is only for wussy bail-out)

    5. Be mental and focused. Be strong and determined. Act like you're a winner. Don't give up. You
    know the pain will disappear at the summit crest. You want to improve and better than most.
    Pretend you'll be embarrassed if you fail -- think like an egoist.

    6. Throw away that excess weight on your bag (too heavy or floppy saddle bags or stupid, welded
    cheap wheels).

    7. Think cool -- unzip your jersey and allow cool air to circulate as you warm up as you climb. Zip
    up at the top for the descent. Cooler means more efficient, less labored.

    8. Pick a hill and climb it 3-4 times in a row -- each time in a bigger gear! Start with spinning a
    38x23 all the way to the top, and maybe on the 3rd or 4th climb do the whole thing in your 39x18
    or 18. This is also like magic on improving your climbing (and WONDERS for your confidence).
    Find your style (masher or spinner?) and try to stay with it.

    9. Think of the hill as a malevolent friend you want to conquer. A friend will always be there and
    you, no matter want, will eventually be better than
    it. This is hard to define except to love hills and think positively not negatively about them.

    10. Ride with someone faster on the climbs. They'll force you to improve.

    Have fun and enjoy it no matter what.

    -Ken
     
    Tags:


  2. Jtn

    Jtn Guest

    wow, you have stuck to your resolution, all positive.

    I could make your list much easier for you. just one task to remember.

    climb, climb, climb

    its no secret that the columbians are typically the best climbers. because thats all they have to
    ride on.....
     
  3. Ken Papai wrote:
    > OK, here are some things I espouse and believe in and they are the first ten things that come to
    > my mind:
    >
    > 1. You'll never be a good climber with a triple-front chainring. Too easy to bailout and not get
    > stronger. Unless you're racing up the Angliru in Spain the triple is for tourists.

    Ken -- you have at most 2/3 the power to mass of Armstrong. You stuck in your 24 is like Armstrong
    always climbing in a 16.

    I don't use a triple, but I do use a 27. A good mix of fast cadence
    (90) and slow cadence (40's) climbing is, I believe, the way to maximize climbing at optimal
    cadences (70-75).

    >
    > 3. Have an eye for the summit! When you see the summit coming up then shift down and think like a
    > racer and sprint, or go hard all the way to over the top! Drop your companions and go for a
    > little training day gold.

    This is a good suggestion, I think, if you're not on a LSD ride. It's destructive if your goal is a
    long ride near threshold.

    > 6. Throw away that excess weight on your bag (too heavy or floppy saddle bags or stupid, welded
    > cheap wheels).

    True for racing.

    > 7. Think cool -- unzip your jersey and allow cool air to circulate as you
    > 8. Pick a hill and climb it 3-4 times in a row -- each time in a bigger gear! Start with spinning
    > a 38x23 all the way to the top,

    My bet is "spinning" to Ken means a cadence of at most 60.

    Dan
     
  4. Mark Fennell

    Mark Fennell Guest

    "Ken Papai" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > OK, here are some things I espouse and believe in and they are the first ten things that come to
    > my mind:

    <snip>

    OK, whatever works for you...

    Now, here's how you evaluate your climbing. Get yourself something to measure power. Go climb two
    kinds of hills as hard as you can, one that lasts ten minutes or more and one that lasts about a
    minute. Look at your average power over that time. If you cannot do at least ~5.0-5.5
    Watts-per-kg-of-body-weight (W/kg) for the longer climb and ~6-7 W/kg for the short climb, you will
    NOT be competitive in any hilly M35+ or P12 race in California. That includes at least the following
    races: Boulevard, Pine Flat, San Luis Rey, Pozo, Acton, University, Berkeley Hills, Mt. Hamilton,
    Devil's Punchbowl, Copperopolis, Wente, Corral Hollow, and Sea Otter.

    Alternatively, if you're too cheap to buy a power device (like me), get a topo map and figure out
    the elevation change of your hills. You better be able to climb at ~75 ft/minute elevation change
    for the longer climbs and ~90-100 ft/minute for the shorter ones, otherwise you will be chasing the
    first group down the other side.

    BTW, if you're a good skinny little climber, it is humbling to discover that good kilo or pursuit
    riders will beat you up most hills that last just a couple of minutes, even if they are big guys.
    That's how much power they can put out.

    Kurgan-Henry is 100% correct. If you want to be a bicycle **ROAD** racer, you better not have excess
    fat and you better be able to see a lot of veins in your legs. Sorry to break the bad news to you.

    Mark
     
  5. "Ken Papai" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > 8. Pick a hill and climb it 3-4 times in a row -- each time in a bigger gear! Start with spinning
    > a 38x23 all the way to the top, and maybe on
    the
    > 3rd or 4th climb do the whole thing in your 39x18 or 18. This is also
    like
    > magic on improving your climbing (and WONDERS for your confidence). Find your style (masher or
    > spinner?) and try to stay with it.
    >

    8-a. With a 38-39 double you get to brag "I just did that climb in my big ring".
     
  6. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "Mark Fennell" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Ken Papai" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > OK, here are some things I espouse and believe in and they are the first
    ten
    > > things that come to my mind:
    >
    > <snip>
    >
    > OK, whatever works for you...
    >
    > Now, here's how you evaluate your climbing. Get yourself something to measure power. Go climb two
    > kinds of hills as hard as you can, one that lasts ten minutes or more and one that lasts about a
    > minute. Look at your average power over that time. If you cannot do at least ~5.0-5.5
    > Watts-per-kg-of-body-weight (W/kg) for the longer climb and ~6-7 W/kg for the short climb, you
    > will NOT be competitive in any hilly M35+ or P12 race in California. That includes at least the
    > following races: Boulevard, Pine Flat, San Luis Rey, Pozo, Acton, University, Berkeley Hills, Mt.
    > Hamilton, Devil's Punchbowl, Copperopolis, Wente, Corral Hollow, and Sea Otter.
    >
    > Alternatively, if you're too cheap to buy a power device (like me), get a topo map and figure out
    > the elevation change of your hills. You better be able to climb at ~75 ft/minute elevation change
    > for the longer climbs and ~90-100 ft/minute for the shorter ones, otherwise you will be chasing
    > the first group down the other side.
    >
    > BTW, if you're a good skinny little climber, it is humbling to discover that good kilo or pursuit
    > riders will beat you up most hills that last just a couple of minutes, even if they are big guys.
    > That's how much power they can put out.
    >
    > Kurgan-Henry is 100% correct. If you want to be a bicycle **ROAD** racer, you better not have
    > excess fat and you better be able to see a lot of veins in your legs. Sorry to break the bad
    > news to you.

    As much as it pains me to agree with Henry, I've come to the realization that you can either 1.
    weigh too much and not do well in the road races, or
    2. skip them for the flat crits and have a gut. I tend to fall into the latter category, but am
    moving towards "Henry-ness." Now if only I had a cockatoo and a pony tail...

    Mike "the Masters Fattie" Shaw I train enough to be a good 4, an OK 3, or a piss-poor 1/2...

    >
    > Mark
     
  7. "Mike S." <[email protected]> wrote in message news:eek:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Mark Fennell" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > >
    > > Kurgan-Henry is 100% correct. If you want to be a bicycle **ROAD** racer, you better not have
    > > excess fat and you better be able to see a lot of veins in your legs. Sorry to break the bad
    > > news to you.
    >
    > As much as it pains me to agree with Henry, I've come to the realization that you can either 1.
    > weigh too much and not do well in the road races,
    or
    > 2. skip them for the flat crits and have a gut. I tend to fall into the latter category, but am
    > moving towards "Henry-ness." Now if only I had a cockatoo and a pony tail...

    Nice to see non-delusional racers for a change.

    Less fat will also make one faster in a crit (less power required for acceleration out of turns,
    cardio system more efficient), however, I think there is nothing the matter with carrying extra
    weight if one is not interested in making the sacrifices necessary for maximizing performance.

    What is wrong is claiming that it is not possible.

    Kurgan Gringioni not making the sacrifices
     
  8. Velocat

    Velocat Guest

    Mark Fennell wrote:
    >
    > Alternatively, if you're too cheap to buy a power device (like me), get a topo map and figure out
    > the elevation change of your hills. You better be able to climb at ~75 ft/minute elevation change
    > for the longer climbs and ~90-100 ft/minute for the shorter ones, otherwise you will be chasing
    > the first group down the other side.
    >
    > Mark

    So at 75ft/min, a typical time up Old LaHonda would be 17:12 (1290 ft elevation change). I find
    this hard to believe since at a recent AV hillclimb event the BEST time was 17:40. OLH has an
    average grade of
    7.2%, what type of grade were you suggesting at 75'/min?
     
  9. Andy Coggan

    Andy Coggan Guest

    "VeloCat" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > Mark Fennell wrote:
    > >
    > > Alternatively, if you're too cheap to buy a power device (like me), get a topo map and figure
    > > out the elevation change of your hills. You better be able to climb at ~75 ft/minute elevation
    > > change for the longer climbs and ~90-100 ft/minute for the shorter ones, otherwise you will be
    > > chasing the first group down the other side.
    > >
    > > Mark
    >
    > So at 75ft/min, a typical time up Old LaHonda would be 17:12 (1290 ft elevation change). I find
    > this hard to believe since at a recent AV hillclimb event the BEST time was 17:40. OLH has an
    > average grade of
    > 7.2%, what type of grade were you suggesting at 75'/min?

    I've never even seen OLH, but I think Mark got the power outputs pretty much spot-on. Perhaps the
    race times are slower than expected (or his climbing rates in ft/min faster than expected) because
    even at slow climbing speeds wind resistance still plays a small role.

    Andy Coggan
     
  10. Ken Papai

    Ken Papai Guest

    "one of the six billion" <varuna....
    >
    > "Ken Papai" <[email protected]@rwcrnsc51.ops.asp.att.net...
    > >
    > > 8. Pick a hill and climb it 3-4 times in a row -- each time in a bigger gear! Start with
    > > spinning a 38x23 all the way to the top, and maybe on
    > the
    > > 3rd or 4th climb do the whole thing in your 39x18 or 18. This is also
    > like
    > > magic on improving your climbing (and WONDERS for your confidence). Find your style (masher or
    > > spinner?) and try to stay with it.
    > >
    >
    > 8-a. With a 38-39 double you get to brag "I just did that climb in my big ring".

    The 38 chainring was a typo. I have the typical 53-39 up front. ;)

    (also, Mark Fennell's stuff was awesome)

    -ken
     
  11. Mark Fennell

    Mark Fennell Guest

    VeloCat <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Mark Fennell wrote:
    > >
    > > Alternatively, if you're too cheap to buy a power device (like me), get a topo map and figure
    > > out the elevation change of your hills. You better be able to climb at ~75 ft/minute elevation
    > > change for the longer climbs and ~90-100 ft/minute for the shorter ones, otherwise you will be
    > > chasing the first group down the other side.
    > >
    > > Mark
    >
    > So at 75ft/min, a typical time up Old LaHonda would be 17:12 (1290 ft elevation change). I find
    > this hard to believe since at a recent AV hillclimb event the BEST time was 17:40. OLH has an
    > average grade of
    > 7.2%, what type of grade were you suggesting at 75'/min?

    That grade would be just fine and I'll stick with my numbers, at least for P12 and M35+ races. You
    might want to ask some of the faster AV 1's, 2's, or M35+ (Kevin Merritt?) riders what time they do
    up your hill because I bet they are a lot faster than that.

    For fellow geeks interested in this stuff, check out today's PVSR hill climb results that should be
    posted later tonight at:

    http://www.scvelo.com/pvsr/results.html

    You'll have to adjust for the first km of flat road and another km of downhill, but it should be
    interesting anyway. It's a relatively gradual climb of ~2400' but I still predict the top guys
    will climb at
    >80 ft/minute.

    Mark (sad to be missing the PVSR)
     
  12. Amit

    Amit Guest

    "Kurgan Gringioni" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >
    > Nice to see non-delusional racers for a change.
    >
    > Less fat will also make one faster in a crit (less power required for acceleration out of turns,
    > cardio system more efficient), however, I think there is nothing the matter with carrying extra
    > weight if one is not interested in making the sacrifices necessary for maximizing performance.
    >

    I thought you would have noticed that most of Ken's advice is 'mental' and 'attitude' oriented.
    As if thinking positive and pushing yourself when you're on the hill will make you a much
    better climber.

    Are these things more important than training in a way to specifically improve (or maximize) your
    sustained power to weight ratio ? Some people seem to give them a lot more importance.

    -Amit
     
  13. Mark Fennell wrote:
    > That grade would be just fine and I'll stick with my numbers, at least for P12 and M35+ races. You
    > might want to ask some of the faster AV 1's, 2's, or M35+ (Kevin Merritt?) riders what time they
    > do up your hill because I bet they are a lot faster than that.
    >

    I think Kevin Susco did it in 16:40 a few years ago (I don't know his recent times), and he and
    Kevin Merritt are probably the best climbers among the 45+ riders.

    Gary Gellin and Tracy Colwell, both 35+, are low-16 minutes on the same climb.

    I agree if you're not sub-17:30, you'll be chasing after climbs in hilly 35+ races.

    Dan
     
  14. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Hi,

    I'm going to be riding in the Mt. Washington bicycle hill climb this August in New Hampshire. Mt
    Washington is 6,288' and the climb is about 5,000' in
    7.6 miles. Average of 12% grade and one point is 22%. The record is by Tom Danialson of Saturn team
    (49min 22 sec) which broke Tyle Hamiltons record. For this climb even the pro's use special
    gearing... I've been training all this winter, strenght, and spinning for endurance. I'm down to
    12% body fat, but should get down to 8 or 9 by August. But reguardless of gearing I have to work
    on endurance, because that is what gets you up this mega mount climb!

    "Ken Papai" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > OK, here are some things I espouse and believe in and they are the first
    ten
    > things that come to my mind:
    >
    > 1. You'll never be a good climber with a triple-front chainring. Too easy
    to
    > bailout and not get stronger. Unless you're racing up the Angliru in Spain the triple is for
    > tourists.
    >
    > 2. Set goals for yourself. I do that every year and throughout the year on various hills around
    > here. "My goal is to climb that entirely in my 53x17, rather than my current 39x18." Also,
    > when you set that 53x17 goal is to speedily climb up -- not be a total masher to just say you
    > completed the goal.
    >
    > 3. Have an eye for the summit! When you see the summit coming up then
    shift
    > down and think like a racer and sprint, or go hard all the way to over the top! Drop your
    > companions and go for a little training day gold.
    >
    > 4. Start easy and get into bigger gears by the top. A two-mile climb -- start in your 39x19 or
    > 21, then eventually be in your 39x15 at the top.
    THIS
    > is a key to improvement -- using bigger gears AS YOU GO UP (not smaller gears as you get tired).
    > (the 39x23 is only for wussy bail-out)
    >
    > 5. Be mental and focused. Be strong and determined. Act like you're a winner. Don't give up. You
    > know the pain will disappear at the summit
    crest.
    > You want to improve and better than most. Pretend you'll be embarrassed if you fail -- think like
    > an egoist.
    >
    > 6. Throw away that excess weight on your bag (too heavy or floppy saddle bags or stupid, welded
    > cheap wheels).
    >
    > 7. Think cool -- unzip your jersey and allow cool air to circulate as you warm up as you climb.
    > Zip up at the top for the descent. Cooler means
    more
    > efficient, less labored.
    >
    > 8. Pick a hill and climb it 3-4 times in a row -- each time in a bigger gear! Start with spinning
    > a 38x23 all the way to the top, and maybe on the 3rd or 4th climb do the whole thing in your
    > 39x18 or 18. This is also like magic on improving your climbing (and WONDERS for your
    > confidence). Find your style (masher or spinner?) and try to stay with it.
    >
    > 9. Think of the hill as a malevolent friend you want to conquer. A friend will always be there
    > and you, no matter want, will eventually be better
    than
    > it. This is hard to define except to love hills and think positively not negatively about them.
    >
    > 10. Ride with someone faster on the climbs. They'll force you to improve.
    >
    > Have fun and enjoy it no matter what.
    >
    > -Ken
     
  15. Kyle Legate

    Kyle Legate Guest

    "Mark Fennell" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Ken Papai" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > > OK, here are some things I espouse and believe in and they are the first
    ten
    > > things that come to my mind:
    >
    > <snip>
    >
    > OK, whatever works for you...
    >
    Does it? I think Ken's goal last year was to upgrade (or was that the goal of the year before...or
    the goal of the last 5 years?). Did you meet that goal, Ken, and did your approach to climbing
    contribute to your success?
     
  16. "Amit" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Kurgan Gringioni" <[email protected]> wrote in
    message
    > >
    > > Nice to see non-delusional racers for a change.
    > >
    > > Less fat will also make one faster in a crit (less power required for acceleration out of turns,
    > > cardio system more efficient), however, I
    think
    > > there is nothing the matter with carrying extra weight if one is not interested in making the
    > > sacrifices necessary for maximizing
    performance.
    > >
    >
    > I thought you would have noticed that most of Ken's advice is 'mental' and 'attitude' oriented. As
    > if thinking positive and pushing yourself when you're on the hill will make you a much better
    > climber.
    >
    > Are these things more important than training in a way to specifically improve (or maximize) your
    > sustained power to weight ratio ? Some people seem to give them a lot more importance.

    If only willpower could defeat the forces of gravity. It is a romantic notion.

    Willpower with regards to diet, and by extension, gravity, is not as romantic, but more effective.
     
  17. Donald Munro

    Donald Munro Guest

    Ken Papai wrote:
    ><several interesting points snipped>
    > 5. Be mental and focused. Be strong and determined. Act like you're a winner. Don't give up. You
    > know the pain will disappear at the summit crest. You want to improve and better than most.
    > Pretend you'll be embarrassed if you fail -- think like an egoist.
    > 9. Think of the hill as a malevolent friend you want to conquer. A friend will always be there and
    > you, no matter want, will eventually be better than
    > it. This is hard to define except to love hills and think positively not negatively about them.

    I think being mentally positive about climbing is probably the most important point. Many weak
    climbers are mentally defeated long before they even start a decisive climb in a race. And because
    they have are negative about climbing they try to avoid climbing in their training which results in
    a catch-22 situation (its easier for someone like me who is not positive enough about sprinting to
    include a few sprints in my training than it is for weaker climbers to include several long climbs
    in their training, I suppose).

    > 8. Pick a hill and climb it 3-4 times in a row -- each time in a bigger gear! Start with spinning
    > a 38x23 all the way to the top, and maybe on the 3rd or 4th climb do the whole thing in your
    > 39x18 or 18. This is also like magic on improving your climbing (and WONDERS for your
    > confidence). Find your style (masher or spinner?) and try to stay with it.

    Additionaly doing hill intervals where you go flat out for each climb is pretty important at least
    during the racing season, although your suggestion makes good sense out of racing season to build
    strength and technique. What length recovery periods relative to the length of the climb do those of
    you doing hill intervals take ?

    > 3. Have an eye for the summit! When you see the summit coming up then shift down and think like a
    > racer and sprint, or go hard all the way to over the top! Drop your companions and go for a
    > little training day gold.

    Additionaly perhaps practise faster surges during medium to long climbs. In many races I've been in
    the deciding break has often come during a surge on a climb. Once the gap is there it can be hard
    (physically and psychologically) to close it.

    Perhaps another psychological point might be to visualize yourself climbing a decisive climb in a
    race the day before the race. Many sports psycologists say this works.
     
  18. Donald Munro

    Donald Munro Guest

    Mark Fennell) wrote:
    > BTW, if you're a good skinny little climber, it is humbling to discover that good kilo or pursuit
    > riders will beat you up most hills that last just a couple of minutes, even if they are big guys.
    > That's how much power they can put out.

    As a track neophyte who recently did my first 4000m pursuit I'd say apart from their power output
    they also are used to staying at a high heart rate (90-95%) for several minutes required to stay up
    there on the shorter climbs.
     
  19. "Amit" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Kurgan Gringioni" <[email protected]> wrote in
    message

    > I thought you would have noticed that most of Ken's advice is 'mental' and 'attitude' oriented. As
    > if thinking positive and pushing yourself when you're on the hill will make you a much better
    > climber.
    >
    > Are these things more important than training in a way to specifically improve (or maximize) your
    > sustained power to weight ratio ? Some people seem to give them a lot more importance.
    >
    > -Amit

    -----------------------------
    I rode with some local cat 1- 4 riders who have said they hate climbing but do it anyway of course.
    They just want to get it over with. To them it just pain and suffering, although I can't give their
    specific opinions. For me it was like a drug for years, a total high. I kept looking for harder and
    longer climbs. I just used my watch and timed myself for improvement but I have always been
    interested in challenging harder and longer climbs. I became so addicting to big climbs that I
    started traveling all over the mid-west looking for harder and longer climbs. I was near Mt. Evans
    coming from Moab one time, but I missed Mt. Evans opening by a week. I lost lot of weight climbing
    and got to where I could fly up the big long climbs. Great for stamina and endurance. I get high
    when I summit the top. So you got to love climbing. Logic follows that if you do, you should excel
    in it more then someone who hates it, but does it anyway. Living in the Sierra's here offer the
    biggest climbs around, like Colorado, Washington and a few other places. I can't help but love it.
    Aside from the science of performance enhancement strategies and calculations of power to weight
    ration, climbing tactics, etc. if you are a dedicated climber with a build suited to climbing and
    really love it, you can't lose. I would add to what Ken said, mental + attitude, and that gleam in
    the eyes, that love for climbing.

    Bruce
     
  20. Bret Wade

    Bret Wade Guest

    Kurgan Gringioni wrote:

    > Willpower with regards to diet, and by extension, gravity, is not as romantic, but more effective.

    Kurgan is right about this and CO leads the nation in willpower (see link below) which explains why
    many the best climbers come from CO. Based on the evidence here (rbr), CA leads the nation in
    talking about willpower.

    http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/prev_reg.htm

    Bret
     
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