Flatlander needs climbing advice



CaptSprocket

New Member
May 16, 2016
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Hi all, new member here. I would like to tap into the group and get some training advice on the best way to prepare for an upcoming ride that will have quite a bit of hill/small mountain climbs. I am a flatlander from south Florida and the only hill I can get is an interstate overpass! I can get to a short 2/10s mile climb up a 7% grade but that is about the best I can do down here. How can I best train for a 7 day ride in a little over a year that will have multiple 200 - 1000 ft climbs each day. I'm not used to that kind of climbing and I don't want to **** out on this ride. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and happy riding!
 

jhuskey

Moderator
Oct 6, 2003
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The obvious solution is to go to some mountainous area and train. If you are geographically challenged I would suggest stepping up your routine and when you climb go to a higher and keep up the tempo. Loose some weight if possible.
 
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BrianMacDonald

New Member
Oct 27, 2003
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A big difference between climbing and riding on level ground is that when you are climbing you have very little opportunity to ease up and coast. Climbing is a lot about sustained power output under heavy load. In south Florida you may not have hills but you certainly have wind. Go find a long stretch of road and ride into the wind at a constant speed or power output at a low-ish cadence. Aim for sustainable power output underneath your threshold. You could also do these on the trainer of you have one.
 

maydog

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2010
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Do you have access to a power meter?

+1 to the previous posters. Climbs are all about power to weight. Work on sustained power will shaving off a few pounds.
 
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Corzhens

Well-Known Member
May 26, 2015
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The obvious solution is to go to some mountainous area and train. If you are geographically challenged I would suggest stepping up your routine and when you climb go to a higher and keep up the tempo. Loose some weight if possible.

I agree to this. I am also a flatlander since I only ride around our village which is flat and has no incline even a little bit. On my first try in joining a riding group going to that legendary Antipolo town, I walked my way on the first incline. I felt like my chest would explode and my legs were numb. Admittedly, I didn't have the experience in climbing hence the difficulty. One rider told me to quit and practice in not so steep climbs before I join them again.
 

CaptSprocket

New Member
May 16, 2016
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Do you have access to a power meter?

+1 to the previous posters. Climbs are all about power to weight. Work on sustained power will shaving off a few pounds.

I do not have a power meter. Just picked up the Garmin 520 but I did not get the power meter with it. Not sure I want to fork out $1000 for one. At least, that's what I've been seeing some go for. Any other suggestions for ones, please share.

I have already dropped 12 pounds and am on my way to a total of 30 lost. That's my plan. I can already feel a difference and am really anxious to feel the difference once I get down by another 18!

I've always hated the wind, but for this, the wind may just be my new friend!

Thanks for the responses all! I appreciate it.
 

steve

Administrator
Staff member
Aug 12, 2001
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Climbing is all about power to weight ratio, everyone who climbs well has a good power to weight ratio. The easiest way to achieve this is by losing weight. Losing 10KG off your gut is much cheaper and more effective than spending thousands on a bike thats a single KG lighter. :)
 

CAMPYBOB

Well-Known Member
Sep 12, 2005
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Climbs are all about power to weight.
This.

Climbing is all about power to weight ratio,
And that.

Keep losing that weight, OP! Good job!

Now, you can practice simulating high climbing Watt outputs by doing headwinds, as the poster above suggested. That's far better that doing nothing to develop your horsepower.

You can do hill repeats on your small freeway overpasses. Again, it's better than just time trialing into the wind.

You can also travel 'if' you're close to some of the hills that Florida does have. You'll never simulate those long Rocky Mountain climbs or the steepness of the Appalachians, but there really is no substitute for climbing other than climbing. Your body need to feel what positions on the bike work best at what gradients. You need to figure out how to recover on a climb, how to stay out of the red, varying your tempo, etc. The good news is that stuff comes pretty quickly with experience.

And don't worry about not having a power meter. You'll develop plenty if you keep hitting the wind and hills hard.
 
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CaptSprocket

New Member
May 16, 2016
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Thanks for all the great advice everyone! A little update since my last post. I am now down 20 pounds with 10-15 more to go. Really starting to feel much better and do notice an improvement out on the roads. Unfortunately, I have spent the past 2 weeks on the road for business and have been relegated to the indoor bikes courtesy of the hotel. I have missed a total of 5 days of riding, indoor or outside, since 5/1/16, so I am making a very big effort to get out and push it as often as I can.

I had two bikes that I interchanged for my training rides. One was an old Bianchi that was given to me by the wife of a dear friend of mine who collapsed and died following one of our training rides on Thanksgiving day several years ago. Just found out that the frame was partially rusted through and was deemed no longer safe to ride. I just purchased a new Giant Defy Advanced 3 and love the new setup. The gearing should also be a big help in getting me through the climbs too.

I will continue on with my weight loss and training and will be looking for as many hills and as much wind as I can find. Thanks again for all of the suggestions. Hope you all ride safe and enjoy!
 

RapDaddyo

Active Member
May 17, 2005
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Good advice above, especially about training for sustained power output and riding into the wind for resistance in lieu of resistance due to gravity. You also want to give careful consideration to your drivetrain. I have multiple drivetrain setups for different events and my hillclimb setup is a 34/50 compact crank and a 13-26 cassette, which gives me the option of a 1.31:1 ratio at the low end. Even with this ratio, my cadence gets into the low 50s on the steep parts. My preferred cadence is ~90, and I hate riding in the 50s. If I had to spend all day in the 50s, I'd go nuts.