Hill Climbing Advice & Winter Training

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by GraceB, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. GraceB

    GraceB New Member

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    Hello all. I just signed up after reading through a few pages of posts. You all seem like a very friendly and knowledgable group.

    I apologize if this has been raised before or even over and over, but I am new here and have read through several pages (1-5 or so).

    Here is my dilemma. I want to start training for a double century that will take place the second week of June or so next year. So I have about 9 months to train before hand. And by century I am referring to the 160km one. Although this ride is 177km on each day (a Saturday & Sunday).

    My longest and fastest ride ever was this year in July. I rode 166km at 32.6kph average (or just over 20 mph average).

    The thing is that I would like to ride with the same group next year for the double century. However, the route we rode together this year was very flat .. The double will have more climbing.

    I'm 5'5 and 63kg and female. I believe I could with some effort get my weight to ~ 58kg without losing too much power. I am a mesomorph.

    What would you be doing over this winter to improve your climbing? Well, and endurance. I don't think this goal is too far reaching because I was able to ride the distance with the group this year. But, I cannot climb with them. In fact, I often do group rides and will go with the B groups .. or the second fastest groups (not the hammerheads, but not slow, probably around 20mph group averages is a normal group ride for me .. but I struggle on the climbs every time. (Where I am often off the back and then raising the speed to "TT" my way back onto the back of the pack. Using this style I very rarely get dropped from the groups I ride with.) I just would rather learn to climb with the group than repeat this every time! (For TTs I usually average just under 25 minutes for 15k or 36kph averages (~ 22.5mph). I don't know if it is my power, or my weight, or my bike / wheels (generic, entry level & 32 spoke basic wheels), or just my technique that is holding me back.

    I plan to do a lot of core and overall strength and conditioning in the gym this winter. Will the strength work help my climbing? What else can I do to specifically work on my biggest weakness, ie climbing? I do want to join my friends next year, but I won't be able to unless I can master this climbing thing a bit better.

    Any advice is appreciated & thank you for taking the time to read!
     
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  2. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I am right there with you as far as genetic build and I typically struggle to stay with the lighter well conditioned group members. So look at improving your functional threshold / watts/kg. The watts/kg will improve by the combination of improving your fitness and losing some weight if possible.

    A good place to start is the infamous it's killing me thread for ideas of how to raise that ceiling of your functional threshold. This is in a nutshell a consistent diet of training for sustained periods of time of 15 minutes or more for intervals at a submaximal effort. Even if you do not currently have a power meter to use as a guide in this training you can do this on perceived effort, which I did for a couple of years before buying a PM. Just start reading the thread at the link above for the advice given by RapdaddyO, Dave and some others.

    This fitness will prove valuable to you in the hills and on the flats.
    Keep asking questions and these guys on the forum will help you get a bit closer to your goal.
     
  3. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    Was that last century you rode in a group or solo?

    Not that it matters, but I don't think that spreading 200 miles over two days of riding is technically a double - is it?

    It does sound that you may be lacking in the power to weight ratio department when compared to your ride mates. My guess is that you are pretty small and aero and can hide out in a group very well. Do you ride with aerobars at all?

    My experience with group riding has been similar, but for a different reason. My power to weight ratio is lower due to my 100kgs, I do fine on the flats but have to work much harder uphill. I spent the last few seasons and winters working on improving my climbing. Now I am better than average and enjoy the climbs.

    My advice is to go an seek out the climbs, do hill repeats and figure out what works for you. In your group rides, work out a climbing strategy you may want to work your way to the front by the base of the climb so that you can climb at a comfortable rate and not get to far behind. Hide out in the group and get a good rest for the harder climbs. In a group, I usually pick out one or two other riders that may be a bit better climbers than I to follow up the hill.

    Do some winter rides as well - the can be fun.

    Indoors, do some high intensity work at a variety of cadences. Climbing is tough to simulate indoors, but spin bikes are good because you turn up to a high resistance and ride out of the saddle.
     
  4. GraceB

    GraceB New Member

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    Maydog - I'm sorry, I thought that was the technical definition of a double century. (Two centuries back to back on consecutive days.) I apologize though if I am misinformed!

    As I mentioned in my original post, the century I did this year (my first) was in a group, and it is the same group that I would like to ride with next year (so at about the same speed). For further details, I guess .. the group started out at a 35-36kph pace and got progressively slower until one of our members bonked. I ended up on the front pulling for most of the last 40k or so, although we had really slowed the pace down at that point and I was mostly trying to make sure that the pace did not climb up too high to allow my friend time to recover (he had to get off his bike for 20 minutes before being able to pedal again). My nutrition was spot on and I finished feeling strong. When we were going 35-36 (22ish mph?) I was hiding in the group the entire time.

    I am pretty flexible and a decent natural time trialer so yes I can get very low and aero and hide well in a group and still perform well. Some people complain that they do not get enough draft when behind me if I am low enough (ie when I am on the drops pushing the pace).

    I ride with aero bars only during TTs. I don't ride with them on group rides simply because I feel that it puts too much weight forward on the bike and is not as safe / steady in a close group ride.

    I can push it on the flats, at the front of the group, and hold the pace (TT ability). But maybe not for as long as some of the other members of the group (but sometimes longer than others).

    I do employ tactics like trying to be near the front on a long climb (the area I live in is not very hilly), but even rested I struggle to get up the climb. I don't have a power meter but I almost think I might be putting out less power while climbing and more power at the top and/or on the flats? I had a back injury two years ago which limited my ability last year to climb at all (made it very painful) so I probably have not practiced climbing enough, I am fully recovered now though (thankfully!). I did some experiments this year and on one longer climb everyone shot ahead of me but I was able to catch up to many of them by the top (it wasn't that steep %). But my favorite climbs are the ones referred to as "sprinter hills" (usually short & steep but with a dip just before them) because I can climb them faster than most using momentum. So I guess the longer, steeper ones are really my problem.

    Can't ride outdoors in the winter here (I am in Canada). We do have some good indoor spin sessions available though. I am on a cycling team (new this year) and we are talking structured spinning starting in January 3x / week.

    Would you suggest high intensity work in the winter? I am reading Joe Friel's "The Cyclist's Training Bible" and not sure how it plays out. I read some other threads on here and they seem to be suggesting that in moderation high intensity work would be beneficial during the winter months? I have embarrassingly never trained through the winter and I've just finished my fourth season cycling. I have started my fitness over every spring. =/

    Felt - Thank you! I will read that thread. I currently can hold ~ FTP for 1.5-2hrs on a group ride, going by heart rate. That is work at about 85% of max heart rate or about 90% of V02 Max (I have had my V02 Max tested). I regularly pump out threshold rides at over 1.5hrs at or above those baselines. So, should I focus more on zone 5 work? IE V02 Max intervals? One interesting thing I have noticed lately is that I am frequently hitting HRs at or near my V02 Max during those group rides and still recovering. Which I think is a significant improvement as I've been getting the HRs higher than before & still being able to continue. But maybe some solo work based directly on V02 Max stuff might make a difference? Or learning to climb at V02 Max maybe .. ? I have also cut out my 105% of threshold 25 minute intervals that I was doing once, sometimes twice a week all summer. Is it better to leave these out until late winter / early spring now? I have a goal to train over the winter and see what difference it will make next year.

    Thank you guys. I appreciate the feedback and writing all this stuff out is helping too!
     
  5. GraceB

    GraceB New Member

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    Wow that is a very long thread! (333 pages!)

    Well I've gotten to page 20 so far. I think I am pretty maxed out on what I can get to with FT training at least for now. For climbing maybe I do need to work on V02 Max (120% of FT) intervals and I am just starting to read about AC as well which I hadn't really heard of prior to reading that thread (anaerobic capacity).

    I cannot really lengthen my duration at threshold. I'm already impressing all the lads with 2+ hrs of threshold work on some rides. It is my ace in the hole - maintaining a high % of my personal max power for an extended period of time. But it does not help so much with the climbing or short burst accelerations!

    Also it is making me think that maybe I should keep up at least some threshold work over the winter!
     
  6. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    You seem to already have great condtioning. Now is a good time to take it to the next level and there are some folk on this board that can help you get there. It has been a while since we had a serious female join us in training discussions. We had Dancen and CalicoCat that we miss. Both were diligent in training and in training knowledge. Calico started this thread that has lingered on well after her going absent, but I trust she is still out there going hard. http://www.cyclingforums.com/t/482813/are-we-there-yet

    So it may be that your not training at your real threshold because most of us (except RDO can train 2 hours near his threshold) can only hold it for about an hour. Many of us use the typical 2 x 20 minute effort training @ 91 to 95% FT or a 1 x 60 @ FT or some other similar combination. By you stating that you can do threshold for 2 hours indicates to me that you have the ability to train even harder than you are currently training and you are under estimating your threshold. In other words you have more growing room ahead on your threshold and even the more advanced racers are always trying to improve Functional Threshold. It is a never ending battle. If one gets their FT up to 300 for instance then more than likely it will be their desire to get to 320 next season or as the next goal. Many refer to Lydiard (another good read) on this subject that training aerobic conditioning is tougher in a sense that it takes longer to achieve than training anaerobic. Lydiard leaned toward training aerobic and as the event or season neared he would introduce higher intensity work to train that energy system.

    So in a nutshell it is my opinion that you join many of through this winter training to improve your aerobic conditioning. It would be nice to know what your FT would be so that you then have an idea when you are training of how that feels (RPE). I remember back when I was using HR and thought I too was training at threshold and went to a place to have my FT tested. I did not make it through the test and quickly realized it was a whole lot harder than I had imagined trying to hold that kind of power output for 60 minutes. The problem with RPE is that you don't know when you drift in and out of that training range and by doing this it may be a little easier, but with a PM you know for sure that are really sustaining that effort. That is still good training though and why you are doing well in your current ability.

    Anyway there are guys on this forum that can do a much better job explaining this than I can. Let me help you in pointing out some of those names. If you see a post by RapdaddyO and Dave pay special attention because those guys know their stuff both in experience and in sports science. Probably the best advice one can find on this board. There are some others to pay attention like swampy and lanier. Swampy has a lot of experience and especially when it comes to climbing and long distance events.

    To your question on gym work and strength conditioning it will not help in your cycling goal and I am speaking from the position that I am a lifter and former competitive bodybuilder as well as formerly a consultant on strength training. My lifting is really a monkeywrench in progressing in cycling or in other words I probably could progress better if I drop lifting and focused purely on cycling.

    This year I have intentionally focused on training on flat terrain so that I can apply consistent torque through most of the duration of the ride and minimize any coasting or non training time. Training in the mountain is good if you have long climbs that you can use in the same manner. When I have joined back in with my friends that have been focused training exclusively with mountain routes I have been able to keep them in sight even though I have not done any focused mountain training. My goal has been to improve my FT and that alone. I have not done any focused work on AWC either, but come closer to your event that is something to consider. What I see as a problem for many that simply say, "to be a better climber you need to climb more" is that when I go with those friends to a mountain route is that they drop it to their lowest gear and spin easy up the hill. So they are not any better of a climber than they were the year before because they are not stimulating enough stress to promote progress. They climb good because they are about 30 lbs lighter than me, but with improved fitness it is starting to put me closer to them. The last climb I did with the guys and gals I was third to reach the crest and I had the best climbers in my sight. Now if I were to lose about 30 lbs of muscle I think I could really discourage a few of them because they think they have an edge on me because I train on flat terrain. I say all of that with humor and humility because I still have a lot of work ahead to improve and I will be doing a lot of training as it continues now and through the winter.

    best wishes and I look forward to your participation
     
  7. GraceB

    GraceB New Member

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    Thanks Felt! Thank you for the detailed reply and helping me 'navigate' my way around these forums!

    I am feeling plateaud right now although I ended up sick the beginning of August and my brother got married towards the end of August, so, really, my fitness has been in decline since my century in July. It was great though, if you had asked me at the beginning of June if I could complete the distance > 20 mph I might have thought you crazy! But very happy to have been able to do it, and to pull it off with only starting serious training in May. (I had a shoulder injury in April that set me back.) The speed was more of a "come-back" though rather than being a newbie at going those speeds but the longest I had ridden previously was about 135k. It probably is easier to achieve the level you had been at previously than to achieve a new level, but I thought 8 weeks was pretty good!

    Yes, I guess I am at a disadvantage by not having a power meter, but that is not in the cards this year. Not sure how to measure threshold other than heart rate. My heart rate though is definitely in threshold range for those extended periods of times. However, I am sure there is rest thrown in as well. A typical 4-hour ride for me might be 1/2 zone 3 and 1/2 zone 4-5. Maybe if I did more endurance work my heart rate might come down. But I do the bulk of my training in zone 4, well, during the summer months anyway. I just did my first predominantly zone 2 ride yesterday that I haven't done in a while. The day before I did 1hr36 at zone 4, but the total ride was 3hr50, the first hour or so of that ride was also z2.

    You are right. More disciplined, structured training is probably what would enable me to start hanging with the faster crowd. Right now I am just riding around (which I enjoy!) and throwing time trials in at least once / week. I have been learning to ride faster by riding with faster groups. I haven't been on any rides by myself since the spring / early summer unless it was a time trial.

    I don't know how accurate those power approximations on strava are. If strava were to be believed my ft should lie somewhere around 210 watts. How to measure that and how to sustain that for a 20 or 60 minute session without access to power readings though is a hmm.

    Oh, also for the gym, I have been a gym rat for most of my life and I love the gym. I joke because I have 'squatters bum' (it'll never be flat!). I can't get completely away from it. I don't lift as a sport but I do enjoy lifting. Right now I am only doing free weights about 1x / week. Actually something off topic, but, my hamstrings have never been tighter. I was in the gym on Thursday and am only now feeling the pain subside. I hadn't been in the gym all summer though. But, the hamstrings are so tight that I am sure I am going to have to work on that over the winter (tried a lying hamstring curl and my legs just seized up .. on the first rep and with hardly any weight). Also, I am putting most of my gym time this year into functional strength training with TRX & kettlebells. I actually stopped lifting when I was younger because I was scared I was getting too much definition in my thighs, now, cycling, I am happy I worked so hard on my legs.
     
  8. smaryka

    smaryka Member

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    What kind of hills are you talking about? 5 min efforts, 15 min efforts, one hour efforts? That will make a difference to what your training should be to get better at them.

    Losing weight (if you are not already at your peak weight, which you say you aren't) should be one of the big priorities no matter what. You will see a huge improvement from losing 5kgs (~8% of your weight).
     
  9. GraceB

    GraceB New Member

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    The hills I refer to are anywhere between 1 - 20 minutes. We don't have anything too hilly or mountaneous here or on the route I am preparing to do. But it depends on the pitch. I can be dropped within 10 seconds if it is the right pitch (let's say 6-8% or higher). Other people can fly up the hills while others can hang in with the group. Me, I wave and say 'see you at the top'.
     
  10. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    The obvious way to get better at climbing is of course to climb a lot. Unless you are very focused it is difficult to repeat a short hill over and over as opposed to having a long steep climb that forces you to do or die.
    I am fortunate, I guess, that I have an abundance of climbing to do where I live. Power to weight ratio is the key. If you don't have the big hills trying training in a higher gear and forcing yourself to work a little harder while maintaining the same cadence.
    I would somewhat disagree with Felt on one issue. If you don't have adequate core strength you can develop cramps on a long ride in the arms or shoulders so I feel it is important to keep your upper body toned. Will it win a race for you, probably not but it might keep you from abandoning one.
    A strong training patner is always a plus to make you push a little harder. Do your suffering on the training rides and not on a scheduled event ride.
     
  11. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

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    For very long rides you should almost never be riding above threshold (except maybe on a short rise here and there). Certainly any hill >= a few minutes will be ridden at threshold or below. (I say this having done a *very* hilly 100 mile Gran Fondo two days ago in which I was riding with a pack of pros almost the whole way so trust me on this.) So for your ride you need to work on three things: threshold, endurance, and getting light. Those three things will maximize your ability to stay with this group over the long haul. Over the winter the primary one to work on is getting light. It's too long ahead of time to really worry about the other two, though obviously staying in good shape the whole winter will help. I would not recommend doing any gym work at all really, and especially upper body gym work, because it will only add weight and hurt your cause.

    My recommendation: keep up a decent schedule of L2-L4 work during the winter and just try to lose as much weight as you can so you can come into spring really light. Don't burn yourself out mentally. Just keep it mostly fun and keep in shape. During spring, try to hold onto your low weight as much as possible and work up to at least 8-10hrs/wk of lots of high quality threshold and SST and tempo work. Then going into your ride if you can get up to a bit more than that (12 hrs/wk? of high quality stuff) then you'll be monstrously strong going into the ride. Try to structure in some regular L4 and SST every week. If that gets monotonous you could do a little above threshold stuff (100-120% or so) but it probably isn't worth too much for this kind of ride. 2x20s at 105% would be great somewhere along the way the last couple months.
     
  12. GraceB

    GraceB New Member

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    Thank you Lanier,

    Starting in April / May I do local TTs which is about 20-25 minutes at approx 105% of FT (I might get some odd looks but I guess I could ride the course x2 with a rest in between, how long should the rest be?). Most of my rides in July / August were right about at threshold, maybe slightly under (~ 97% average of Threshold HR over 3-4 hr rides). I have other goals as well but my primary limiter is exactly that, the hill climbing. What pushes your threshold up fastest, 2 x20s or 120% stuff? I guess I am not really too worried right now about raising my threshold seeing as we are entering the winter months and I have ~ 6 months before the next outdoor riding season starts, and it's actually a good time to let the fitness drop a little. I guess it might be a good time to try to do a FT test though so I can see where I am now at the end of the season, although I am sure my FT has dropped a bit since July / August.

    How do you maintain the same power going up hill? I guess it is just practice? It's like the last 10 meters of a climb I suddenly learn how to climb sometimes, but at the bottom I'm like a fumbling newbie who has never ridden before. :/ Seeing the top motivates me I think. Also I am trained to carry the same power over the crest of the climb that I was using just before .. partially from coaching and partially because of always being behind at that point in the climb I had to develop at least one good habit to help me catch back up. But as soon as I get on flat ground, I can up the intensity again, so I don't know if it's purely power?

    Most of my training weeks in season are between 8-15 hrs so I don't foresee any problems with the volume you suggest. Where can I read more about SST?

    PS: Somebody please hide the cappuccinos .. oh and the donuts ! ;) Maybe I'll keep you guys updated with how the weight loss is going. Thank you for the advice.
     
  13. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    There's plenty of stuff on the web regarding SST (Sweet Spot Training) and a search on this site using for 'sst' or 'sweet spot' should bring up plenty of hits. You might start with some of Frank Overton's articles: http://www.fascatcoaching.com/sweetspotpartdeux.html

    or you could look at Charles Howe's power training guide that follows similar philosophies: http://velodynamics2.webs.com/rcgtp1.pdf you don't really need to use a power meter to train based on these approaches, the meter gives objective feedback on how you did the workouts but the key is to do the work with or without the meter.

    Or one way I've come to think of it over the years, train on the bike similar to ways many if not most middle distance to distance runners train to run. IOW, do a lot of good solid paced workouts that require effort, get you breathing steadily and deeply, require focus to avoid dropping to an easy jogging pace yet aren't based on crazy hard sprints up every hill nor looking at the flowers as your roll from coffee shop to coffee shop the two extremes many cyclists gravitate towards. Do good solid work on most rides, sustain efforts longer when you can but try to ride with quality and effort but without totally blowing yourself up when you're out on the bike. That's pretty much SST in a nutshell, rather than tons of miles ridden easily day in and day out (LSD) or super short intense sessions for fewer weekly hours (HIIT) you ride a reasonable 8 to 14 hours per week but ride those miles with some focus and often including things like 2x20 style SST/Threshold intervals on your harder days.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  14. smaryka

    smaryka Member

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    Not sure if you can rent or borrow a powermeter for a few weeks where you are (in the UK we have a company that rents them) but if you can get one even for just a handful of hilly rides the data will shed a lot of light on how you climb and what you can improve. Most people hit the bottom of a hill way too hard and die halfway up. Unless you're in a race or a ride where you need to hang onto wheels, you really want to back off a bit at the bottom (as in, don't go as hard as you think you should). Try to maintain an even effort for the first half then ramp it up a bit in the second half if you can. Strong over the top as you already do is great.

    Aside from that, are you running enough gears to be comfortable climbing steeper stuff? My preferred cadence is 90-100 for most things and I run a compact and 12-27 as the hills I ride here in the UK can get up to 25% and the roads are often rough and bumpy. So I need all those gears! And I consider myself a climber. I know others like to grind a gear but I prefer to sit as long as possible and spin up a hill until I have to stand because I've run out of gears to sit comfortably (usually around 18% gradient). Like I said, if you're in a race it's a different story but if you're doing rides where people are riding hills at their own pace and then regrouping at the top, then making sure you have the gears and can pace yourself up the climb is important to improving at climbing.

    Fwiw climbing never really feels "easy", you just go faster (to paraphrase Greg Lemond). Short hill climb TTs are sort of my thing and each and every one is agony and suffering, even when I win. :D
     
  15. GraceB

    GraceB New Member

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    I have a basic road bike (Giant Avail 3, the women's equiv to the Defy 3).

    I have stock wheels. Stock components. Stock everything.

    My friends I am trying to keep up with all have fancy stuff. (They keep telling me I've out grown my bike, but this is all I have, and as peculiar as I am, I only have one bike.)

    All that to say I am riding a triple, with a 9 speed on the back (my bike won't hold a 10). Also, don't ask me about the # of teeth, I actually don't know. I just know it should be about equivalent to a compact. I often will get in my lowest gear maybe sometimes before I need it. Sometimes I'm afraid the bike won't shift though if I don't. The bike itself weighs about 25lb.

    If I am trying to hang onto a wheel at the bottom I probably am hitting the bottom hard and then fading. If I just go at my own pace I go pretty easy and try to stay within myself all the way up and accelerating just at the top. Soon as we are on flat ground I feel as though I am on even ground again and can start making up time, and I have usually saved enough gas on the climb that I can gun it at the top to try and catch back up (I use descents the same way). I don't know about expending more effort on the climb because I kinda feel that it won't help much and then I won't have enough energy left to get back on with the group after the top. Some of our group rides turn into "mini" races. Sometimes they wait at the top though. I might be on the other side of the spectrum and not challenging myself enough up the climbs. Gearing down too soon? How do you determine when to change gears?

    But, my goal is to learn to climb with the group, assuming they hold a steady, civilized pace up the climb.

    (I'm tired of hearing "If you could only climb, you'd be a really strong rider.")

    About borrowing a power meter. I have access to a power meter at about $80 / hour. I just feel that is kind of steep and more than I can afford to pay right now. It does come with a professional coach. Other than that I don't really have access to one.
     
  16. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    As riders we often excel at one thing or another. Some are all-rounders. You might need more work on the hills but it's possible that like some pro's, you have the broom wagon on your heels up the climb but could crush your enemies and see them driven before you on the flats (it's a Conan thing).

    Becoming intimate with gearing and how and when to use them are as important a learning curve as any other skill on the bike and no one can predict when that will happen. I've been riding a very long time and feel like I've only recently really mastered gear selection for maximum efficiency over the top of short steep risers maintaining absolute maximum speed and mementum without blowing up. The flipside is to play it conservative but what fun is that?

    You mention that you can stay within yourself and accelerate at the top - imo you have actually mastered the more difficult part. Climbing efficiency can be improved with intervals on the flats but nothing is better for climbing than climbing. There's something about knowing that even if you want to you cannot stop, or the bike will keel over, and that only the mountain can let you off the hook.
     
  17. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    If you are the natural time trialer you claim to be, then ride to your strengths. Let them go on the hills and catch up on the flats.

    If you insist staying with them on the hills, proper gearing might help.

    20 minutes on a hill is not hard. Just settle in and do the effort you can do for 20 mintes. If you stay with them, OK. If not, OK also.

    ---

    I did a 100 miles a couple days ago. Most of the ride I was within a mile of a group of 2 other guys. They would pass me on the flats. I would pass them on the hills. They rode to their strengths. I rode to mine.

    I was riding with a 50-34 and a 16-30. Seemed to be a good choice for me. I was smart enough not to try to follow them on the flats. They were smart enough to not follow me on the hills.
     
  18. GraceB

    GraceB New Member

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    Thanks "an old guy". That is what I did this year. As I mentioned I rode over 100 miles with the same group this past July. What I didn't mention is that they dropped me 5 or 6 times along the way, during which they kept on riding and I rode my way, er "TTed my way", back onto the group. And then I stayed at the front for most of the end, which was fairly flat. If I wasn't confident in my TT ability I might not have made it back on. Particularly during one section where we passed another group that I knew and I actually said to my group that I might drop back and join this other group that was going just a bit slower. So when I dropped shortly after they thought I was going back to this other group. So they didn't ease up at all. Then I made my way back into the group again. They were suprised to see me at that point. Of course, I can't always do this, but with this group at the speed they go, I am usually able to do it.

    So yes, I could play to my strengths and just ride both days by myself, maybe catching a group here or there, or I could try to ride with the same group in the same fashion again next year, parlaying the "yo-yo" effect (If the hills are big enough, I might not make it back on). But, if I didn't bother to set goals then I wouldn't push myself to achieve them.
     
  19. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

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    Actually IMO it takes no practice. In fact most people maintain more power going up hill naturally. If you had a power meter you would probably see this in yourself as well. I live in a very hilly area (lots of steep hills in the 20-45 min range) and I actually find I get as good or better fitness riding mostly on the flats and then transferring that to the hills. Doing all hill work, which would be easy to do here, is not great for my all round fitness.

    If you are good at TT's it means you have a high Watts/CdA. Often large riders are this way because bigger people put out more power but aren't too much worse in the aero dimension than smaller riders. Being good at hills, on the other hand, requires high Watts/Kg. The fact that you are strong on the flats and not on the hills means you have high watts/CdA but not as high watts/kg.

    Obviously the only way to fix this is to up the watts and/or lower the kg. My suggestion would be to do as I said above and try to lose weight in the off season and then hold it off as you build. It seems easiesr to me that losing weight while building. If you want to get scientific about it you can record your calories in and calories out (from riding) every day and try to always keep them in slightly negative balance. It's a pain to do but it works better than just winging it.
     
  20. GraceB

    GraceB New Member

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    I think one of my problems though is when I approach a hill already feeling defeated before the hill even starts! In that case I do believe I lower my output instead of trying to get up the hill. :/ So all of these other things I hope will help to build confidence so I don't feel defeated before I even begin. When I am solo or when approaching a hill I believe I can "get over" of course it is different.

    I agree with you on losing weight, I find it next to impossible during the summer months. I am too tempted to replace those lost carbs asap especially when I know I need to do another hard workout the following day. My weight is starting to drop now that I am lowering the intensity on my rides.

    I found an article that may be part of the source of my problem. http://www.active.com/cycling/Articles/Training-With-the-Zone-3-Syndrome.htm They call it the zone 3 syndrome. As I mentioned previously the majority of my training this summer was near threshold or high zone 3 mixed with a lot of low zone 4. (With some time trials at high zone 4 mixed in.)

    Here is what the article says:

    "Do you find group rides fairly easy, even when the pace picks up, yet you can't seem to make that final acceleration or stay with the group over the steepest part of the climb?"

    Which is basically my problem in a nut shell. The article recommends backing off and keeping easy rides easy and hard rides hard. I know there is a place for tempo and threshold, but my body is so acclimated that those are my 'go all day' zones and I am finding backing off difficult mentally. But, I am doing it and riding more and more in zone 2. I may need to forego some group rides next year in order to keep it up, but thanks to you guys I am putting more structure into what I am doing.

    Here is another quote from that article: "Intensity on every ride with no recovery results in sustained and difficult-to-overcome mediocrity and a seemingly endless plateau of middle-of-the-road fitness."
     
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