HILLS Yay or Nay



Muaythaibike

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Oct 30, 2007
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I am new to riding and cannot decide if I like hills. The long steep ones make me feel like I am so out of shape. But the ride down is fun. I live on the South Shore of Boston and flat grounds are hard to find. I know that hills are part of the sport but I was wondering what do people think that live in flat country (Flordia). I just never realized how many hills there are around be until I got on a bike. I dont even notice them in my car.
 

Olie

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Sep 29, 2004
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Muaythaibike said:
I am new to riding and cannot decide if I like hills. The long steep ones make me feel like I am so out of shape. But the ride down is fun. I live on the South Shore of Boston and flat grounds are hard to find. I know that hills are part of the sport but I was wondering what do people think that live in flat country (Flordia). I just never realized how many hills there are around be until I got on a bike. I dont even notice them in my car.
Love hills. Most of my intence rides are "hill hunting"
 

daveryanwyoming

Well-Known Member
Oct 3, 2006
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Muaythaibike said:
I am new to riding and cannot decide if I like hills. The long steep ones make me feel like I am so out of shape...
Make peace with climbing and you'll be a more complete rider allowing you to go farther and do more interesting rides. Don't try to kill yourself on hills, back off a bit if you need to so that you don't feel like retching on climbs. Use your low gears or have your bike set up with lower gearing if you need to but most hills shouldn't be too bad if you pace them well. A lot of folks hit hills much too hard and blow up part way up then suffer to the top, back off your pace so that this doesn't happen and you might even start to enjoy climbing. Your fitness will improve if you stick with it and those climbs won't feel as bad.

Good luck,
Dave
 

kk4df

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Jul 30, 2006
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Olie said:
Love hills. Most of my intence rides are "hill hunting"
+1. I love the hills, too. Not that I'm a fast climber or anything, but I enjoy the physical challenge. I especially love the mountain rides. My son (14 yr old) recently went with me on a mountain ride (his first), and when I asked what he enjoyed the most about the ride, he said the long climbs up to the top! Good boy! Just like his father.

Walter
 

Pendejo

Member
Apr 8, 2006
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Muaythaibike said:
I am new to riding and cannot decide if I like hills. The long steep ones make me feel like I am so out of shape. But the ride down is fun. I live on the South Shore of Boston and flat grounds are hard to find. I know that hills are part of the sport but I was wondering what do people think that live in flat country (Flordia). I just never realized how many hills there are around be until I got on a bike. I dont even notice them in my car.
Through the 80s I lived and did my biking in the Catskill Mountain area. Terrain varied from rolling hills, to very steep short hills, to long steep mountains. I didn't race in those days, and my rides typically consisted of 20-60 miles over that terrain, at a pretty good clip (average at least 18 mph and higher, depending on route). I moved to Florida in the early 90s. I haven't ridden up even a small hill in 16 years. I now do 5 and 10K time trials, and my training consists of short high-speed intervals (2 to 6 miles per interval). I'm one of the top age-groupers in Florida, but I often wonder how much of a chump I'd be if I had to tackle any real climbs. I'd either be pleasantly surprised at how much carryover there is from level terrain power to climbing, or unpleasantly surprised at how little there is. Does anyone here know?
 

jhuskey

Moderator
Oct 6, 2003
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Pendejo said:
Through the 80s I lived and did my biking in the Catskill Mountain area. Terrain varied from rolling hills, to very steep short hills, to long steep mountains. I didn't race in those days, and my rides typically consisted of 20-60 miles over that terrain, at a pretty good clip (average at least 18 mph and higher, depending on route). I moved to Florida in the early 90s. I haven't ridden up even a small hill in 16 years. I now do 5 and 10K time trials, and my training consists of short high-speed intervals (2 to 6 miles per interval). I'm one of the top age-groupers in Florida, but I often wonder how much of a chump I'd be if I had to tackle any real climbs. I'd either be pleasantly surprised at how much carryover there is from level terrain power to climbing, or unpleasantly surprised at how little there is. Does anyone here know?


It depends on the individual and about 101 variables.
 

stevecycles

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Jan 23, 2007
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My wife hates hills, and it makes it hard to find good places to ride. I'm no threat for a polka-dot jersey, but I use hills as one measure of my progress. When I started cycling a year and a half ago there were some I could not do, when I made it, I knew I was stronger. Now, I try and do them a little faster, or I try and make it while keeping the heart rate in range, etc.

Ebrace the challenge, and enjoy marking your progress as a medium hill becomes easy and a hard hill becomes doable for you.

Keep going and good luck!
 

RelevantAaron

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Oct 15, 2007
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Muaythaibike said:
I am new to riding and cannot decide if I like hills. The long steep ones make me feel like I am so out of shape. But the ride down is fun. I live on the South Shore of Boston and flat grounds are hard to find. I know that hills are part of the sport but I was wondering what do people think that live in flat country (Flordia). I just never realized how many hills there are around be until I got on a bike. I dont even notice them in my car.


Hills - Yay! It is pretty hard to find a flat ride where I live as well. In fact you would have to put your bike in the car and drive to find flat! The downside is that when you are trying to go easy you really need to hold back on the climbs. Climbing gets easier with experience, but a couple of quick tips to help:

1. Technique counts - body position, knowing what gear to be in, when to stand, etc go a long way. try riding with some more experienced riders if you can and get some tips.

2. Gearing counts - try a forum search, lot's of discussion on this one.

3. Pacing counts - break the hill into thirds - first third really relax and go slower than you think you should, up the pace the next third but still not too hard, and the last third go harder. A lot of newer riders are psyched by the hills and start them harder than they should, hurting them by the top.

Aaron
 

Frigo's Luggage

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Sep 16, 2006
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Pendejo said:
Through the 80s I lived and did my biking in the Catskill Mountain area. Terrain varied from rolling hills, to very steep short hills, to long steep mountains. I didn't race in those days, and my rides typically consisted of 20-60 miles over that terrain, at a pretty good clip (average at least 18 mph and higher, depending on route). I moved to Florida in the early 90s. I haven't ridden up even a small hill in 16 years. I now do 5 and 10K time trials, and my training consists of short high-speed intervals (2 to 6 miles per interval). I'm one of the top age-groupers in Florida, but I often wonder how much of a chump I'd be if I had to tackle any real climbs. I'd either be pleasantly surprised at how much carryover there is from level terrain power to climbing, or unpleasantly surprised at how little there is. Does anyone here know?
I've done a bit of riding in the Margaretville/Fleischmanns/Roxbury area. Those are some tough hills.

My guess is that if you started climbing again, there would be an initial shock to your system but you would adjust quickly. I've known guys from South Jersey that have done Mt. Washington. South Jersey hills are overpasses with a 30 foot evelvation gain over a half mile.

I personally hate hills unless they are just rollers.
 

strader

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Jun 28, 2007
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I think a big part of riding hills is attitude. Before I started riding road bikes or mountain bikes I rode offroad motorcycles. In that, riding steep gnarly technical uphills is half of the fun and challenge. When I started mountain biking I carried over the same mindset. The steeper and more technical the climb the better (with the exception of the dreaded hike-a-bike). It's the most rewarding feeling being able to clear a technical up-hill for the first time, and a great indicator of skill and fitness. I don't get people that shuttle trails on XC bikes to avoid hills, or walk their bikes up everything without even making an effort.

On the road bike, even though the technical/skills aspect is absent, I love the competitive aspect with myself and other riders, and the fitness benefits that come from climbing the hills. In races the vast majority of my passing is on hills, but I think that is largly due to having better than average power/weight and AWC relative to the categories I race in.
For the hill-haters, I would say to think of the hill as a fun challenge and a reward in itself. Remind yourself of the fitness benefits of hill work.
 

Mr. Bill

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Sep 4, 2007
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Where I live, flats lasting more than a hundred yards or so are very rare; it's all rolling hills and some grueling climbs, so I guess if I hated hills I wouldn't be riding at all. Hills hurt, but I consider them a challenge - it's where the real physical conditioning happens. I live on top of a hill - no matter which direction I ride off in, I've got to climb to get back home. What that means is that, no matter what average speed I've managed to make during my ride, that last hill before home will chew a big hunk out of it before I get to the driveway. So I get mad at the hill. It's trying to steal my average speed, something I worked hard for! I snarl at it like a bear. I make fearsome faces at it. "I'm going to rip the a** out of this hill!" I tell myself (yes, hills have an a**, it's the part you're staring right into all the way up). I watch my hard-won average speed go down, down, down, as I climb, and the more it goes down, the madder I get, and the deeper I dig for some little bit of power stashed somewhere. By the time I get to the top I'm breathing like a locomotive and snorting like a buffalo; shooting snot-rockets everywhere. But, you know, the pain goes away within a few seconds of the top; it's a very temporary thing. I feel great when it's over. I pull into the driveway, walk into the living room dripping sweat but pumped up on an endorphin high. "Strong like moose!" I roar.
"Quiet, I'm watching TV!" my wife says, completely unimpressed and recoiling from my approaching sweaty body. Yes, I love hills!
 

jonathandanger

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Jun 23, 2007
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Where I live, flats lasting more than a hundred yards or so are very rare; it's all rolling hills and some grueling climbs, so I guess if I hated hills I wouldn't be riding at all. Hills hurt, but I consider them a challenge - it's where the real physical conditioning happens. I live on top of a hill - no matter which direction I ride off in, I've got to climb to get back home. What that means is that, no matter what average speed I've managed to make during my ride, that last hill before home will chew a big hunk out of it before I get to the driveway. So I get mad at the hill. It's trying to steal my average speed, something I worked hard for! I snarl at it like a bear. I make fearsome faces at it. "I'm going to rip the a** out of this hill!" I tell myself (yes, hills have an a**, it's the part you're staring right into all the way up). I watch my hard-won average speed go down, down, down, as I climb, and the more it goes down, the madder I get, and the deeper I dig for some little bit of power stashed somewhere. By the time I get to the top I'm breathing like a locomotive and snorting like a buffalo; shooting snot-rockets everywhere. But, you know, the pain goes away within a few seconds of the top; it's a very temporary thing. I feel great when it's over. I pull into the driveway, walk into the living room dripping sweat but pumped up on an endorphin high. "Strong like moose!" I roar.
"Quiet, I'm watching TV!" my wife says, completely unimpressed and recoiling from my approaching sweaty body. Yes, I love hills!
I like that sentiment... wish I shared it. I feel the same way about wind though. My favorite discipline is time-trialing. Not that I have ever competed in a time trial, but being a former distance runner-turned-cyclist, I have a time-trialist's mindset. I hate hills, they screw up my pace and I often can't keep up, but once I get to a windy flat road, I use all the lessons I learned from running and my giant lungs and set a killer pace to catch up. Also, at 5'7," I don't have much for wind to blow against when I'm riding in the drops, so flat ground suits me.
 

feel

New Member
Nov 3, 2007
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Mr. Bill said:
Where I live, flats lasting more than a hundred yards or so are very rare; it's all rolling hills and some grueling climbs, so I guess if I hated hills I wouldn't be riding at all. Hills hurt, but I consider them a challenge - it's where the real physical conditioning happens. I live on top of a hill - no matter which direction I ride off in, I've got to climb to get back home. What that means is that, no matter what average speed I've managed to make during my ride, that last hill before home will chew a big hunk out of it before I get to the driveway. So I get mad at the hill. It's trying to steal my average speed, something I worked hard for! I snarl at it like a bear. I make fearsome faces at it. "I'm going to rip the a** out of this hill!" I tell myself (yes, hills have an a**, it's the part you're staring right into all the way up). I watch my hard-won average speed go down, down, down, as I climb, and the more it goes down, the madder I get, and the deeper I dig for some little bit of power stashed somewhere. By the time I get to the top I'm breathing like a locomotive and snorting like a buffalo; shooting snot-rockets everywhere. But, you know, the pain goes away within a few seconds of the top; it's a very temporary thing. I feel great when it's over. I pull into the driveway, walk into the living room dripping sweat but pumped up on an endorphin high. "Strong like moose!" I roar.
"Quiet, I'm watching TV!" my wife says, completely unimpressed and recoiling from my approaching sweaty body. Yes, I love hills!
love your post Mr Bill :D
I'm gonna get angry with the hills next time i'm out
 

velomanct

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Dec 21, 2003
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I like hills, well short steep hills. It's a lot more fun to blast up and down them than it is to sprint on the flats. At 190lbs, I'm not climber, so I don't care for the mtns.
 

bigbadwoulfe

New Member
Dec 2, 2007
53
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Mr. Bill said:
Where I live, flats lasting more than a hundred yards or so are very rare; it's all rolling hills and some grueling climbs, so I guess if I hated hills I wouldn't be riding at all. Hills hurt, but I consider them a challenge - it's where the real physical conditioning happens. I live on top of a hill - no matter which direction I ride off in, I've got to climb to get back home. What that means is that, no matter what average speed I've managed to make during my ride, that last hill before home will chew a big hunk out of it before I get to the driveway. So I get mad at the hill. It's trying to steal my average speed, something I worked hard for! I snarl at it like a bear. I make fearsome faces at it. "I'm going to rip the a** out of this hill!" I tell myself (yes, hills have an a**, it's the part you're staring right into all the way up). I watch my hard-won average speed go down, down, down, as I climb, and the more it goes down, the madder I get, and the deeper I dig for some little bit of power stashed somewhere. By the time I get to the top I'm breathing like a locomotive and snorting like a buffalo; shooting snot-rockets everywhere. But, you know, the pain goes away within a few seconds of the top; it's a very temporary thing. I feel great when it's over. I pull into the driveway, walk into the living room dripping sweat but pumped up on an endorphin high. "Strong like moose!" I roar.
"Quiet, I'm watching TV!" my wife says, completely unimpressed and recoiling from my approaching sweaty body. Yes, I love hills!
nice post! :D