Hills



Harri_in_NS

New Member
Mar 27, 2004
17
0
0
Originally posted by Carrera
You have the same problem as me. You're heavy to be climbing hills. Having said that, you're also very tall and it may be you have a low fat level with heavy bones that make up your weight.
Sure, you'll be able to climb if you get fit enough but at 195 you'll certainly have to grit your teeth and work to get up steep, long gradiants. If you have any puppy fat it would be a good idea to lose as much as you can so you're lean. You can experiment with different types of climbs. My own favourites are the long but not excessively steep ones where I can stay seated for most of the time but wind up breathing pretty hard.
Personally, I love climbing hills whether I'm good at it or not. Hills make me feel like I'm working hard.

Hey thanks for the tips, I'll keep them in mind next time I'm pounding up a hill:cool: Cheers!
 

Carrera

New Member
Feb 2, 2004
4,856
0
0
54
I just took time to do a long climb before going to work (on nights). It's pretty hard work for sure. To be honest most of my work on the bike involves climbing these days due to my working hours and the need to spend less time on the bike (with a focus on intensity).
If anyone feels like a bit of inspiration before heading for the hills, Lance Armstrong's "Every Second Counts" is quite an inspiration. Lance used to spend over an hour doing a climb and then repeat the whole thing.
The climb I just did today is more of a rolling hill ascent on high land. Only very small parts of it were really steep.
Here in the U.K. we're blessed with plenty of high terrain to practise on but cursed with lousy weather.
By the way, Armstrong remarked he did a very long climb at a gradiant of 7.5. in his book. Does anybody know how steep that would be?


Originally posted by Harri_in_NS
Hey thanks for the tips, I'll keep them in mind next time I'm pounding up a hill:cool: Cheers!
 

zaskar

New Member
Aug 3, 2003
869
0
0
i ride a mountain with a avg of 7% grade and at 5 miles it's 4,000ft i ride up between 12-14 mph.
 

ABogoni

New Member
Apr 5, 2004
22
0
0
35
Learn to love climbing, sadly I do. Well, unless I’m suffering after 4 hours on the saddle.
 

EoinC

New Member
Feb 9, 2004
1,615
1
0
Originally posted by ABogoni
Learn to love climbing, sadly I do. Well, unless I’m suffering after 4 hours on the saddle.
What part of Perth do you ride?

Eoin C
 

Fixey

New Member
Mar 9, 2004
635
0
0
Originally posted by kmurnane
A couple of general tips that may be too elementary for you but here goes anyway.

1. With due respect to what another poster mentioned, spinning is usually better than mashing on hills. Riding in a big gear, especially if you're a big guy, increases the chance of muscle and knee injury and leds to faster lactic acid buildup which makes climbing even harder. Keeping a high cadence, especially on hills, takes a lot of practice. Don't worry about speed getting up the hill when you're first learning to spin, worry about form. The speed will come.

2. Stay seated as much as possible. Standing gives you more power in the short run but it is less efficient and you will wish you had the energy later in the ride. The pros make it look easy but good good form when standing is difficult. Poor form leads to a lot of thrashing back and forth and twisting at the hips which wastes a lot of energy and can lead to back soreness and tightening on longer rides. Standing occasionally and briefly on long climbs to bring different muscles groups into play is a good idea.

3. Pedal in a circle. You’ve got a whole leg and 360 degrees of arc to move it through. Use the whole thing. Climbing is tuf enuf without trying to do it with only part of the available muscle power you have. Clipless pedals make this a lot easier.

4. Drop your heels. Keeping the heels low brings more of the hamstrings and glutes into play. These are very powerful muscle groups – use them to get you over the hill. Many riders tend to point the toes downward which puts less stress on hams and glutes and more on calves (frequent calf cramping is a good indicator you’re pointing your toes down).

5. Change working muscle groups. There are several ways to do this. If you typically ride with toes pointed down or feet flat, drop your heels for a bit to bring your hamstrings and glutes more into play and give your quadriceps (the muscles on the front of the thigh) time to recover. Likewise, if you usually ride with your heels dropped, raise them so your feet are flat or point your toes down. Shift forward and back on the seat. Sitting on the front of the seat accentuates the quads, sitting on the back accentuates the glutes. Stand up for a brief interval and then sit back down. Just before you stand, shift into a bigger gear and then shift back to the smaller gear when you sit down. You will have more power when you stand and if you stay in the smaller gear you will lose momentum. Use these techniques for 10 to 30 pedal strokes periodically throughout the climb to buy recovery time.

6. Keep a loose, relaxed grip on the handlebars. As you strain up the hill it’s easy to grip harder and harder. This can lead to numbness in the hands. More importantly, the tension in the hands will spread up the arms to the neck, shoulders and chest. Tightness in the chest will restrict breathing which will reduce oxygen consumption. Oxygen is necessary to remove lactic acid from working muscles. Your legs will tire more quickly and you’ll have a harder time finishing the climb if you are not breathing freely.

7. Gear shifting. This is perhaps the most difficult hill-climbing skill to develop. Because of the way the gears work, when there is load on the chain, such as when you’re climbing a hill, downshifting to an easier gear puts more strain on the chain and the shifting mechanism than shifting up to a higher gear. You’ll often need to downshift to an easier gear during a climb but if you don’t do it soon enough, there may be so much stress on the chain that you can’t make the shift and then you’re stopped dead in a gear that’s too big to get up the hill. On the other hand, if you downshift too soon, you lose your momentum which can turn an easy climb into a hard one in the blink of an eye. It’s all about timing. The trick is to relax your pedal stroke for a brief instant and shift a split second before you have to so that you can put forth the same effort throughout the climb. The only way to get good at this is to practice. There’s nothing like a perfect climb where each shift comes smoothly at precisely the right moment and you feel like you’ve just flown over the hill as if it wasn’t there.

8. And as has been mentioned repeatedly - practice, practice, practice. There is a lot here to try and put together and it’s easier to be successful on the small hills than the big ones. Also, success on the small hills today will lead to success on the big ones tomorrow.

Hope this helps.

--Kevin

I agree with a great deal of this but I think it is misleading to say everyone should spin little gears on a hill. I think it important to find a gear and climbing style to suit you. I disagree that using a bigger gear produces a faster lactate build up also. I would also question your 4th point, I donot believe dropping the heal is a good thing, infact when I use Full circle pedling I slightly drop the toes. There is much debate on "Full Circle" pedling but I agree it is beneficial on hills.
 

limerickman

Moderator
Jan 5, 2004
16,130
115
63
All of the points raised by the various posters are valid.

I just want to expand upon a point that Carrera made : try to locate a hill which has a more gradual ascent rather than a steep ascent and practice on this hill until you become more comfortable.
There is no point in trying to ascend very steep climbs - if you're not used to climbing.
You'll fail or you'll exhaust yourself.
As you become more comfortable - then progress on to some steeper climbs.

Climbing is a skill and it's skill that has to be learnt.
therefore you need to practice and practice on relatively easy hills.
You will find that you will become accustomed to climbing as your
body becomes more used to the stress of climbing. (this will happen much more quickly than you think).

If you can lose some weight - it would benefit you.
If you can't lose some weight - don't worry.
Jut practice.
 

edd

New Member
Jul 8, 2003
594
0
0
Originally posted by Carrera

By the way, Armstrong remarked he did a very long climb at a gradiant of 7.5. in his book. Does anybody know how steep that would be?

7.5% grade = 8º or 140mm rise per metre, which isn't very steep, So I've got to ask how do cyclists grade hills ?
 

edd

New Member
Jul 8, 2003
594
0
0
Originally posted by Fixey
I agree with a great deal of this but I think it is misleading to say everyone should spin little gears on a hill. I think it important to find a gear and climbing style to suit you. I disagree that using a bigger gear produces a faster lactate build up also. I would also question your 4th point, I donot believe dropping the heal is a good thing, infact when I use Full circle pedling I slightly drop the toes. There is much debate on "Full Circle" pedling but I agree it is beneficial on hills.

Short hill.... say to the top in three minutes... I can crush.... in a big gear at 56 cadence, out of the saddle. If long climb do it at about 80 cad in the saddle.
Using a big gear at low cadence fatigues the muscles more I think, but you get more yards and it's a pump.
 

Carrera

New Member
Feb 2, 2004
4,856
0
0
54
12 -14 mph seems pretty good by my standards. I find my own speed fluctuates quite a bit. Sometimes I'll be climbing around 13 mph but I may well drop to only 7 mph on a moderate gradiant.
One technique I like to use on familiar hills is to stay in the seat as long as possible and then get out of it once the slope gets intense. I'll then just stay that way and push from the hip while taking deep breaths of air. The hardest part and real test of your fitness is when you can rapidly change gear at the top of a gradient and move up. To do this you need to be in a state where your breathing is still under control. If my fitness is down I find I can't change gear on reaching the summit as there's nothing left in the tank. In such cases I have to stay low till my stamina comes back.
My guess is that anyone who wants to be a good climber may consider the following basic advice:
(1) Get your body-fat down as low as is sensible. Less weight on the bike is an asset where gravity is concerned (on the way up).
(2) Be aggressive and attack the climb with determination. If it hurts like hell on the way up, remember it's doing you good and you'll get fitter through the effort.
(3) Fit a bike-computer and note your speed. Try and find the best gears for your own performance and experiment.
(4) Don't overtrain. Reward successes with a day on the flat at slower speeds or consider planning intensity levels.
(5) Seek out monster hills if you're brave and take up the challenge. If you fail, build up your level till you can finally get all the way up since it's a good feeling to prevail.
(6) Remember that being a good climber is only half the battle. You'll still need to practise speed on the flat as well and descents.
Just some thoughts that may help.



Originally posted by zaskar
i ride a mountain with a avg of 7% grade and at 5 miles it's 4,000ft i ride up between 12-14 mph.
 

zaskar

New Member
Aug 3, 2003
869
0
0
Originally posted by Carrera


12 -14 mph seems pretty good by my standards. I find my own speed fluctuates quite a bit. Sometimes I'll be climbing around 13 mph but I may well drop to only 7 mph on a moderate gradiant.


I did a search on MT LEMMON the grade is steeper then i thought. i love riding the mountain there is a 9 mile TT on it in AUG i think i have a good chance of placing well on it comparing my times and speeds. the winner 34 min for the 9 miles. if you ride to the summit it's 8,500ft 25 miles.



Mt. Lemmon located north of Tucson Arizona is an awesome climb from the scenery perspective. The grade is a constant 5%, gaining a vertical mile to the Mt. Bigelow Road. After that the road rollers up and down for about 5 miles before the final 1,000' climb past the ski area to the summit. http://www.everestchallenge.com/ecreferrences.htm


I also agree with all your climbing tips, i lost 15lbs down to 140lbs and man what a differance in speed. also attacking the hills, short kinda steep hills out of the saddle sprinting this built up my fittness, also i push kinda big gears, this gives the speed. in group rides riders will start clicking to low high spinning gears and the slow right down and i sail away.
 

zaskar

New Member
Aug 3, 2003
869
0
0
The Mt. Graham Hill Climb, 9/28/03 (http://presteza.homestead.com/MtGrahamindex.html) Located in the southeastern corner of Arizona, Mt. Graham draws riders each year to a spectacular event. The 20 mile mass-start road race starts @ mile post 115 across from the Federal prison [elev. 3,379 ft.] and winds up the "Swift Trail" (State Rt. 366) to the finish @ mile post 135 near the Snow Flat camp ground [elev. 9,068 ft.]. The 5,689 ft. climb travels through high desert grassland, oak woodland, pine forest to alpine meadow.

I understand that some of the racers continued up the paved road to the top of Heliograph Peak at 10,022' rivaling Inyo County's two awesome climbs.

Im also going to do this one it's the steepest climb in AZ for bike.
 

Julian Radowsky

New Member
Sep 30, 2003
174
0
0
52
Originally posted by edd
7.5% grade = 8º or 140mm rise per metre, which isn't very steep, So I've got to ask how do cyclists grade hills ?

Actually, 7.5% grade is an incline of 4.29º
The angle of the incline is ARCTAN (GRADE/100), GRADE is 100*TAN(ANGLE)

A grade of 100% is only an angle of 45º
A grade of 15% is an angle of 8.53º
 

edd

New Member
Jul 8, 2003
594
0
0
Originally posted by Julian Radowsky
Actually, 7.5% grade is an incline of 4.29º
The angle of the incline is ARCTAN (GRADE/100), GRADE is 100*TAN(ANGLE)

A grade of 100% is only an angle of 45º
A grade of 15% is an angle of 8.53º

Thanks !
 

DarrylZ

New Member
Dec 9, 2003
79
0
0
55
Hi there
All the advice has been excellent, from a fellow sufferer(6'3" @ 98kg or 216pds, with 9% body fat) i have accepted i will never be a Lance, though the one thing i can add is just be patient, it does get better, and the day that happens it changes your whole mindset about hills. And cycling takes on a new dimension.
Good Luck
 

Carrera

New Member
Feb 2, 2004
4,856
0
0
54
I often wonder what people mean by big gears. I do most of my climbing in my third gear (my third lowest and easiest gear). I know of one particular climb, though, that I can barely get up in my first gear (my very lowest).
I did try climbing on the big cog once and found it fine but when I found out you should never use the smallest gear on the big cog (it ruins the crank) I stopped.
These days I'm doing a lot of climbing out of the seat but I noticed of late that my elbow and forearms ache a little from the pull on the bars as I fight my way up.

Originally posted by zaskar
I did a search on MT LEMMON the grade is steeper then i thought. i love riding the mountain there is a 9 mile TT on it in AUG i think i have a good chance of placing well on it comparing my times and speeds. the winner 34 min for the 9 miles. if you ride to the summit it's 8,500ft 25 miles.



Mt. Lemmon located north of Tucson Arizona is an awesome climb from the scenery perspective. The grade is a constant 5%, gaining a vertical mile to the Mt. Bigelow Road. After that the road rollers up and down for about 5 miles before the final 1,000' climb past the ski area to the summit. http://www.everestchallenge.com/ecreferrences.htm


I also agree with all your climbing tips, i lost 15lbs down to 140lbs and man what a differance in speed. also attacking the hills, short kinda steep hills out of the saddle sprinting this built up my fittness, also i push kinda big gears, this gives the speed. in group rides riders will start clicking to low high spinning gears and the slow right down and i sail away.
 

EoinC

New Member
Feb 9, 2004
1,615
1
0
Originally posted by Carrera but when I found out you should never use the smallest gear on the big cog (it ruins the crank) I stopped. [/B]
Using the extreme gears of smallest chainring/smallest sprocket or largest chainring/largest sprocket does not affect the cranks. What it can do is place excessive side loading on the chain and sprockets/chainrings as the 2 planes are so far out of alignment. This is, however, a generalisation as the misalignment is dependent upon the particular setup.
 

edd

New Member
Jul 8, 2003
594
0
0
Originally posted by Carrera
I often wonder what people mean by big gears. I do most of my climbing in my third gear (my third lowest and easiest gear). I know of one particular climb, though, that I can barely get up in my first gear (my very lowest).
I did try climbing on the big cog once and found it fine but when I found out you should never use the smallest gear on the big cog (it ruins the crank) I stopped.
These days I'm doing a lot of climbing out of the seat but I noticed of late that my elbow and forearms ache a little from the pull on the bars as I fight my way up.

Big gears are the ones that give you the biggest wheel size if you calculate the chain ring and cassette gears, ie smallest cassette gear x your biggest chain ring is your biggest gear.

Best practice is to ride the three cassette gears closest to the spokes in your small chain ring only and the last two cassette furthest from the spokes in your big chain ring only, the middle four cassette gears in either chain ring. This makes for longer chain life.

I see lot of people jumping up and down their cassette skipping over gears to get big gearing differences when all they really need to do is sit in the middle of their cassette and change chain rings.

If you have a triple similar principle applies.
 

Carrera

New Member
Feb 2, 2004
4,856
0
0
54
Next time I do some serious climbing, I'll take my camera and upload a pic of the summit of a climb I attempt every so often. The gradiant is extremely steep and the length of the climb extends way beyond vision. The only way you can get up to the top is out of the seat for every stroke of the pedal and it really is a tortuous ordeal.




Originally posted by zaskar
I did a search on MT LEMMON the grade is steeper then i thought. i love riding the mountain there is a 9 mile TT on it in AUG i think i have a good chance of placing well on it comparing my times and speeds. the winner 34 min for the 9 miles. if you ride to the summit it's 8,500ft 25 miles.



Mt. Lemmon located north of Tucson Arizona is an awesome climb from the scenery perspective. The grade is a constant 5%, gaining a vertical mile to the Mt. Bigelow Road. After that the road rollers up and down for about 5 miles before the final 1,000' climb past the ski area to the summit. http://www.everestchallenge.com/ecreferrences.htm


I also agree with all your climbing tips, i lost 15lbs down to 140lbs and man what a differance in speed. also attacking the hills, short kinda steep hills out of the saddle sprinting this built up my fittness, also i push kinda big gears, this gives the speed. in group rides riders will start clicking to low high spinning gears and the slow right down and i sail away.
 

edd

New Member
Jul 8, 2003
594
0
0
Originally posted by Carrera
Next time I do some serious climbing, I'll take my camera and upload a pic of the summit of a climb I attempt every so often. The gradiant is extremely steep and the length of the climb extends way beyond vision. The only way you can get up to the top is out of the seat for every stroke of the pedal and it really is a tortuous ordeal.

Don't really understand your terminology

replace the words "extremely" to "very" the word "tortuous" to "fun" ( they mean the same thing really ) and "ordeal" to "experience"

So it reads:

Next time I do some serious climbing, I'll take my camera and upload a pic of the summit of a climb I attempt every so often. The gradient is very steep and the length of the climb extends way beyond vision. The only way you can get up to the top is out of the seat for every stroke of the pedal and it really is a fun experience.

Now I understand and I'm envious.