Hills

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Keith Willoughb, Apr 16, 2004.

  1. I've been poring over OS maps, trying to find routes around
    Pontypridd that don't involve hills. These routes don't
    exist. So, I guess I'm going to just have to suck it up and
    get used to going up them.

    Now, at the moment, I can go up inclines. I can climb up
    from Tongwynlais to Caerphilly, which is a couple of hundred
    feet in two miles or so, and that's not much of a problem. A
    little puffed at the end, but basically fine. However, when
    it gets a little steeper, I can do about 50 feet before my
    thighs start to burn and I have to stop. Standing up and
    honking isn't an option - I just can't do it any more.

    So, what's the best way to practise going up hills? Should I
    ride the hills I can do (such as the Tongwynlais route I
    mention above) lots of times? Or should I try to ride up the
    steeper ones and do a few feet extra each time?

    (The best thing I could do is lose weight, but that's a
    little more long term, and I'm thinking that if I learn to
    climb hills weighing what I weigh now, it'll be a picnic
    when I do lose weight - I'm thinking of it as extreme
    training. Like some of you lot climbing hills with a child
    on your back :))

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ "We are not the
    only experiment"
     
    Tags:


  2. Jon Senior wrote:

    > "Keith Willoughby" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >> Now, at the moment, I can go up inclines. I can climb up
    >> from Tongwynlais to Caerphilly, which is a couple of
    >> hundred feet in two miles or so, and that's not much of a
    >> problem. A little puffed at the end, but basically fine.
    >> However, when it gets a little steeper, I can do about 50
    >> feet before my thighs start to burn and I have to stop.
    >> Standing up and honking isn't an option - I just can't do
    >> it any more.
    >
    > I take it you have no more gears in a downward stylee?

    Nope. I've hit the lowest gears on a triple, and twenty
    seconds later you could cook an egg on my upper legs.

    >> So, what's the best way to practise going up hills?
    >> Should I ride the hills I can do (such as the
    >> Tongwynlais route I mention above) lots of times? Or
    >> should I try to ride up the steeper ones and do a few
    >> feet extra each time?
    >
    > Perverse as it may seem, try doing the hills that you can
    > currently do, carrying more weight.

    Hah. OK, I guess it makes sense. I'll put the panniers on.

    > This will improve your fitness and climbing ability. There
    > was an article about this in C+ recently. It is apparently
    > called "hypergravity training" and is basically bloody
    > obvious. Train with weights, remove weights, go faster and
    > further!

    A Welsh boxer from the 50s whose name escapes me used to do
    that. He used to train in miners' steel-toe-capped boots.

    [...]

    > While trying to get further and further up a hill which is
    > currently beating you is admirable, it is likely to leave
    > you demoralised. Making routes that you can do, harder,
    > will increase your strength and fitness without losing the
    > feelings of victory. Do you ride alone?

    Mostly, yeah.

    > If you have someone who can ride with you, you may find
    > you could go further. The pyschological boost of having
    > someone else there can be all it takes to push those last
    > few metres!

    Hmm. If it was a stamina thing you might be right, but it's
    mostly a strength thing at the mo. The muscles just give up
    really quickly.

    I think I'll try doing the Tongwynlais climb twice in
    succession. If nothing else, the freewheel down is
    lots of fun.

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ 9-3
     
  3. On Sat, 17 Apr 2004 08:00:01 +0100, Jon Senior wrote:

    >
    > Perverse as it may seem, try doing the hills that you can
    > currently do, carrying more weight. This will improve your
    > fitness and climbing ability.

    I think this sounds very perverse and is potentially harmful
    for someone who isn't fit. It sounds like a training
    programme for very fit people who want to get fitter, not
    people like the OP who need to lose weight.

    My suggestion is to find hills that you _can_ ride up.
    Failing that there's nothing wrong with pushing. Any
    exercise, including pushing, will help you get fitter
    and you _will_ eventually be able to climb those hills.
    It's often possible to ride a bit, push a bit, ride
    another bit etc.

    Another suggestion is to take your bike a bit further south
    (using the train?) where it's flatter. I was an unfit youth
    in Cardiff and did lots of cycling around Caerphilly, Rudry,
    Michaelston, St. Fagan's and down into the Vale of Glamorgan
    on a 3-speed Raleigh. Even down there I had to push a bit
    from time to time but so what?

    BTW what cadence (rpm of feet) do you ride at,
    approximately?

    --
    Michael MacClancy Random putdown - "I have never killed a
    man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." -
    Clarence Darrow www.macclancy.demon.co.uk
    www.macclancy.co.uk
     
  4. Michael MacClancy wrote:

    > My suggestion is to find hills that you _can_ ride up.
    > Failing that there's nothing wrong with pushing. Any
    > exercise, including pushing, will help you get fitter and
    > you _will_ eventually be able to climb those hills. It's
    > often possible to ride a bit, push a bit, ride another
    > bit etc.

    Yeah, that's what I've been doing. Keep at it, then, and
    be patient.

    > Another suggestion is to take your bike a bit further
    > south (using the train?) where it's flatter. I was an
    > unfit youth in Cardiff and did lots of cycling around
    > Caerphilly,

    The hill up to Caerphilly is one of the few I can do :)

    > Rudry, Michaelston, St. Fagan's and down into the Vale of
    > Glamorgan on a 3-speed Raleigh.

    I have considered getting a train down to Barry and cycling
    around the vale. I've also considered cycling down to the
    vale, but it's pushing my maximum distance a bit. Ideally,
    I'd cycle down through Efail Isaf, Pentyrch, and Creigiau -
    but there are hills that way :)

    > Even down there I had to push a bit from time to time but
    > so what?
    >
    > BTW what cadence (rpm of feet) do you ride at,
    > approximately?

    Last time I counted, it was 70. I've bought clipless pedals
    since then, though. Much more than that and I start
    bouncing, probably because I've hit the natural frequency of
    the aerobelly :)

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ I hate you,
    Butler
     
  5. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    Michael MacClancy wrote:

    > On Sat, 17 Apr 2004 08:00:01 +0100, Jon Senior wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >>Perverse as it may seem, try doing the hills that you can
    >>currently do, carrying more weight. This will improve your
    >>fitness and climbing ability.
    >
    >
    > I think this sounds very perverse and is potentially
    > harmful for someone who isn't fit. It sounds like a
    > training programme for very fit people who want to get
    > fitter, not people like the OP who need to lose weight.

    I agree. Cycling need not be masochism, unless one is really
    trying to achieve peak (racing) performance)

    >
    > My suggestion is to find hills that you _can_ ride up.

    My suggestion is to fit lower gears. Unless the OP already
    has ~20T chainring and 34T largest cog on the cassette, he
    can drop the gearing to a level at which cycling will be not
    be much faster (and thereore not much harder) than walking.

    James
    --
    If I have seen further than others, it is by treading on the
    toes of giants. http://www.ne.jp/asahi/julesandjames/home/
     
  6. James Annan wrote:

    > Michael MacClancy wrote:
    >> My suggestion is to find hills that you _can_ ride up.
    >
    > My suggestion is to fit lower gears. Unless the OP already
    > has ~20T chainring and 34T largest cog on the cassette, he
    > can drop the gearing to a level at which cycling will be
    > not be much faster (and thereore not much harder) than
    > walking.

    Hmm. If I counted correctly, they're 22 and 30. Quite a lot
    of room to play with, then, with lower gears.

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ "Go back, Jack,
    and do it again"
     
  7. James Annan wrote:

    > Keith Willoughby wrote:
    >
    >> James Annan wrote:
    >>>My suggestion is to fit lower gears. Unless the OP
    >>>already has ~20T chainring and 34T largest cog on the
    >>>cassette, he can drop the gearing to a level at which
    >>>cycling will be not be much faster (and thereore not much
    >>>harder) than walking.
    >> Hmm. If I counted correctly, they're 22 and 30. Quite a
    >> lot of room to play with, then, with lower gears.
    >
    > Not as much as i was hoping for...
    >
    > I think 18T chainrings can be fitted, actually. Changing
    > to a cassette with 34T is a very simple operation.

    I might wait until it needs replacing. By then . . .

    > You may also find you get further if you keep the
    > pedalling smooth and not too fast rather than heaving and
    > huffing and pufffing. But certainly, if you just keep on
    > riding regularly, and enjoying it, it will not be long
    > before you look back at the currently unrideable hill and
    > wonder what all the fuss was about!

    . . . I'll hopefully not need it :)

    > You might also be surprised how much difference it makes
    > fitting thinner, slicker and higher pressure tyres. Of
    > course that depends what you already have. Sorry I haven't
    > been paying that much attention to what you have posted
    > before...

    And there's me thinking you were all hanging on my every
    word, waiting for the new installment of Fat Bloke Goes
    Cycling :)

    It currently has big thick knobbly tires on. I've been
    putting off changing them because when I do, I may as well
    clean the chain and casette while I'm there, and then I can
    never face all that grease.

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ "Too lazy to
    work, too nervous to steal"
     
  8. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    Keith Willoughby wrote:

    > James Annan wrote:
    >
    >>My suggestion is to fit lower gears. Unless the OP already
    >>has ~20T chainring and 34T largest cog on the cassette, he
    >>can drop the gearing to a level at which cycling will be
    >>not be much faster (and thereore not much harder) than
    >>walking.
    >
    >
    > Hmm. If I counted correctly, they're 22 and 30. Quite a
    > lot of room to play with, then, with lower gears.

    Not as much as i was hoping for...

    I think 18T chainrings can be fitted, actually. Changing to
    a cassette with 34T is a very simple operation. You may
    also find you get further if you keep the pedalling smooth
    and not too fast rather than heaving and huffing and
    pufffing. But certainly, if you just keep on riding
    regularly, and enjoying it, it will not be long before you
    look back at the currently unrideable hill and wonder what
    all the fuss was about!

    You might also be surprised how much difference it makes
    fitting thinner, slicker and higher pressure tyres. Of
    course that depends what you already have. Sorry I
    haven't been paying that much attention to what you have
    posted before...

    James
    --
    If I have seen further than others, it is by treading on the
    toes of giants. http://www.ne.jp/asahi/julesandjames/home/
     
  9. On Sat, 17 Apr 2004 09:51:34 +0100, Keith Willoughby wrote:

    > James Annan wrote:
    >
    >> Michael MacClancy wrote:
    >>> My suggestion is to find hills that you _can_ ride up.
    >>
    >> My suggestion is to fit lower gears. Unless the OP
    >> already has ~20T chainring and 34T largest cog on the
    >> cassette, he can drop the gearing to a level at which
    >> cycling will be not be much faster (and thereore not much
    >> harder) than walking.
    >
    > Hmm. If I counted correctly, they're 22 and 30. Quite a
    > lot of room to play with, then, with lower gears.

    You may have thought of this, I know, but are you sure
    you're using all of your gears? The bike may not be set
    up properly.
    --
    Michael MacClancy Random putdown - "I feel so miserable
    without you, it's almost like having you here." -Stephen
    Bishop www.macclancy.demon.co.uk www.macclancy.co.uk
     
  10. James Annan

    James Annan Guest

    Keith Willoughby wrote:

    > And there's me thinking you were all hanging on my every
    > word, waiting for the new installment of Fat Bloke Goes
    > Cycling :)

    Oh I am really, it's just a dodgy internet connection that
    sometimes means I miss your pearls of wisdom!

    > It currently has big thick knobbly tires on. I've been
    > putting off changing them because when I do, I may as well
    > clean the chain and casette while I'm there, and then I
    > can never face all that grease.

    Oh, in that case dump the tyres NOW! You LBS should have
    something suitable - basically anything fairly smooth and in
    the 25-50mm size range will do, the smoothness is more
    important than the width. Even a ~60psi slick (you may not
    want the extra fuss of a truly light weight roadie tyre)
    versus a 30psi knobbly is like night and day. You might also
    want to invest in a decent pump to get sensible pressures
    easily and reliably.

    As well as rolling much better, a thinner tyre will drop the
    effective gearing, by anything up to about 20%. Keep the
    knobblies for when you wnat to take up MTBing, of course.

    James
    --
    If I have seen further than others, it is by treading on the
    toes of giants. http://www.ne.jp/asahi/julesandjames/home/
     
  11. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 17/4/04 10:36 am, in article [email protected], "Jon
    Senior" <jon_AT_restlesslemon.co.uk> wrote:

    > "Michael MacClancy" <[email protected]> wrote in
    > message news:[email protected]...
    >>> Perverse as it may seem, try doing the hills that you
    >>> can currently do, carrying more weight. This will
    >>> improve your fitness and climbing
    > ability.
    >>
    >> I think this sounds very perverse and is potentially
    >> harmful for someone who isn't fit. It sounds like a
    >> training programme for very fit people
    > who
    >> want to get fitter, not people like the OP who need to
    >> lose weight.

    Nah.. If you can comfortably ride up the hills with a bit of
    weight, then so much the better. It is a question of finding
    the right level.

    > In terms of weight loss, I've found that longer rides
    > rather than harder rides tend to be better (I later
    > discovered that the biochemistry backs this up).

    Couple that with not eating as much and the weight falls off
    (dropped over 2 stone so far, another 2 to go).

    >> My suggestion is to find hills that you _can_ ride up.
    >> Failing that there's nothing wrong with pushing. Any
    >> exercise, including pushing, will help you get fitter and
    >> you _will_ eventually be able to climb those
    > hills.
    >> It's often possible to ride a bit, push a bit, ride
    >> another bit etc.
    >
    > The problem is one of morale. The feel-good factor of
    > labouring over the top of the hill without getting off
    > tends to encourage a rider to try again. I agree with the
    > suggestion of finding hills that you can do, the extra
    > weights were to provide a way to turn this into inbetween
    > stages for the hills you can't do yet.

    I found that the biggest problem was not so much physical as
    mental. I would get frustrated at going so slowly and try to
    push too hard, or take too light a gear and spin out very
    quickly. The key was learning to sit back and relax, tell
    yourself 'I can turn this gear' at whatever speed is
    comfortable and just keep on turning the gear. You have to
    want to and it also helps to try distracting your self
    mentally so the cycling happens in the background. Reciting
    poetry, trying to solve trignometric equations in your head,
    counting the dandelions .. whatever works do it.

    > As long as the overall ride is enjoyable, there is nothing
    > wrong with pushing. Cycling with my parents and their
    > friends at Easter I was horrified by the attitude of one
    > cyclist who said "I might as well walk from here, I'll
    > never make it up that hill". The reason that having a
    > cycling buddy is good, is a significant part of your
    > ability is mental, and having someone else there tends to
    > make you go that little bit further.

    Absolutely agree. My biggest battles are mental. I had
    problems with hills (being somewhat overoverweight) so found
    a climb I could do, just. (Dundee Law for those who know
    it). Over a period of several months I found I could pace
    myself better, gradually increase the gears and increase the
    number of times I went up. I can remember the mental
    battles. 'No pint if you don't get up three times', 'I'm
    bored/don't want to do this right now' and so on. Been
    there, fought the battles, found the rhythym. I remember
    each time I got a new best. I ride around the hill then up
    the hill then round the hill for one circuit. (That's twice
    round for every up). The one rule is no stopping. I got to
    the point where I could do it on my road bike which has much
    harder gearing.

    And that training meant that I could switch into 'hill
    zombie mode' and just keep turning the pedals smoothly and
    slowly winch my way to the top.

    > And to boost the ego... a recent report in C+ discussed
    > gradients in Britain compared to Europe. Apparently our
    > ascents tend to be significantly steeper than those on the
    > continent, although often shorter. While you're labouring
    > up your hills in Britain, just think how much easier the
    > alps would be ;-).

    Much easier if you can settle into a rhythym. Much harder if
    you don't have the endurance.

    ..d
     
  12. Tony B

    Tony B Guest

    > Much more than that and I start bouncing, probably because I've
    > hit the natural frequency of the aerobelly :)

    I like that! May I use it?? ;-)

    So, how much ballast are you pushing exactly? I do a nice
    90kg, hmm.. my fit mate is sceptical that I'll loose a lot
    cycling, he thinks I'll end up less lardy but heavier. We
    shall see, also my boss thinks it is stupid buying a cheap
    bike if the intention is to work and get fit, he advised
    getting the heaviest old knacker available (which I already
    have, conveniently) so it's not too easy. Maybe I should get
    a fixed wheel, or weld up my current set?? Ho Ho.

    Still, cycling has bitten now - I was out again yesterday,
    and intend another assault on Werneth Low tomorrow, maybe
    I'll get to the top - I have some smooth tyres to fit this
    affy. £20 a pair inc inner tubes, off Wiggle. Bargain!
    Stupidly though, I got some M600 Shimano brake blocks too.
    Seems everyone thinks I should throw these away now, still
    in the packaging...

    bfn,

    Tony B
     
  13. Tony B wrote:

    >> Much more than that and I start bouncing, probably
    >> because I've hit the natural frequency of the
    >> aerobelly :)
    >
    >
    > I like that! May I use it?? ;-)

    You'd better ask Guy, I stole it from him :)

    > So, how much ballast are you pushing exactly? I do a
    > nice 90kg,

    Last time I was 90kg, I was in school. I'm a lot more
    than that.

    > hmm.. my fit mate is sceptical that I'll loose a lot
    > cycling

    I haven't lost much yet, but I haven't been going out
    regularly enough or long enough yet. I have noticed getting
    fitter and stronger, though.

    [...]

    > Still, cycling has bitten now - I was out again yesterday,
    > and intend another assault on Werneth Low tomorrow, maybe
    > I'll get to the top - I have some smooth tyres to fit this
    > affy. £20 a pair inc inner tubes, off Wiggle. Bargain!

    I think I'll get the Schwalbe City Jet set. They've been
    recommended in here, 24 quid on Wiggle.

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ "Suspected
    murderer of Tupac murder suspect murdered"
     
  14. James Annan wrote:

    > As well as rolling much better, a thinner tyre will
    > drop the effective gearing, by anything up to about
    > 20%. Keep the knobblies for when you wnat to take up
    > MTBing, of course.

    Really? That much. Bugger. Time to get my hands dirty.

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ Turning rebellion
    into money
     
  15. Michael MacClancy wrote:

    > On Sat, 17 Apr 2004 09:51:34 +0100, Keith Willoughby
    > wrote:
    >
    >> James Annan wrote:
    >>
    >>> Michael MacClancy wrote:
    >>>> My suggestion is to find hills that you _can_ ride up.
    >>>
    >>> My suggestion is to fit lower gears. Unless the OP
    >>> already has ~20T chainring and 34T largest cog on the
    >>> cassette, he can drop the gearing to a level at which
    >>> cycling will be not be much faster (and thereore not
    >>> much harder) than walking.
    >>
    >> Hmm. If I counted correctly, they're 22 and 30. Quite a
    >> lot of room to play with, then, with lower gears.
    >
    > You may have thought of this, I know, but are you sure
    > you're using all of your gears? The bike may not be set up
    > properly.

    I think so. I've never used the highest chainwheel, but I do
    spend a lot of time in the lowest. The very lowest gear
    combination *is* pretty easy
    - going up hills I can manage is just a matter of putting
    the head down and turning. However, there's just a point
    beyond which I can't do that.

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ "We sang Cwm
    Rhondda and Delilah, Damn, they sounded both the same"
     
  16. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 17/4/04 6:56 pm, in article [email protected], "Keith
    Willoughby" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Tony B wrote:
    >
    >>> Much more than that and I start bouncing, probably
    >>> because I've hit the natural frequency of the
    >>> aerobelly :)
    >>
    >>
    >> I like that! May I use it?? ;-)
    >
    > You'd better ask Guy, I stole it from him :)
    >
    >> So, how much ballast are you pushing exactly? I do a
    >> nice 90kg,

    I do now. was 105, heading for 70-80.

    > I think I'll get the Schwalbe City Jet set. They've been
    > recommended in here, 24 quid on Wiggle.

    Great commuting tyre. Fast, high pressure (90 psi is fine),
    reasonable on unmetalled tracks, absolutely abysmal on
    grass or mud.

    They also come with votive offerings to the puncture fairy
    as I haven't had a single flat whilst using them.

    ..d
     
  17. > They also come with votive offerings to the puncture fairy
    > as I haven't had a single flat whilst using them.

    Hmm, your name sounds familiar... <checks though database>
    Terribly sorry - the computer says you should've been done
    last week. I'll see what I can do.
     
  18. Steph Peters

    Steph Peters Guest

    David Martin <[email protected]> of The University, Dundee, DD1 4HN,
    Scotland, UK. wrote:
    >I found that the biggest problem was not so much physical
    >as mental. I would get frustrated at going so slowly and
    >try to push too hard, or take too light a gear and spin out
    >very quickly. The key was learning to sit back and relax,
    >tell yourself 'I can turn this gear' at whatever speed is
    >comfortable and just keep on turning the gear. You have to
    >want to and it also helps to try distracting your self
    >mentally so the cycling happens in the background. Reciting
    >poetry, trying to solve trignometric equations in your
    >head, counting the dandelions .. whatever works do it.
    Count down backwards in a foreign language, starting from a
    number high enough to make it hard. I do 100 to 0 in German
    then French, then 20 to 0 in Thai and Malay, if I have to
    count down from 5 to 0 in Japanese I'm in trouble.
    --
    Getting out of bed in the morning is an act of false confidence.
    Steph Peters delete invalid from [email protected]
    Tatting, lace & stitching page <http://www.sandbenders.demon.co.uk/index.htm
     
  19. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 17/4/04 10:12 pm, in article
    [email protected], "the Puncture Fairy"
    <[email protected]_hedge_row.co.uk> wrote:

    >> They also come with votive offerings to the puncture
    >> fairy as I haven't had a single flat whilst using them.
    >
    > Hmm, your name sounds familiar... <checks though database>
    > Terribly sorry - the computer says you should've been done
    > last week. I'll see what I can do.

    I was.. fixed a flat for my dad. (he'd brought the wheel all
    the way from London to get the puncture mended)

    ..d
     
  20. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 17/4/04 10:35 pm, in article [email protected],
    "Steph Peters" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > David Martin <[email protected]> of The
    > University, Dundee, DD1 4HN, Scotland, UK. wrote:
    >> I found that the biggest problem was not so much physical
    >> as mental. I would get frustrated at going so slowly and
    >> try to push too hard, or take too light a gear and spin
    >> out very quickly. The key was learning to sit back and
    >> relax, tell yourself 'I can turn this gear' at whatever
    >> speed is comfortable and just keep on turning the gear.
    >> You have to want to and it also helps to try distracting
    >> your self mentally so the cycling happens in the
    >> background. Reciting poetry, trying to solve trignometric
    >> equations in your head, counting the dandelions ..
    >> whatever works do it.
    > Count down backwards in a foreign language, starting from
    > a number high enough to make it hard. I do 100 to 0 in
    > German then French, then 20 to 0 in Thai and Malay, if I
    > have to count down from 5 to 0 in Japanese I'm in trouble.

    Ouch.. I can only manage that in one foreign language
    (possibly 2 if English counts here in Dundee). As the
    particular route I ride has a nice view as it corkscrews up
    the core of an extinct volcano I get the chance to divert my
    thoughts out over the city .. the groans as another goal
    goes into the wrong net at Dens Park, the sound of the
    muzzein calling the faithful to prayer at the mosque, the
    police cars and fire engines pootling around the city. Play
    spot the lightship with the one that is about 10 miles off
    tentsmuir point. I can see it at night but not during the
    day. Watch for bats in the woods, I've even seen a kestrel
    over the allotments on the side of the hill. The good thing
    is that I have the climb taped. I know where every slight
    change in gradient occurs and how they relate to one
    another. If I can get past a certain point fairly low down I
    know I will do it.

    It is amusing in the summer when the yoof congregate at the
    top and see you going past for the second or third time and
    ask how many times you intend to do it..

    ..d
     
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