the hills are killing me

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by andydennis, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I've only this minute come back from 3 hours of climbing. To my astonishment as well, I popped on the scales after a chilled can of guiness and I've lost 4 pounds!! I mean, this seems to be how much I dropped after the ride, as yesterday I was heavier.
    My bike isn't the absolute best on the market. I ride a Scott Sport which is a terrific bike to ride but heavy compared with the Cannondales and Treks. I wouldn't, at this stage in my cycling, treat myself to a top of the mill road bike as I don't consider myself worthy of such a bike - not yet :)
    What I would really love to do at some point is clock my time up the Alpe De Huez. Lance does it in 47 minutes and Cheryl Crow in 1 hour 47 minutes (and most people get up in 2 hours on average). Apparently they clock your time at the top and give out a certificate to say you completed the climb in whatever time was clocked up.
    Good luck with your race. Seems to me like you're really on your way to being an accomplished and fast climber.

     


  2. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement! I wouldn't want to give the impression that I don't still have work to do. I'm not entering in the competitive race - I'm too chicken to do that yet! The top competitive woman last year was 1hr 45min (top man was 1:28) and I don't think I have any hopes of touching that, but I have gotten much stronger than I ever thought was possible for me. This year at least I just want to see how much better I can do. I am however going to borrow my husbands spare set of race wheels for the day :D. To be able to hang with the fast guys is quite exhilerating for someone who was always dropped just a few months ago.

    Someday my husband and I want to get to Europe again to do all of the famous climbs. Alp d'huez - the Stelvio - the Galibier - Mt. Ventoux - we kind of crave a bit of punishment....
     
  3. squidwranglr

    squidwranglr New Member

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    This was my climb yesterday, the first 2 miles averaging ~9% (with steeper switchbacks in the middle), a bit of an easing off, then another 1.5 miles at ~7%:

    http://www.employees.org/~bozceri/training/20050712T183833.09580.srd.html#distance

    It was definetely a 7 to 9 mph effort, no faster! :) I sometimes feel like if I had a smaller gear and could keep my cadence higher, I could climb faster, but it's really hard to know that without trying. Arguably I already have a "small enough" gear (I have a triple, with the smallest gear a 30x25), but I tend to be a pretty high cadence rider (around 105 average for flat and rolling terrain) and hate climbing at ~65 RPM cadence.

    Berend
     
  4. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Maybe your speciality will turn out to be climbing. If you travel to Europe, I highly recommend the Navarra region of Spain where I lived for some years (but not any more).Pamplona is the capital and Miguel Indurain, of course, was a local and lived very close by. The climbs are probably a lot tougher than in France and very high up.
    I was also feeling encouraged the other week when I overtook some riders going uphill on a long climb and I was basically going at my usual pace. I just wanted to push myself fast as I could but, when I saw nobody else at the very top, I thought maybe I'm gradually getting better.
    One thing you may both relate to is this: Have you ever thought that maybe you can climb faster in a smaller gear, yet climbing in a higher gear is so much harder on your heart rate (even if you go slower)?
    One of my training sessions involves doing a sharp, corkscrew climb but in a big gear at 6 mph. It's about as steep as the harder sections of Alpe De Huez, I think. But I noticed if I tackle steeper climbs and use my granny ring, I'm doing about 7 mph steady. So, one technique I use is to climb a fairly steep section in a bigger gear and get my lungs and heart working. But I know I can go faster in a smaller gear if any of that makes sense.

     
  5. Lonnie Utah

    Lonnie Utah Banned

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    Eden,

    If you (or anybody else) ever make it to Maui, you should give Haleakala a go. Sea level to 10023 feet in 35 miles. That's punishment. Seriously, I did it back in April and it's a great ride. You can do a search and find out about it.

    L
     
  6. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    We were in the south of Spain last year *beautiful* we'd love to go back and see more of the country. Our big hill climb on that trip was up El Torcal - great climb, incredible view at the top.
    I've been working on both my spin and on my strength - I've got a new training partner who is a little hill demon - he drops me big time up the steeper ones- who also uses a really high cadence and I've been learning a lot from him.
    I'm a little different than you, I find that a high cadence sends my heart rate through the roof, but I still can climb faster if I spin a lower gear. Now that I can do it, it is tempting to spin all of the time, but I really need to gain the power to spin in higher gears if I want to be faster so I have to try to use the bigger gears too if just to get stronger. My standing climbing is pretty poor so I need to work on being able to do that better as well. It's really been recent that I even have the strength to spin in my lower gears and even use my middle ring (I have a triple too) for climbing so I'm still adjusting a bit. Today I didn't have to shift down to the small one until the grade cranked up higer so I am definitely making progress. One of my favorite after work rides has a long gradual climb of about 9 miles that averages 4% with some 5% and 6% sections. This is the kind of course that I am getting pretty good at flying around, we (went out with the hubby today) averaged about 20mph and didn't drop under 17 until the last bit, around it today which pleases me just fine. When I hit the last hill, which cranks up to between 8% and 10% that's like hitting a wall for me right now. Slows me right down to about 10mph - pride gets me up it a little faster when I go out with my training partner instead of my husband.
    Well, good luck with the hill climbing - I hope that you get to do Alp d'Huez some day and I'd bet you'd do better than the average!!
     
  7. squidwranglr

    squidwranglr New Member

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    I was just recently in Maui for the Kings Trail Triathlon. Unfortunately I couldn't stay long after the race and it being a race weekend and all, I couldn't give Haleakala a shot before. Maybe next year - I hear it's a rewarding climb and an amazing descent.

    Berend
     
  8. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    The north of Spain is where most cycling takes place so I'll forward you some details on Ezcaba, not too far from France, where there is lots of good climbing and terrific views, as well as tapas bars to stop off for wine e.t.c. as you ride. Here is one website and I personally camped in this area some time ago. It's probably where Miguel Indurain did some of his training in the past:
    http://www.caminosantiago.com/web_ingles/alojamientos/navarra/ezcaba.asp
    Women cyclists are fortunate since, even if they lack the upper body strength of men, their leg strength is fine.
    The way I build climbing power in my own legs is pushing a slightly bigger gear up steep hills but only big enough to push my lungs harder and keep a steady cadence. It's not so much strength of the thighs you draw on when standing up in the seat uphill, but the lower back is used and a lot of technique (I think). If standing, I seem to be a bit faster when spinning but I find spinning doesn't tax me anything like as much. I experimented with this too. Climbing a long steep hill on the middle ring sent my pulse soaring. On the granny ring it was quite comfortable (but faster perhaps).
    Just be careful to back off if you ever feel knee pain. Whenever my knees start to grumble over a lot of climbing I back off, rather tha risk injury. So far my knees have been O.K. this Summer but last year I had problems.


     
  9. Induray

    Induray New Member

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    What part of southern Spain did you ride?? I am planning a trip to Jeréz de la Frontera next year. Did you take your bike or rented? Do you know a good place to rent?

    Ray
     
  10. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    We did a big loop Sevilla-Palma del Rio-Cordoba-Zuheros-Alcala la Real-Granada-(train transfer)-Antequera-Osuna-Carmona-Sevilla
    We took our bicycles. We'd been told that it is pretty hard to rent in Spain and from what we saw that looked true. Most of the bicycle shops that we saw were multi purpose - they sold scooters, chainsaws, and run-around-town type bicycles.
    It took a lot of pantomime (we don't speak any Spanish), but the first and last hotel we stayed at in Sevilla let us keep the bicycle cases in their store room for the two weeks we were on the road.
    In all a great trip that I would recommend to anyone.
     
  11. ezbentman

    ezbentman New Member

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    Same here.......the gym has really helped me on hills and overall. I have put on some muscle, but I have also improved my riding with less effort.:D

     
  12. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    Gave up my gym membership to ride my bike more, but while I had it I used to do leg curls and it eliminated the knee pain that I used to get on hills. I never really developed any muscle definition per say, but I am a girl and we have a tendancy to tone up and get stronger, but not get big muscles in most cases anyway. I get the feeling that if you are not particularly strong in the first place (as I was not) light lifting in the gym to tone yourself up is really beneficial. Its just when you start bulking up that it becomes a liability?
     
  13. andydennis

    andydennis New Member

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    just wanted to update you on my progress

    taken the advice and lost some weight -
    spinning a higher cadence
    joined a gym - to work on weight and Cv
    riding a lot more

    what a difference - thanks for the help and encouragement

    Just brought a winter trainer - So now I have no excuses :)
     
  14. nun

    nun New Member

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    I think the best way to improve hill climbing is to climb hills. Loosing weight and working in the gym are helps, but they don't give you the psychological boost of getting to the top of a hill. Hills are a fear of mine so last night I rode a small but steep (for me) route up Belmont Hill in MA. It goes upto to 90 meters in about 1km so 9% average grade with a couple of sections well abouve 10%. The last bit up to Belmont Hill School was a killer. I got off my bike with shaking legs and feeling sick, but I'd done it. My gearing was 26-28, so pretty low, but I had trouble turning the wheel at the end. I think anything over 10% and I'm pretty much dead, 5% seems to be fairly comfortable.
     
  15. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I miss Belmont Hill. That hill was on my daily training ride for ~3 years. Great hill.
     
  16. bobke

    bobke New Member

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    Not to be a party pooper but nobody climbs hills at 17-20 miles an hour unless the hills are very short like less than 500 meters or unless the hills are <4-5% gradient.
    I have seen Lance in the TdF twice at Luz Ardiden and Courchevel and he is flying!!!!!!!!!! But NOWHERE near 17 mph. A great speed for him if you do the math is 12 mph up Alpe d'Huez.

    Short steep climbs like in Flanders or slightly longer ones like Liege I still doubt anyone is hitting 17 mph.

    But weight loss, hill repeats and more aerobic training all help. So figure out is it more leg strength or aerobic fitness you need then go for it!!!
     
  17. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    Yes - yes, not steep hills and not sustained climbing, the moderate hills and the short ones. We have a rollingish 9 miles with no stop signs. It averages 6% with most of it being 4 and 5 kicking up to a max of about 10 or 11 at the very end - that part still slows me down a lot.
    Being able to do the moderate hills at 17 to 20 is still kind of exciting to me as even the little stuff used to kill my speed, but not any more. (I entered my first real race - a hill climb time trial - last weekend and I came in 6th out of 14 in my catagory and am well pleased with myself.)
     
  18. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Actually, 17mph happens to be my goal for my 3.3 mile 5% avg grade hill that I use for intervals. I am now climbing the hill at an average 14mph. I've done sections of it at 17mph, and I may never reach 17mph average for the whole 3.3 miles, but it's not out of the question. I would agree with you if you had said, "nobody climbs hills of 5%+ at 17-20mph."
     
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