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I've had a good old search and read lots of threads, and found this link:
Even after reading I have some questions around climbs on long and short rides, or also questions about long and short climbs.
On my lunchtime smash up I ride three laps of my local circuit (20km all up in just under 40 minutes almost exclusively on shared cycle paths). The total climb on this 20km is 196m and according to my tracking the entire ride is spent between 581 and 566m above sea level.
I guess then you could say that the climbs on this ride are more like gentle rises, there are only about 4 sections where I consider I'm going uphill noticeably, and I get up out of the saddle, select a gear 2 higher than the one I'm currently in and smash up the "hill". There's time for recovery straight after these sections but I still try to maintain speed by dropping back down one gear and keeping cadence up.
The whole object of these 40 minute lunch time blats is to work myself as hard as possible, am I doing these "climbs" right? The longest one is probably only 200m.
Separate to this, I am just embarking on road riding and will soon be out trying my hand at 40km and upwards to the west of Canberra out in the mountains, and there are proper climbs on these routes that are quite long and steep.
Sitting down and selecting a lowish gear seems to be the way to go, it looks as though if I try to do bigger climbs out of the saddle in high gears I'll end up buggering myself out part of the way into any proper climb, does that sound right?
On shorter hills like you are doing it's ok to stand up and smash them but as the article you linked to says you use more energy to stand up so you will most likely blow up on longer hills. Mt Stromlo is an easier gradient hill that is a decent length that you can practice sitting while climbing. Or even try and see how far you can go standing. If you have a Garmin or similar bike computer you can upload the ride details to Strava and then compre your time to the last one (maybe best to ignore other people's times as these can be depressing!).
I don't think there is a right or a wrong way to climb. Sure, there are techniques and 'best practice' that gets touted a lot, but to be honest I think if you're just riding socially/recreationally it's a case of whatever works.
First thing's first - get yourself hooked up to Strava, and analyse your effort. Experiment with different ways of completing the climbing sections of your ride and see what nets you the fastest times and fastest average speed overall.
That is, you really want to be concerned about two things - finding out the fastest way you are able to climb, and the most efficient way you are able to climb. You might find that you can stand and stomp pedals at a lower cadence and that's quickest way to climb, but you end up taxed at the end of the effort and your average speed over the entire ride suffers for it.
But yes, by all means, seek out those longer climbs. 200m in 20km isn't something to sneeze at, but it's not massive elevation either, especially if you're not climbing that 200m in one shot (i.e. 200m climb for 3km, then the rest flat or downhill)... See if you can find 500m of elevation on a climb that's under 10km long.
Oh and I forgot to talk about long vs short climbing techniques. I mean, for me, it's all the same.
I just attack whatever climb I have in front of me at the pace I believe I can hold for the duration of the climb.
If it's a 4km, 200m climb... I'll go at 95-100% HR for the duration of the climb.
If it's 8km and 500m... I'll hold 90% HR which is my lactate threshold.
And if I'm riding an 8km climb as a part of a 100-150km ride, I'll tone it down a few notches and hover on 80% HR.
But my comments RE: 'whatever works' still stand. Just experiment a bit and analyse your efforts to figure out whats fastest for you.
Personally I find that staying seated 'at all costs' is the fastest way for me to climb. I just grit my teeth and think of a happy place . I only stand when I'm throwing in the towel, the person in front of me is going too slow and I don't want to change down a gear, my butt hurts or the grade is above 15% for a sustained period (100m+) (i.e. run out of gears).
Thanks for the info, Strava seems to be what all the cool kids are using but I've started a year ago using Runkeeper on my Android phone (which along with running can track cycling, walking, weight loss etc.) so I'll keep at that.
Once I start doing bigger climbs I'll still be able to track how long they took (using the start and finish times at start and finish locations on the route map) it probably just won't be as easy as it might be in Strava which from what I can gather has preset sections it times you over based on other people creating these sections.
Probably worth cutting your losses and moving across to Strava. There's an android app and you're right - cuts up your ride into pre-defined segments. And you can create your own segments. Strava also does running, walking, etc etc etc.
That's totally ignoring the social aspect.
Put it this way - you won't regret it. And it'll probably get you even more hooked on riding!
Will Strava track my weight (I've currently got a goal set within RunKeeper)?
It looks like goal setting is only available in Strava paid version?
I like RunKeeper currently because I can track multiple activities and get a total weekly figure between cycling, walking and running if I do any.
I don't think Strava tracks weight. But you can use some scales and a piece of paper to do that
Goals in Strava center around k's or time on the bike p/week, and times over a given segment.
I.e. I can set that I want to ride 250km this week and get under 10 minutes up my favorite climb by next month.
The free version of Strava is still very capable. Most people who use Strava are on the free version.
You should at least try Strava out - for what you're doing (i.e. training with a focus on climbing) it's really good. And you can still track your walking, running, etc - there's even a Strava running app.
The paid version is quite good. I use it.
I tend to climb seated, most of the time, only standing when I want to accelerate - and then it isn't for long. The worst thing about staying seated is that it doesn't really give you the chance to stretch the legs much, and it doesn't give you the chance to rest the ,er, posterior.
I never used to understand those lactate thresholds and heart-rates, but I'm starting to understand it now through riding with people who are quicker than me over long distances.
I tend to keep the cadence up around 90-100rpm on climbs, that seems to be a comfortable level.
For the types of climbs I think you are talking about just keep climbing at "your" cadence. Hopefully somewhere north of 80rpm.
I you find yourself going "over" that (and youre standing) it is time to choose a different gear and go faster at the same cadence, and seated.
If you are talking little rises for 50-200m length, then smash away, out of the seat hitting those pedals as hard as possible. You won't be helping your climbing ability, but it will help your sprinting ability!
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