Climbing without Oxygen

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Climbing without Oxygen

Postby Wino » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:14 pm

So here's the problem;

When riding up a longer (1 to 2km) steeper hill (8-12%) I get to that stage when I'm just about to passout, ie hearing starts to go, eye sight gets a bit wobbly. So I have to stop, pause for a bit then continue along up the hill. So I assume its lack of oxygen for the amount of work my muscles are doing. Small/med very steep hills not a problem - I can just power over those.

Ive tried different gears, Ive tried slower deeper breathing, I've tried breathing through every orifice Ive got, and havent had much success to overcome the challenge. I have HTFU and pushed myself until I puke and/or passout, so I figure its something non-HTFU-able. I'd be interested in your learned opinions to improve technique. Or is it just practice, practice, and more practice, and cut out the wine?

Background; Asthmatic - lungs are pretty average, only cycling for a year (am I still a newbie?) Weight: 100kg. Distance rides are fine >100km with average of 25-27km/h.

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by BNA » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:37 pm

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Re: Climbing without Oxygen

Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:37 pm

I am similar - 95kg, riding about 11 months, >100km fine. On my hill climb training I puff and pant like puffing billy. I found yoga actually helped the most because it helped me to learn how to breathe more effectively. I found taking very deep breaths and opening up my chest helps a lot on those long hills. Opening up my chest is about position and posture on the bike and deep breathing is right down using the abs. I guess it's a bit hard to explain in text.

Anyway, with practice I found that I did get better and I am still improving.
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Re: Climbing without Oxygen

Postby ghettro » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:58 pm

Sounds like you are mostly climbing in your anerobic zone, this is fine like you say for short hills but doesn't work on long hills. Drop down a few gears and go slower to begin with and try to get a rhythm going, until you feel your legs burning but they aren't burning any more or any less as you go along - slow and steady and concentrate on your breathing and keeping a steady pace. It should feel quite hard, but it should be sustainable. This is roughly your threshold, with practice you'll know how hard you can push yourself by how you feel.
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Re: Climbing without Oxygen

Postby wombatK » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:52 pm

Wino wrote:So here's the problem;

When riding up a longer (1 to 2km) steeper hill (8-12%) I get to that stage when I'm just about to passout, ie hearing starts to go, eye sight gets a bit wobbly.

Neurological symptoms don't sound good. Pushing yourself til your muscles lactate is a reasonable training strategy, but pushing to the point where you're brain is affected (hearing + eyes, brain is the common thing) is not good - if not very dangerous. The possibility that you might pass out or wobble in front of a car is frightening.

With these symptoms, I'd be looking for reassurance there are no underlying cardio-vascular issues limitng your capability. Get your GP to refer you for a stress test, before you think about tackling another hill at this intensity.
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Re: Climbing without Oxygen

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:12 pm

I have to agree with Wombat...if you are exaggerating a touch for graphic effect then fine...but if you are really getting blurry eyesight etc then I would be seeing a doctor for some reassurance.
I am over 100kgs...have asthma...apparently have a leaky valve...but I am not a newbie and climb 15-20km long hills fairly often.I certainly have never had eyesight fade out.But I have been into the darkness a few time :) .
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Re: Climbing without Oxygen

Postby twizzle » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:24 pm

+ another. That ain't normal.
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Re: Climbing without Oxygen

Postby foo on patrol » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:27 pm

Like the others have said, go to your doctor and have some tests done on your breathing and blood pressure.(Hint) Don't attack the base of a hill, just take it steady and increase your effort for the last 50mtrs. :idea:
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Re: Climbing without Oxygen

Postby Wino » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:56 pm

The hearing/sight etc is like when you are just about to passout if you've been standing at attention too long. But I havent pushed myself too much as I was a bit concerned I actually would passout. I had a quick checkup before TDU challenge. lungs/peakflow meter were the usual for me (ie below average) and blood pressure good/normal. But I havent really checked any more than usual GP stuff. I'll have a chat to him next time about other tests. Thanks for your concern about traffic, saftey is definitely my first issue when riding. Luckily its a hill which is very quiet, so its not too much of an issue.

I should probably look at my chest/arm position as well. just to make sure I'm breathing from the right place. havent thought of that.

I thought I was just a big girls blouse who needed to work harder, but I'll try and ease off a bit.

Does the point at which aerobic/anerobic threshold increase as you increase your fitness over time?
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Re: Climbing without Oxygen

Postby wombatK » Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:53 am

Wino wrote:I had a quick checkup before TDU challenge. lungs/peakflow meter were the usual for me (ie below average) and blood pressure good/normal. But I havent really checked any more than usual GP stuff. I'll have a chat to him next time about other tests. ...
Does the point at which aerobic/anerobic threshold increase as you increase your fitness over time?

It's good there's nothing particularly bad in your usual GP tests. But your heart's performance can be quite ok at rest, and only show faults under stress. A cardiologist's stress test will look at your blood pressure and ECG under stress (walking fast uphill on a treadmill). If anything untoward is found, the cardiologist can do further ultrasound diagnostic tests.

It's important to let the cardiologist know that you have been doing endurance training, as this can lead to changes in the heart (e.g. thickening of heart walls) that otherwise could be interpreted as signs of disease.

You haven't mentioned your age, but at 100kg you'd be significantly overweight. If you've been carrying that for 5 or 10 years, you shouldn't be surprised if you have some arterial disease. There could be more to your symptoms than your asthma explains, and the only way of knowing is to see the appropriate medical specialist.

Anaerobic endurance can be developed by using repetition methods of relatively high intensity work with limited recovery. See for example Endurance Training or Lactate Threhold Training. Doing long endurance rides won't do the trick unless it happens to have a fortuitously good combination of hill repeats and rests in it.

Long endurance riding will get your weight down to a level where your muscles aren't pushed into the anaerobic territory so easily, but there is also evidence that high intensity interval training is even better for weight loss. Just get the medical tests done before pushing yourself this hard.

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Re: Climbing without Oxygen

Postby Wino » Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:47 am

Thanks Wombat for those links.

Yeah my BMI is classed as overweight but I'm 198 tall and somewhat solid. None the less do need to loose more. Ive lost about 15kg since I started riding, so may have other issues from a few years of overweightness for a 38yr old. Again, probably need to chat to doc about.

Been varying the rides from long endurance, to a few hill repeats to try and improve this aspect. I love/hate hills and want to get better so I just thought it was a technique and fitness thing.
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Endurance Exercise Breathing for Cyclists

Postby casual_cyclist » Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:50 pm

Endurance Exercise Breathing for Cyclists

A couple of tips here:

http://www.easybreathe.co.uk/cyclists.html

http://www.easybreathe.co.uk/test-your-breathing.html

Note that this site is advertising a breathing ebook which you DO NOT need so please don't be sucked into paying for stuff you can get free on the interweb.

Also, note in the following quote:

The next time you feel short of breath, needing your inhaler, stressed out, breathing rapidly - place one hand on your upper chest and the other on your stomach. If you are breathing correctly (diaphragmatically) your stomach should feel as if it is expanding (filling up, as if with air). But if your chest is rising, you are breathing superficially.

Where they use the word "stomach" they mean abdomen.

You can find a lot more about Diaphragmatic Breathing if you do a web search. e.g. http://www.cchs.net/health/health-info/ ... index=9445 which has some good exercises to practice to improve your breathing.

Point number 2 of this article is also interesting.
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Re: Climbing without Oxygen

Postby Rockford » Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:43 pm

I can relate to this somewhat (MesoEndo somatotype) . I can power up short, sharp hills no problems but have real problems with anything longer than say 2km. I find my 'comfortable' pedaling/gearing is too high for my leg's lactate dispersal so I drop down the gears. Then my legs tend to burn out before my lungs, but if I bump up the output levels to a comfortable one (where I feel I'm 'doing' something) I end up bonking half way up the hill aerobically. For me I needed to get my natural cadence levels up so my legs were used to spinning at 80-90 rpm in low gears as opposed to 60-70 in high gears, this I found helped immensely in my lactate levels.

I did this via doing programmed training sessions with Alex of RST. Interval training, high cadence training, and general lactate threshold training. Now I'm instinctively dropping gears to keep myself around the 80-90rpm level on flats/rolling hills etc. When I hit the hills I can now maintain a lower gear for longer at those rpm's. I still suck at them, but need to lose another 15kg.
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