Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

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Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby Chris249 » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:01 pm

So I've got to do some hill climb training, pronto. Problem is, the inner west of Sydney is not exactly blessed with decent hills and it's hard to find the time to further afield.

So the question is, should I use the heavy hybrid for commuting at high perceived effort to increase resistance on the little bumps around here like Lilyfield Hill and the Anzac Bridge, when I can't get over the bridge to find some hills on the roadie or TT bike?? Given that I've rammed the seat forward and up, dropped the spacers off the steerer and fitted an old MTB flipped upside down, the riding position doesn't seem too far wrong.
There are many types of racing cyclists. There is the sprinter, the rouleur, the stagiaire, the danser, the descender.... sadly, I'm a mediocre. :-(

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by BNA » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:11 pm

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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby sogood » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:11 pm

No diff. You can use a beater training bike to crank up the miles and wear it out but not for additional training reasons. As long as you are putting out the same power (go faster on a lighter/fine tuned bike, slower on a heavier/poorly maintained bike), you receive the same training benefit. But if you really want to train heavy, then strap an extra 30kg on the bike, not the 2-3 extra kg b/n a "heavy bike" and a "light bike".
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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby boyracer » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:48 pm

An old coach of mine used to get us to do repeats dragging a car tyre behind our MTB's uphill. It filled with dirt/rocks on way up making it harder! Also filling old goon sacks with 5 kg water and carry in a back pack. Any good to ya?
These days i don't have to supplement to carry 10 kg's ballast....maybe it's all those goon bags?
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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby silkishuge » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:02 am

boyracer wrote:An old coach of mine used to get us to do repeats dragging a car tyre behind our MTB's uphill. It filled with dirt/rocks on way up making it harder! Also filling old goon sacks with 5 kg water and carry in a back pack. Any good to ya?
These days i don't have to supplement to carry 10 kg's ballast....maybe it's all those goon bags?


Thats a great idea. Reminds me when of my younger days when my coach used to tie a bucket around our waist and make us swim with it. It wasn't fun and I am not sure how effective it was.

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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby BarryTas » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:08 am

good question
when do we stop for coffee???

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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby J-Man » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:45 pm

Use the same bike as you would use. Chuck some extra weights in your backpack and try to ride at a normal pace. Repeat for a couple of weeks. After finishing the training, try riding without the extra weight. I bet you will feel so much quicker and stronger :D
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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby winstonw » Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:10 pm

I have two 1L water bottles I jam with sand, then in fill with water. Gives double the weight of water (I use loctite on my bidon cage bolts to help prevent them loosening with the extra weight)

I also split 2 kg of sand between two plastic bags, put them in old long socks, and secure both with velcro straps between saddle and seat post.

total 6kg.

I use rocks in a backpack too, but, that extra weight assists pedal turnover when out of the saddle, countering the desired training effect somewhat.

Naturally, using a higher gear raises work against gravity per unit time too (for the same cadence).
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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby BarryTas » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:55 pm

winstonw wrote:I have two 1L water bottles I jam with sand, then in fill with water. Gives double the weight of water (I use loctite on my bidon cage bolts to help prevent them loosening with the extra weight)

I also split 2 kg of sand between two plastic bags, put them in old long socks, and secure both with velcro straps between saddle and seat post.

total 6kg.

I use rocks in a backpack too, but, that extra weight assists pedal turnover when out of the saddle, countering the desired training effect somewhat.

Naturally, using a higher gear raises work against gravity per unit time too (for the same cadence).



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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby 1q2w3e4r » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:24 pm

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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby jacks1071 » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:36 pm

Chris249 wrote:So I've got to do some hill climb training, pronto. Problem is, the inner west of Sydney is not exactly blessed with decent hills and it's hard to find the time to further afield.

So the question is, should I use the heavy hybrid for commuting at high perceived effort to increase resistance on the little bumps around here like Lilyfield Hill and the Anzac Bridge, when I can't get over the bridge to find some hills on the roadie or TT bike?? Given that I've rammed the seat forward and up, dropped the spacers off the steerer and fitted an old MTB flipped upside down, the riding position doesn't seem too far wrong.


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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby RobertFrith » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:42 pm

Chris249 wrote:So I've got to do some hill climb training, pronto

Are you training for an event?
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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby zephy » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:07 am

I've been using a 17kg MTB to climb 3 local hills (7.0, 8.75 and 11.5 ave. gradient), they are only short though <750m.... have also been riding in the denim jeans to make it a little harder....


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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby Chris249 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:53 am

RobertFrith wrote:
Chris249 wrote:So I've got to do some hill climb training, pronto

Are you training for an event?


Yeah, a 5km hill climb.

I drove out on a couple of days, and did a few runs on some of the reasonable Sydney climbs. A test run up the hill climb course showed I was finishing in a time that should achieve my aim of taking out B Grade, judging from earlier results. I was 13 seconds outside my 15 min target, but that was the first run over the course and it was a bit damp. Tough work on the 8-9% bits on a TT bike, but after that it flattens out and everything I can find indicates the TT bike is a better choice overall than my roadie (which is a cheapie and therefore the same weight as the TT bike).

I tend to think the time on the heavy bike may have helped, but also I'm just training more (that's not hard for me!) now it's my racing season.

I didn't want to do any real training in the last week as that really seems to mess my legs around, but they feel good. Sunday should be interesting.

Thanks to all who responded, it looks as though using the heavy bike to turn molehills into mountains is a good training technique.
There are many types of racing cyclists. There is the sprinter, the rouleur, the stagiaire, the danser, the descender.... sadly, I'm a mediocre. :-(

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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby 1q2w3e4r » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:31 pm

Razorback? Or the Akuna TT?
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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby am50em » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:41 pm

The advantage I see with using a heavy bike is that it effectively makes the hill taller.
The potential energy gained in climbing is mass x gravitational constant x height (E = mgh).
So for a 100kg rider and a 100m hill
E = 100 x 10 x 100 = 100 kJ
with an extra 10kg of ballast that becomes
E = 110 x 10 x 100 = 110 kJ
which is the same as for a 100kg rider and a 110m hill
E = 100 x 10 x 110 = 110 kJ

Given that the riders power output is fixed, the time for a 110 kg rider (including bike and ballast) up a 100m hill is the same time for 100kg rider (including bike) up a 110m hill.

Of course you should add in rolling and wind resistance but will assume these are negligible differences or they may even cancel out :wink:

So if your local hills are not tall enough, add weight!
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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby Chris249 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:01 pm

Akuna Bay.

I just weighed the bikes to confirm I'd chosen the right one. The TT bike (old Cervelo P2K) came in at 10kg, the roadie (cheap ' cheerful Vivente Como) came in at about 10.5 now it's got the lighter WH500s. So it looks as though I don't have to make a choice between a heavy but aero TT bike (with flat-road gearing) and a light but non-aero roadie with the option of taking it easy on the 2200's 3rd ring! Betta get me a dose of HTFU! :D
There are many types of racing cyclists. There is the sprinter, the rouleur, the stagiaire, the danser, the descender.... sadly, I'm a mediocre. :-(

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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby mikesbytes » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:17 pm

What you are looking for is power to weight ratio. Increase your power and decrease your weight. It doesn't need to be done by climbing hills
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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby 1q2w3e4r » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:35 am

You've obviously been out and done the climb a fair bit.

I wouldn't think you'd get that much advantage on a TT bike to be honest over riding in the drops. Speed on the flatter sections (after the gate) isn't going to be much more than 21-23 kph to the top where the road kicks right. From there its a very fast run into the finish when you've got a race number on your back, especially when you throw in the road isn't perfectly straight. I'd rather be navigating that on a road bike than on a TT bike personally.

Out of interest, what time are you thinking you'll do? Some of the fast guys were doing in the 12 minutes last year, I think the winner did a slight sub 12 (11:50?)

EDIT: Just saw you said 15:00, that's 4 w/kg for the climb.
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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby Chris249 » Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:08 am

1q2w3e4r wrote:You've obviously been out and done the climb a fair bit.

I wouldn't think you'd get that much advantage on a TT bike to be honest over riding in the drops. Speed on the flatter sections (after the gate) isn't going to be much more than 21-23 kph to the top where the road kicks right. From there its a very fast run into the finish when you've got a race number on your back, especially when you throw in the road isn't perfectly straight. I'd rather be navigating that on a road bike than on a TT bike personally.

Out of interest, what time are you thinking you'll do? Some of the fast guys were doing in the 12 minutes last year, I think the winner did a slight sub 12 (11:50?)

EDIT: Just saw you said 15:00, that's 4 w/kg for the climb.


Yeah, I know what you mean about the issues with the TT bike, but from having done the climb twice I now know I can reach my target on it, whereas shifting to the roadie is a gamble. I was thinking about giving it a whirl until the scales came out. I'm also trying to be conservative because of the B grade champs points situation.

I should have swapped straight to the roadie to do another run, but after a circuit and another fast climb I was running out of time and energy. Next year!

I can't find full results from last year, but our club's top A Grader went 12:57 and Philip from this forum was fifth with 13:03.
There are many types of racing cyclists. There is the sprinter, the rouleur, the stagiaire, the danser, the descender.... sadly, I'm a mediocre. :-(

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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby Chris249 » Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:12 am

mikesbytes wrote:What you are looking for is power to weight ratio. Increase your power and decrease your weight. It doesn't need to be done by climbing hills


Yeah, it just seemed that the heavier bike on the hills could be a convenient way of increasing the workload.

The weight side is getting better, but this is my #3 sport. The other two use upper body muscle and one of them has a minimum weight if I'm to stay competitive, so I can't lose much more.
There are many types of racing cyclists. There is the sprinter, the rouleur, the stagiaire, the danser, the descender.... sadly, I'm a mediocre. :-(

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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby mikesbytes » Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:55 am

Cycling, Sailing and ?

As you know Chris, I carry a bit of upper body weight too. While not as effective as leg strength it still can be used?
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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby 1q2w3e4r » Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:36 pm

Hey, I saw you going up the TT today just at the end of the steep pitch about 1.5 k in past the gate and turn to Cottage Point on the TT bike!

Hope you got a good result, I had a look at my previous data 15:00 is 4.3 w/kg up that climb.

Really good fun that TT, I'll be back next time they run it. Hopefully they run a few west head finishes up at Akuna Bay again over summer.
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Re: Should I use a heavy bike for hill climb training?

Postby toolonglegs » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:17 am

I am using a loaded bike for training at the moment...maybe 10-11kgs heavier.I can tell you it makes my 50km two times a day a hell of a lot harder than on a normal weight bike!...
but the downside is it is really hard on my knees!.
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