Help on Hills

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Help on Hills

Postby fionahills » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:22 pm

Hi all,

Strava can be wonderful in telling you how you are progressing or it can confirm just how low your effort is compared to others....I am in the 2nd camp. :oops:

I am wondering the best way to tackle getting better at hills - the hills around here are short and not very steep, or a bit steep and really short...

I put the bikes in the truck today and we headed up to a closed road hill to practice. (i know I should have ridden but its 30kms each way and a bit nervous on the road atm)

Its only 3.5% average and about 3 kms long - - did 3 repeats with as small as break in between as possible - so total riding was only 16.5 kms.
My 'best' efforts are a good 6.5 minutes slower than others on strava. :oops: :oops: :oops:

At the moment I put the bike in the easiest gear right at the bottom and try and be as consistent as possible in cadence over the length of the hill , but am wondering if should I start in a harder gear and only change to an easier one once I cannot go any further? Would that be a better way of developing some power? If I do that and run out of legs, should I turn around and go back and start again or should I go into an easier gear to the end?

I need to add that I cannot for the life of me stand up and pedal so have to sit for the hills - doesn't matter how steep or how long - just have to stay sitting..... has been a problem when riding on unfamiliar hills on longer rides

I need to get much much better - I have a date with Alpe D'Huez in 2013 - looks like June at this stage... :D :D

Not expecting miracles but just want to make sure I am doing the right thing at the moment. If I cannot manage a decent ride on Gyndier, I will suck at ADH.... :oops:

thanks in advance fiona
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by BNA » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:32 pm

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Re: Help on Hills

Postby vander » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:32 pm

The best advice I can give is ride hills. Ride them as hard as you can ride them easy and everything inbetween, but ride them lots. In aus its hard to replicate those big hills so you have to do the best you can with repeats.

I wouldnt worry about what others are doing you will get better it will take time and practice and for hills weight loss helps also.

Keep it simple.
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby vander » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:34 pm

With gearing dont worry so much, ride a harder gear sometimes ride an easier gear sometimes and ride your favorite gear sometimes.
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby fionahills » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:08 pm

Thanks Vander - lost 2 kilos over last month - probably need another 4 to 5 to be really lean-

Re riding the hills will keep going as I am for time being and try and up the repeats, and get rid on the little 'rests' in between.

thanks so much.
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby ldrcycles » Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:53 pm

As many people have said, if you want to get faster at riding up hills, you need to ride up hills.

Within reason (ie not pushing yourself to the point of complete collapse of doing damage to you joints and muscles) you need to work hard too, no one ever got faster and stronger by being comfortable :) .
The last time i did gyndier i alternated between doing staying in the saddle all the way, standing up all the way, and doing whatever i felt like. It's just all about getting the miles in and making sure you recover in between efforts. Do repeats on gyndier just a few times and you will be amazed how much and how quickly your times will improve.

EDIT: just had a look on strava and your times really aren't that bad, you have to remember you haven't been doing it for very long, i can certainly still remember when that was my average time going up there! Do bear in mind too that the people who are posting really fast times aren't doing that again and again, like me they warm up and then go absolutely hell for leather to the top where they stop and collapse over the front of their bikes panting and dizzy.
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:58 pm

Power to weight... you don't need hills to improve power to weight, riding hills just forces you to do the work or you will get nowhere.
Ride more, ride harder, lose weight... the Dutch that swarm the Alpes every summer don't seem to have problems racing up Alpe D'huez or completing the Marmotte even though they never touch a hill at home.
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby marinmomma » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:22 pm

Hey there Fiona

I agree with Vander, ride hills and ride them often!

I didn't have a Garmin when I started riding which is fortunate I think! My first time up Mt Gravatt, which is only 2ks at an average of 6.4% so harder than the Noosa climb but shorter, I had to stop half way to take a break and battle with my brain whether to u-turn it and try another day...

Keep going with the hills if you can, I'm still not that good, I'm better on the flats and downhills...actually it's the leader boards on Strava that keep me going up the hills...because I can't get the downhill segments without the climb first :wink:
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby DoogleDave » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:40 pm

Are you starting to see a pattern here, Fiona?

The only way you will develop more strength, stamina and pedal-power is putting lots and lots of km's into your legs.
Riding hills will force you to do the work (as TLL has mentioned) and it is also good psychological training to overcome what you currently perceive as a huge struggle to accepting hill climbing as a challenge and just gritting your teeth and learning to "love the burn"....and when all else fails just read the last line in my signature and yell it out at the top of your voice (if you can catch your breath), when you're legs are telling you to stop. :-)

And I'm not sure if you've heard this phrase around the forum already, but it really is very true......"it doesn't get easier, you just get faster!"

You are doing all the right things, you just need to continue riding and the rest will come over time.

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Re: Help on Hills

Postby fionahills » Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:59 pm

Thanks guys and Lisa - will try to get as many miles in the legs as I can but still a bit nervy on the road atm - will get better though- being very good diet wise - sooo boring but must be working as my mother said I looked unwell...does not matter how old you are you know a diet is working when your mother says this... :D

I will love hills and I will load up the car & head to noosa again tomorrow and keep pedalling away - will try for 4 repeats and less 'rest time in between'.

I will toughen up - I know I tend to take it too easy so am trying to get more 'red zone' as I ride but can only do short efforts - I need to toughen up and ride harder for longer.... hopefully as fitness improves it will be a little easier. - No it won't get easier - BUT i will be faster - right Dave???

At present 2kms at 33kph leaves me hanging over the bars (and thats on the flat) ...and I'm pretty sure I had a tail wind.... :oops:

As soon as hubby gets home will start riding to Noosa and back -that's a good ride (about 50km) with a few small lumps along the way - was doing that before he started working away - bit daunting on my own though.

I have decided that despite the embarrasement that everything goes on strava or nothing - otherwise its a cheat - anyway if I waited for the really good ones my membership would lapse!!!- :D So good or bad its gonna be there........

thanks again - your encouragement and advice much appreciated Fiona
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby barefoot » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:13 pm

To go fast up a hill, stand and power a big gear. That's how you improve your Strava rankings on short hills.
Go go up a long hill, sit and spin a low gear. That's how you get up Alp d'Huez (without EPO).

The best thing I did to improve my hill climbing - almost by accident - was to start commuting on a single speed. It forces me to attack hills, because there's no option of shifting down and spinning. Too slow a cadence hurts, so I just have to push harder and keep the speed up.

Doing that every day for a few years has made attacking hills my default... I sometimes even forget to change down if I'm on a geared bike. Just stand up and sprint it. And for longer hills... I'm used to holding a comfortable cadence and pushing harder, so that means I tend to downshift to a slightly higher gear than I used to, and spin the same cadence... thus going faster.

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Re: Help on Hills

Postby fionahills » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:18 pm

big problem - cannot stand up and pedal - not sure if its nerves or just completley unco-ordinated - I am the sort of person that has to practice rding one handed!!! honestly that was part of my homework when I went for a coaching session....... :oops:

can stand and stretch on the flat but try to turn the pedals and ooops - all over the road so I am a sitter.....regardless of gradient.... :oops: :oops:

any hints???
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby kb » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:37 am

Try using a higher gear standing than you would sitting. Otherwise it can feel like when you walk out of a shop and forget there's a step :-)
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:19 pm

Just practice i think, the bike does move around quite a bit when you're out of the saddle so that takes quite a bit of getting used to. Once you are comfortable with it when you are really giving it everything you've got you'll find yourself throwing the thing all over the place :) .
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:28 pm

Lots of good stuff about going up from way better riders than me.

As to standing and pedalling, IMO you have to (for the moment) consciously co ordinate the action of legs and arms. Pushing down on the pedal when standing will induce some lean to the system which has to be counteracted by lightly pushing down on the opposite bar. Most people seem to do this instinctively. I wasn't one of them, as a very youngster I was all over the place for some time when standing and when I got back on the bike in '96 after eight years making smoke I had to relearn it again. :oops:
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby fionahills » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:38 pm

good tips there = thanks so much

might practice on the flats first and little ups -like a bridge or something else with no traffic - am glad of the advice and will let you know how I go - take full responsibility for any resulting failure of technique..


thanks so much Fiona
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:00 pm

fionahills wrote:might practice on the flats first and little ups -like a bridge or something else with no traffic...


This. Conscious effort on your technique means less processing power available for roadcraft. Practice the technical stuff in a safe area until it becomes a conditioned response and mixing it with the smokeboxes will become waaaay more pleasurable.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby Ross » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:12 am

fionahills wrote:Strava can be wonderful in telling you how you are progressing or it can confirm just how low your effort is compared to others....I am in the 2nd camp. :oops:



Don't stress too much what times other riders are doing on Strava. You are best to 'compete' with yourself and aim to get PRs (maybe not every ride).

Alp d'Huez will be challenging. I think Lance Armstrong has the record for it and did it in about 30mins. I did it a few years ago but was having some knee problems and had to stop a couple of times on the way up and ended up doing it in about 1hr 30mins. There will be plenty of other cyclists of all speeds and abilities riding it at the same time so you will probably find someone of a similar pace to ride with.
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby foo on patrol » Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:00 pm

You wanna go better on hills, then ride them more often but don't try and go flat out from the bottom. Pace yourself and concentrate on your tempo and work to put more effort in over the length of the hill but don't stop at the top, keep it going for another 50mtrs. :twisted:

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Re: Help on Hills

Postby fionahills » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:47 pm

Hi all

went back to gyndier and practiced today and used all your advice -managed to be a little bit faster and did 4 repeats instead of the 3 - still cannot get the standing up and pedalling right though :oops: but did do 2 descents on the drops - was nervous and used a bit too much brake to keep it slow but found the position quite comfortable and bike was really stable....

so big thanks to all of you who take the time to answer my very basic (and never ending) questions.

also back on the road proper after the 'bus incident' and rode with a great group of women yesterday am- not good at staying on the wheel yet in a bunch ride but kept up, didn't cause anyone to crash and got over (just) 25 kph average for first time on a nearly 40 km ride.

maybe hope for me yet..... :D :D
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby foo on patrol » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:12 am

Just remember Fiona, it's baby steps first as you can give yourself a whole lot of hurt, more ways than one. :wink:

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Re: Help on Hills

Postby marinmomma » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:29 pm

fionahills wrote:Hi all

went back to gyndier and practiced today and used all your advice -managed to be a little bit faster and did 4 repeats instead of the 3 - still cannot get the standing up and pedalling right though :oops: but did do 2 descents on the drops - was nervous and used a bit too much brake to keep it slow but found the position quite comfortable and bike was really stable....

so big thanks to all of you who take the time to answer my very basic (and never ending) questions.

also back on the road proper after the 'bus incident' and rode with a great group of women yesterday am- not good at staying on the wheel yet in a bunch ride but kept up, didn't cause anyone to crash and got over (just) 25 kph average for first time on a nearly 40 km ride.

maybe hope for me yet..... :D :D


Well done Fiona, four repeats is great!
I'm still working on decsending while in the drops...have almost made it down the Coottha front in the drops! :roll:
There is always something to work on....
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby fionahills » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:15 pm

thanks all - am having lots of fun and think I am getting fitter.....was aiming to lose 7 kilos and have lost 3.5 so far - so that is helping I think.

look forward to getting on the bike everyday and hate the days I have to miss now....like today - wet morning, minding grandson this afternoon who was convinced Cadel was at Noosa crits but he was wearing a blue jersey cos his yellow one was dirty.... be great to be 3 again :)

trying to learn to be patient with myself (and my various aches and pains) and enjoying strava as it lets me see how I am progressing - its all about time on the bike, not expecting miracles, and remembering its supposed to be fun - it really is great- - and I am very fortunate to have found you lot to provide so much help and advice.

fiona
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby ireland57 » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:47 pm

Good to see.

Don't be too bothered about strava or comparing yourself to others. If you train smart (and it takes a long while for some of us to learn what works) they'll be comparing themselves to you later on.
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby fionahills » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:08 pm

thanks ireland - had a week off the bike - too much work and very sore back due to being stuck in office - almost pain free again so will go for a gentle one tomorrow and see if the legs still work - am missing the rides - don't sleep nearly as well and feel generally yuck!!

thanks again for your support

fiona
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Re: Help on Hills

Postby g-boaf » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:30 pm

Don't get too bothered about Strava - some of them are really quick riders. For hills it helps to be light and have a lighter bike - the rest is the engine - and mine needs work! I'm like an old Ferrari F1 car, goes quickly for a while and then blows up. :lol:

Strava encourages you to work at getting better - it's an infectious disease. 8) Also - make sure you give yourself a break now and again - don't overtrain or you'll be off the bike for longer than you want.
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