View Full Version : aerobic threshold and mountain biking?

05-13-2004, 12:08 PM
If I always do climbs that put me way past aerobic and well into "panting, gasping, coughing up phlegm," will I work me way into the aerobic realm in time? Or do I have to find easier climbs that put me in the aerobic realm in order to improve on the hard climbs?

This is a question that came up last night, talking to my husband. The mtb rides we do are primarily aerobic for him, but anaerobic for me. I'd like to get to the point where these rides are easier for me, but I don't want to resort to gradual incline rides all the time if I don't have to ...

05-13-2004, 12:29 PM
We have the opposite sort of problem. Thom climbs faster than me - both on and off road, but then somewhere in the middle of the climb - especially on the mtb, will be doing the gasping, panting thing and need to stop. Wheras I seem to be able to climb forever, just at the edge of my lactate threshhold.

Personally I think Spin class and Spinerval videos helped me to develop the ability to sit on the edge of being anaerobic for a long time. Now that the weather is good, try to do teh same climb, but slower, see if that helps any.


05-13-2004, 06:29 PM
My problem is that I am gasping and sucking air the first maybe 20 minutes of a ride-no energy... then it seems to settle down and I get stronger.
My breathing is fine after that.
I just went to get tested to see if maybe it's a thyroid problem- maybe they need to adjust my medication...
anybody else find this??


05-13-2004, 06:44 PM
I take a really long time to warm up. I've always figured it was normal for me, 'cause it's always been that way.


05-14-2004, 07:17 AM
I have the same problem as bounceswoosh except with my road bike. If I'm in a small group where people will wait for me, I try to take the hard climbs at a rate that I can stay on the edge of going anaerobic. But, if I'm on a big group ride, I find that I will push myself into that panting, gasping state just to try not to get dropped.

One side effect of this is that, as we crest the hill, they all take off and I'm still panting too much to put it in high gear and build up a lot of speed right away. Any tips or techniques I could use to improve in this area? Or will I just find that if I stick with it, I will build the aerobic fitness over time?

05-14-2004, 10:23 AM
on many of my rides, it would be hard to slow it down to get back down to aerobic -- if I were going any slower on my granny gear, I'd be going backwards!

05-17-2004, 12:21 PM
Me too, Bounce. I am okay on the flats but I just DIE on any hill, tho I am working on it.
I"m in the gasping/choking lungs on fire stage right now.
Also agree onthe warm up stage. First 20 minutes feels like death.

05-17-2004, 01:40 PM
this is where you might want to ride with hrm. I can pretty much tell by feel where I am on a climb, and I rarely go anaerobic. Slow and steady works for me, I focus on getting to the top at a pace I can manage instead of going for the push. If it means I"m not the first one up, so what. Use all of your gears to control your pace, and don't be afraid to gear down to keep your HR where you want it.

I find that this approach works great, and I can still see the imporvement on any given hill, through both climb time and which gears I'm in. This is where riding lots will help.

I second Veronica on the spinning too for helping with where to ride regarding HR>


05-17-2004, 01:56 PM
Irulan said it very well! I would just add a bit more. When you are going for slow and steady, that means starting out slower than you think you need to. SO many people start out like a crazy person at the bottom of the hill, thinking to get as far up as they can and then crash and burn before they hit the top. (I am exaggerating a bit here.......)

When you know a hill is approaching, take two-three deeps breaths right at the base so you at least start the hill withough being out of breath. Helps with focus, also. If you've got momentum from a downhill, use that till you start to slow down then start pedaling and go ahead and shift down into an easier gear. Think about wanting to keep the same cadence for the entire hill. (You can't always do it, but its a good thing to aim for.) Generally, you need to shift a couple seconds before you think you need to. That way, you don't tire your legs out quite as much. Hopefully, you can keep a decent spin all the way up. I usually don't start up the hills first, but I often am the first one up. I pass people on the way up that started out too hard and then can't keep it up.

Of course, the best way to improve at hills is to ride them. Lots! Practice your technique, focus on what you're doing, think about spinning your pedals, eventually, it gets easier. It NEVER gets easy. Cause once it does, then you end up trying to go faster so its always a challenge. But we like challenges, don't we?:D