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Thread: Hill Speed

  1. #16
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    May 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katie0817 View Post
    Thanks for all the good replies and awesome info! This does help a lot. It makes me feel great to be able to get to the top of the hill but I am so slow, lol. I can see I am improving but it hurts my averages a lot that I cannot stand to power up a hill like most people. I have had knee issues in the past and everytime I try and stand up on the bike, it shoots pain through my knees instantly. So I have to stay in the saddle and slolwly make my way up. I am aggravated with myself that I cannot stand to power up them. I have always enjoyed mountain biking more but the steep short hills always got me because of this. Now I am concentrating on the road instead.
    Like you I have knee issues and tend to granny gear until I fall over through lack of momentum and then walk up. A couple of suggestions I would suggest are: since you have to remain seated, sit up straight and breath deeply, you are in an ideal position to do so. Work on developing some quad strength. This means more than squats in endless repetition, this means jump lunges, step ups, leg presses with weight , lunge walks and exercises to strengthen the hamstrings as well. I don't know if you ride with clips, but if you do, start focusing on pulling up with your feet rather than stomping down, also work on developing a circular pedal motion with no jerks.

    These things will not only help you on hills, but in general on the bike for good form and smooth riding.

    Incidentally the strongest hill climber I know is a slender 65 year old lady who used to be a ballet dancer who rides completely upright and as smooth as glass, with a cadence of 80-85 that never varies no matter what the terrain is. She just changes gears to accommodate, but she is a joy to watch, absolutely nothing moves but her legs in continuous smooth circles.

    There is hope for all of us yet.
    marni
    Katy, Texas
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  2. #17
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    Feb 2005
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    Concord, MA
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    I don't stand, either, for the same reasons. It slows mw down and it hurts. It took me years to be able to even get up out of the saddle. I *do* stand to stretch on long rides and I will stand on little, little rises. But on the long, steep type of climbs I did this week on my tour, I couldn't stand if I had to. My strategy (as well as my DH, who can climb and stand like crazy) is to choose a slow speed, stick to it, and keep a perfectly even, continuous cadence. That strategy has got me up the most difficult climbs, up to 22%. Personally, I don't care how fast I go up hills; I want to go up, not walk, and this works. While I can climb faster than a lot of people I ride with, I have to pace myself on long climbs.
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  3. #18
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    May 2011
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    NW Ohio...for now
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    Crankin~Perfect strategy! Did 31 miles today including several hills. Two were incredibly steep, one with a switchback. Eventually got to the granny gear and just focused on keeping the steady cadence. OMG! Still can't believe that I did it! Didn't ever feel the need to stand up either. I had to dig deep and did feel like puking as I got closer to the top. I have to admit, I had the hubby behind me cheering me on, which helped alot too.
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  4. #19
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    Know that puking feeling well. If DH hadn't been giving me encouragement last Monday, I would have fainted, fallen over, and possibly puked at the same time. And I've been riding for quite awhile...
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  5. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Elon, NC
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    Got excited when I first read this thread's title..."Hill Speed"...I was thinking downhill...drats...well anyway, will share my thoughts.. Top speed downhill today on the Blue Ridge Brutal (75miler) was 54.2mph....wow, that was fun.

    On the up hills, however, I find it helpful to alternate standing/sitting and concentrating on relaxing the quads and pulling more with the calves...all changes to muscle groups seem to help me.

  6. #21
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    May 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by new2ride View Post

    I read a few weeks ago on Team Estrogen that someone suggested "boobs to the tube." How appropriate for the 3 day and I kept repeating that saying to myself when climbing hills (except for the mother of all hills). I made it up everyone while chanting "boobs to the tubes."

    LMAO...How did I miss this the first time through?!?! I'm going to use this often, you can bet on that
    Don't cross the river if you can swim the tide...

    2011-Cannondale Synapse Alloy5 WSD with 105 and BB30!

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    2
    I am new to cycling, and I live in an extremely hilly area. The only thing that gets me to the top is the joy of going down! I figure the mph on the decline makes up for my laborious inclines.

  8. #23
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    Jul 2011
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    California
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    This is me (in the middle) climbing to the top of a climb known as Wildcat! It's 9/10ths of a mile long and I went up it at 3 mph, but I made it!

  9. #24
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    Dec 2010
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    Boise Idaho
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    Great suggestions here but wanted to add, don't forget to breathe. One of my riding buddies hates hills a) she rides in to hard of a gear b)she doesn't breathe into her diaphragm. So in addition to using your gears, remember to breathe through your nose into your diaphragm, keep expanded. Don't be afraid to stick your belly out, think of all the Tour De France racers that look like they have a beer gut, that is air in their lungs as they climb. PS - same friend kicks by butt going downhill, we know we could be famous if we could combine my ability to climb with her ability to descend
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  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    Here's an article that might provide some help in getting up hills http://www2.bsn.de/Cycling/articles/...echniques.html

    Aside from the above article, the only suggestion I can contribute is one I read about years ago: In rhythm with your pedaling, forcefully and completely exhale through the mouth - your body will automatically take care of inhalation (preferably through the nose).

  11. #26
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    I hadn't heard the advice before to breath through the nose when climbing, I am not a strong climber myself. Is this more efficient than mouth-breathing? Of course, if we are doing that then we are likely panting (at least for me)...

  12. #27
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    Jan 2011
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    Austin, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catrin View Post
    I hadn't heard the advice before to breath through the nose when climbing, I am not a strong climber myself. Is this more efficient than mouth-breathing? Of course, if we are doing that then we are likely panting (at least for me)...
    From what I've read on the web, nose breathing is the preferred method. But I have a book (Bicycling Science, from M.I.T. Press) that says

    "Up to a breathing rate of 0.67 ml/sec (40 l/min), people tend to breathe through the nose ... Above this rate, the resistance to flow of even a healthy nose becomes penalizing, and mouth breathing is substituted. For a normally healthy individual riding on the level in still air on a lightweight bicycle, this limiting rate for nasal breathing is reached at about 14 mph."

    That implies to me that really hard effort, like climbing a steep hill at a moderate speed, necessitates mouth breathing. I could be wrong though ...it has been known to happen

  13. #28
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hi Ho Silver View Post
    From what I've read on the web, nose breathing is the preferred method. But I have a book (Bicycling Science, from M.I.T. Press) that says

    "Up to a breathing rate of 0.67 ml/sec (40 l/min), people tend to breathe through the nose ... Above this rate, the resistance to flow of even a healthy nose becomes penalizing, and mouth breathing is substituted. For a normally healthy individual riding on the level in still air on a lightweight bicycle, this limiting rate for nasal breathing is reached at about 14 mph."

    That implies to me that really hard effort, like climbing a steep hill at a moderate speed, necessitates mouth breathing. I could be wrong though ...it has been known to happen
    Just good to know that it sounds like I at least get part of it right

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    4
    A lot of good info here! Very good article on climbing techniques. I usually try to time out my shifting jsut right, shifting down just when I feel more resistance but not too soon where momentum is lost. More often, as the article says, I am sitting upright, butt back on saddle and hands on hoods using more quads. Sometimes I alternate a little in the drops because my muscles fatique on longer climbs and I can hit different muscle groups that way. I want to build my legs up more by doing some additional exercises like the squats/lounges but I need to find time to fit them in there. I am usually cycling 3 times a week, hiking twice a week, swimming once a week and try to take one day off. I figured the more cycling I do, the will naturally get better at it wihtout having to find time to fit in the exercises but I do wonder if that is the right approach. I have been trying to find time to fit in some core exercises as well. With the breathing, I usually inhale with both mouth and nose cause the hills are kicking my butt and I need the extra oxygen lol.

    Tiffany - great job on the hill climbing. I know how it feels trying to stay upright at 3 - 4 mph!

  15. #30
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    Jun 2006
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    I have a breathing tip. Make sure you exhale completely before inhaling. Get that last little bit out by pulling in the diaphragm, like "breath of fire" in yoga, you'll hear that puff at the end. This will let you make more room for air to come in on the next inhale, which you want to take in as slowly and fully as you can. If you're gasping, you're not getting enough in because the old air is still in there.

    The other thing is to smile and relax every muscle you can. If it's not helping climb, it shouldn't be tense. If it's tense, it's taking energy away.
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