Power for steep climbs advice please

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marylogic
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Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby marylogic » Fri Mar 01, 2013 14:27 pm

I have been training about 4 times a week for a hilly sportive in May. I have lost most (11lbs) of the stone I plan to lose and I'm now looking to increase distance then intensity.

I tried a climb yesterday that is the toughest in my area.

I managed the 10% approach, the 20% ramp but couldn't continue as after the ramp it is still about 13%. Usually if I get to the "get off or fall off" point my heart rate is maxed out but this time I just felt like there was no power in my legs.

I know people sometimes suggest weights over the winter but I don't know if it's too close to the sportive to be trying that now?
Would I be better sticking to hill reps?

Thanks for any advice

styxd
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby styxd » Fri Mar 01, 2013 14:30 pm

Ride up and down hills more.

Stop setting off so quickly, its not a race?

displacedaussie
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby displacedaussie » Fri Mar 01, 2013 14:34 pm

Ride more. Ride hard. Rest when your body needs it. Repeat.

marylogic
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby marylogic » Fri Mar 01, 2013 14:36 pm

So I don't have to go to the gym and I can keep going out on my bike? That's exactly what I wanted to hear thank you :D

Slowbike
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby Slowbike » Fri Mar 01, 2013 14:43 pm

marylogic wrote:I have been training about 4 times a week for a hilly sportive in May. I have lost most (11lbs) of the stone I plan to lose and I'm now looking to increase distance then intensity.

I tried a climb yesterday that is the toughest in my area.

I managed the 10% approach, the 20% ramp but couldn't continue as after the ramp it is still about 13%. Usually if I get to the "get off or fall off" point my heart rate is maxed out but this time I just felt like there was no power in my legs.

I know people sometimes suggest weights over the winter but I don't know if it's too close to the sportive to be trying that now?
Would I be better sticking to hill reps?

Thanks for any advice


20% is quite an incline ... are you using appropriate gears to get up this?
Otherwise, the only advice I can offer is not to attack too hard at the bottom ...
I've only tried a 25% hill twice so far (it's no where near my riding area) and it's hard work - even after 6 months of solid riding the second attempt was no better than the first - yes I did make it up both times - just! Fortunately it's only a short/sharp hill and the only hill of note on that circuit

displacedaussie
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby displacedaussie » Fri Mar 01, 2013 14:55 pm

marylogic wrote:So I don't have to go to the gym and I can keep going out on my bike? That's exactly what I wanted to hear thank you :D


Yep. Riding your bike more and pushing yourself is the best way to get better.

marylogic
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby marylogic » Fri Mar 01, 2013 15:27 pm

Slowbike wrote:
marylogic wrote:I have been training about 4 times a week for a hilly sportive in May. I have lost most (11lbs) of the stone I plan to lose and I'm now looking to increase distance then intensity.

I tried a climb yesterday that is the toughest in my area.

I managed the 10% approach, the 20% ramp but couldn't continue as after the ramp it is still about 13%. Usually if I get to the "get off or fall off" point my heart rate is maxed out but this time I just felt like there was no power in my legs.

I know people sometimes suggest weights over the winter but I don't know if it's too close to the sportive to be trying that now?
Would I be better sticking to hill reps?

Thanks for any advice


20% is quite an incline ... are you using appropriate gears to get up this?
Otherwise, the only advice I can offer is not to attack too hard at the bottom ...
I've only tried a 25% hill twice so far (it's no where near my riding area) and it's hard work - even after 6 months of solid riding the second attempt was no better than the first - yes I did make it up both times - just! Fortunately it's only a short/sharp hill and the only hill of note on that circuit


I have a triple and I was in my granny gear!
It was maybe a bit crazy to try it so early in the year but I have been obsessing about it all winter because it defeated me last year and because it is in the sportive I'm doing in May. I'll get more chances to try it with the better weather so hopefully I'll manage it soon.

djm501
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby djm501 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 15:56 pm

You have until May - that's ages.

To give you a perspective. I have a local hill that is 700 ft, about 5% average over 2.5 miles and towards the top it goes to 10% -18% , down a bit and then back up to 18%. The first time I tried it in October(ish) last year I had to stop once. I vowed that next time I would do it - I had to stop 3 times the second time... :-/ . So I went up it at lunchtimes, at the weekend etc. It ended up taking me dozens of attempts but I did do it in the end (by early December). Since then I've done it loads of times more and can now include both it, another nearby hill which tops out at 21% and two massive soaring climbs of nearly 1000ft (although both are never more than 10%) and I've not failed to get up any of these - the ride that does all four is also over 80 miles.
I've also climbed the highest mountain pass in Wales last weekend with that practice behind me (1500 ft Gospel Pass).

In short - what others have said - just ride it a lot *and* practice distance. Just get the miles in and you'll be fine. not that all that took me about 3 months - you can do it - and I don't have a triple. I've done all that on a 34x28 'granny' gear on my road bike - you should, with work, be laughing on a triple. I was unfit and a novice cyclist less than a year ago too.
Oh yeah, and once you get fit enough - slow and steady will get you up almost anything.

You will be loving it before long :-D

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pride4ever
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby pride4ever » Fri Mar 01, 2013 16:00 pm

You need to do intervals on your turbo (if you have one) and improve your Max HR and your lactic threshold. Ive been doing them 3 times a week for the last 6 months and I find the rides I do round my neck of the woods (Yorkshire/Derbyshire) much easier than before.
the deeper the section the deeper the pleasure.

MichaelW
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby MichaelW » Fri Mar 01, 2013 17:57 pm

You may have a triple but how old was your granny? I changed my 30/40/50 road triple to a 24/36/46 MTB triple so I could haul a touring load up steep roads and mountain trails. You could change the rear cassette to a larger one.
Hill climbing is all about power/weight. Some people are just built for climbing and some are not. There is a limit to how much power you can develop and how much weight you can lose so don't view low gears as some kind of girlie cop-out.

djm501
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby djm501 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 18:10 pm

I should maybe point out - with general agreement to the above post - that if I at a cool 16 stone 2 lb (226 lbs) can do what I outlined above - then you as a lighter rider (I suspect - could be wrong) should be OK on that front too.
Just train and don't worry too much.

TakeTurns
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby TakeTurns » Fri Mar 01, 2013 18:16 pm

Learn to pace yourself. Take it easy at the start so that you don't blow up near the top.

When I first started cycling, it was inevitable for me to avoid climbs because of where I live. So I had to get good at them. I did 10 hill reps per sesh twice a week. Then took it up to 20, all at medium intensity. Doing large quantities of reps will improve your confidence and help improve your technique.

5-6 months later, I was climbing twice as fast.

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Mikey41
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby Mikey41 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 19:24 pm

marylogic wrote:So I don't have to go to the gym and I can keep going out on my bike? That's exactly what I wanted to hear thank you :D

Best way to improve riding a bike... is to ride the bike. After my first sportive, I am now looking for better hills to practice on. I had thought I was reasonably prepared... I was wrong. I made it round, but wow, I need a lot of improvement at climbing.

Find hills, ride up them, repeat. :)
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marylogic
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby marylogic » Fri Mar 01, 2013 21:03 pm

Thanks for the replies.

I am 9 stone 3 and 5'4" and I had thought that weight loss would be a cunning way to improve my power to weight ratio, but after yesterday I wondered if I needed to focus on the power more. I had thought maybe I need to do weights to improve my power but I suppose the hill reps probably serve the same purpose?

Maybe it's because I'm a woman that I am quite happy to have a triple and slowly plod up the climbs - I don't mind at all if anyone else defeats me but I DO mind if the hill defeats me!

What got me yesterday was it felt like a completely different experience because I had to get out the saddle - I normally climb seated but this was too steep. I don't know if practicing climbing out the saddle on less steep hills which are nearer (my nemesis is 25 miles away so I can't just pop up there all the time) would be worthwhile?

TakeTurns
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby TakeTurns » Fri Mar 01, 2013 21:13 pm

It'll mainly be your cardiovascular fitness that'll get you over the climb, no need to go near the weights. Climb enough hills and you'll have adequate strength in the legs. Assuming you're a newbie, weight loss will come - as long as you're putting in the miles.

Practicing climbing out the saddle isn't that necessary. I'd say; do regular hill reps on your local climb. Try to stay in the saddle majority of the time, as your near the top, jump out the saddle and blast over it. A month or so later you can move onto your 'nemesis'. Which'll then seem more like a speed bump. :wink:

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Mikey41
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby Mikey41 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 23:29 pm

marylogic wrote:Maybe it's because I'm a woman that I am quite happy to have a triple and slowly plod up the climbs

Whatever it takes to defeat the hill. After 40 miles of my sportive, I was looking jealously at the triple on the MTB I was dragging myself uphill beside... at 4mph :(
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JGSI
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby JGSI » Sat Mar 02, 2013 08:17 am

marylogic wrote:I have been training about 4 times a week for a hilly sportive in May. I have lost most (11lbs) of the stone I plan to lose and I'm now looking to increase distance then intensity.

I tried a climb yesterday that is the toughest in my area.

I managed the 10% approach, the 20% ramp but couldn't continue as after the ramp it is still about 13%. Usually if I get to the "get off or fall off" point my heart rate is maxed out but this time I just felt like there was no power in my legs.

I know people sometimes suggest weights over the winter but I don't know if it's too close to the sportive to be trying that now?
Would I be better sticking to hill reps?

Thanks for any advice


If you are new (ish) to cycling then building up your fitness to ride at tempo pace on the flat and also your ability to pace yourself up climbs is very limited at the moment.
You can train for hillls after a fashion on the flat by finding a mile long drag (false flat) and really pushing a large gear but at your your highest sustainable cadence - until it huts too much!
What is that doing? Pushing you into going over threshold where no one likes to be because it is not a nice place to be on a bike.
So, keep your riding up! Repeat - keep your riding up!
Your gearing is not an issue as you have a triple chainset but your fitness is - however if you want to go to the gym to do squats - trust me when I say, gym work has NEVER helped me go faster up a hill.
Learn how to pace yourself better - learn to keep that heart rate down as you start to climb - get into an easier gear as soon as and sod the rest of others who may pass easily.

HOMEWORK

If you want to see a pro rider spin it up a hill - it is a master class in technique, then check Cobo going up the Angliru ( ok probably juiced up to the neck but whatever) ..he wasnt fazed by using compact and 32 on the back.
The video shows up the ave gradient. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulViOm2PqR8
"Juanjo Cobo (Geox-TMC) was one of the few GC riders who rode 34×32 (a 28.3-inch gear) up the steep grades, which topped 24 percent on some ramps.

Most of the other GC favorites rode tougher gearing that later did not give them the same pedal speed that Cobo was able to generate on the steepest ramps.

[b]“We chose those gear ratios because we knew that the ramps were so steep it was important to be able to keep a high cadence,” said Geox-TMC sport director Matxin Fernández. “You could see that Cobo was more agile on the pedals and I believe that made a difference.”
Some Angliru gearing

Cobo 34×32 (28.3-inch);
Nibali 34×29 (31.2-inch);
Froome and Wiggins 38×32 (31.6-inch);
Kessiakoff 34×28 (32.3-inch);
Fuglsang and Mollema 36×28 (34.2-inch);"
[/b]

http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/09/vuelta-a-espana/vuelta-tech-gear-ratios-critical-up-the-angliru_191093

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Brian B
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby Brian B » Sat Mar 02, 2013 08:56 am

I suggest:-

1) Getting in as much miles as possible. This means as many 60-100miles runs you can possibly do and pack in hills on the route bit not necessary steep. You just need to be be in tune with your body and know your limits. Only long miles in the saddle can do that. Any other training is just an aid to help but miles are the key.
2) Hill reps - again do not focus on steep but a climb thats you can do comfortably and use the gears to make it hard if required
3) Interval training on either a turbo or a spinning bike - cannot stress how much an improvement this can have.
4) Just relax - a sportive is a fun day out and if you have to walk then so will many others. Next year you'll breeze it.
Brian B.

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Grill
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby Grill » Sat Mar 02, 2013 08:56 am

As everyone is saying, just keep riding. Hill reps are helpful for pacing, and if you find one that's around 10-15% and about half a mile that would be ideal for your purpose. Do it 8-10 times and you'll build the know how to tackle the bigger steeper stuff in no time.
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marylogic
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Re: Power for steep climbs advice please

Postby marylogic » Sat Mar 02, 2013 20:22 pm

Thanks everyone.

Thanks for the Cobo video his cadence is impressive.

I do enjoy climbing which is why I'm a bit obsessed I suppose. Between work and family I can really only get out 4 times a week so I am glad the consensus is not to waste one of those sessions in the gym.

I'm looking forward to starting hill reps. I am lucky to have a great hill at the end of my road - about 200 ft ascent varying from 6 - 10% which I did a few reps sessions on last year.

If you see a crazy middle aged woman cycling up and down a hill on a triple smile and say "Hi, Mary", I'll appreciate it :)


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