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climbing question from novice.......(6 posts)

climbing question from novice.......smokey422
Jul 20, 2001 8:51 AM
my question concerns climbing while standing. i don't seem to have much luck doing this and am not sure i fully understand the techniques involved. while watching the TDF pros(go lance!), i notice that they rock the bike from side-to-side while out of the saddle. is this to gain additional leverage on the pedals or control the motion of the bike? what is the proper sequence to use? when pushing the right pedal down, should the bike be leaned to the right or to the left? i have heard the rider should shift up one gear, but i seem to just fall through the stroke and bottom out if i only shift one gear. shifting up about 2-3 gears seems to feel better, but i'm not sure if this is correct. my Poprad has bar end shifters so it is a little more awkward to make changes after i am standing. i'm a clydesdale at 6'3" and 225# and ride for fun and fitness. i am not a racer. i do have a lot of big hills in my area and my bike only has 2 chain rings so any help would be appreciated.
re: climbing question from novice.......Lone Gunman
Jul 20, 2001 8:55 AM
That's sounds like trying to tie the necktie on someone else, I have to really think about it.
re: climbing question from novice.......Jofa
Jul 20, 2001 9:28 AM
There really isn't any 'proper sequence', or anything similar. Your body will find it's own most comfortable position for riding hills like this. That the pro's have their various characteristic styles, is more related to their personal gait than any increased efficiency of one method over another... the prevalent advice given for requests like this, is invariably to emulate the currently winning rider, hence the re-emergence of 'ankling' advocates, who had been quiet since Anquetil, in this era of Armstrong.

Ultimately standing up off the saddle is slightly less efficient of your body's resources, as you must balance your body in the air: however this is probably insignificant, as may be seen by- for instance- Virenque, standing, and Indurain, sitting, racing up some giant Col together, and getting to the top at the same time. Most people stand up in order to change their position a little and engage some different muscles... then for some, like Virenque, the habit sticks. If you're finding it difficult, then it's probably because your legs aren't strong enough yet for the demands placed on them; people tend to turn lower cadences when standing not because it's better in any meaningful way, just that spinning fast out of the saddle is tricky and tiring.

Upshot is, there are no rules. Choose the gear you're most comfortable with, and don't stand unless you really want to; of course, if you run out of gears up a hell, then prepare for a workout...
Jul 20, 2001 9:29 AM
That slightly Freudian misspelling of 'hill' wasn't intentional... though, admittedly, pertinent.
Jul 20, 2001 9:38 AM
First, the rocking. You rock left as you pedal right. Think of it as pulling the bike up against the pedal going down. So, your arms and torso supply some of the power, too.

This is harder, typically, for big guys to do, as you are supporting the weight of your body mostly on the pedals, with your legs, rather than on the saddle and handlebars. Also, big guys usually make big torque at the crank, making the standing less needed.

You get better at standing by doing it and getting in better shape. Used to be, I couldn't stand pedaling hard for 10 seconds. Now I can just about climb a whole mountain out of the saddle (lost some weight, too). Practice and train.

Don't feel a *need* to stand, at least for any long period of time. It will not necessarily get you up the hill faster. It will allow you to use different muscles for a while, or generate more torque for short accellerations or steeper hill sections. But, there is no magic to it.

As for the "one gear lower" thing, well that really depends upon what gear you are already in, and the gears you actually have. You may very well need 2 or 3 gears lower, or none at all if you are already mashing. Again, no magic formula.

ok, it took me a few minutes to find this, but...success...Haiku d'état
Jul 20, 2001 10:32 AM