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Hill Climbing Continued(20 posts)

Hill Climbing Continuedblondepower
Mar 25, 2002 5:07 PM
I would like to thank those inputs that I recieved, but have a couple more questions.
I am wondering if I am expecting to much to soon as I have only been ridding for 1 season. I might just need to put some more time in the saddle.
When climbing someone suggested to try spining and towards the end put the hammer down. ???
Someone else suggested 50% spin 50% mash..
I know that each rider is different and to each his own but recomendations are greatly appreciated.
I commute to work (27miles one way)and have a descent hill about 6 miles into the ride. The rest of it is rolling terain. On the way home there is a gradual 7 mile climb as well.
On the week ends I try to climb Cystal Lake, its near my house here in So. Cal. that one is a 30 mile climb.....
I also need to be able to read and understand my HRM readings and how to manage my heart rate.
re: Hill Climbing Continuedmoots
Mar 25, 2002 5:16 PM
I love that chart! I just use a simple $95.00 hrt monitor and track my figures on excel sheet, but would love to get the 510 or 710. Do you use the cadence sensor? How accurate is the Altitude calculation? Did the softare come with your 710? How much was it? Any ideas on how to get this purchase past my wife?
re: so.. what's the question?cyclopathic
Mar 25, 2002 5:35 PM
on longer climbs you have to get up from time to time to alternate load. If you try to sit and spin on 7mi climb at LT you'll cramp up. and don't forget to drop gear 2 cogs down when get up ;)


PS Judging by the graph your LTHR is ~179-180 (I assume you're going all out) Taking that I'd say you're pushing too hard. You need to slow down and ride at 160bpm and lower. THere's no benefit from riding at such intensities more then twice a week.
re: Hill Climbing ContinuedCactus1
Mar 25, 2002 5:50 PM
I think your average HR is too high. If you are in your 1st year as a cyclist, I think you need to spend more time doing base miles at a HR near 70% of Max HR.

Do you go out and just ride "hard"?

If I were in your position, I would develop my aerobic system over a long period first. Say 3-6 months. I would do lots of endurance rides at low HR (near 70% of max), except for one short hard ride a week (group ride, hill climb). Perhaps sign up for centuries and similar fun rides to get in lots of miles at low to moderate HR levels. Your aerobic engine will develop. Then start adding more strength or tempo or climbing. climbing takes years to develop.

It looks like you blew up near the top of the hill. If so, then this means you went out too hard. Pick a smaller gear and ride the hill at say HR = 155-165, and see how that feels. You may need to get a 12-25 or 12-27 cassette to allow you to spin up the hill at that HR range. Experiment with different speeds.

I might be wrong but my intuition is that you are the type that goes harder than you should sometimes. That's good and bad. It's good in that you like the sport and are enthusiastic. It's bad in that you aren't developing all your energy systems properly. Long slow rides are beneficial when you don't develop lots of lactic acid. Lactic acid supposedly can inhibit aerobic development.

Anyone have other suggestions??

Mix it up39x23
Mar 25, 2002 6:08 PM
I agree with Cactus1. The avg. HR is too high. The key to doing well on climbs is developing a good aerobic base (no shortcut here - just lots of long, steadystate miles), working on power (plenty of time to find yourself in the gym during a New England winter) and developing climbing efficiency. Many folks I know train on hills by going out and hammering themselves w/hill repeats. That is great if you want to learn how to blow up. A more reasonable way would be to spend 3-4 weeks learning how to climb (small gears in the saddle uphill), while still working on leg strength (gym work or low cadence flatland stuff) and then after the first month, begin putting it together by starting a hill in an easier gear than you probably need (in the saddle) and shifting up into bigger gears and working it out of the saddle. In other words, work on becoming a more complete climber.

Another trick is to find a tough hill and start it in an easy gear in the saddle, and shift to a harder gear (you may have to stand for this) further and further from the top.

Mar 26, 2002 3:56 PM
I was also surprised to see how little your high HR recovered on what looks like a pretty steady decent. Recovery from Max HR will reflect fitness more than looking at max hr alone.

Base fitness training plus interval training helps accomplish both objectives.
re: Hill Climbing Continuedblondepower
Mar 25, 2002 6:52 PM
for some reason I notice my heart rate is high and maybe its just me but it seems like if I were to slow down any further to conserver myself, I would fall off the bike from riding so slow :)
The Altimeter works great and is mostly acurate. I just purchased the cadence sensor and should have it in a couple of days.

Is there a way to make heads or tails of the graph?? How do i know where to improve??
Allow me to insist...tempeteKerouak
Mar 25, 2002 7:44 PM
Now, I get to know more and more about your riding habits and yourself.

-you are talking serious climbing here. More than I handle as I live in the east, but i have ridden over very serious passes in many country at all altitudes. I don't train there obviously.
-you claim that riding any slower will make you tip over.

So you are maxed out. You spin all the way on top of good serious climbs, maxed out on HR and unable to take more speed if needed.

Climbing is not where you will improve as a new cyclist. What Lance does, he does because he has tons of miles in his shorts. You get to develop efficient power on climb only if you have the base miles in the legs.

I am making again a bold call here, but the answer to your problem is not on the hill, it's on the long slow distance, rolling terrain. Developping leg spin over various speed. Not to crawl on top of a mountain pass.

A mountain pass need deep power.

No serious person takes the bike out of the garage, first thing in the spring, to bust the knees and blow a vein on a steep hill. You do the base mileage, then take it to the hill.

You seem like you are at the spring of your racing life...
re: Hill Climbing ContinuedLen J
Mar 25, 2002 7:30 PM
Couple of suggestions:

1.)Use the Zone feature of the Polar. I have the s710 & set the zones to the workout that I am doing. (i.e. if I'm doing an aerobic ride (base)I set the main zone for that exercise set at my aerobic range & set one zone above it & one below it) This allows me to track how much I stay in, over or under the desired heartrate zone. I can also tell from the graphs if this occurs at particular times in the ride.

2.)Get a good training book and spend some time understanding the interrelationship of workouts at different heart rate zones and gains in strength endurance or speed. It's clear from your posts that you still have a lot to learn (which is OK) about what your body is telling you when you ride. You will also learn how to build up your effort to allow you to do the climb you want to do the way you want to do it. I would recommend Joe Freil's "Cyclist training bible" however there are many books available. It's worth the investmnet of $30 or so.

3.) The next time you do this ride, don't worry about speed. Get in a gear that allows you to sit & spin and keeps your heartrate below 85% of your max. Try to concentrate on staying relaxed the entire climb. It will hurt in the legs but try to stay relaxed. If your HR starts to climb downshift to an easier gear (if you have one, if not you need to get one.) When you are finished see how long it took you. The next time, try to stay under 90% of max, the next time 75% of max. Keep track of your times and your cadence for these various tests & lay them side by side, see what you learn. Then do the same tests but vary your cadence. Then vary sitting & standing. Eventually you wuill find the most effective & efficient method for you.

Let us know what you learn.

re: Hill Climbing Continuedblondepower
Mar 25, 2002 9:53 PM
Thanks again for the post's
I have the question though on setting up zones with the Polar S710 Software.
-so you set one zone for climbing (you set a higher heart rate)
-then you set a zone for casual ridding (you set a normal heart rate)

please elaberate...if you could send me a screen shot of your setup that would be great.
re: Hill Climbing ContinuedLen J
Mar 26, 2002 5:13 AM
Let me try to explain.
My Zones are as follows:
Min Max
Max HR 198
Anaerobic Capacity 5c 191 197
Aerobic Capacity 5b 184 190
Super Threshold 5a 180 183
Sub Threshold 4 168 179
Tempo 3 161 167
Aerobic 2 149 160
Recovery 1 118 148

Now I use these to setup my HR monitor based on the workout I am trying to do. So as an example, I have an exercise set set-up for an aerobic workout, the three zones that I set up are 2, 3 & 1. Since I want to stay in the aerobic zone I set this up first, the other two a bracket zones. I also have an exercise set set-up for a tempo ride. Zones are 3,4&2. (See page 18 thru 29 in the Polar s710 manual for how to).

Again, you are not going to learn how to determine your zones (they are individual) and how to create a training plan from this forum, or from the Polar literature. Spend some time researching this. Remember, the monitor is a tool that allows you to monitor what type of workout you are actually subjecting your body to. If you don't know what you are trying to do, the monitor will only tell you the effect, it doesn't tell you what you should be doing.

By understanding the various zones & what they are used for, you can create a plan aimed at strengthening specific weaknesses.

Good Luck. You are asking the right questions however, I'm not sure you have enough knowledge to understand the answers. Do some reading.

re: Hill Climbing Continuedblondepower
Mar 26, 2002 7:43 AM
I guess , I really need to buy some books on understanding my heart rate and maybe this will help me determin limits for my HRM and help me be a better/stronger rider.
You sound discouraged.Len J
Mar 26, 2002 11:22 AM
Try not to be. The first step to wisdom is acnowledgement of confusion.

You have asked a series of very good questions that have obvious interest to many readers (look at the number of posts). You are willing to try to understand. Congratulations.

I honestly have been riding off and on for 20 years but it wasn't until the end of last season that I decided to get more efficient with my training. I have always trained by just riding hard when I felt good & riding hard when I didn't feel good. I only rested when my body broke down. At 46 years old, I decided (mainly from reading some of the posts on this board & elsewhere) that there had to be a better way. So this winter, I bought several books on heart rate training & decidied to utilize Joe Freil's book to create a program aimed at my weaknesses. I decided that I would follow it for one whole season before I decided if it workes (I committed to give it a chance). Well, I started on Dec 20th and so far this year I have done almost 1500 miles & I'm currently in my Base 3 period. I'll be starting my build period in 2 weeks. I can feel the difference. My aerobic conditioning is better than it's been since I was 25 yrs old. My endurance seems better & my TT test times have dropped 3 consecutive times. And best of all, it makes sense, and it doesn't take mega time. My toughest week so far has only been 10.5 hours of training, most are less.

Hang in there & keep asking, you will be rewarded for the effort.

re: Hill Climbing ContinuedSantaCruz
Mar 25, 2002 10:16 PM
I'm not sure I believe the graph. It indicates you descended over 1000 ft in 10 minutes and never once got your heart rate below 150. What gears were you pushing downhill to keep your HR so high????
re: Hill Climbing Continuedblondepower
Mar 25, 2002 10:34 PM
The wind was blowing pretty hard. The weather was starting to get bad so I turned arround and went home. :)
Pretty Graphjim hubbard
Mar 25, 2002 11:40 PM
But it is just crap unless you can read it. First off your heart rate looks about normal for this type of riding. What worries me though is that you are topping out at 190bpm+ For a training ride this is far too demanding. What you need to do is examine speed verus HR. As you improve speed goes up for the same heart rate. However there are issues that cause heart rate variance etc but I won't go into. Another issue the graph highlights is your inability to recover on the smaller downhills. This indicates a lack of extensive structured training ie you have gone out and first ride of the season and ridden up the side of a mountain! My suggestion is go and find a coach who can help you with these issues(ps cheaper and more effective than a new HR monitor LOL)
Here's my take (long). . .js5280
Mar 26, 2002 9:52 AM
I notice that your HR pegs out about 190 bpm up the first little climb (just after 10 min) while doing over 15 mph which suggests to me you're starting out too hard for this long of a climb.

You repeat it on the 2nd section (about the 20 min mark) of the climb, you HR pegs out before the steepest section but were maintaining a high speed, around 15 mph. Then you recover from :20 to :30 by dropping your speed and your HR stays below 190, even to 180, and even your speeds are increasing, I think that's good technique there. Now, what were you doing as far as cadence and gears then?

The 3rd incline, your HR pegs out again but you're almost done w/ the climb. Not bad technique here but you still blew up too early.

Your best performance looks to be the final incline, which is also the longest. Your speeds are slower, just a little, but your HR is 5 to 10 bpm from the previous climbs and you only go above 190 for a breif time and then recover nicely. So, what where doing differently on the top of the climb?

Personally, I think you're going too hard in the begining and blowing up before your summit the section. I have to imagine you have lower gears available since your min speed looks to be about 7 mph or so. Therefore I don't think it's too much hill for your condition unless your spinning 40rpm in your lowest gear. With a 39/25 you should be able crawl along at 5-6 mph though.

Advice I've taken for climbing and it seems to work is start in a lower gear and work your way up the gears, that is spin then shift up as you approach the summit. I think the natural tendency is to mash until your tired and then spin the rest of the way up. I've read frequently to not climb this way. I find that if I spin first, I can stay below my anarobic threshold and then I time hitting my anarobic threshold at the summit because I know I can recover after that for the next climb. However if it's downhill after the submit, plan to hit your anarobic peak just after the summit, that will often get you the jump on others who peg out at the top of the climb and quit.

Remember once you go anarobic (and it looks like it's just below 190 for you) you only have a few minutes at that intensity till you blow up and can't go anymore. Therefore dip into that pool sparingly and only when you can recover immediately afterwards. Getting base miles, doing intervals, etc. are all good things but I think you can tackle this climb by starting your climbs at lower speeds and not hitting 190 bpm until you reach the summit of the incline. If you're in your lowest gear, at 40-50 rpms, and still hitting 190 then you need to work on your fitness and/or get lower gearing.

The other thing I'd HIGHLY recommend is Friel's Training Bible books. Great information in there, understandable to someone just learning about performance training but applicable to even they highest level athlete. That will help you understand some of the basics of what people are saying here, help you get the most out of your S710, and make you a better cyclist and athlete. Good luck! Thanks for the posting your info, makes me want to run out and get a S710 now. . .
Mar 26, 2002 11:17 AM
looking at the middle climb (the biggest one he lost) he is running out of gears. 6mph on 39/23 translates into 44RPM which for me would mean standing or if sitting pushing at max. 25 cog would up it to 48RPM and 27t to 51.

Given the 190bpm HR (I can't believe it can be under LT) the guy is dying, for sure. I feel like calling ambulance. And it is not big of the climb ~1,100' gain/~7% avg.

He needs to work in different areas:
1) base miles/cardio vascular fitness (long rides at low intensity)
2) strength (short 1-2min steep climbs at low RPM with long 5min+ recovery)

All this with HR well under LT (under 165)

He is not ready to ride hills like this on doubles and doing what he does won't do much good. Any threshold training effects he get out of it won't last more then 6-8 weeks.
Mar 26, 2002 4:56 PM
I appreciate your honesty and confidence :)
I am new to the sport so take it easy on me.....
re: we all walked in the same shoescyclopathic
Mar 26, 2002 7:51 PM
at one point or another. /and trust me walking 14% grade in slippery Look cleats ain't as much fun as it may sound/
nothing's gonna happen overnight you build wall one brick a time, take it easy and good luck.