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I am a Crappy Climber...HELP...(15 posts)

I am a Crappy Climber...HELP...Icefrk13
Apr 17, 2002 6:38 AM
Well it is me again, begging for more advice. Since getting my new bike I am getting faster on the flats. I am no longer the slowest in my group. (ya) But I am the worst climber. What are some good training tips for improving my climbing abilities.

Ride lots of hills. nmonespeed
Apr 17, 2002 6:47 AM
Lose weight. NM.vitusdude
Apr 17, 2002 6:53 AM
How bad do you want it?mr_spin
Apr 17, 2002 6:57 AM
Improving your climbing is fairly simple to do in concept: climb often.

If you are obsessed with improving your climbing, intervals and hill repeats are the answer. Find a short, small hill, climb it as fast as you can. Rest. Repeat 5-10 times. Find a longer hill. Climb it at a good pace. Rest. Repeat.

There are other questions to consider:

  • are you using the right gearing?
  • got any weight you can lose?
  • what is your technique? do you ever stand up?
  • just how bad are you? not everyone is built for climbing.
Apr 17, 2002 7:53 AM
I am in the process of loosing weight. That is a big factor at the moment. I am averaging about 1.8-2.2 lbs a week. The gearing feels good, it seems like the cardio just isn't there all the time.
ride more reallycyclopathic
Apr 17, 2002 2:06 PM
long distance slow miles will get you in shape.
try brevets /they range from 125 to 375mi/ or just general century-double rides.
by the fall you'd come here and complain your climbing legs're not there.
Try different cassette ratios [nm]jagiger
Apr 17, 2002 6:58 AM
Depends on your definition of crappy...rideslikeagirl
Apr 17, 2002 7:00 AM
I used to suck at climbing because my cardio was so out of shape. Had to stop every so often, on long, steep climbs to catch my breath and let my heart calm down.

That's not an issue any more - due to lots and lots of riding.

What I find helps my muscles, is some leg work at the gym. I can feel my hamstrings kick in and help push when they're stronger, and I'm climbing in the saddle.

And lots and lots of riding! :)

Climbing is awesome, IF you aren't suffering with every stroke!
technique adviceDuane Gran
Apr 17, 2002 8:11 AM
I'm one of those piss-ants who ride hard up the hills and often draft the big guys on the flats. Here is a little wisdom I have accumulated about climbing:

* Pace yourself. I've blown many a climb by going too hard too early and crested the hill slower as a consequence. If you go anaerobic for long you will pay for it. If the hill takes more than 2 minutes to climb it is probably better to detach than to risk really blowing up.

* Grab the top of the bars and pull inward, as if you are trying to bend the bars. This helps you bring your legs over the 12 o'clock (top dead center) position. It works your upper body pretty hard and takes some practice.

* Pick the right cadence. Climbing is often done in a lower cadence, around 60-70, but if you have the gearing a faster cadence may suit you better.

* Stand with caution. If you stand out of the saddle, do so while on the downstroke of a peddle and keep it smooth. Otherwise you can momentarily drift back a foot or so and "drop kick" the guy behind you.

* Stand for a reason. If you are getting out of the saddle, there should be a reason. Good reasons in my opinion are a) need for muscle variety, b) hitting a really steep section and c) attacking. In my personal experience (and in conversation with others) standing elevates the heart rate (about 10-20 beats for me) so I avoid it.

I hope these technique ideas are helpful. Do the hill training that others have suggested and next season you can be one of those sick assasins on the hill.
To be a better climber, climb better hills.MB1
Apr 17, 2002 8:21 AM
Find the toughest hills around and make them yours. The kind of hills that riders avoid. Won't take long to see improvement.
So, you think that makes you special?cory
Apr 17, 2002 8:44 AM
I can almost promise that compared to me, you're a MEDIOCRE climber. My picture is next to "crappy climber" in the dictionary...
Last year I finally got tired of it and decided to work really hard on climbing. I lost some weight (which was a big help), and whenever I was out just riding around, I made a point of attacking at least one hill I'd normally either avoid or spin up in the granny gear.
After four months of that, I was STILL a crappy climber--but on most of the long hills I ride, I could go a chainring (not just a cog, but a full chainring) higher than I'd been in April. As usual, the answer is Just Go Ride.
drop some LBS53x12
Apr 17, 2002 11:18 AM
spend thousands shaving grams off bike... orDaveG
Apr 17, 2002 2:09 PM
I agree with MB1; if you want to climb better you have to train on hard climbs. One thing that has help me is to concentrate on climbing as efficiently as possible with an HR monitor. Pick a Heart rate that is below your AT and that you can tolerate (but still plenty painful). Find a long climb. When you hit that HR concentrate on getting as relaxed as possible and try to keep a smooth pedaling motion at a cadence that you like. Try to put out as little effort as you can while maintain the pace. I find when I do this that my HR actually drops a couple points and I can pick up the pace slightly.
re: I am a Crappy Climber...HELP...funknuggets
Apr 17, 2002 2:33 PM
Try finding a long (1-2 mi) medium grade hill. Lets say you run a 9 sp 11-21 rear, start the 1st hill in 21, and one third of the way go to 19, then 2/3 up go to 17, continually increasing speed. Then go back down and start at 19, and go down until you run out of gears, which I believe would be 6 in this case.

Or... you could ride this hill we have outside town that is long and brutal and then at the top of the hill lives a cantankerous fat lab that likes to bite. Funny how gnashing teeth can help you find amazing legspeed despite being in heartattack level HR.
re: I am a Crappy Climber...HELP...Ernie1212000
Apr 18, 2002 4:06 AM
Get a Mountain Bike and be amazed at the steep stuff you need to climb on the trails. Off road it's all about explosive power and momentum so it will toughen you up for the road.

I've suffered up some climbs on the road, but it's nothing compared to climbing a loose or muddy singletrack up the side of a mountain. After pushing a heavy MTB around your road bike will feel like a magic carpet ride up the hills on nice smooth pavement.

Actually, all the advice about riding more hills and pacing yourself will work too, but sometimes a little cross training breaks things up and helps people reach the next level.

P.S. I suck too. I attack like a freak and nearly suffer cardiac arrest over even short hills.