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Whats the ratio of climbers to... (er...what are the rest of us called?)(40 posts)

Whats the ratio of climbers to... (er...what are the rest of us called?)Kristin
May 14, 2002 10:49 AM
Does anyone else love flat, straight roads? Does it seem to you--as it does to me--that everyone else seems to be hill lovers? You bust your butt to keep up going up. You churn and hate climbing. And you take your share of verbal abuse for this. Then find yourself gazing upon a beautiful, flat strech; and your legs come alive. You're ready to go! "Come on guys," you say, "Lets hit it." But now they want to recover. Even here in the midwest it seems that everyone likes climbing. Whats up with that?
I'm a flat road rider (sprinter) to!PODIUMBOUNDdotCA
May 14, 2002 10:54 AM
At 5'9 170+ lbs and a pure sprinter I've always hated any uphill. But you know what? Cycling is 5% talent 5% genetics 90% shear will. Look at Lance. Before he got cancer he was never a great climber. Good but not great. Then he lost all his weight and now he's a great climber but he also found his individual technique of just spinning the way up the hills and thats amazing.

My 2 cents,
Nick Corcoran
12.0 flying 200 is hardly a sprinterstr8dum1
May 15, 2002 5:30 AM
hmm you have all that shear will and can only go 12.0? How do you explain that? You just didnt want to go any faster?
If cycling is 90% shear will then how come you basically got dead last at Worlds?

lance has a million dollar coach. you can have 90% shear will and genetically gifted climber will still drop your ass like a stone.
What answer do you expect for from me for that? (nm)PODIUMBOUNDdotCA
May 15, 2002 2:35 PM
Sort of color coordinated general rider . nmonespeed
May 14, 2002 10:59 AM
Move to the Eastern Shore of MD.Len J
May 14, 2002 11:00 AM
There are no hills, only wind. It seems like everyone here hates mild rollers. I like to climb but have to drive 2 hours to get any hill work in, everyone else here seems to just want to ride the flats. What's up with that?

re: Midwest vs. Pacific NWcollinsc
May 14, 2002 11:03 AM
are there really that many serious climbs out there? (dunno where you are, but midwest in general means flat to me)

I live in the most NW part of Washington, and everything is a hill, and a serious one too. So I think I've been trained to be a climber, I also dont weigh much either. 5' 10" <150lbs makes climbing a touch easier.

Im not too bad on the flats either, having developed a nice fast spin to compensate for lack of torque, but Im not much for giving a draft...
Midwest's got hills, just ask Greg! (not Gregg!)Wannabe
May 14, 2002 11:18 AM
I live here in southern WI, and just to the southwest is a region known as the "driftless area" meaning the last time the glaciers came south to steamroll anything in the way, they bypassed this particular region. As a result, we are left with some serious hills. Not mountains mind you, but serious hills and climbs. Just remember, this is the region that Greg Lemond did his hill training. He wasn't a bad climber. I have seen (not ridden) several climbs that would probably be at least cat2 ranging from 6k+ in distance. Sometime, if you can, get a hold of a Wisconsin Gazeteer and check out the SW corner of the state.

One of the greatest cycling days I have ever had I never even touched a bike, I pulled into a spot where I leave my truck to head to the stream for fly fishing but there was already a suburban there, with the driver sitting on the back bumper looking down at his boots. As I pulled up, he looked up, and we all know Greg Lemonds eyes! What an evening! Several hours, fly fishing for trout with none other than greg lemond! Just the two of us! And all I had for him to sign was a fly fishing hat! Oh well. The killer is that a buddy was supposed to join me that evening with the camera! Argh!

I saw this somewhere...Andy M-S
May 14, 2002 12:52 PM
Someone who was touring across the US noted that there are, indeed, mountains in Wisconsin, "but they call them bluffs."

I work about 3 miles from Grandad Bluff in La Crosse. It's not the most enormous climb you've ever seen, but it goes up 600+ feet in about 1.6 miles. Coming down the backside I've broken 50 several times.

Not that I like climbing, mind you, but it's kind of necessary around here.
re: Whats the ratio of climbers to... (er...what are the rest of us called?)rideslikeagirl
May 14, 2002 11:18 AM
I love the rollers. Hate having to sit for too long without a good stretch outta the saddle.

Road with some friends last year in Orange County and was bored stiff! Nothing but mile after mile of river bed. Closest thing to interesting is the ocassional underpass.

My butt actually went 'to sleep'.

I think I was built to be a sprinter, but my heart's just not in it.
re: Whats the ratio of climbers to... (er...what are the rest of us called?)PODIUMBOUNDdotCA
May 14, 2002 1:11 PM
Agreed, rollers are fun. But evil torture devices without a good saddle.

Kinda like boring roads! You kinda need hills to add some fun!

Just like being a pure sprinter is an acquired trait, hill climbing is to. So take the hillier routes and just have fun hurting up the hill. Its a great strength workout at least!

I vote for climbing :-) nmmwood
May 14, 2002 11:19 AM
re: Everything looks easier when somebody else does it! nmdzrider
May 14, 2002 11:31 AM
ah, hillsmr_spin
May 14, 2002 11:38 AM
Everybody has their thing. I'm a born climber, so I'll take a hill over flats any day. I find long, straight roads to be boring, and only having interesting people along for the ride makes flats tolerable.

I could never live anywhere that didn't have mountains, even if I wasn't a cyclist. There's something about being in the mountains that does wonders for my "spirit," for lack of a better word. Plus, you go up, eventually you have to come down, and that's always fun.

The thing about hills and mountains is that the goal is finite and usually visible. See the top? That's where we're going. Along the way you can look up and see how much more there is to go. Even better for me is when you can see the road tracing up the face of a mountain, and the higher it gets, the steeper it gets. I love the kind of roads where you can look over the edge and see the previous switchback from the one you are on. That usually means steep!

Maybe it's that anyone can ride flats. Anyone. Doesn't matter how young or how old, if you can turn pedals, you can ride flats. But not everyone can climb, and fewer still can climb well enough to actually enjoy doing it.

Whatever turns you on. I suspect if there were real mountains where you lived, you would be a lot more excited about climbing.
Right on!tad
May 14, 2002 12:26 PM
I couldn't agree with you more.

What mountains do you call home, mr_spin?
May 14, 2002 1:13 PM
Home is mostly the Santa Cruz Mountains in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are lots and lots of great climbs through spectacular scenery. Redwood trees, ocean views. It doesn't get much better.

I don't know what the mountains are called on the east side of the valley. The Diablo Range, maybe? Anyway, the riding there is very limited, but there is a big one, Mt. Hamilton. I think it's 4200 feet high, but you end up climbing about 5000 feet over 20 miles because there are two downhill sections. Going down the backside of Hamilton is definitely not for the weak. There's Mt. Diablo further north, and lots of other small climbs in between.

I've ridden a number of times up in the Napa valley. There's some cool climbs there. Mt. Veeder, both directions. Atlas Peak. And one of my favorites, Ink Grade. Also a really nasty one called Oakville Grade.

When I go home to visit my parents in L.A., I ride in the Santa Monica Mountains. Mulholland is a great ride. There's a lot of traffic on some of those roads, but once you get off the main beach routes, it's great riding.
you speak my mindDuane Gran
May 14, 2002 7:02 PM
I'm into climbing and love it. I feel at peace and in rythm when climbing. It is very pure.

I enjoy a good hammer fest on the flats as well, but the tables turn a bit. Wind resistance is evil and I seek shelter. ;)
Don't know if i'm a climber, but I like to do it ...PdxMark
May 14, 2002 11:42 AM
Usually I think of "climbs" start at about 1000 feet vertical (unless I'm tired) ... and are best when at least 3000 feet vertical... I like the steady breathing... being in touch with my legs and pedal stroke ... keeping myself from getting excited about the false summits... the descent is less fun... no exercise and just an opprtunity to get hurt...

The comment about Wisconsin is interesting. One area I ride is supposedly glacial debris (I forget what it's called). The climbs are just about 200 feet, or less, but are really steep... a loop of 3-4 of those climbs is a surprising woprkout
Glacial Debris=MoraineWannabe
May 14, 2002 1:23 PM
Sounds like you are talking about a moraine. While we do have some moraines in the state (the Kettle Moraine has great mtn biking, but crowded too), the SW part is not moraines. In order to get moraines, the glaciers have to have been there...

This discussion will force me to take closer note of the roads and hills out there the next time I'm there... There is one particular hill, on Hwy 171 heading east out of Gays Mills that is the most wicked thing I have ever driven up. Not terribly long, but just wicked, wicked steep... Gotta find a topo... I'll post back if I can find some numbers...

Have you ever riden up South Blvd. @ Devil's Lake?Kristin
May 15, 2002 5:38 AM
I'm going up in a couple weeks to hike, but I'm half tempted to take my bike too and try to ride up South Blvd to the lake. My smallest gear being 39x22, I'm not sure how far I would get. How much climbing can a new rider with this kind of gearing do?
Have you ever riden up South Blvd. @ Devil's Lake?Wannabe
May 15, 2002 7:15 AM
Unfortunately I am not familair with the riding around the devils lake area. But I can only imagine if they are like riding the other "bluffs" in the area! 39x22, well, I could PUSH my bike up in that gear! Ha-ha! Well, really, in all honesty, I do not know... I should make a trip up there to do some "hills" i guess!

The rest of are called sissies! (nm)t-bill
May 14, 2002 11:46 AM
I thought we we called wimps!AllisonHayes
May 14, 2002 12:05 PM
Hills, what a way to ruin a great ride. [just kidding, just kidding] Hills are a way to make me appreciate that its going to be better on the other side--and then there is another hill that's bigger than the one I just climbed. Talk about disheartening.

But, wind is the same thing. It just goes with the territory.
May 14, 2002 12:47 PM
Long rides and climbs.
5'8", 150 lbs.
May 14, 2002 1:25 PM
I'm 5'7" ~138lbs and I'm not a climber, YET! Talk to me again in a few months and hopefully I will be!

I'm more of a roleurlonefrontranger
May 14, 2002 1:15 PM
Although as someone pointed out, it's fairly silly for an amateur rider to categorize themselves in comparison to the pros. However, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses; it's just that the lower your level, the easier it is to train and see improvement to your weaknesses, whatever they may be.

A roleur is a French term that means all-rounder. We'd maybe call them "strongmen". Museeuw, Tafi, Hincapie and Jalabert are all roleurs (this is what it takes to be a classics rider), with JaJa's performance in last year's Tour being an extreme example of versatility, as he actually started his career as a first-caliber sprinter way back when. A good roleur won't be brilliant on the climbs, but is certainly strong enough to make it to the top in the front group, and can then break everyone's legs on the counterattack as soon as the road levels out, a'la Museeuw.

I've technically pretty much always been a sprinter and a flatlander, but there are many shades of sprinters, and I'm not a pure "snap" sprinter, just a fast enough attacker to jump away in the final 200-400 meters, and it actually helps me if the finish is slightly uphill because that plays to my power. I'm also stubborn enough to go uphill faster than most of your true musclebag sprinter types. I used to hate climbing, but when I realized that most road races include at least some kind of hill, I went back to the drawing board and developed better climbing form and technique. My semi-facetious motto is that I hate hills so much that my motivation is to get them over with as fast as possible :) I actually do enjoy going out and doing 15-mile canyon climbs on training rides, tho I'll never set any records going up them.

And yes, a flat straight road (preferably with a good stiff head/crosswind) is an invitation to mayhem for me. I started out as a good timetrialist and ultramarathon racer in the flat plains of Central Ohio.
Oh. I thought it was someone that liked to watchrideslikeagirl
May 14, 2002 1:30 PM
OTHER people climb! :p
May 14, 2002 1:29 PM
Climbing is just foreplay for the insane descent that follows.

I'd call the non-climbers "unenlightened". Remember, "flat" is a four letter word (then so is "hill")

Also remember: hills are just flats on their side and climbing is at least 50% mental.
I love climbing, but I suck at itDougSloan
May 14, 2002 1:43 PM
I really like climbing. There is such a sense of accomplishment about, and you get that reward of the big zoom after. It's challenge. It's quantifiable. It distinguishes you from "ordinary" people, who are amazed at what you do.

Riding fast on the flats is equally as challenging. Problem is, people can suck wheel and go fast on the flats, cheating in a way. Can't do that on the hills.

Where I live, if I go west, I can ride 150 miles round trip and not vary elevation by 100 feet total. Go east or north, and I'd climb 10,000 feet. The variety is fantastic.

Some people have good power to weight, some have good power to drag; I'm the latter -- although I really think I just don't make good power, I'm just very aero, judging by the relative descent speeds.

Climbing is much more interesting, too. You get to look back down on where you were. You can visit several climate zones, effectively. You can experience 100 degrees and snow in the same ride. Hard to do any of that on the flats.

If I had a choice, I'd be a 130 pound climber vs. a diesel any day. It is much more satisfying to drop people on a hill than on flat ground, although the ability to ride someone off your wheel on flat ground is very under appreciated.

One thing that's difficult about flat riding is maintaining the same aero position all day long. It's necessary to go fast. On the other hand, climbers can do just about anything, as power to the pedals is all that matters. You get to sit upright and enjoy the scenery.


P.S.: Until I moved to California, I had no idea what real climbing was, having grown up in Missouri. It's not a real climb unless it takes at least 30 minutes to an hour.
Its relative....funknuggets
May 14, 2002 2:03 PM
If Im riding with a fast group and they drop me on the hills, I hate hills and am a flatlander. If I ride with a group that is slower than me and I climb well... Im a stellar climber.

Altogether, I think, therefore I am... I climb so I am a climber.
re: Whats the ratio of climbers to... (er...what are the rest of us called?)steve1244
May 14, 2002 2:04 PM
Used to hate climbing. Now I love it. IMO, over half of climbing is mental. Confidence in the ability to gut it out and reach the top and becoming comfortable with significant physical discomfort (e.g., toughness) are the things that I lacked before I started to like climbing.

Descending is your reward!!

6'1" 225 lbs.
I couldn't climb my way over a speed bump!Tig
May 14, 2002 3:25 PM
Blame it on the flat, windy surroundings here, but I can't climb worth a shee-ite. I could back when traveling all over for MTB races, but that's a while back. At 5' 7", 132 lbs, I could become a decent climber if I lived in some decent hills. Oh well...
I love flat roads but I know hills are good for me ...Humma Hah
May 14, 2002 3:27 PM
The cruiser does just fine on flat roads and I can ride all day on it.

Or I can climb a few thousand feet (somewhere around 4000 ft of climbing for the day, I start thinking about a lighter bike with gears).

Yet, most of the time when I catch someone, it is on a hill. I hate climbing hills, but I know climbing makes me strong like nothing else does. Plus, I do so love coasting down the other side, and ya gotta pay for that.
I used to HATE it, now I love it.look271
May 14, 2002 3:54 PM
Up until 2 yrs ago, I would cring at most hills and purposely ride to avoid them. However, that all stopped when I moved to my current location. I can't really avoid them. Guess what? I look forward to them now. I'm not what you might call a "climber" (6', 185lbs)but I don't suck so bad now =0. That is where you can really put some distance on somebody or push yourself. Anyone can do the flats. It takes a certain type of insanity to love the climbs!
I like climbing and I'm finally getting a bit faster going up.Mike P
May 14, 2002 4:17 PM
I like going up, it hurts and feels good at the same time. Plus, sometimes the view is nice. And the trips back down are fun.

Most of the good hills around here a 1 to 3 miles long and can range from 600 to 1100 ft elevation change. And they are close enough together to combine 2 or 3 for a good hilly ride. One of my favorites, Raccoon Mountain, took me :24 minutes last year, made it in :19 this year.

re:I'm a complete rider?RTC
May 14, 2002 6:51 PM
Not a great climber, not a great sprinter, not even a good TT'er. I'm a complete rider!

climber, by virtue of being a wimp.AllUpHill
May 14, 2002 7:13 PM
I'm only a climber 'cause that's what i do the least poorly, you might say. I believe I have much worse power output--in sustainance and in maximum--than other riders who are "on my level," but I'm light enough to still float up the slopes nicely. Riders I can school hands down in a road race with good climbs will lap me within 10 laps of a flat crit.

Things go all wrong on a straight descent -- small terminal velocity, although I corner well when things get twisty. Even mild headwinds really seem tough ... and stronger winds today put me in the granny gear at times just to keep moving at a snails pace...

Built like a parachute I suppose--maximum wind drag, minimum substance.
I like slopes for a lot of reasons.Leisure
May 14, 2002 8:44 PM
It's not the hill by itself, it's everything that tends to go with hills. Hills tend to be in canyons, back roads, away from cars, near nice scenery. They are also the central force that keeps me in shape. My goals in riding are never about beating previous times or anything, they're about finding big hills and asking, "can I do it?" My fitness each season is measured by if I can do certain rides in this gear or that, and in mountainbiking in particular, it's about whether I can bring the cardio together with the technical skill and ride it out to the end. The rewards of bigger hills are sweeter descents on the way back, and this applies to both road and mountain.
In the process of grinding it out on tough rides each season, I get to a point where I can climb the bulk of my fun rides with good proficiency, and then descend them however I like. Fun both directions, doesn't have to be any more intense than I feel like at the moment, and leaves me refreshed afterwards. That's when I'm happy.
Same here...dsc
May 14, 2002 10:41 PM
I can head west and have a nice, flat, fast (and admittedly pretty) ride, but have to deal with lots of traffic, tourists, etc. On the other hand, head north for a few miles, and soon I'm in the canyons - away from traffic, alone with my thoughts, and anticipating the descent on the other side...
I attack hills, love the challenge, and find them a good measure128
May 15, 2002 4:23 AM
of my progress. I.e, vary my attack method and see how far I can get each time; and I'm flattening out allot of hills that used to take it out of me. I havn't done mountains yet (need more gears), just big hills. The mental game is exercised here too; focus, measure your pace output, patience to not hurry to the top, awareness of muscle group use, and pedaling over the top, that's the killer, and right into the descent... becoming one with the pain and hill and stuff.
Flats are a chance to meditate on the stroke and drool on my bike with abandon
I've named the hills:
Heron Hill: a huge heron lifted out of this little gorge. It was like 5 feet across and appeared not 20 feet away, just rising...
Invisible Hill: the one I always forget about, and it takes me by surprise.
Turkey Hill: long, slow climb, with turkeys.
Turn Around Hill: school bus turns around there
The Last Hill: I can't avoid to get home, in the last mile: this is my supreme challenge!

When I get more gears these hills are doomed...(yeah right. Isn't it as if the hill always wins...Some days, it's all up hill and into the wind. Weird)