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Ugh! That was only 300 feet? (rambling)(13 posts)

Ugh! That was only 300 feet? (rambling)Kristin
Sep 3, 2002 9:14 AM
The things I learned:

*I'm not such a brave decender as previously believed.
*Climbing is a mental game. Its like eating an elephant.
*The next climb is always easier than the last (why is that?)
*Walking up a steep hill in Look cleats is almost harder than riding up it.
*If you must rest on a hill--DON'T CLIP OUT.
*Lightening within 100 yards of you with only a thin layer of nylon between you and it is both awesome and unnerving.
*Packing a wet tent in 3 inches of mud sucks! (slugs included)


I wish I could have taken some pictures, but I was too busy keeping my lungs inside. I'm totally proud of myself. I worked hard and didn't quit. (I was beaten at one point, but didn't quit--there's a difference.) I wish I could have ridden farther, but I didn't know any routes.

I arrived on Saturday morning and made camp along the top ridge, then decided to test the hills after lunch. It's best to start at the top, as I couldn't cop out. The first new thing I discovered about cycling is the difference between coasting fast down a short hill and decending. Fear knotted in my stomach on that first twisty decent when I realized I hadn't alligned my brakes. They worked acceptably, but my hands got tired. What speed can a 20# bike and 160# rider acheive with no brakes?

As I slowly returned to my camp, I happened upon some friends exiting a trail. What a delightful coincidence! My legs were glad for the break as we chatted. We arranged a rendevoux later that evening and parted ways. Parked on a 6% grade, I was sure I'd crash trying to clip in. To my surprise, I mated on the first attempt. Wow--cycling gods smiled on me.

I decided to ride out to my friends campsite 6 miles away. The first hill (up Hwy DL) is bigger than anything I've tried before. It seemed brutal and was not even a mile. The grade would relax only for a few feet before becoming steeper. I failed the complete the last little bit. My cadence reached 20, and I stopped just short of the top. My biggest mistake was clipping out and walking. After resting for a moment, I wanted to continue riding, but I couldn't get my leg back over the top tube. I just walked to the top and by then was less shaking and could get back on. From here I decend that whole bit again, then climb for another 1.5 miles up Hwy 113.

Back at home, I looked on the topo map and was dismayed. That one climb was only 300 feet in .86 miles. I'm still proud, I did something difficult and learned. (Plus my smallest gear was still 39x22.) But good night, how do you guys climb whole mountains? I bow down to all of you.

This topo map shows the little route I took. I began by Baraboo and ended at the trailer park. The little spot that says DOGS...well, if you're ever in Baraboo, just don't go down that road. I'll post in another thread about that.
Well written and humorus......gogene
Sep 3, 2002 9:34 AM
......You are a good writer! Have you ever thought about submitting something to Bicycling Magazine, hopefully to improve them?
39 X 22 !!!PaulCL
Sep 3, 2002 10:35 AM
Kristin...buy a new cassette. Ouch. Hills are a lot easier with a 25 or a 27.

At the end of every ride, I have to climb a 0.79 mile hill that rises 350ft. Its the only way home. I currently use a 11x23 campy 10sp cassette. It kills me everytime. The last section is over 11%, so I know your pain. I always have to conserve energy for the last mile.

Where do you live that you have no hills??? Come on out to Northern KY to visit and I'll let you borrow my 13x26 cassette. You'll fly up those hills.

By the way...congrats on not quitting. Sometimes that's the hardest thing to not do. Your body is screaming STOP, but your will tells you to go on. Way to go. Paul
I have a Campy 13x26 on orderKristin
Sep 3, 2002 10:41 AM
Kristin lives in Chicago. About the hilliest place around here is Barrington hills. The largest hill is .5 miles rising less than 100 feet.

I the 13x26 cassette two weeks ago and it was suposed to be installed before my trip, but I was informed last minute that Campy is out of stock. Next year I'll do it on the new cassette. The new stem actually helped me with climbing though. Climbing was the most noticable difference I received from a shorter reach and a more upright position.
How to climb steep hills.MB1
Sep 3, 2002 10:52 AM
First of all remember this "If they can pave it, I can walk it."

Second change them gears. We run the lowest gears around. This weekend I ran a 12-34 cassette with 30/42/52 chainrings-used them all.

Third-the more and longer you ride the stronger you will be. Strikes me however that you must be pretty strong already to do what you did and still have a good attitude.

Fourth-To be a better hill climber, climb better hills. Look for the hardest hills around and ride them. Then when you come on a new hard hill it will be an enjoyable adventure rather than a killer (sounds to me like you are already doing this).

Bummers no pix.
"If they can pave it, I can walk it."Gregory Taylor
Sep 3, 2002 11:05 AM
I came close to disproving that wisdom a couple of years ago. Bike Virginia looped through Maryland one year (go figure...), and the organizers looped in a climb that I (and a lot of others) just could not make. Having a 42x23 low gear contributed to the problem. Anyway, I hopped off of the bike, and started walking. Or at least tried to start walking. The hill was so steep that I could not get any traction with my cleats. I slid backwards for a while, and only managed to stop my downward trend by hopping into the grass next to the ditch....
"If they can pave it, I can walk it."Kristin
Sep 3, 2002 11:19 AM
Yes, I slid a fair amount cresting Highway DL. It was do-able, I just took small deliberate steps and aimed for the cracks. Each year at the Hilly Hundred in Indiana, riders climb Mt. Tabar (which I've dubed Mt. Diablo) which is something like 12%. Last year I walked up this on my tip toes. That was with recessed cleats and rubber soles. I can't imagine walking that in road shoes.
So that's what 12% looks like.Spoke Wrench
Sep 3, 2002 12:34 PM
The first time I rode the Hilly (maybe 1977) I got the worst leg cramps I've ever had right in the middle of that hill. First I couldn't straighten my leg and fell over on my bike. Then, while laying on the road, I got my leg straight, but it wouldn't bend again. Some fellow I"d never met, stopped his bike in the middle of the hill, helped me up, and walked me around in circles for a few minutes. Then, he got back on his bike in the middle of the hill, kicked his pedals over to reenter his toe clips and rode on up like it was nothing.
I know for a fact.....4bykn
Sep 3, 2002 1:09 PM
Mt. Tabor
b can
be walked in road shoes with Look cleats. It's just not too much fun.

So, are ya' going to the Hilly this year?
Nope. I wish I couldKristin
Sep 3, 2002 1:40 PM
But I'm putting a contract on the condo tomorrow. I'll be closing the last week of October. Its too much stress to try to do all of that (first mortgage, closing, move) and do the Hilly too. Next year I'll be primed and ready!
Those may only be the SECOND lowest gears aroundRay Sachs
Sep 3, 2002 11:05 AM
I have one bike (that I generally take on multi-day tours) with a 24-36-46 up front and a 12-34 in back. Short of going to a full MTB microdrive setup with a 20 or 22 granny, I don't think they get much lower than this. Rarely use 'em all (did a very hilly tour about a month ago and never used the lowest gear, but did use the 24x30 on one hill), but I use enough of them to be glad they're there. I have one road bike with the same 12-34 in back and a 34-48 double in front. That 1x1 low gear handles anything I've yet tried to throw at it on a single day ride, but it's nice having the triple when I'm riding every day for a week and recovery is an issue.

-Ray
"Strikes me however that you must be pretty strong already to do what you did and still have a good attitude."Kristin
Sep 5, 2002 11:00 AM
Funny. I hear all this talk on the board about how extra body weight hurts you on the hills. In reality, I think the extra pounds help. When on a big hill, I just stand up and put all my weight onto one leg. When that leg stops going down, I simply shift weight to the other leg, and so on... What's really gonna suck is when I lose this last 20 lbs and have to start climbing hills for real. (Okay, 30 pounds, and I did work a little bit on that hill. ;-) If you repeat this to anyone, I'll deny it.)
Hmmm...I was reviewing my map here. Looks like I could have...Kristin
Sep 3, 2002 11:30 AM
Looks like I could have just taken Old Lake Road to Steinke and avoided all of those hills! But that wouldn't have been any fun. I got to play chicken with a few trucks as I traversed side to side.