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what makes you fast on hills or fast on flats?(7 posts)

what makes you fast on hills or fast on flats?benja15
Nov 29, 2002 10:10 PM
i am a strong hillrider but am average on flats why would this be?
when i ride with some of my friends i can beat them all up hills but they can always keep up with me on flats.
re: what makes you fast on hills or fast on flats?collinsc
Nov 29, 2002 11:29 PM
hills = power/weight
flats = power/aerodynamics

as you can probably guess, aerodynamics is not has huge a factor as body weight. gravity is a bitch.

if you want to beat your friends on the flats you will need more power, which as a good climber is something sacrifice a bit. to really get more strength you need more muscle, and more weight. but that weight slows you on hills.

dont worry about it though. embarassing people on the hills is way more fun.
Weight room time!PODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Nov 30, 2002 9:20 AM
Weight room time could (and should) be very beneficial. With greater strength you will be able to push a bigger gear both up hills and on the flats boosting your speed. And contrary to popular belief it is possible to make huge gains in strength while putting on very little extra body mass. I don't have time to explain the periodization/rep ranges you'd want to use but consider trying to find a (very very) knowlegable personal trainer or if you want you can contact me.

I've seen big results from interval training ...Humma Hah
Nov 30, 2002 10:07 AM
... not first, let me say I'm not particularly fast, and have not made a long-term habit of doing hard intervals, so maybe I've seen big results because I'm starting from so little.

VO2-max intervals, very short, unpleasant, intense intervals that take you to something like 95-99% of your actual max heartrate, have had a profound effect on my speed in the flats. After a few VO2-max intervals and a few days of recovery, my speed picks up a couple of mph. Maybe after all that suffering, a little extra speed doesn't seem like such a big ordeal?
"you practice how you play"raptorUW
Nov 30, 2002 11:23 AM
intervals help a lot...if you want to ride fast, you gotta ride addition would be to make sure you do them both uphill & on the flats. more on the flats if thats where you suffer. the pedaling motion is different between when going uphill or on flats, so you need to teach your body to go fast in both environments. keep a few intervals uphill, and your climbing shouldnt suffer.

as nick said, weights can always help, and if you do it right, you won't bulk up, esp. if you are of the "climber" body type (which you seem to be). you're there to build strength, not muscle - leave that to the bodybuilders.

the above two things can be incorporated with little change in climbing ability. you can also change your bike set up: lower your stem, go to a narrower bar...with these changes you will need to be careful to make sure they don't interfere with climbing too dramatically. in most cases they shouldn't, especially if you practice climbing on the new set up. (sometimes narrow bars can close your chest too much, esp. when climbing).

one a similar note, we all know that the outcome of bike races at almost all categories are dictated by hills, if they are present. we all see the attacks, the breaks that form when going up hill. obviously, if you are a good climber, you can animate the race here. but if you want to finish well, you need to remember that those breaks and attacks stay alive b/c of a strong ability to ride hard on flat ground. similarily, if you're not strong enough to stay with the pack until the hill, you can't attack on the climb.
re: what makes you fast on hills or fast on flats?Breakfast
Nov 30, 2002 12:01 PM
I'm just curious why you're a good hillclimber. Obviously you have the strength to climb but is there also a benefit of you being smaller/lighter that allows you to climb?

Bigger guys usually have strength to power the flats and sometimes are not the best at climbing. So, you may just be at the mercy of some bigger, stronger guys who can't climb.

While the weight room will help, nothing beats riding the bike to gain more power when done correctly. You will have to gain strength by pushing bigger gears on the flats in specific workouts or drills, not as an overall switch from what gears and cadences you now use but as intervals or sets. Doing time trials and building lactate threshold endurance is another way to achieve better speed on flats.
Graphic first hand lessonVertAddict
Dec 2, 2002 1:07 AM
I would agree with some of the other posts in asking whether you are lighter than the friends you mention.

I was out riding in the mountains one day last summer, in a rolling part of the road. Through a long flat section I slowly reeled in this extremely fit and quite petite female rider. Finally I caught her at the bottom of this fair-sized trough in the road, and I chuckle to myself as we go into the uphill, "here's where she gets left behind". Well, next thing I know I'm simultaneously sucking tire and air and putting everything on the line just to stay on her rear wheel. We finally reach the top with me just barely hanging onto her (I'm sure she wasn't trying to drop me, because she could have). When my breathing returned to some semblance of normal, I complimented her on eating the hill for breakfast. She graciously pointed out that due to me being a man, I was packing alot more weight up the hill than she was (probably an extra 50 pounds or so, with me weighing in at the mid-170's at the time).

The point was not lost on me, and it sure made me wonder about paying out all that money to drop 2-3 pounds on my bike frame when better diet and exercise could probably drop me another 15 pounds off my climbing weight!