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Getting dropped **AGAIN** on the hills this year...Help(13 posts)

Getting dropped **AGAIN** on the hills this year...Helpcampbell53
May 27, 2003 6:59 AM a tri guy I ride regularly with roadies and other tri folks. Last year I made great gains on my bike but the hills stopped me cold every time. So, during the off season I hit the weights and computrainer pretty hard. Yesterdays 67 mile ride of rolling hills did me in again. The guys rode away from me again as if I were standing still. What am I missing here? I expected much more from myself. Thanks for any input.
May 27, 2003 7:12 AM
Hills seem to be the downfall of a lot of riders here, as this question seems to come up a LOT. However from reading the posts over and over, there seem to be a few things that are suggested over and over.

First of all the common consensus is to lose weight. There are all kinds of people here with a bevy of formulas that will likely bore you to tears. Basic understanding is that weight is not your friend.

Secondly, to ride hills better, you have to practice hills and ride hills better. Read up on some climbing techniques and realize you cant sit on your aero bars all the time. Keep your cadence up while focusing on your breathing. Keep pedaling smoothly. Try and shift into the hill early and take a drink beforehand. Practice some hill repeats on long hills, sitting and pushing a decent cadence (70+) and try not to fall below that in your training.

Third, could be a setup issue. Not sure, but I've seen lots of tri-people have some squirrelly setups on their bikes which does not set them up very well for climbing. Lots of drop and forward positioning, places an overwhelming amount of pressure in the front. Not ideal for climbing.

Last, you might psych yourself out of the hill as your HR elevates. Intervals, or hill repeats and just plain work can help you with this to increase your comfort and confidence. Base miles on the computrainer don't necessarily convert to better climbing skills.

Or, you might just find another group to ride with...

So sayeth the funk-
May 27, 2003 7:33 AM
Thanks for the feedback. 1) Not a weight issue. I'm 6' and 165 lbs. Nothing left to give there 2)Point taken. I don't pay enough attention to cadence. Doing some 70+ drills is a good idea. I thought the CT and lower body weights would equal stonger performance on the hills but I was wrong. 3) Standard tri set up. Other guys have the same set-up. I had a professional fit done so unless I ditch the bike altogether this is it. I will pay attention to my positioning on the bike however and see if that helps.
Thanks again for your input.

Be realisticcyclequip
May 28, 2003 2:28 AM
Tri set-up is not meant for hills - too little glute use, no setback, no ability to drop the heel low.
Also - CT and weights aren't worth anything going uphill. Climb hills lots to climb hills well.
Two mentalities: Attack vs. endureBIG RING
May 27, 2003 10:21 AM
FunkNuggets makes good points. To climb well you need to practice climbing. In the saddle and out, big ring and small. See what combinations work the best for you, especially over terrain you ride often, measure it in pedal strokes in and out of the saddle so when someone attacks, you know exactly what you are capable of. Some riders simply lack the mental toughness to go uphill fast, fitness is key as well. They lack the attacking mentality. Instead, they click down immediately to easier gears and settle in for the long slog lambs to a slaughter. They have no juice upstairs. Tri-Guys, due to their bike set up seem to lack the incorporation of hip and ham string muscles while climbing because they sit so far forward. They are used to stomping, using primarily their quads, this is just what I have seen. If you can stay close on the flats, get them on the hills.
Get thee a onespeed bicycleonespeed
May 27, 2003 7:22 AM
One thing I noticed on the tri I did yesterday was the way in which I rode other riders off my tail on ALL of the hills. They had gears to play with on every hill and i did not. There was never a break in my cadence or pace because of this. But it also translates into a more complete stroke on climbs as well on my geared bike.

This may sound crazy, but I think you will try anything at this point.
May 27, 2003 7:44 AM
SS is the way to become a better climber - when you hit a hill and have one gear you have to work harder - you notice every little incline

also agree with practice practice practice
Shhhhhh. Don't tell our secret...Dave Hickey
May 27, 2003 7:52 AM
I did a century last weekend on my single speed. Other riders were making comments like "I want your autograph when we finish" or "I can't believe your doing this on a single speed". I didn't have the heart to tell them it's easier than a multi-geared bike.
Even when I do say that, they dont believe me. (nm)onespeed
May 27, 2003 7:56 AM
OK...OK...I'll bite..where does one get a single speed bike??campbell53
May 27, 2003 8:01 AM
Can you sense my despiration? This is going to be a very long summer unless something changes.
I think you already have one....PEDDLEFOOT
May 27, 2003 8:11 AM
...find a gear thats challenging but not impossible to maintain on a normal route for you and have the discipline to stay in it and not shift out when it gets a little tough.I regularely do rides like this for training and it has improved my climbing.I'm still in sort of the same boat you are in because I lose ground on the hills with my group but not as bad as I used to.It takes time and discipline to develope into a good climber.I'm not there yet but I'm getting there.Try this workout a few times and see if it helps.
for everything you need to know:MJ
May 27, 2003 8:43 AM


any old beater will do - or look at Surly for a cheap new frame/bike
May 27, 2003 8:48 AM
the amount of seat setback really affects my ability to climb. Changing from a setback seatpost to a Thomspson without setback just about did me in on the hills. When I went back to a post with setback, I could climb again. Lower heart rate, more endurace. I can't imagine what the steep seat tube angles on a tri bike would do to my climbing ability.