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How to improve climbing when I live in FL?(14 posts)

How to improve climbing when I live in FL?-bob
Oct 15, 2003 6:38 PM
I live and ride in Florida. I'm new to road bikes but have ridden MTBs for several years. My local MTB trail is technical and has several short but very steep climbs. I attack those short climbs with a vengence but when faced with longer climbs when riding in Virginia mountains I get my a** kicked and end up walking. I've tried mashing big gears and spinning smaller ones. What can I do to prep myself for once a year, longer VA climbs either on my road bike or MTB?

re: How to improve climbing when I live in FL?russw19
Oct 15, 2003 7:22 PM
Bob, there are climbs in Florida... just nothing like the mountains. Where do you live? You can always try climbing the Sugarloaf area in Clermont near Orlando. I lived in Daytona and you either have to road trip to some O-town rides from there or climb the Intercoastal bridges. I think if you are in South Florida you are SOL or should that be SOC ... outta climbs...

Tallahassee has some very nice rolling terrain, as do some areas south of Gainesville (where I live) like the horse farm areas outside of Ocala. If you are in northwest Florida near Pensacola, I think that's about as flat as it gets...

If you are on the beach, take long hard pulls into headwinds to simulate the extra resistance on your rides... it can help, but it's not a perfect substitute.

There must be ways........PatC
Oct 16, 2003 12:39 AM
to improve your climbing. Here, in France, there is that awesome century called La Marmotte, in the Alps - you have to climb 5 Alpine passes. Well nearly half of the contenders are Dutch....and everybody knows their country is desperately 'flat' ! But it seems that riding hard in strong winds for hours does the trick quite well....
But I'm not sure that Florida is that windy !
re: How to improve climbing when I live in FL?witcomb
Oct 16, 2003 3:09 AM
Hmm, do you guys have wind in FL? I'm going to assume you do, try riding into the wind, drop some nasty gears one and away you go. The wind can act like an endless climb, depends on the winds though. When they start to get above 20km/h (12mph) then they start to get decent. But this all depends on you having wind in FL.
The same way I practice surfing in North Carolina!the bull
Oct 16, 2003 3:25 AM
Oh well!
Actually, Hatteras Surfing ROCKS!!! Nmretbchboy
Oct 16, 2003 6:28 AM
Sometimes ...Humma Hah
Oct 16, 2003 12:10 PM
Usually the surf is 2-ft waves that form and break in about 15 ft. Pretty to look at, fun to body-surf, but hardly worth getting a board wet. Not enough level shelf for a good surf in most locations, and the little that's good changes with every storm.
No my friend...the bull
Oct 16, 2003 3:38 PM
California rocks!
Nothing like the Island though.

Just cause you can stand up....well never mind I wont ruin it for ya.
I visited Hatteras every year for 17 years ...Humma Hah
Oct 16, 2003 4:31 PM
... several time a year. Daddy was a surf fisherman. I thought that was surf.

Then I saw Waimea Bay. On a CALM day.
know your watts re: How to improve climbing when I live in FL?charlieboy
Oct 16, 2003 3:46 AM
I used this info from Ron at
to train for a French Pyrenees trip. As you will see, it's all about the watts! FWIW I completed within the time allowed.


It is often thought that in order to train for the mountains, you need mountains!
Training on the mountains is obviously the best approach, but most people do not live in the Alps or the Pyrenees. We may therefore have to content ourselves with training on the flat.

How fast do you need to train?
It is interesting to look at this in detail.
There is a simple formula for the power required to climb hills. It is quite accurate for speeds of less than 10mph, when wind resistance and rolling resistance are not very significant.

Power (Watts) = 2 x Weight(lb) x Speed(mph) x Gradient (as a fraction)

The longest climb of the 2003 Etape has a gradient of 7.5%. Suppose you weigh 200lb with your bike, and want to climb a 7.5% gradient at 5mph.

we get:

2 x 200(lb) x 5(mph) x 0.075(gradient) = 150 (Watts)

This is fairly similar top the real speeds that many riders will expect. If you think you will go twice as fast as this, you will need twice the power, and you are either a professional racing cyclist, or possibly I might just pass you pushing your bike half way up! You will see from the formula that if you are lighter you will be able to climb proportionally faster (or vice versa!)

Having worked out the power you want, use the following table to find your target speed for training on the flat!


375 Watts

300 Watts

225 Watts

150 Watts

80 Watts

38 Watts

20 Watts

3 mph
6 Watts

This table shows the speed you will be able to cycle on the flat for a given power output.
See the riding on treadmill thread(nm)funknuggets
Oct 16, 2003 7:25 AM
Go out riding in the next Hurricane. nmbimini
Oct 16, 2003 7:55 AM
re: How to improve climbing when I live in FL?853
Oct 16, 2003 8:23 AM
Look for tall parking structures and do repeats.
There's plenty of wind in south Florida....mainframe
Oct 16, 2003 11:10 AM
just wait until the sun rises and bingo, instant convection. I can't remember the last time I rode in calm conditions. Today, for instance, it is blowing 15 to 20 mph and has been doing so since 7am. This morning's ride was pretty much business as usual.