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...........I understand I need to put in work to increase climb related fitness which I am happy to do. I just came here to see if there are any technical improvements I can make which will help. if the answer is no, its ok, I will continue to put in work. Thanks.
Don't sweat it!

I have an old Nishiki "Comp" (1981) which served me well doing triathlons back in the mid 80s, for those I had 53/44 chain wheels. For the long hilly rides I had a 50/40 set. many years on, at the age of 75, I decided that more riding was in the cards — automatic social distancing riding by myself.
So on the Nishiki I changed the Shimano 600 front for a set of Sram 46/38 and the 13-23 cassette will be changed to a 13-27 (it's in the mail!) That's the changes I made to tackle the hills.
AND I absorbed the advice given in
Climb Like A Pro! by Rebecca Ramsay

Slightly modified/adapted for my age. :blush2:
Hill climbs = I keep cranking at >60 rpm while shifting down,down,down and keep my eye on the "bpm". No red lining past 150!
BTW the other item I bought back in the Spring: a Devinci Stellar Acera XC bike which with 27 speeds is a different story on the Rail Trail. standard trails or on the road. :D :D

PS Any weight one sheds, one doesn't need to drag up the inclines.
 

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I just came here to see if there are any technical improvements I can make which will help.
Yes, there are technical details you can add once you’re on top of your game.

Keep your hands on the bar tops, holding them lightly. Don’t waste energy by squeezing hard.

Rotate your hips forward, keeping your spine straight. The objective is to open your diaphragm to maximize air intake.

Slide back in the saddle a little, sit bones right at the back of the saddle. Concentrate on pedaling from one o’clock to seven o’clock in order to apply power through the top of the arc with no dead spot.

When you bog down and want to stand to regain your cadence, first shift to a harder gear, or even go up two. Shift back down once you sit again, or you might even find you’ve found a new rhythm in the harder gear.

A couple of exercises from Joe Friel’s Training Bible:

Hill repeats. On a six to eight percent hill climb for 30 to 40 seconds in a gear you can just hold at 70 rpm. Repeat 3 to 8 times with 2 to 4 minutes rest in between.

Cruise intervals. On a 2 to 4 percent hill climb at anaerobic threshold for 6 to 12 minutes. Stay seated, concentrating on smooth pedal stroke and minimal upper body motion. Do 3 to 5 reps, resting for 25 percent of the previous interval’s time in between (i.e. if it was six minutes rest 90 seconds).

You don’t say whether you have a power meter or heart rate monitor. Power meters are expensive, but provide the best way to target your exercises.

Heart rate monitors are not expensive and provide a very valuable way to work out. With a little bit of work (or $150 at the local university sports science lab) you can find your workout zones and you’ll know for certain whether you have something left to give next time Mr. Beer Belly comes up along side.

HTH
 

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Discussion Starter #23
You don’t say whether you have a power meter or heart rate monitor. Power meters are expensive, but provide the best way to target your exercises.
I use my Garmin to broadcast my HR to my Wahoo and it's one of the display fields on my main screen. I honestly don't look at HR too much during the ride but only post ride wherein I usually average about 140ish overall. I have noticed the HR being around 170ish during climb segments but I don't think that's extraordinary. I sustain much higher HR during my runs but I don't get this feeling of "gassed out" that I do when I am on climbs.
I don't have a power meter but I look to Strava's estimates (I know they are inaccurate) as I do the same routes/segments regularly to track how I am trending. Thankfully, it's trending in the right direction but it's the steep climbs which are my achilles heel right now.
 

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I use my Garmin to broadcast my HR to my Wahoo and it's one of the display fields on my main screen. I honestly don't look at HR too much during the ride but only post ride...
I think you’ve got the clue to improvement right there. I watch my HR like a hawk on key segments and don’t spend much time doing post-ride analysis.

Learning your anaerobic threshold and max HR, and thus defining your HR zones will provide a lot of depth to your training regimen. Intelligently training at threshold is super valuable for increasing your power and endurance in that region. Also, knowing when you’ve gone above threshold and how far you are from max HR will enable you to gap Beer Guy if you need/want to go deep.

I follow Joe Friel. He’s sort of The Godfather of the priodization technique for training. Trainingpeaks is an online source for training plans that many people like. Chris Carmichael has a number of useful books that don’t include his Lance Armstrong special sauce. There are others.

Enjoy the ride.
 

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U should start with intervals about once every 2 to 4 weeks.
Start watching your HR, remember that it doesn't track you effort like a PM, it lags your output by about 1 minute. ... so if your laying it down, your HR peak will be delayed, one needs to keep it a little low on initial increase in output, cause it's going up, how far is the question. If you hit your maximum, you are going to have to stop, soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Since you said any suggestions, have you seen these?
Ofcourse, love GCN vids. I particularly like the video where Si climbs up Jones St in SanFran which is apparently a 30% grade and gives the pro-tip of sitting on the nose of the saddle if sitting while tackling a steep climb. Will try to put it to practice and see how that goes.
 

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I am 5' 8" and weigh 143 lbs
If I had an extra 15 lbs on my frame there is no way I could climb at the pace that I do now
 

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I use my Garmin to broadcast my HR to my Wahoo and it's one of the display fields on my main screen. I honestly don't look at HR too much during the ride but only post ride wherein I usually average about 140ish overall. ...................
You don't have to!
There are several apps that give one the audio warning if maxHR is exceeded.
That's when I easy off to keep it quiet and check how steep that section of the 18km climb is.
Yesterday's 16% was a true surprise.
 

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Yes, there are technical details you can add once you’re on top of your game.

Keep your hands on the bar tops, holding them lightly. Don’t waste energy by squeezing hard.

Rotate your hips forward, keeping your spine straight. The objective is to open your diaphragm to maximize air intake.

Slide back in the saddle a little, sit bones right at the back of the saddle. Concentrate on pedaling from one o’clock to seven o’clock in order to apply power through the top of the arc with no dead spot.

When you bog down and want to stand to regain your cadence, first shift to a harder gear, or even go up two. Shift back down once you sit again, or you might even find you’ve found a new rhythm in the harder gear.

A couple of exercises from Joe Friel’s Training Bible:

Hill repeats. On a six to eight percent hill climb for 30 to 40 seconds in a gear you can just hold at 70 rpm. Repeat 3 to 8 times with 2 to 4 minutes rest in between.

Cruise intervals. On a 2 to 4 percent hill climb at anaerobic threshold for 6 to 12 minutes. Stay seated, concentrating on smooth pedal stroke and minimal upper body motion. Do 3 to 5 reps, resting for 25 percent of the previous interval’s time in between (i.e. if it was six minutes rest 90 seconds).

You don’t say whether you have a power meter or heart rate monitor. Power meters are expensive, but provide the best way to target your exercises.

Heart rate monitors are not expensive and provide a very valuable way to work out. With a little bit of work (or $150 at the local university sports science lab) you can find your workout zones and you’ll know for certain whether you have something left to give next time Mr. Beer Belly comes up along side.

HTH
Really good advise here with emphasis on the bolded comments. You can also learn to pace yourself paying attention to your breathing, but power meter's and HR monitors are better until you really get in touch with your breathing / PE assessments. I would also add, on long climbs learn to rotate muscle groups by alternating between standing, sitting, forward and back on the saddle.
 

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Relaxing as much as possible while climbing is great advice.

Another is pacing. It was the number 1 thing I had to learn to become a better climber.

Also every climb is different and how you respond to it is different but mostly depending on your strengths and also your condition when you start the climb. A climb early in a ride will most likely be much easier than if you did the same climb late in the ride.

In group rides I learned that most people go way too hard early in most climbs longer than roughly half a mile or .75km. and over 5%. Once I realized that, it was like a revelation. It never gets old passing people who take off like rockets at the start when you get midway or 3/4 of the way up a climb. :)

So I started paying attention to my body's response in both how much my legs and lungs were hurting. Once I realized that, I started paying attention to my heart rate to measure my efforts - then when I got a power meter, it was even better/easier.

When I was riding competitively, I started to train my climbing strength, both seated and standing. I would do specific days where I would do repeats on 1.5 mile climb avg 7% with a 11% max section. Some days I would alternate high cadence and low cadence reps, standing only reps, seated only reps. Others were gearing ladders starting low to high back to low. As I got stronger, I would sometimes take a couple of extra water bottles for added weight - large 24 oz cameback bottles add around 1.5 lbs per bottle. It is also important to vary the climbs you train on to compensate for adaptation - if you have other climbs near you.

I'm not the best climber out there by any means (I never was built for it) but I significantly improved my climbing by training it specifically. I am still able to hold my own in the local worlds rides on the harder and longer climbs.
 

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you gotta do some intervals, like 8 min and 20 min intervals. 8 min intervals are good practice for short climb, like what you're doing. For longer climbs, do 20min int.

You want spin, c'mon nobody mashes these days. But spinning alone is not enough. You have to spin with FORCE. Spinning with force will take practice, lots of practice. The problem with mashing is that it won't last, then you'll burn out, then you'll now need to sit and go into a lower gear and spin... and here's is where you need to spin with force and not just free spin. I see lots of guys who spin but they're not spinning with force, so they're going no where. To be able to spin with force will take dedicated interval works.

for starter, go do some 8min intervals, at 80-90% effort, with a 2min rest between sets. Do at least 3 sets for each session. Don't go hard in the first set, i.e., don't "dig deep", because if you do then you won't be able to finish the last set. Remeber, this is training.
 

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Discussion Starter #33

So I am here to report that I was able to finally do this climb without stopping to catch my breath. Albeit, I was one of the slowe riders to climb it. But I will take it. Today's ride was a lot of climbing and the suggestions I got here very all helpful. I still have a long way to go to become a better climber. But given my stats, my avg speed would be significantly higher if not for the climbs where I still suck. I feel i am in the biggest gear and my speed drops to a miserable 5-6mph on steep hills compared to other stronger riders who still maintain 10-12mph on the same sections. Seems like I need to put in more work but happy to report the small achievement so far.
 

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I'm amazed you got 3500ft of climbing riding along the river? OMG.
I went over the mtn yesterday for a 4 hour ride and got about that, and I had 9.5mph average.
.... so I'm not riding with u any more!
 

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Discussion Starter #36
I'm amazed you got 3500ft of climbing riding along the river? OMG.
I went over the mtn yesterday for a 4 hour ride and got about that, and I had 9.5mph average.
.... so I'm not riding with u any more!
I can't really tell if you are being serious or sarcastic here. If you seriously averaged 9.5mph, I am confused since what happened to the descents? Was it an alpine like climb with hairpin turns? My ride was a mix of short, steep and long climbs but I tried to make up for the lost time on the flats and descents. And this is a popular route in the area and stronger riders here average about 17-18mph on the same route so I wasn't even that fast.
 

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It was a gravel ride, yes with switchbacks, about 1/4 pavement. It was cold coming down in the shade.

...I still can't believe the elevation you had, seriously!
 

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OK, I looked at the area on Google, your route must go up and down that ridge above the river.
Those are some serious climbs, I can see where you were having issues and came here. But, I feel inadequate now giving advice to such brutal physical route.
... as I said, I'm not riding with you and will retire to the observatory.
 
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