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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A month ago I moved from the flatlands around Winnipeg to the rolling, hilly vineyards of the Okanagan, B.C. Now I knew that hilly rides would impact my speed and to me that's meaningless as I ignore speed as a ride factor. But I'm surprised at the effect these conditions have on power. It seems that I'm either blowing up going up 6-11% ascents, flying down the descents with no pedalling, no power, or trying to recover on the flat parts. And the recovery is at very low, almost negligible power. Add some wind to the day and it's just a mess. So my average power is nothing to write home about, while my NP is always way up there, leading to my best 1 hour ride today where I had an IF of 1.02. But these rides are like intervals whereas I used to be doing more of a time trial each day. And given that I do this 1 hour circuit everyday I'm wondering how this will affect my energy. I've been cycling here 30 of the last 31 days and so far my body is handling it well. I hate recovery rides and assume that the weather will create recovery days where I just won't ride because of rain.

As far as elevation gain, I don't think I'm really dealing with much. It is noticeable to me because my previous rides literally had near zero gain. Now I manage about 340m for a 30.7km ride (1115 feet for 19.07 miles).

 

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Your body will adapt.

I'm in the exact opposite situation, coming from a more climbing-oriented place to a very flat one. It took me a while to adapt to the terrain and the riding style (and the heat and humidity). Mostly I'm putting in bigger miles and my IF is much lower while my TSS is much higher.

Give it time.
 

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Gear appropriately, keep up your cadence and save your legs for the rest of the ride. I have not been on a flat ride for decades so I wonder what that would be like. At 58ft per mile your climbing/elevation is pretty ordinary and I am sure you will adjust to it quickly. Have fun with the new roads and terrain.
 

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That's not really that hilly. Just pedal the descents more. No reason to coast at all unless you're 45+ mph and hitting some hard turns or stops. Avg. speed will come back up again, and you'll get more out of it.

If you're blowing up on 6%-10% I'd suggest your fitness is pretty lacking, but again, that will come. Keep pedaling your entire ride and it'll come faster.
 

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Thus is the beauty of the Indianapolis area. The greater Indianpolis area, and virtually all of the terrain noth, east, and west of it is very flat. However, starting about 12 miles south of downtown Indy becomes rolling hills to hilly terrain. The best of both worlds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If you're blowing up on 6%-10% I'd suggest your fitness is pretty lacking, but again, that will come. Keep pedaling your entire ride and it'll come faster.
I suggest you need more information to assess my level of fitness.
 

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I'm not a racer, and clearly not in the same league as you guys, but I do a lot of climbing; and my experience has been that if I'm blowing up I need to use a slower cadence and either a higher gear or slower speed, depending on just how close to my limit I am.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm not a racer, and clearly not in the same league as you guys, but I do a lot of climbing; and my experience has been that if I'm blowing up I need to use a slower cadence and either a higher gear or slower speed, depending on just how close to my limit I am.
Blowing up is a relative thing. A 6-10% ascent exhausts me but today within 30-45 seconds my speed regained to exceed my avg speed (aka I recovered) and then I was kicking it again. The point I was trying to make is that unlike a flat ride, where my avg power and nominal power are nearly identical (287w average vs 304w nominal for a 34 minute ride) on these hills the gap is much wider (248w vs 303w for 59.5 minutes). So the power I'm seeing is either in the 400-600w for seconds at a time or 200w. I'm used to much more of a flat power line around my avg power.

After reading the linked article I understand a lot more what's going on & why. My flat rides were a constant painful experience whereas the elevation changes makes the pain ebb & flow in larger power surges followed by power dropouts. Different muscles, different frame of mind. I like it a lot, it's just different. I could do without the wind.
 

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I suggest you need more information to assess my level of fitness.
Just reading what you wrote, dude.

It seems that I'm either blowing up going up 6-11% ascents, flying down the descents with no pedalling, no power, or trying to recover on the flat parts.


...leading to my best 1 hour ride today where I had an IF of 1.02. But these rides are like intervals whereas I used to be doing more of a time trial each day
At the end of the day, it comes down to fitness. If you aren't capable of producing the power necessary to propel yourself up a 6-11% grade without "blowing up", then that indicates a lack of fitness that you apparently haven't had to address before. And if you're doing all that while hitting a 1 hour best, then it looks like you have a lot of room to grow. That's not a bad thing, but it is a thing. And like most things, the more you work on it, the better it becomes.

But since this is apparently such an all-out effort, I'd strava-search some flatter routes for other days of the week (or at least some with gentler hills) so you don't get another couple of weeks down the road and totally crack because you're currently working so hard every day.
 

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Blowing up is a relative thing. A 6-10% ascent exhausts me but today within 30-45 seconds my speed regained to exceed my avg speed (aka I recovered) and then I was kicking it again. The point I was trying to make is that unlike a flat ride, where my avg power and nominal power are nearly identical (287w average vs 304w nominal for a 34 minute ride) on these hills the gap is much wider (248w vs 303w for 59.5 minutes). So the power I'm seeing is either in the 400-600w for seconds at a time or 200w.
So maybe it's a combination of fitness and you needing to learn how to shift to your little ring, then?

Again, you're not doing rides that are that hilly. I climb nearly the exact same amount of elevation per 10 miles and I almost always have an AP/NP within 10w on an easy day.

Put it in a little gear, take some steady breaths, stay in your saddle, keep pedaling over the top and down.

Sprinting up every little incline and "blowing up" to the point where you can't recover for 30-45 seconds is completely silly.

It's not really different muscles, it's not using your brain.
 

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I suggest you need more information to assess my level of fitness.
well your fitness does not really matter. if you blow up you go too hard and need to learn to pace yourself on the climbs. if you want to go the pace you do now without blowing up you need better fitness.
 

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But these rides are like intervals ...
Yes they are. So treat them that way.

A month is not all that long to adapt. Just keep riding and you'll adapt.

I would suggest one thing. Can you find a 1000' climb, all in one shot or close to it? If you work on longer climbs, the shorter stuff won't be such a big deal in short order. Long steady climbs combined with lots of up and down rides will do good things for your riding overall. If I spend a couple weeks in the mountains doing long climbs, when I come back to the rolling hills they have "flattened" out quite a bit, perception wise.
 

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if you blow up you go too hard and need to learn to pace yourself on the climbs.
IME, people new to climbing "long" climbs (relative to past rides) tend to go too hard at the start of them, and hurt too much by the top. Better to blow up late than mid climb, for recovery for the next hill.

Better not to blow up at all, but that take experience. Which is gained by blowing up. :)
 

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In short, you are seeing a bigger difference between AP and NP because you are pushing up the climbs and coasting down the hills...that's pretty obvious. This is the same if you joined a fast group ride/crit style ride where one moment you are going all out and the next you are coasting through a turn.

I think PedalBiker has provided some good feedback if your goal is to have less of difference between AP/NP for this route.

For me, an easy type ride covering roughly the same distance/elevation gets me within 13 watts of AP/NP depending on which formula I want choose.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
On my ride there are two main descents and I typically hit a top speed of ~43mph on each without pedaling. On each that is the max I'm willing to go so coasting is a must. On one, the descent ends at a stop sign and as it is I'm often traveling at 30mph very close to the end of the run. On the other descent there is a driveway that enters the road at the bottom where the idiot owner is known to enter the road without stopping or looking so again, my max speed is scary enough. Plus there are usually crosswinds on that descent that I'm not used to. So pushing any kind of power on those descents won't happen at this point.

As for the Avg vs Normalized power, is it a goal to keep them close? On the two longer ascents where I can't just stand and push through to the top I am sitting & in my 2nd lowest gear for much of the climb and just push through at around 280w. For the shorter climbs I just hammer to get past them so the wattage is much higher. But does the variance between AP & NP matter? My best ride last year (flat land) had an avg power of 287w & NP of 304. My ride yesterday was 248w & 303w. I felt like crap at the end of both of them but now I'm being led to believe that the 2nd ride indicates a lower fitness level. I don't understand that. Sure I said I blew up on the climbs, but on the time trial I was on the edge of blowing up the entire ride. Isn't that the premise of a time trial... go as fast as you can, maintain the max power for whatever the length of the ride is... And my thought on a hilly ride is to attack the hills, recover on the downhill & overall try and have nothing left at the end.

I can understand that a near pro like pedalbiker will scoff at a mere 300w ride, but my point that this represented my best ride is a comparative statement to my rides, not his.

arai_speed, I believe that the Normalized power of 215w is more comparable to the Garmin NP figure. So your gap was 27w (12.6%) while my gap was 55w (18.1%). You're definitely closer but not by as much as you thought IMO.

fwiw, I do plan to try and hammer less going uphill in order to save something for the rest of the ride & see how that goes. It's raining today so I went out in the kayak instead.
 

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I love hills and riding through vineyards.
So you have the best of both, stop worrying about numbers enjoy the scenery and have a glass of wine for recovery.
 

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Dave,

I don't think there is a goal to have both match, specially on a variable course like rolling hills.

Your post alluded to that with the below.

The point I was trying to make is that unlike a flat ride, where my avg power and nominal power are nearly identical (287w average vs 304w nominal for a 34 minute ride) on these hills the gap is much wider (248w vs 303w for 59.5 minutes).
Granted, you never asked any questions but merely provided your observations, so presumably you know all this stuff and were merely sharing?
 
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