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What builds power on sustained climbs? Ive been riding for about 8yrs road/mtb. I raced for four mtb, took three yrs off. Back on the bike for 1.5yrs. I have the endurance on 3-4 hr road rides but i always crack and fall way away on long sustained climbs. My legs scream and theres just no power to offer my bike. Some of my buddies just stand up and like a banchi they're up and gone like nothing after 3.5hrs of hard riding. I dont cramp but i can tell my legs are just toast. They feel like they could cramp, that feeling. But once i crest and hit a flat im good to go.
I can push hard on the flats, hang on the rollers but thats it. I've noticed that the faster guys just stand and stand without a drop of sweat or breathing hard whereas i can only stand for brief easy efforts before my heartrate skyrockets and my mouth drops open from breathing. Im better if i sit and pedal and on short climbs can keep neck to neck on those climbs while they stand. I just dont seem to be getting any better on the long climbs. I hydrate well, feed every 30min after the 1.5hr mark. thanks
 

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LOL. 'Banchi' = Banshee = Bean Sidhe in Gaelic (same pronunciation).

Sorry, I'm the spelling Nazi, all in good fun. As to your question I'd say ride more hills. That's usually the best remedy for lack of climbing strength, although I'll admit some people have more of a knack for hills than others.

If start with some shorter rides with lots of climbing. Get used to getting out of the saddle.
 

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ReviewBikeRoad Member
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I am not the best climber, but my tactic is to sit for as long as I can, and without letting my cadence get too low, try to stay away from the biggest cog so I have something to "fall back to" when the grade increases.

Then when I get tired doing that, I'll shift down one or two cogs and stand up for awhile. I can't stand for as long, so once that gets hard I'll sit back down and shift up again.

Using a combo of these works pretty well for me, and I can now handle hills that may take me 20-30 minutes to climb. It's slow and steady, but it gets the job done. I'm not a racer so it doesn't bother me that I'm not the quickest up the hill, but I'll often pass others who burnt up their energy early trying to go to fast and have slowed down to a crawl.
 

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ReviewBikeRoad Member
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Oh, also, what type of drive train setup do you have? I have a 10 speed cassette that goes from 11-25, and that 25 tooth cog really helps.
 

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more long training rides, the more time you spend riding the more endurance you'll build

if the longest you ever ride is this hill/slow ride, then you may want to ride farther to train

alternatively, go ride hills, the more you do exactly what you're weak at, the less you'll be weak in those areas
 

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Moderatus Puisne
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Weight?

Well, how much do you weigh?

On flats, the power required to go a given speed changes only a little bit with respect to rider weight.

On climbs, it changes a lot.
 

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Yep, average pro racer is less then 160 lbs

Argentius said:
Well, how much do you weigh?

On flats, the power required to go a given speed changes only a little bit with respect to rider weight.

On climbs, it changes a lot.
The smaller ones tend to stand up hills more often
 

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Do more sustained hill climbs and you will get better, there is no secret formula to it. Some guys also just have the right genes. I know a guy who trains harder than most pro's and struggles in low level amateur races, and another who probably does half the mileage, is about 20lbs over weight and rides for a top tier continental team.
 

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dcl10 said:
Do more sustained hill climbs and you will get better, there is no secret formula to it.
Yup. And I'll add two important words: Hill repeats! Do them (at least 10 per session) on steep, sustained hills twice a week, and I guarantee you'll be a better mountain goat.
 

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Well, also, there's different energy systems at work on short, albeit intense efforts vs. long intense efforts. So riding long hillclimbs alot is good advice, but also you could do workouts designed to stress, and cause adaptation, in the energy system associated with long hill climbs. Do you use a HR monitor? Power? If so, it is easy to find lots of commentary on workouts designed to stress the various types of efforts. For instance, I'm guessing that doing interval training with 2x20s @ 90-94% of your lactate threshold (or functional threshold power) with 5 min resting intervals between would be a great place to start. I don't pretend to be a coach, but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express (and while I was there, read "Racing and Training with a Powermeter" or whatever it's called).
 

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+1 with Worst Shot. Do big ring intervals with lower cadence (50-60) start out 3x10 w/5 minutes rest and work you way up to 4x20. I do those on the trainer in the winter. It helps.
 

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Roll Out Jeremy
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There is a technique to

If you look at images of cyclists doing an intense TT type effort on a flat stretch you will see a forward position, saddle exposed, and hard pressure right on the nose of the saddle. In this effort, legs spinning say 100+ rpm, weight forward, aero position, the power point on the peddle begins at approx 2:00/3:00. Now, for a long sustained climb the opposite position is the one to train. Not much is said about this in the RBR forums....So, sit up, roll your hips back, slide back in the saddle, drop your heels on each rev. and feel the power point shift to about 12:00. Your are now using a totally new muscle group. Thats why you need to train it. The shift is from your quads to your hammy's. When you get tired of this, stand up, take a break, then repeat.
 

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Fordy said:
, sit up, roll your hips back, slide back in the saddle, drop your heels on each rev. and feel the power point shift to about 12:00. Your are now using a totally new muscle group. Thats why you need to train it. The shift is from your quads to your hammy's. When you get tired of this, stand up, take a break, then repeat.

Just learned this last week. Struggling up a hill and a friend says "heels down, push from your butt", instantly felt more power. But those muscles did get tired quick since I haden't been using them while riding before. I'll have to work on it.
 

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Hucken The Fard Up !
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I can stand up on the pedals and push it up much faster on climbs, even after long rides.

But I can't do that for long periods, I usually use it as a short burst to reach the top of the climb when I am feeling already tired, it also serves to give your muscles a change and rest.

In fact when you do so, you are using a different muscle group than when climbing seated, so even though you are already tired when climbing seated using hamstrings and glutes mostly , -please correct me if i am wrong - and you stand up you are then using the quads and gastrocnemius. So your hamstrings and glutes can rest por a moment.

Also I have found that the choice of gearing to do so is important. If you are more used to climb on a low gear spinning fast and then stand up, the resistance of your gearing will not be the right to do it efficiently.

In fact when you stand up you are using your weight to push the pedals down, and for that you need much more resistance on the pedals and a lower cadence so it effectively moves you fast.

I have experimented with different cadences and gears and there is a well defined gear range where I am effective on "danseuse" and move fast forward and there is another range where I just spin-out the soft pedals and only tire myself more and don't move as much.

maybe others can give more scientific/accurate insight on this.

and what says fightbut is also important, to have those muscles avaliable for you for a change when you need them, you have to train them too an specifically. in that way you would have quads, glutes and hamstrings in reserve for those moments.
 

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I just use a real simple technique to increase my standing strength and endurance.
On the hills I just pick a goal, such as a mailbox or street sign, and try to stand until I reach it then sit. Next time out try to go just beyond that marker and each sucessive
time go a little further. Eventually with out to much suffering my strength and endurance
noticably increase.
 

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To get more comfortable doing standing climbs I did rides that had a lot of medium grade hills then climbed them using the 53 ring to till I was really comfortable. I can now climb standing for long time periods and actually now working on improving my seated climb.
 

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Teach me how to Bucky
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My biggest single year breakthrough in climbing endurance involved losing the 20 extra pounds that had built up around my middle during my 30s.
 

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Ricardo Cabeza
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I try to stay in the largest gear I can.
 

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Is it the future yet?
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I hate climbing. I panic and loose all my adrenaline.
I do alot of the things mentioned here and they all help.
I will also rock my bike with my arms while standing. I know people say that uses more energy, but it works for me on steeper stuff.
I also read, to NOT put all your weight over your front wheel while standing. It mashes your front wheel down and into the road. Try to keep your weight centered more.

Try to only do climbs where there's a Dairy Queen at the top. Try to give yourself an "ice cream headache" and then go through the pictures in your cell phone.
 
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