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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a group of friends that are looking to do a pretty serious climb in the next couple of weeks and I am trying to figure out if I am up for the ride. The ride is essentially 60 miles long but the climb is right in the middle of it. The climb is a pretty serious one at that... 4,000 ft. in 6 miles.
So I guess the best question I have is "Does miles in the saddle prepare you for a ride like this?" I mean it seems like a climb like this can't be trained for without just time in the saddle climbing, not just normal riding.

It isn't that big of a deal if I don't make the ride but the last thing I want to do is blow up half way up the hill.

Any ideas?
 

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4,000 feet in six miles??? Yikes! Where is this climb?

That's approaching the statistics of the Mt. Washington Hill Climb event (which is 7.5 miles and 4,800 feet, I think), which most people spend some serious time training for. i.e., months of hill repeats, intervals, and other leg-strengthening workouts. Admittedly the hill-climb is about thriving on the climb as oppossed to surviving it, but.... Anything that steep for that long is going to take either very strong legs or very, very low gears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is in San Diego. The mountain is called Palomar. You can read about it here... http://bicyclewarehouse.com/page.cfm?PageID=71

I have done the ride before and it is an "expierience" to say the least. But that was a few years ago and although I feel stronger than I was at that time, I am a bit concerned. Back then I did a ton of hill training, in the past few years I have shifted focus to distance riding. So the idea of kncoking out a century is no problem to me at this point, but this ride is a bit intimidating at this stage.

Funny you say that you have an event on a similar climb. This Palomar climb is well known locally and used by tons of riders fro training. It isn't unheard of to see people doing repeats on it occasionally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Double with a 32 in the back as the granny.
 

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I keep dividing 4000/(5*5280), and keep getting a number that's over 12%.

OMFG.

There's this climb in my area that's 4,000 feet in 12 miles, and I'd tell your grandmother to give it a go, presuming she had a triple and was willing to just spin; the grade is pretty steady.

With your climb, though, it's going to be brutal. There's a 1.5-mile, 11% climb that I use most days to get home, or a little less steep than 1/4 of yours. I do it in my 39/23 or 25, but I'm out of the saddle much of the time and would be toast if it were DOUBLED, let alone quadrupled.

If you're experienced, I'm sure you can get to the top without blowing up, but like arthur hints at; I hope you have some LOW gears, we're talking 34 x 29 or 30 x 25 here.
 

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c0braje7 said:
Double with a 32 in the back as the granny.
Wow. You must be a machine. FYI, most people doing the Mt. Washington Hill Climb (the only thing I've done that even compares) recommend having a low of at least 1:1. i.e, 30x32 is pretty popular as the bail-out gear. Mt. Washington does have abyssmal weather, a partially dirt road, and some extreme (18%+) extended grades, but it does average out to 12%. How steady a grade is this climb?
 

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Thigh exercise...

Im not experienced with hill or mountain climbing, however this past winter I started to do an exercise that may help... I hold onto a railing and do a deep knee bend, drop straight down until your butt touches your ankles... then stand up... thats it... when I first started I could only do 50 , then I could do 100.... then I could do them until I forgot where I was in counting.... Then I could wip out 100, 125.... Right now I can watch a concert on TV and do it for 1/2 hr... sometimes to the beat of the song that is playing, some fast some slow pace....

When I ride the hills around philadelphia, some of the climbs that I use to dred are now a place to have a conversation..... So test your legs and see how long you can go...

BTW - when I first started doing this, I was in good shape on a nordik track trainer... but after doing this exercise, a totally new area (deep) of my thighs were sore...
 

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pr0230 said:
Im not experienced with hill or mountain climbing, however this past winter I started to do an exercise that may help... I hold onto a railing and do a deep knee bend, drop straight down until your butt touches your ankles... then stand up...
That's not a good idea at all. You could easily injure yourself doing squats like that. The proper / safe way to do squats is to stand with your feet about shoulder width. Then squat with your back straight...go down until your thighs are parallel with the floor...no further.
 

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I thought the original numbers sounded a bit odd, and it seems that the 4k elevation gain is actually over nearly 12 miles. Still a tough climb, but not Mortirolo tough.

Palomar is a nasty climb even in good weather. It is just a little bit too steep. 6% would be nice, 7% liveable, but this hill averages 7% and has quite a few 9% spans. It rises just about 4000' vertically from its start at about 1200' above sea level. The entire distance of the climb is 11.7-miles.
 

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c0braje7 said:
I have a group of friends that are looking to do a pretty serious climb in the next couple of weeks and I am trying to figure out if I am up for the ride. The ride is essentially 60 miles long but the climb is right in the middle of it. The climb is a pretty serious one at that... 4,000 ft. in 6 miles.
So I guess the best question I have is "Does miles in the saddle prepare you for a ride like this?" I mean it seems like a climb like this can't be trained for without just time in the saddle climbing, not just normal riding.

It isn't that big of a deal if I don't make the ride but the last thing I want to do is blow up half way up the hill.

Any ideas?
You won't blow up if you just go out and do some miles. I live in Texas and manage to handle riding the Big Cols in France every summer with no problems. The real key is to have some miles in your legs and if you can try to do some hill repeat workouts before you go. They won't prepare you for the duration of the climb but they do help. I personally also try to ride into strong headwinds when the weather cooperates. My thinking is that I don't have any real climbs that mimic the duration of the French climbs so I point my bike into a stiff headwind for 2 hours instead. In a sense it prepares me for the mental grind of slogging away up a climb. On the big day use your easy gears EARLY in the climb. I guide when I work in France and my guests always try to push harder gears the first half of the climb and pay for it in the second half.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just to clarify the one post that says the climb is over 11 miles... this is the actual text from my link that I am referring to...

Overview: Two rides to choose from:
1. Nate Harrison Grade is a SUPER STEEP uphill grind. You will climb about 4000' within about 6 miles. But it burns so good! You can actually turn it into a 40 mile trip if you take the winding street back down to the car. Otherwise you will have to turn around and go back down what you just climbed. This ride is recommended for those who really like to climb.
 

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Mr. Versatile said:
That's not a good idea at all. You could easily injure yourself doing squats like that. The proper / safe way to do squats is to stand with your feet about shoulder width. Then squat with your back straight...go down until your thighs are parallel with the floor...no further.
That is an outright lie. I'm not denying that what he is doing isn't safe, beneficial, or anything, but the last part of your response is wrong.

Studies show that MORE actual strength gains are seen when the squatter does the full squat, lower than the "thighs parallel/90 degree" mark. These go all the way up to Olympic level.

On top of that, the point where your knee is most flexible in all directions is at 90 degrees. This is also the most unsafe area your knee could bend in due to the weak support at that location. Most sprains are because the knee gets bent sideways while at this angle.
 

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I've done it, didn't seem all that bad.

c0braje7 said:
I have a group of friends that are looking to do a pretty serious climb in the next couple of weeks and I am trying to figure out if I am up for the ride. The ride is essentially 60 miles long but the climb is right in the middle of it. The climb is a pretty serious one at that... 4,000 ft. in 6 miles.
So I guess the best question I have is "Does miles in the saddle prepare you for a ride like this?" I mean it seems like a climb like this can't be trained for without just time in the saddle climbing, not just normal riding.

It isn't that big of a deal if I don't make the ride but the last thing I want to do is blow up half way up the hill.

Any ideas?
It is not the climb that is really the issue it is pace and gearing. Low gears and an easy pace and you will be fine; harder gears and a faster pace are going to take more out of you.

BTW I was running a triple and sort of cruised up in the 30x23 with a bit of 25.
 

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This is most true. Just monitor you pace and try to get into a groove on something that long. I ride a lot of single speed and dig climbing on it. 44x17. It is possible to get inot a groove even with a high gear and monitoring my pace. It looks more painful than it actually is. That said there are just some hills that my cojones would fall out on no matter how hard I can push the gravity pulls harder. Ride the mtb cassette and just go up the damn thing.
 

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Geeze MB, knowing you I'd have thought you'd tackle it on your fixed gear. I'm afraid I can no longer worship your riding ability! :) :) :)
 

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Nate Harrison Grade - longer, not as steep as Mt. Washington

c0braje7 said:
It is in San Diego. The mountain is called Palomar. You can read about it here... http://bicyclewarehouse.com/page.cfm?PageID=71
While the Bicycle Warehouse web page puts Nate Harrison's Grade at 4,000 ft. in 6 miles (12.7%), which is steeper than New Hampshire's Mt. Washington (4,780 ft in 7.6 miles, 11.9%), most other web pages say Nate Harrisons Grade is actually 4,700 ft. in 11.1 miles (8.0%), which seems more reasonable.

Having climbed Mt. Washington a few times, as well as other Tall and Steep things, I'd guess that a typical cyclist wouldn't need the specialized gearing that many use on Mt. Washington, and would get by just fine with using the lower ratio end of regular road gearing - say a 39x27 or 39x28 for stronger riders, or a triple with 32x25 or a compact with a 34x27 for average riders.

Of course, training for climbing will help, but you could probably get by with good flat road training. Since it will take a good hour to an hour and half (or more) to climb this road, you probably need to practice long intervals, such as doing some 10+ mile time trials.
 
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