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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Im new to these forums so go easy on me :p
I was looking at getting some advice on training and hopefully getting used to hills.

I took up road biking 5 months ago (im 20yrs old) , and found i really struggled with doing 20km's for a start! and this was on the flat, i can now do 40km at an easy 20-25kph pace (which is probably slow to some of you).
My problem is that everytime i come across a hill as one does, i can never stay seated, and find i absolutely struggle up very small hills. Could it be that im not meant for cycling? i just feel that after 5 months, that i've been going nowhere. I was wanting to enter some races in december or start of next year, and i want to get used to tackling small hills at least, or im done for in the racing :(

Any advice would be much appreciated.

EDIT: btw, i've been reading through the forum and i noticed that you can get a tripple chainring or something, where i only have a double. Could it be that i cant handle this on the hills?
 

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Could be faster
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i wouldn't worry too much about double or triple chainrings. i'm on a double ring and enjoy hill climbs even when i was a newbie.

i took up cycling in November 2005 and in January 2006, i took part in my first organised charity fun ride - 76km of rolling country hills with 5 or 8 major climbs. up to that time, the longest ride i did was 32km on mildly rolling urban roads. so 76km was pretty much a major event for me. not to mention that i didn't know what a hill was until that ride. but i survived. and that ride motivated me to do longer rides and hilly rides. and i pretty much ditched some of my cycling buddies because they weren't interested in rides longer than 50km.

hill climbs are fun if you get the technique right. do a google search and you'll get lots of information and tips on how to climb efficiently. my method of madness are:

1. stay seated on longer climbs and stand occasionally to work different muscles. i downshift one to two cogs when standing to avoid dead spots and also because you get more power standing than seated.

2. when seated, shift your weight as far back on the saddle as possible. that helps you make the most of your gluteaus (sp?) maximus muscle. i usually have my hands on the flat part of the bar and i try to keep my chest opened rather than scrunched up. it helps with the breathing. also on breathing, i use the 3-breaths-out-2-breaths-in technique, and i time them to my pedal stroke.

3. use a gear combination that allows you to maintain a high cadence. so although high cadence is quite aerobic, your legs will last the distance rather than spinning at a lower cadence and going anaerobic, which builts up lactic acid and your legs will eventually feel like lead after a short distance.

4. Spin the crankset, don't mash! your knees will thank you.

5. Do lots of hills rather than avoid it. keep a log of your rides including notes about mood, wind, weather etc.

6. Lastly, attend spin classes in winter if possible. they are quite useful, especially if the instructor is doing a hill climb session.

hope the above helps.

boon
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thankyou for the reply. Yeah i find that i fluff out on the very beginning of a hill and cant keep the high cadence because of how steep they are here, mostly steep and short. But i really do enjoy cycling and plan on entering a 80km next year in feb (charity event) , which gives me something to work for.
I think also i should make a training plan and take on your tips on conditions etc..
Atm im only doing three rides a week, 30km on monday with a few intervals and one big hill, wed i do 26km easy pace, then friday i do 40km and try ;) to crawl myself up some hills.
No doubt i'll get better in the years to come :)
 

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building my engine
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hoverman said:
Thankyou for the reply. Yeah i find that i fluff out on the very beginning of a hill and cant keep the high cadence because of how steep they are here, mostly steep and short. But i really do enjoy cycling and plan on entering a 80km next year in feb (charity event) , which gives me something to work for.
I think also i should make a training plan and take on your tips on conditions etc..
Atm im only doing three rides a week, 30km on monday with a few intervals and one big hill, wed i do 26km easy pace, then friday i do 40km and try ;) to crawl myself up some hills.
No doubt i'll get better in the years to come :)

The tips that the gentleman above provided apply mostly for long climbs, I think what you need to do in this case; are squats and lots of climbing in order to conquer this short step hills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the help also Alter Ego.
I was thinking of going to the gym to strengthen my legs also, im a student so i can get access to this for free thankfully. I'm also going to get small dumbells to help my arms out a bit too since my arms get tired when climbing too.
 

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You're Not the Boss of Me
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Weight work will help your climbing a lot. Even without weights, lunges (w/ or w/out hand-held dumbells) are great. Also, don't push to big of a gear. You'll just create the feeling that your legs and lungs are on fire, which will make you want to quit.
 

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If you are running out of gears, either larger cogs or a triple would help. There is a big macho thing in cycling about the gears people run. But what's really important is how fast you are, not the gearing you use to go that speed. Some people do better spinning a lower gear faster; others can grind along in a higher gear. Experiement and figure out what works for you, and don't listen to "oh, I never need gears lower than X" from other riders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just following up on what you said, i never try to tackle hills in my higher gears, i use the easiest i can lol, and i still cant maintain a decent cadence. I always just run out of speed at the beginning of the hill then have to get out of the seat or i go absolutely nowhere :rolleyes:

Heres my bike if its to any help:

http://www.giant-bicycles.com/au/030.000.000/030.010.000.asp?year=2006&model=10028

I know im new to road cycling, but surely i should be able to handle the hills im coming across, i'll take a few photos tomorrow to show you the gradient of the hills im trying to climb ( or bumps to some of you) ;-)
 
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