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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning some mountain climbs later this summer with elevation gains of ~5500 feet over 18 miles and the like (avg 5-6%). I'm a firm believer in training in the same manner that you'll be tested. Unfortunately,there are not a lot of these sorts of climbs close to where I live in Seattle. There are many hills, but none are longer than 2-3 miles at the most. I could drive an hour or two to a mountain pass, but I don't have the time or gas money to do this all the time.

Do you guys know of any way to train for these longer climbs with shorter ones? I'm planning on doing hill repeats, but they aren't the same as a long, sustained climb that can take an hour. Any ideas?
 

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Are you racing?

bikersteve said:
I'm planning some mountain climbs later this summer with elevation gains of ~5500 feet over 18 miles and the like (avg 5-6%). I'm a firm believer in training in the same manner that you'll be tested.
Are you racing these climbs, or riding them. If you're riding them, then it mostly counts that you are fit. You don't need to set speed records, just climb successfully, which you can do if you settle into a rhythm and keep it aerobic. Getting out once to do a pass should be plenty of experience. And since the top of Ranier, Snoqualmie Pass, etc. are 90 miles from Seattle, you could drive 50 miles, do an out-and-back, and get your experience. It doesn't take 2 hours to drive 50 miles, does it? :)
 

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All I wanted was a Pepsi!
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Agree with KI.

Park at Ashford, ride up to Paradise. Repeat. 5000-ish feet (I *think*) in 17 miles or so and you can do it all day if you want.

Riding up Hurricane Ridge is another good one, though I'm sure that's much farther than you want to drive. Snoqualmie and Stevens ditto. There are LOTS of good training climbs in the PACNORWEST.

I just did the 3 State 3 Mountain without any problem and I live in Memphis. Memphis has no mountains and barely even any hills. Like Kerry said, as long as you're not racing up 'em, just being in good enough shape is good enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm not racing, I just want to keep up with/destroy my buddies up the hill this year. I did Hurricane Ridge last year with some friends and got absolutely smoked by them. It was a brutal, brutal day in the saddle for me. Granted, they weighed 35-60 lbs less (I've got some upper body mass from lifting), but I still should have been able to keep up better than I did. I was at a reasonable 70-90% of max HR for most of the climb, which is usually not difficult for me, but my legs became very fatigued from the sustained effort. I was cramping badly close to the top, even with plenty of food/water intake throughout the climb.

I'm in good aerobic shape, and I ride for a local team. I can make it up basically any hill in Seattle without serious problems, but the extra length of Hurricane Ridge really hurt me last year. I want to give them a fight when we do Hurricane Ridge this year, and I might as well improve my hill climbing at the same time. I'm also going to be doing the Beartooth Highway and some other climbs in Colorado (including Mt. Evans) that aren't terribly easy, but I can stop and "take pictures" if I need to on the way up because they'll be solo.:D

I'm thinking about doing serious hill repeats when my time is tight and then doing stevens' a few times to see how well I'm doing.
 

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Repeats of shorter hills will help. Find the steepest grade you can. If you can find an 8% grade to ride for a couple of weeks the 4% and 5% grades will seem almost flat. For two mile hills do one seated and one standing. Try standing at a slow speed and cadence at first to keep you HR in check. Also 10 second sprints while climbing seems to help with speed. Rest one minute betweeen sprints. Do five or six in a row. It sounds like your fitness is good but dropping weight also helps when scooting up mountains.
 

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Repeats, repeats, repeats

Repeats are the only way to go. For the past two years I lived in Northern Virginia, which has no sustained climbs. I would train for mountain climbs (racing) by riding up the steepest pitches 8-12 times in a row. Borring, yeah, but it does get the job done. This year I am going to colleg in the mountains of southwest VA and have found much better hills for training. I improved over 4 minuts off of my old time at a local hill climb and that was with a headwind. But even here in the mountains I still do hill repeats if I can find a steep section. Also loosing any upper body weight will help a lot too. I had a 10-14 year old junior beat my time by several minuts and I am a light weight rider. Most of the people who I passed on the course this year where 30-50 lbs heavier then I. That shows how much weight makes a difference. Good luck.
 

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If you know those rides that are 5-6% are about 2-3 miles, then do those until you can stand up the whole time and push up them. Thats at least my moronic way to get used to the mountains in Vermont. I do climbs that last 30 mintues at max effort for a good workout to keep my climbing form up, and on a weekend with more time, I'll go over several gaps in Vt with about 1600' climbing each. I actually ride most of the Green Mountain Stage race course training.
 

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bikersteve said:
Granted, they weighed 35-60 lbs less (I've got some upper body mass from lifting), but I still should have been able to keep up better than I did.
How do you figure that you should have been able to keep up better than you did? At the same power output, a 60 lb. weight penalty = 2.3 mph on a 6% grade, and a 35 lb penalty = 1.5 mph disadvantage. If you want to be a climber, then weight lifting - particularly upper body work - is NOT your path to success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Kerry Irons said:
How do you figure that you should have been able to keep up better than you did? At the same power output, a 60 lb. weight penalty = 2.3 mph on a 6% grade, and a 35 lb penalty = 1.5 mph disadvantage. If you want to be a climber, then weight lifting - particularly upper body work - is NOT your path to success.
Yeah, I know that. Cycling is not the only sport that I do and the upper body work is useful in quite a few of my other activities. I'm not trying to be a pure climber by any means, I just want to improve on my weakness and be stronger than I am on these mountain climbs in spite of the extra weight. I haven't done any serious climbing training so far, and I want to see how much better I can get with the training. If I can actually beat my 135-160 lb friends up a mountain, I'll have some serious gloating material to dish out. :D
 

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Worked for me too

hairscrambled said:
Repeats of shorter hills will help. Find the steepest grade you can. If you can find an 8% grade to ride for a couple of weeks the 4% and 5% grades will seem almost flat. For two mile hills do one seated and one standing...
Did hill repeats on tiny bumps in southern Indiana and then went to Montana and road the Rockies with my son on the back of the tandem. No problem and the hill repeats helped my technique as well as fitness.

Throw in some sustained long rides into a stiff headwind to focus on your endurance.
 

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My best day I did those repeats in arlington 11 times.. Other days I would bonk after 7 repeats (being agressive and trying to attack the whole hill).. I just went out to Skyline and thought I rode well until everyone dropped me. I guess not knowing the route and not knowing how big the Masnutten mountain is - I went a little too conservative.

I think I like Skyline.

Mountains of Misery is coming up end of May.



bikeuphill9 said:
Repeats are the only way to go. For the past two years I lived in Northern Virginia, which has no sustained climbs. I would train for mountain climbs (racing) by riding up the steepest pitches 8-12 times in a row. Borring, yeah, but it does get the job done. This year I am going to colleg in the mountains of southwest VA and have found much better hills for training. I improved over 4 minuts off of my old time at a local hill climb and that was with a headwind. But even here in the mountains I still do hill repeats if I can find a steep section. Also loosing any upper body weight will help a lot too. I had a 10-14 year old junior beat my time by several minuts and I am a light weight rider. Most of the people who I passed on the course this year where 30-50 lbs heavier then I. That shows how much weight makes a difference. Good luck.
 

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bikersteve said:
Yeah, I know that. Cycling is not the only sport that I do and the upper body work is useful in quite a few of my other activities. I'm not trying to be a pure climber by any means, I just want to improve on my weakness and be stronger than I am on these mountain climbs in spite of the extra weight. I haven't done any serious climbing training so far, and I want to see how much better I can get with the training. If I can actually beat my 135-160 lb friends up a mountain, I'll have some serious gloating material to dish out. :D
Sounds like you can beat them up and take their bikes from them! Make then carry your water bottles! :thumbsup:
 

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There is a ride with www.ride4areason.org on May 20th (click on the club ride link). Starts at the Issaquah park and ride and goes up Snoqualmie pass and then does some climbing around Tiger and Cougar Mountains. You can survive by doing shorter hill repeats but nothing like doing the real thing and working hard. Besides, all of the big climbs around the area are not that far away by car and the climbs will all be opening in the next month or so. So get out there and ride them hard and taper for the day when you want to be at your best.
 
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