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Hills ... getting up them!

Megatron-UKMegatron-UK Posts: 91
edited October 2008 in Health, fitness & training
A group of us did part of the Deadwater trail at Kielder yesterday and really enjoyed it.
Although I'm still overweight by about a stone, (15st 7lb a month ago, down to 14st 13) I generally don't have a problem cycling a reasonable distance (10 miles a couple of nights a week, ~20 miles on a saturday or sunday; I don't live in a particulary flat area, either) and I can handle most technical sections as long as they're not too extreme; the red technical singletrack on the Deadwater trail was not a problem for me.

However, I have always had a problem with long, sustained climbs (even some 15 years ago when i was a skinny little thing and fit as a fiddle!); I start off ok, with a good steady cadence, but it gets to a point where my knees seem to turn to jelly and I just can't get any further - despite my head screaming "Keep going, you ****!".

As a result, I found the long, steep forest trails linking the red technical sections together to be extremely difficult and had to jump off and push a few times. The first climb I think I went beyond my limits and had to lie down for a few minutes as I thought I was going to puke :oops: Once rested and we branched off on any of the technical trails I was motoring again and didn't have a problem.

I'm going to go back to do the full route shortly, but I really need to improve my climbing endurance to enjoy it more.

Any tips to improve endurance on climbs?
Kona Dawg Deluxe ('07)
Kona Lava Dome ('95)

Losing weight and (slowly) getting fitter...


  • NikBNikB Posts: 243
    I think to an extent it's a case of keep your head down, don't look for the summit and keep turning those cranks. It is a pain but it's the only way I've found that works for me.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Are you in the correct gear? Not heaving on a too hard ratios?
  • Yeah, anywhere from the middle chainring and 1st or 2nd gear at the back, all the way down to the smallest chainring and the the first few gears at the back.

    I guess I just need to do more of a similar sort of thing on a regular basis and get my stamina up.
    Kona Dawg Deluxe ('07)
    Kona Lava Dome ('95)

    Losing weight and (slowly) getting fitter...
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Yep, just have to get fitter! Same for me as well, am terribly unfit, and did my longest ride for a while on Friday - legs were burning!
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    I love getting stuck into a good climb. Both MTBing and running.

    But then I am a little odd.

    At least it gets you fitter more quickly!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    A lot of it is in the head. I can get my unfit riding mates up hills, by distracting them by talking bollorks. I've found that if I try to take my mind off the climb, I can climb much further as well.

    I think if you expect to be frigged halfway up a climb, you will be, if you see what I mean.
  • DazzzaDazzza Posts: 2,364
    Try using you thighs more when climbing, before long you'll have more power and start steaming up them, doing the same myself and it's having interesting results after being stagnant for a while.
    The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.
    Giant Anthem X
  • dunkerdunker Posts: 1,503
    find hills that are even steeper and train on those? luckily i've found a hill really close by that i don't usually link into my rides, lowest gear on the granny ring and standing on the pedals steep. when i'm getting tired on any other hill i just think of that one and it makes all the islands hills feel alot easier - quite alot to do with the mind i think.

    standing on the pedals even on easier hills i find helps alot, yeah it's less energy effecient but i find it easier going sometimes.
  • sparrowlegs78sparrowlegs78 Posts: 2,583
    I live in a very hilly area and i struggle with climbs if they are long ones..i lack stamina it seems :lol:.
    I just keep going in a low gear, head down, censored up and just keep spinning up them...until the legs pack up then i get off and push :oops:
    I can't even get up the first hill at Llandegla without hyperventilating and getting the old spots before the eyes bit :lol:
    Hopeless Mountain Biker Caz xx
  • Greg_mGreg_m Posts: 15
    concentrate on breathing correctly, and applying the power to the downstroke.

    only advice i can give and try maybe doing some hill reps?
  • MilkieMilkie Posts: 377
    As a few people have said, it really is mind games!!!!

    I remember back in the day... A friend told me, don't tell yourself I'm gonna get to the top, cos if u feel screwed quarter of the way up, your mind will tell you that you're not going to make it..

    What I do is give myself goals... I say to myself... "Right, I'll get to bend then I'll get off and push.." Generally I don't get off, I get to that point, then give myself another target/goal, that I feel is just achievable.

    This way it breaks up the hill, you don't see it as a massive hill, just a lot of little hills.

    Also try to loosen your top end shoulders, arms.. the only thing that should be putting in effort is your legs. I notice that I tense my top half when I'm finding it hard going up hill, once I relax my top half it seems a little easier..

    I also try never to get out of the saddle, as once your out of the saddle, its very difficult to get back in the saddle while still going up the steep hill.
  • streakostreako Posts: 2,937
    The only way to improve is to do it. The saying "No pain, no gain", applies here.

    Most people dont push themselves hard enough and then wonder why they still cant do it next time.

    Im lucky and live in a hilly area so there is plenty of climbing to be had. There are a couple of hard climbs I could never manage about a year ago and now I can nail them every time.

    There really is no big secret, just practice, practice, practice.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    phrases i like:

    Butch up girlie-pants,

    only by pushing yourself can you grow

    Mould yourself in the forge of your will

    you'd be amazed what you can do with proper self motivation. Find your limits and smash them
  • Well I went back to the Deadwater Fell trail at Kielder today and did the entire red route myself... apart from the billions of midges that ate me alive in the car park I had a great time. All the hills, without getting off to push once.

    And just to prove I actually got to the top:


    I think the key is that I was just going at my own pace, rather than trying to keep up with anyone. What I found last week was that I could blitz around the technical stuff at quite a pace compared to others, but I knackered myself trying to keep up with the fitter lads on the climbs. "Know your limits!" :lol:

    I really enjoyed it, although I scared the censored out of myself coming back down from the top of the fell at silly speed - the downhill section from the very top of the fell is lethal!
    My discs looked blue and were red hot to the touch when I took a breather at the bottom of the section in that picture :shock:
    Kona Dawg Deluxe ('07)
    Kona Lava Dome ('95)

    Losing weight and (slowly) getting fitter...
  • Travis_MTravis_M Posts: 62
    well done on getting to the top....
    my locals trails are hilly, 1000m + of climbing within a 10km loop.

    Just get a nice spin going, sit towards the front of the saddle on the steep technical bits... I notice that you don't have SPDs, you may find that helps as well...
  • I tried them when I first got into biking, many moons ago - I just couldn't get along with them!
    Kona Dawg Deluxe ('07)
    Kona Lava Dome ('95)

    Losing weight and (slowly) getting fitter...
  • Suspension forks stop you dead on a hill, they try to ride into the hill rather than stay parrallel to it. Get fixed forks if hills are a big problem.
    Cycling, it has it's ups and downs.
  • Surf-MattSurf-Matt Posts: 5,952
    I tried them when I first got into biking, many moons ago - I just couldn't get along with them!

    Don't worry about them - I had SPDs for two years but never got on with them. I find good flat pedals are fine and you can put your foot down quickly if needed.
    Oh and I never lock my forks - I used to but now just ride at an angle that doesn't move the forks up and down.

    I really enjoy climbing - just dig in and enjoy the burn - it's doing you the world of good!
  • Thermo1Thermo1 Posts: 75
    Suspension forks stop you dead on a hill, they try to ride into the hill rather than stay parrallel to it. Get fixed forks if hills are a big problem.

    Or just use the lockout on your forks (if they have it).
  • Thermo1Thermo1 Posts: 75
    I tried them when I first got into biking, many moons ago - I just couldn't get along with them!

    They're an acquired taste for sure.

    I love them, but I've been riding SPDs since they first came out so they are second nature to me.

    I've heard that the Five-Ten Impact shoe with a good platform is pretty similar to using a clipless pedal/shoe combo but with the added bonus of not being clipped in.
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