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very steep hills. does fit help?

inaperfectworldinaperfectworld Posts: 219
well i am as fit as i've ever been, now in my 54th year. i doubt i was fitter in youth, the body was simply in a naturally better state then. anyway i toured last year including alps and i've found av. speed has risen a bit and, i can honk up hills for far longer and some hills that i thought were a pain ,well i'm halfway up without noticing. fourthermore i'm comforatbly using 2 or3 gears higher on hills. for the first time in a long time i went up the 20% hill near me and i can't say i noticed any difference: using lowest gear evry turn of the pedals was a push and a grind and i longed for the top as as much as ever.
so it seems these brutish hills do not get easier beyond a certain point of fitness IE if you are fit enough to get up a t all then being a lot fitter doesn't make much difference. is this so?

Posts

  • bahzobbahzob Posts: 2,195
    I find that short and very steep hills can require a different type of fitness to get up, more akin to what a sprinter needs. Longer, less steep hills and most of the classic long climbs need a big aerobic engine to get up comfortably.

    So to get up the nearby hill more comfortably what may be needed is training on the shorter term sprint type of fitness.

    However there is another factor about climbing very steep hills that its worth being aware of. There is a minimum RPM that needs to be sustained during climbing, I think around 50rpm. If cadence falls below this then you will work very hard but also very inefficiently. This was graphically bought home to me when I started using a powermeter. I noticed that on some climbs it felt like murder but the actual power getting transmitted to the wheel was equivalent to a fast club run. By changing down lots of gears rpm went up, effective power shot up by over 60% and paradoxically the climb felt easier.
    Martin S. Newbury RC
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