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Tackling a 1 mile long 11 - 13 % hill climb ...........

JimmyKJimmyK Posts: 712
edited November 2009 in Training, fitness and health
On one of my favourite rides, there is a section which is 1600 metres long and has gradient between 11 - 13 % , im trying to make hill climbs such as this as least intensive as I can due to my multiple sclerosis, so grinding teeth , head down,whirring away and collapsing at the top is simply not an option for me.

The gradient starts sharply at the bottom and there is no coasting or easy section leading into it, to make it comfortable for me so as I do not overheat , I shift down to the 39 teeth inner front ring and start from there. I get out of the saddle and pedal slowly as you can feel the hill bite right away. I adjust gears at the rear so as I am maintaing a smooth and comfy cadence at around 45 - 50 rpm, any more and Id be pushing myself more than my medical condition allows me.

What is your technique for a hill of this length and gradient in terms of gear selection and making it as comfortable for yourself, Im keen to get better technically on hills but also being cautious as to the limits I have to stay within, Im 40 yrs old and until my consultant told me off about 4 months ago, Id have thought nothing of cycling at heartrate 170 + bpm, now I cant take that risk.

Jimmy
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  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    I do exactly the same tbh. I'll normally start a hill standing, letting cadence drop to the 50's, as you said a low cadence up hills does seem easier on the heartrate (start big debate about cadence and hr now! :roll: )

    and I know low cadences are rather frowned upon, but I mostly find it easier to drop it right down, stand and just get into a rhthym.
  • JimmyKJimmyK Posts: 712
    edited October 2009
    are you implying the high cadence posse are goona flood in with their guns drawn ?

    what about front ring , would you use 53 or 39 to take on a long 11 % + climb chris ?

    Jimmy
  • pjm-84pjm-84 Posts: 819
    11 degrees? (aka 20% - aka 1:5) or do you mean 11 - 13%
    Paul
  • JimmyKJimmyK Posts: 712
    sorry 11 -13 %
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    JimmyK wrote:
    are you implying the high cadence posse are goona flood in with their guns drawn ?

    what about front ring , would you use 53 or 39 to take on a long 11 degree + climb chris ?

    Jimmy

    Yes, they'll flood in with stories of knees popping and how Lance does it/ :wink:


    Definitely 39 for two reasons:-
    1) You're more likely to be in the middle of the rear block whereas with the 53 you're more likely to be on the end and cross chaining it.
    2) On the 39, the jump in gears on the rear block isn't so big, so it's easier to find the right gear. ( I think/hope/pray the maths is correct on that one. :roll: )
  • nmcgannnmcgann Posts: 1,780
    chrisw12 wrote:
    I do exactly the same tbh. I'll normally start a hill standing, letting cadence drop to the 50's, as you said a low cadence up hills does seem easier on the heartrate (start big debate about cadence and hr now! :roll: )

    and I know low cadences are rather frowned upon, but I mostly find it easier to drop it right down, stand and just get into a rhthym.

    Yes, on a hill of that steepness I'd be standing all the way up too.
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    I tend to put it in as easy gear as possible, stay seated and spin for as long as I can. If i let my cadence drop, even in an easy gear, it feels like more effort. Once my legs pack up, I usually stand up in same gear and pray for top to appear.

    I ride a 34x25 though!
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Not sure where your climb is but I have yet to find a climb that long with constant gradient in excess of 10%. Generally they are that long with sections of 12% with less gradients in between which allows for out of the saddle pedalling on steep bits and in saddle faster cadence on less gradients.
    Thats how I ride but others prefer lower gears and faster gradient all climb.
    If I did find a hill like that would probably use 39 x 25 or same ratio on compact and sit whole climb as it would be too long for an all out of saddle effort.
  • IS training specifically for the hill climb an option for you?

    What I have found great this past year is to use the climbs as training. Thus I push a little bit harder than normal for 30 seconds, and slowly increase this amount of time. Whilst my times dipped for a while, I found that I increased my cycling ability over the year. Now I can sustain a higher gear for longer and choose to expend effort or save it for later.

    Also, you state that you climb out of the saddle. This is my preferred method of climbing, but I have found that occasionally sitting down gives me options - thus I am saving my out of saddle effort for when it makes the most difference. using two different styles does mean using different leg muscles, or rather, resting the muscles. And of course, developing an additional climbing style has meant looking at ways of improving that style. I do this by putting the bike in a high gear and cycling for blocks of 20-30 seconds.
    The ultimate cruelty of love's pinions
  • Dare i say, compact chainset. Easier and safer gearing for you.
  • GavHGavH Posts: 998
    Jimmy, I personally would knock it into my granny gear or near to it and work my way up seated, trying to maintain a steady cadence. I wouldn't stand up unless I needed the injection of momentum!

    As for your gearing, its already been mentioned - you NEED a compact!! The easier you can make it on yourself with your condition, the better I think. Given your posts of late, I'm thinking you just don't need the higher gearing that comes with a standard double as you won't be pushing yourself that hard at any stage, hence take every opportunity to make it easier going up the hills. I wouldn't even overlook a triple! I run a 50/34 up front and a 12-27 cassette and get up everything around here without the need to drop below 60rpm and as I've said before, I'm not especially fit.

    Incidentally, where is this hill - Ards direction or nearer Belfast? The ascent of White Mountain which is right on my doorstep is a mile and a quarter and yet averages about 5 or 6% and doesn't get steeper than 8% very briefly. A mile at 11-13% is quite ninja. :twisted:
  • JimmyKJimmyK Posts: 712
    Gav

    im referring to Craigantlet hill in belfast, its signed at the bottom as 11% , if you want something to make your eyes water, try rocky road off the knock dual carriageway, that suckah is signposted 20% , im not kidding you.

    Jimmy
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    A sign saying 12% just means the max gradient not the average, that very different. As I said I have yet to find one a mile long with averag 12% that would be wicked.
    I have ridden climbs in South Wales that go over 33% but not average grade.
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    I have yet to find one a mile long with averag 12% that would be wicked.

    This one averages 10.5% and is 1.06 miles long. If you use the (inaccurate) elevation data on that website, you'll get 9.3% average, but in real life, the climb goes up to 23% at the end, not 19%.

    www.bikehike.co.uk/mapview.php?id=7179

    Killer.
  • SoniSoni Posts: 1,217
    JimmyK wrote:
    On one of my favourite rides, there is a section which is 1600 metres long and has gradient between 11 - 13 % , im trying to make hill climbs such as this as least intensive as I can due to my multiple sclerosis, so grinding teeth , head down,whirring away and collapsing at the top is simply not an option for me.

    The gradient starts sharply at the bottom and there is no coasting or easy section leading into it, to make it comfortable for me so as I do not overheat , I shift down to the 39 teeth inner front ring and start from there. I get out of the saddle and pedal slowly as you can feel the hill bite right away. I adjust gears at the rear so as I am maintaing a smooth and comfy cadence at around 45 - 50 rpm, any more and Id be pushing myself more than my medical condition allows me.

    What is your technique for a hill of this length and gradient in terms of gear selection and making it as comfortable for yourself, Im keen to get better technically on hills but also being cautious as to the limits I have to stay within, Im 40 yrs old and until my consultant told me off about 4 months ago, Id have thought nothing of cycling at heartrate 170 + bpm, now I cant take that risk.

    Jimmy

    I love hearing people who train like this despite their medical conditions, this is true inspiration.

    I have a Sister In Law who has MS, and she is also 40, and i've been trying to encourage her as she is finding motivation difficult but this very post may help her thank you...
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    A sign saying 12% just means the max gradient not the average, that very different. As I said I have yet to find one a mile long with averag 12% that would be wicked.
    I have ridden climbs in South Wales that go over 33% but not average grade.


    You've got me thinking now...

    Maerdy Mtn from Aberdare aka Alpe duez (but with only 5 hairpins instead of 23??)
    Pehrhys??(probably not a mile)
    Graig (Pontypridd)?
    Llanwono (from Ferndale)

    I might have fun tonight doing some measuring for you. :lol:


    Which makes me think, you guys who ride the Dragon Sportive get cheated as they only take you up the easy climbs (Bwlch/Rhigos) :)
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Soni wrote:
    JimmyK wrote:
    On one of my favourite rides, there is a section which is 1600 metres long and has gradient between 11 - 13 % , im trying to make hill climbs such as this as least intensive as I can due to my multiple sclerosis, so grinding teeth , head down,whirring away and collapsing at the top is simply not an option for me.

    The gradient starts sharply at the bottom and there is no coasting or easy section leading into it, to make it comfortable for me so as I do not overheat , I shift down to the 39 teeth inner front ring and start from there. I get out of the saddle and pedal slowly as you can feel the hill bite right away. I adjust gears at the rear so as I am maintaing a smooth and comfy cadence at around 45 - 50 rpm, any more and Id be pushing myself more than my medical condition allows me.

    What is your technique for a hill of this length and gradient in terms of gear selection and making it as comfortable for yourself, Im keen to get better technically on hills but also being cautious as to the limits I have to stay within, Im 40 yrs old and until my consultant told me off about 4 months ago, Id have thought nothing of cycling at heartrate 170 + bpm, now I cant take that risk.

    Jimmy

    I love hearing people who train like this despite their medical conditions, this is true inspiration.

    I have a Sister In Law who has MS, and she is also 40, and i've been trying to encourage her as she is finding motivation difficult but this very post may help her thank you...


    Yep that was my thoughts as well.

    Really hope Jimmy ignores the 'get smaller gears advice', Jimmy seems like a fighter, fighters need big gears and brute strength not GRANNY rings. :lol:
  • voxegamvoxegam Posts: 244
    chrisw12 wrote:
    You've got me thinking now...

    Maerdy Mtn from Aberdare aka Alpe duez (but with only 5 hairpins instead of 23??)
    Pehrhys??(probably not a mile)
    Graig (Pontypridd)?
    Llanwono (from Ferndale)

    I might have fun tonight doing some measuring for you. :lol:

    Chris have you done these climbs? You should definitely come to wales to visit, would make a change to the surrey hills.....Uni going well?
    Trek Madone 6.5 Pro
    Planet-X (now winter-bike)
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    voxegam wrote:
    chrisw12 wrote:
    You've got me thinking now...

    Maerdy Mtn from Aberdare aka Alpe duez (but with only 5 hairpins instead of 23??)
    Pehrhys??(probably not a mile)
    Graig (Pontypridd)?
    Llanwono (from Ferndale)

    I might have fun tonight doing some measuring for you. :lol:

    Chris have you done these climbs? You should definitely come to wales to visit, would make a change to the surrey hills.....Uni going well?

    I think you're mixing me up with someone else, I finished uni about 16 years ago and tbh it didn't go to well although teacher training was a right blast.

    and you could say that I've done these climbs a few times. :lol:
  • voxegamvoxegam Posts: 244
    Oh, my mistake....must be another chrisw(insert random number) on here...
    Trek Madone 6.5 Pro
    Planet-X (now winter-bike)
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,424
    are you implying the high cadence posse are goona flood in with their guns drawn ?

    what about front ring , would you use 53 or 39 to take on a long 11 % + climb chris ?

    If you can get up a climb like that on a 53 you'd be doing well! I wouldn't make it 100m on the big ring :shock:
  • Bill DBill D Posts: 62
    I have a hill like this at the end of every ride, because I live up here. I'm 62 and started cycling again 18 months ago. At first I couldn't get up without stopping for a rest. One Sunday morning I was overtaken by a pedestrian. Much better now: I can do it in 10 minutes on a good day. I start up slowly and stand on the pedals on the steepest bits, changing up to a higher gear to do so. TBH, I find that spinning a low gear makes it too easy for me to go too fast, in which case I blow up and struggle. Good luck & keep up the good work. Bill
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    chrisw12 wrote:
    A sign saying 12% just means the max gradient not the average, that very different. As I said I have yet to find one a mile long with averag 12% that would be wicked.
    I have ridden climbs in South Wales that go over 33% but not average grade.


    You've got me thinking now...

    Maerdy Mtn from Aberdare aka Alpe duez (but with only 5 hairpins instead of 23??)
    Pehrhys??(probably not a mile)
    Graig (Pontypridd)?
    Llanwono (from Ferndale)

    I might have fun tonight doing some measuring for you. :lol:


    Which makes me think, you guys who ride the Dragon Sportive get cheated as they only take you up the easy climbs (Bwlch/Rhigos) :)

    I have done all these recently. Penrhys is a decent climb. Llanwonno also, quite long, I rode up that by mistake having got lost as I moved 10 years agolol.
    The ride from Abedare to MAerdy is much nicer than Rhigos and steep at the start, nice views over top.
    The hardest one is from Ponty past Glntaf up past the golf club over to eglwysilan.
    That shos 38% on my garmin on the worst bit through the bend, then you get to the cattle grid :D
    I have seen many a good climber walk that one.
    It is 1.5 miles and once in te tress ramps up from 10 to 12 15 20 30 38% no respite, absolute killer.
    I must have been really fit when younger, used to go up it on 42 x 21, now use 35 x 25 and struggle and I am still racing :D
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Bhima wrote:
    I have yet to find one a mile long with averag 12% that would be wicked.

    This one averages 10.5% and is 1.06 miles long. If you use the (inaccurate) elevation data on that website, you'll get 9.3% average, but in real life, the climb goes up to 23% at the end, not 19%.

    www.bikehike.co.uk/mapview.php?id=7179

    Killer.
    Still not 12% average though is it? :D Thats my point.
    Would not be able to climb that out of the saddle all the way so would have to have lowish gears, even top climbers!!
  • LazarusLazarus Posts: 1,426
    Oldwelshman you've gone and posted my hidden gem it's bloody murder to go up and terrifying coming down especially with that bend :(:wink:

    Penrhys from the speed camera to the roundabout at the top is 0.6miles of perfect 12% or at least it looks perfect :)

    Just as a side note i rate Graig as one of the most dangerous climbs in terms of traffic and avoid it at all cost, but the secret hill behind ponty builders that ends up at exactly the same place is a quiet little beauty though a bit rough.
    A punctured bicycle
    On a hillside desolate
    Will nature make a man of me yet ?
  • JimmyKJimmyK Posts: 712
    here is a question, somebody mentioned a 38% !! :shock: section in a climb , what gearing are you gonna use to get up that , a youtube vidclip of fargo street 32% climb had a guy who had to do extensive modifications to his bike and he got up it at 2 mph.

    Jimmy
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,424
    Some for me to try when I get some weight off there! I've done the Rhigos a few times and both that and the Bwlch in the 5 Valleys although the climb to Cimla was the hardest in that race IMHO. Constitution Hill is fun too, I know it's "only" 25% but the cobbles add to the "enjoyment" :lol:
  • After much mucking about on bikehike :) :

    Both Bwlch-y-Groes and Hardknott West are over 1 mile long and easily average over 12%, and there's a mile section of Wrynose East that averages 14%. The relatively unknown climb out of Lofthouse near Pateley Bridge just makes it, so does the first mile of the Coal Road from Dent station, and the top mile of Honister west comes very close too. You make a good point though Oldwelshie, these are some of the very hardest climbs in the country and they only just average 12% over a mile, so there won't be many unknown 'local hills' that average 10% over that distance. I think it's a bit annoying actually; I felt sure that the top mile of Fleet Moss would be over 12% average 'cause I find it so bloody tough, but it's not!
  • xRichxxRichx Posts: 63
    Coal road in Dent is one of my all time goals. It's a struggle for a car let alone my legs!
  • LazarusLazarus Posts: 1,426
    As oldwelshie has posted the 38% is on the bend and i would think that's only if you take the inside line, not that the outside line is much better :) if it is the case then you will not notice the 38% because it will be over very quickly and you will then discover that the hill is nowhere near finished with you and you begin to wonder what your doing it for :twisted:

    Just as a side note it's better/more vicious to start from the B&Q roundabout and head up the hill, then at the junction go straight across and head up another hill then as the road bends to the right , turn left and you will get to the section that welshie has posted about where you go past the golf club.
    A punctured bicycle
    On a hillside desolate
    Will nature make a man of me yet ?
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