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Off the bike training for Hills

tim wandtim wand Posts: 2,945
I live on the Lincs/Notts border, not exactly Alpine around here, I try to get to the peak district as often as possible but I ve just lost my job and had to drop down to one car which the wife uses for work.

Any way to cut a long story short there are just no decent climbs around here and I ve got a Pyreneen tour booked for this year (Luckily paid for before P45).

What can I do (Besides loose weight and increase power) to bolster my currently no exsistent climbing prowess?

Preferably off the bike (I m fully payed up on my Gym membership so would like to take advantage of some of the free time I now have).

Posts

  • SurfrSurfr Posts: 243
    Spin bikes in the gym? If not, perhaps a stepper machine would closely mimic out of the saddle climbing.
  • styxdstyxd Posts: 3,234
    descent climbs

    Now they sound easy! I dont think you even need to train to do those.

    Depends how heavy you are, but I'd say try and lose some weight if you have some to lose, makes hills much easier.
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    Ride your bike.

    If you don't want to feel you've wasted your money on the gym, go and use the spa/ sauna or whatever.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Threshold intervals on the flat are just as effective as threshold intervals up hills.
    More problems but still living....
  • tim wandtim wand Posts: 2,945
    Thanks Guys, in fairness to Styxd, i ve gone back and edited my typo " I m obviously fixated with going down hill in more sense than one"

    Think I ll give the Threshold sessions a go, I had a lactate threshold test a Uni about 15 years ago , Would Imagine its shifted a bit since then , but I ve got a HRM and if I look to do intervals at around 90% this should work.

    Wonder if putting panniers on and adding weight to the bike would achieve anything on the moderate climbs we have around here?
  • If you can cope with it, running is mightily effective as training for cycling up hill. It is very time-efficient, good for weight management and the training benefit of running on the flat appears to cross over well to steady state climbing. (It's not so good for "sprinters hills" though.)

    40-60 minute steady state sessions are ideal. There's no need to do any intervals or painful stuff, as you can do this on the flat on your bike.

    Mrs W&G did a lot of mountain biking years ago but then had a decade off cycling, to focus on popping out a couple of mini-W&Gs initially and then road running. She bought a bike last July, did 2 or 3 50 mile rides on the flat and then on holiday in August, knocked off Alpe D'Huez, the Glandon and the Galibier on alternate days. She's now training for the Marmotte!

    The key to climbing well is to be light and well developed aerobically, even if for a different type of use of the legs. Whilst climbing proper hills is better training than running, running is better than not training on the bike.

    Good luck - but only run if your joints are OK and build up slowly, take medical advice etc.
  • dave35dave35 Posts: 1,124
    Just keep riding them hills,afraid itis the only way to get better at climbing-keep seated and push yourself back in the saddle and spin.
    Whatever people say- running will do nothing for cycling unles you're a triathlete, trust me,from someone that has tried it- it took me ages to get back to cycling fitness after taking up running aswell as riding.
  • BarbarossaBarbarossa Posts: 248
    Don't forget leg strength. On the climbs you will probably run out of gears and be forced to use a lower cadence than normal.
    On the bike, interval sessions in a high gear - cadence of 50-60 rpm.
    Off the bike; squats, step-ups, etc.
  • ProssPross Posts: 23,920
    Not off the bike but you should be able to find some good strong headwinds. Ride into them hard for an hour at a time and that will give about as good a replica of a long Pyrennean climb as you will get in a flat area. Probably better than riding short, sharp hills in some ways.
  • tim wandtim wand Posts: 2,945
    Good stuff. folks plenty to have a go at there. IMO other than the aerobic fitness and weight maintenance in my case there seems to be little translation between running and hill climbing on the bike. Im 42 and can run 10k in 40 minutes on a flat course but I climb like a brick, I am 90 Kg though but just dont seem to be able to drop any weight.

    I think a weeks camping in the peaks might be in order , I m sure the Mrs would be glad to be rid of me for a week , as most of the work I ve been picking up is cover supervisor work in schools and they are out for two weeks now it might just be feasible.
  • ProssPross Posts: 23,920
    Also try stair walking / running - I have previously been told it uses similar muscle groups in similar ways to climbing on a bike (not saying this is definately true though!).
  • mrc1mrc1 Posts: 852
    If you are set on using the gym membership then try to use the bikes as much as possible but if you are getting bored of sitting on them then another form of cardio (steppers/stair walkers) won't do any harm.

    On the peak district idea, if you are camping then try to use the trip as a weight loss exercise by only packing decent food. I always find that camping forces me to eat healthy and I tend to eat less as its such a faff to prep the food in the first place!

    Regarding the specific bike stuff then while it is true that the Pyrenees climbs are far longer than anything we have in the UK, don't make the mistake of assuming it will be at a steady gradient throughout. Try to do some steady hard riding on the stuff you have but mix up some tougher sections as there are plenty of climbs that go from 6% to 14% to 8% to 17% etc etc.

    Otherwise, don't worry about it. Remember its your holiday and you are there to enjoy yourself - you'll have a fantastic time!
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  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    Barbarossa wrote:
    Don't forget leg strength.

    Do forget leg strength
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    mrc1 wrote:
    If you are set on using the gym membership then try to use the bikes as much as possible but if you are getting bored of sitting on them then another form of cardio (steppers/stair walkers) won't do any harm.

    If you spend any time on a stair machine while we have this weather you do not deserve to go to the Pyrennees. I assume you actually like cycling?
  • dave35 wrote:
    Just keep riding them hills,afraid itis the only way to get better at climbing-keep seated and push yourself back in the saddle and spin.
    Whatever people say- running will do nothing for cycling unles you're a triathlete, trust me,from someone that has tried it- it took me ages to get back to cycling fitness after taking up running aswell as riding.

    Dave - The request was for advice for off-bike training from someone who lives in a flat area with no realistic chance of frequent access to hills on which to ride. Thus, suggesting he keeps riding hills rather misses the mark! Obviously, a lot of miles on the bike in hills would be best, but this is not a realistic option.

    My suggestion of running was as an alternative to not doing any training, rather than instead of hill work on the bike.
  • tim wand wrote:
    Im 42 and can run 10k in 40 minutes on a flat course but I climb like a brick, I am 90 Kg though but just dont seem to be able to drop any weight.

    How do you determine that you climb like a brick, just out of interest? Are you outpaced by riding-mates who are slower than you on the flat, or does it just hurt a lot? Do you get a big gear spinning at the bottom and try to keep it going, or do you gear-down and try and spin your way up?
  • dave35dave35 Posts: 1,124
    Wallace, Surely the o.p can find one or two hills within 10 miles from home?
    I know it's boring but i used to use 2 hills close together-go up one and down the other-turn around and repeat a couple of times then ride home. Done this once a week increasing the gear each week-climb quite well now.
    There really is nothing to do off the bike to enable someone to climb better in my eyes.
    If the o.p has a turbo then grab a copy of spinervals dvd callled hillacious,i used that aswell-superb stuff
  • brettjmccbrettjmcc Posts: 1,361
    How about trying a versa climber? This is not based on any form of proof or expertise, but I do know from experience years ago, its great for your cardio system and co-ordination, leg strength/endurance.
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  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    Forget the panniers full of bricks idea; all that will do is make the bike handle like a drunken Scouser and knacker your back wheel.

    I'd just find a small local hill or two and ride up them repeatedly. Alternate spinning up in a low gear and climbing out of the saddle in a high one.

    In spite of where I live I have a very local loop with 3 climbs which I am trying to get up quicker each time. (You may scoff, but one of them does feature in an annual hill climb event apparently)

    My ambition is to get up Rosedale Chimney next time!
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    Tom Dean wrote:
    Barbarossa wrote:
    Don't forget leg strength.

    Do forget leg strength

    Quite.

    I would easily out squat or leg press most people in our club, but there are plenty that beat me up hills!!! That may be because I weigh more than them or it may not, who knows.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing - www.firstseasonracing.com
  • dave35 wrote:
    Wallace, Surely the o.p can find one or two hills within 10 miles from home?
    I know it's boring but i used to use 2 hills close together-go up one and down the other-turn around and repeat a couple of times then ride home.

    Don't know about the OP's local geography etc. I would have thought so, but was trying to answer the question. Unlike I normally do in exams!

    I share your "rinse and repeat" philosophy, as it happens. My favourite ride last year was to ride 35km to a 1km/10% hill ride up, ride down and keep going until it was 75 minutes before "curfew" then limp home. There's a 20% pitch just before the top and it was never easy, no matter how I paced the ascent!
  • mrc1mrc1 Posts: 852
    Tom Dean wrote:
    mrc1 wrote:
    If you are set on using the gym membership then try to use the bikes as much as possible but if you are getting bored of sitting on them then another form of cardio (steppers/stair walkers) won't do any harm.

    If you spend any time on a stair machine while we have this weather you do not deserve to go to the Pyrennees. I assume you actually like cycling?

    Not really sure if this is directed at me, but the question was how the OP can make use of the gym membership!
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  • jimbob_1978jimbob_1978 Posts: 158
    I live in Norfolk so have the same problem and the way i do it is hill reps. I`ve got a hill just down the road from me which is short and steep. I started with only 10 reps in a 39/23 gear while standing but in a couple of months i can now do 20 reps in a 39/21 while seated so it definitely helps. Although it might be an idea to do half seated and half standing to use different muscle groups.
  • BarbarossaBarbarossa Posts: 248
    okgo wrote:
    Tom Dean wrote:
    Barbarossa wrote:
    Don't forget leg strength.

    Do forget leg strength

    Quite.

    I would easily out squat or leg press most people in our club, but there are plenty that beat me up hills!!! That may be because I weigh more than them or it may not, who knows.

    You don't need to be aiming for thighs like Chris Hoy's, but the big difference between cycling on the flat and in the mountains, is that on the big climbs you won't be able to spin at the cadence you want to. If you do 00's of kms developing your aerobic fitness spinning at 90rpm, when you are forced to climb for an hour at 60 rpm, you will suffer.

    I am currently 'encouraging' a mountainbiking friend to get ready for the Maratona. Fortunately we have lots of climbs round here. His problem is that he is so used to spinning and changing down on the hills on his MTB, that when he runs out of gears on his new road bike and is forced to a lower cadence, he dies.

    So, OP, make sure that you do sessions at low cadence, and back them up with some weight sessions.
  • for most cyclists doing some weight training is either going to be detrimental or do nothing. what do i mean by most cyclists: anyone who races at any level in endurance events (i.e., non track sprint) will likely find that weight training isn't much use.

    why? The forces involved in endurance cycling are really small, and as such if you can stand up or walk upstairs you can already generate the required forces to *win* the Tour de France! The average force that is required to turn the pedals over while riding a mountain pass in the lead in the TdF is about 26 kg between both legs (for someone who has a mass of about 70 kg). If you can't generate that ~26 kg then you'll have bigger things to worry about than riding a bike up a hill.

    Additionally, increasing strength works in two ways:
    a) increased neuromuscular adaptations -- which are specific to the joint angle and velocity at which they're trained
    b) increased muscle cross-sectional area. This results in a dilution of mitochondrial and capillary density increasing the diffusion distance between the venous end of the capillary and the mitochondria decreasing VO2max and additionally increasing the mass you have to drag uphill.

    If, however, you are not at the fitness level required to race then it's likely that any exercise will provide sufficient stimulus to increase aerobic adaptations (but of course cycling would be the best option)

    lastly, if you find that you're riding uphill at a low cadence because you can't travel at a higher velocity then i suggest fitting lower gears. additionally, you should also train at a variety of cadences to increase neural adaptations

    ric
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  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Barbarossa wrote:
    You don't need to be aiming for thighs like Chris Hoy's, but the big difference between cycling on the flat and in the mountains, is that on the big climbs you won't be able to spin at the cadence you want to. If you do 00's of kms developing your aerobic fitness spinning at 90rpm, when you are forced to climb for an hour at 60 rpm, you will suffer.

    If you're being forced to climb for an hour at 60rpm then you have the wrong gears, not the wrong legs. Change the gears, a lot more sense.
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