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Climbing - how much is in the mind?

Peddle Up!Peddle Up! Posts: 2,040
edited February 2013 in Road beginners
I've just spent an interesting half hour reviewing a few of my rides recorded on Garmin Connect. Specifically, I took a closer look at some of the hills that I've struggled with (it doesn't take much :roll: ) and noticed something interesting. "Hill A", which I wheeze up, has pretty much the same gradient profile as "Hill B" which almost has me off the bike. The difference is that "Hill B" is a single track lane whereas "Hill A" is a normal double carriageway road.

So, does that make it seem steeper? Weird, ain't it? :)
Purveyor of "up" :)

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  • StefanPStefanP Posts: 429
    Other things could come into effect, cars flying past may have you pushing harder to get up the climbs, I would imagine that the surface on the single track is poorer than the dual carriageway, how far into your rides each climb comes etc.
  • alihisgreatalihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    Peddle Up! wrote:
    I've just spent an interesting half hour reviewing a few of my rides recorded on Garmin Connect. Specifically, I took a closer look at some of the hills that I've struggled with (it doesn't take much :roll: ) and noticed something interesting. "Hill A", which I wheeze up, has pretty much the same gradient profile as "Hill B" which almost has me off the bike. The difference is that "Hill B" is a single track lane whereas "Hill A" is a normal double carriageway road.

    So, does that make it seem steeper? Weird, ain't it? :)

    that might be fair.. its a lot easier to pace yourself up a long straight climb when you can see it all ahead of you..

    a tight twisty singletrack might have you pushing too hard if you don't know it well enough to pace yourself properly.
  • I made this mistake yesterday on my first proper climbs. I didn't expect my friends to take me up a road over a fell! I blasted off up the hill and burnt out as i couldn't see the end. I still made it to the top but was very hard work! Yes it did enter my mind to get off at one point as it was my first ride clipped in also and thought I would fall off lol.

    They showed as 3 different category 4 climbs on strava? What do they go up to?
  • RiggedRigged Posts: 214
    dbairduk wrote:
    I made this mistake yesterday on my first proper climbs. I didn't expect my friends to take me up a road over a fell! I blasted off up the hill and burnt out as i couldn't see the end. I still made it to the top but was very hard work! Yes it did enter my mind to get off at one point as it was my first ride clipped in also and thought I would fall off lol.

    They showed as 3 different category 4 climbs on strava? What do they go up to?

    Category 4 is the easiest of the classified climbs on strava. It goes down to 4,3,2,1 and finally HC, which is the steepest and/or longest of them all.
    To decide the category of a climb we multiply the length of the climb (in meters) with the grade of the climb in percent. If that number is greater than 8000 then it is a categorized climb. The minimum percent grade must be 3% or higher. So, for a 4% avg grade climb, it has to be 2km at least to be categorized. Cat 3 = 16000, 2 = 32000, 1 = 64000, HC > 80000.
  • SproolSprool Posts: 1,022
    I think mental attitude plays a huge part - hills I struggled up last year seemed so steep and long, going back to them now I'm really not fitter I just prepared to pace myself better and knowing they were tough, I found it wasn't as bad as I'd remembered.
  • Rigged wrote:
    dbairduk wrote:
    I made this mistake yesterday on my first proper climbs. I didn't expect my friends to take me up a road over a fell! I blasted off up the hill and burnt out as i couldn't see the end. I still made it to the top but was very hard work! Yes it did enter my mind to get off at one point as it was my first ride clipped in also and thought I would fall off lol.

    They showed as 3 different category 4 climbs on strava? What do they go up to?

    Category 4 is the easiest of the classified climbs on strava. It goes down to 4,3,2,1 and finally HC, which is the steepest and/or longest of them all.
    To decide the category of a climb we multiply the length of the climb (in meters) with the grade of the climb in percent. If that number is greater than 8000 then it is a categorized climb. The minimum percent grade must be 3% or higher. So, for a 4% avg grade climb, it has to be 2km at least to be categorized. Cat 3 = 16000, 2 = 32000, 1 = 64000, HC > 80000.

    Oh god! I thought they were massive lol
    http://app.strava.com/activities/42092297 not sure if you can see that, bet they are babys to you lot.
  • Cat 4 is basically downhill,...in a few months you will be flying up those.
    the deeper the section the deeper the pleasure.
  • pride4ever wrote:
    Cat 4 is basically downhill,...in a few months you will be flying up those.

    I was warn out after the first cat 4 climbs, then the 3rd was real hard work.

    I am going to hunt out a cat 3 for my next ride then lol, gotta get practising.
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    dbairduk wrote:
    They showed as 3 different category 4 climbs on strava?

    Looking at the profile, I would say that is one cat 4 climb (with an undulation) and then one cat 4 descent. It can get confusing on Strava as different folks will segment the same climb albeit in differing lengths (usually to suit their own performance :wink: ) so one climb ends up dotted with cat 4 symbols when it is really just one hill with a couple of features.

    Back to the OP, I think climbing is a big chunk in the mind but also very much down to differing personal preferences. Looking at the hills around my way, there are a few of us that always seem to feature on Strava but some guys appear to be made for certain climbs whereas they struggle on others that look similar (but obviously vary).

    I have noticed that the fastest way to climb is without actually trying too hard. That may sound contradictory but I find that settling into a nice cadence/rhythm with HR at a tough but sustainable level, with a final blast on the last 100m, works best. If I try too hard then I just end up peddling in squares and the times are always disappointing in that they rarely match my perceived overall effort.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,905
    if a climb starts getting too easy - ride up it faster...
  • Is it me or are Cat 4 climbs in the Cotswolds total [email protected]? They are usually short - so they don't really register using the standard Cat scales (4,3,2,1,HC) but they are invariably stupidly steep.
    Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

    strava profile
  • Also which hills are you comparing?

    I'm also interested in getting up hills faster so was wondering what gearing you using to get up these hills? Actually a better question might be what cadence do you manage as well as whether your in or out of the seat?
    Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

    strava profile
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Also which hills are you comparing?

    I'm also interested in getting up hills faster so was wondering what gearing you using to get up these hills? Actually a better question might be what cadence do you manage as well as whether your in or out of the seat?

    If you are bored you can look around my routes to find a nice few local lumps: http://app.strava.com/athletes/1294870

    The older rides have cadence but I am currently waiting for my faulty Bryton to be fixed so just use smart phone at the mo. PM me if you want a few pointers.

    Gearing is very personal. I tend to ride a 34/25 on compact or 39/28 on standard, both roughly the same.
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    No climbing there. Here's a route with some actual climbing:
    http://app.strava.com/activities/40952980

    Note to self- eat breakfast and bring more than one banana for the above route as the pain will be like nothing you've ever experienced.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Yepp, fair ol' lumpy route Grill but it's not quite Gloucestershire :wink:

    To be honest, we are spoiled a bit around here as you cannot really cycle too far without getting to some lump or another. Frocester hill is a nice climb, as is the climb out of Gloucester up to Edge, although the surface ain't great. The Cheltenham to Stroud climb is good and scenic but my fav has to be the hill out of Stroud up to Slad, about as beautiful as it gets...and the descent down Buckholt Rd to Cranham makes it all worth while.
  • I've cycled up past the Green Dragon (Cowley) over 160 times .. it doesn't get any easier. Steep enough for it to hurt, short enough so that you can really crucify yourself.

    I don't get to see much of view - I spend most of my time staring at the ground approx 3-4 feet in front of my bike :|
    Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

    strava profile
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Bobbinogs wrote:
    Yepp, fair ol' lumpy route Grill but it's not quite Gloucestershire :wink:

    To be honest, we are spoiled a bit around here as you cannot really cycle too far without getting to some lump or another. Frocester hill is a nice climb, as is the climb out of Gloucester up to Edge, although the surface ain't great. The Cheltenham to Stroud climb is good and scenic but my fav has to be the hill out of Stroud up to Slad, about as beautiful as it gets...and the descent down Buckholt Rd to Cranham makes it all worth while.

    All that climbing was in a 45 mile stretch and three of those climbs hit 30% and one hit 40%!

    Done a fair bit of riding in your neck of the woods and it's quite nice, but I like the longer climbs (Bwlch, Rhigo, Tumble, etc.). The Wye Valley has some fantastic climbs as well and you can't argue with the scenery!

    If there's a route in Gloucestershire that approximates my Sunday ride, then please let me know so I can take it down!
    http://app.strava.com/activities/42096566
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Ha, we've got hills, none of them there mountains :)
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Bobbinogs wrote:
    Ha, we've got hills, none of them there mountains :)

    :(
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • djm501djm501 Posts: 378
    Grill wrote:
    Bobbinogs wrote:
    Yepp, fair ol' lumpy route Grill but it's not quite Gloucestershire :wink:

    To be honest, we are spoiled a bit around here as you cannot really cycle too far without getting to some lump or another. Frocester hill is a nice climb, as is the climb out of Gloucester up to Edge, although the surface ain't great. The Cheltenham to Stroud climb is good and scenic but my fav has to be the hill out of Stroud up to Slad, about as beautiful as it gets...and the descent down Buckholt Rd to Cranham makes it all worth while.

    All that climbing was in a 45 mile stretch and three of those climbs hit 30% and one hit 40%!

    Done a fair bit of riding in your neck of the woods and it's quite nice, but I like the longer climbs (Bwlch, Rhigo, Tumble, etc.). The Wye Valley has some fantastic climbs as well and you can't argue with the scenery!

    If there's a route in Gloucestershire that approximates my Sunday ride, then please let me know so I can take it down!
    http://app.strava.com/activities/42096566

    He he, that looks rather stunningly like my hilly training ride... :D
    http://app.strava.com/activities/40266249
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    djm501 wrote:
    Grill wrote:
    Bobbinogs wrote:
    Yepp, fair ol' lumpy route Grill but it's not quite Gloucestershire :wink:

    To be honest, we are spoiled a bit around here as you cannot really cycle too far without getting to some lump or another. Frocester hill is a nice climb, as is the climb out of Gloucester up to Edge, although the surface ain't great. The Cheltenham to Stroud climb is good and scenic but my fav has to be the hill out of Stroud up to Slad, about as beautiful as it gets...and the descent down Buckholt Rd to Cranham makes it all worth while.

    All that climbing was in a 45 mile stretch and three of those climbs hit 30% and one hit 40%!

    Done a fair bit of riding in your neck of the woods and it's quite nice, but I like the longer climbs (Bwlch, Rhigo, Tumble, etc.). The Wye Valley has some fantastic climbs as well and you can't argue with the scenery!

    If there's a route in Gloucestershire that approximates my Sunday ride, then please let me know so I can take it down!
    http://app.strava.com/activities/42096566

    He he, that looks rather stunningly like my hilly training ride... :D
    http://app.strava.com/activities/40266249

    Indeed it does. I haven't done Blackmill in a while as I usually head out towards Ogmore. Fun climb. :)
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • djm501djm501 Posts: 378
    Yes I like Ogmore, lovely down there - I might have to pinch the bit of your ride where you go up Maerdy also, much more interesting than cycling through the dubious delights of Mountain Ash - will have to come back south from Abercynon I guess...
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Small price to pay. You get the Ferndale climb before Maerdy which warms up the legs, or if you're feeling brave there's always Penrhys ;)
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • A KIRKA KIRK Posts: 64
    I think a lot of things depend on your mind set.

    I find being ina foul mood always improves my performance both cycling and in the gym. Problem is as soon as I start cycling I relax and chill out.
    2010 GT Series 4 ultegra wheels & brakes
    2008 Claud Butler hard tail not very original any more
  • Peddle Up!Peddle Up! Posts: 2,040
    Another random thought on climbing. If I can walk up a hill, why can't I cycle up it? Is it simply a question of maintaining minimum speed to avoid the bike falling over? :)
    Purveyor of "up" :)
  • djm501djm501 Posts: 378
    Well it takes a lot less power to lift your leg up one foot than it does to haul your censored , the bike and whatever you are wearing/carrying up too. Plus you don't roll back down if you stop giving it power.
  • If we don't get anymore snow on the hills we'll be doing this in a few weeks time

    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2168266

    That thing 40 miles into the ride should be fun...
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    It's not that bad. At least you'll be warmed up!
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
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