Climbing

warreng
warreng Posts: 535
edited March 2014 in Commuting chat
I've accidentally entered the Fred Whitton in May and am slightly concerned about the amount of climbing required (4000m over 180km) and looking for advice on how to improve my climbing ability

I did 160km yesterday through the Surrey Hills and included Coldharbour, Newlands, Whitedown, Leith Hill and Box Hill and did about 1600m of climbing.

I'm no spring chicken and at 80kg probably too fat. I'm an 8 minute person on Box Hill so you can see I'm not going to trouble the pro-circuit anytime soon

I don't have a problem with long slogs - I'm quite happy to grind it out forever (slowly) but I really struggle with short, sharp inclines - I nearly stopped on Whitedown Lane which would have me putting my bike on eBay in shame. So any advice from you decent cyclists on how to cope with gradients?
2015 Cervelo S3
2016 Santa Cruz 5010
2016 Genesis Croix de Fer
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Comments

  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    Gears! If you haven't got low enough gears you aren't going to get anywhere. Are your gears sufficiently low?
  • warreng
    warreng Posts: 535
    I've got a compact and round about the hairpin on Whitedown a new cassette was added to the wish list. As was EPO, a small engine and/or sick note for May 11th
    2015 Cervelo S3
    2016 Santa Cruz 5010
    2016 Genesis Croix de Fer
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    In that case. Find the steepest nastiest hill you can in your area. Ride up it 100 times. Rest for 5 minutes. Repeat.
  • gbsahne001
    gbsahne001 Posts: 1,973
    change the compact for a triple or put an 11-32 on the back (dependent on 9 or 10 speed), thereafter lose some weight and come to the chilterns for some training.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,301
    A cassette with a 28 or 29 sprocket is almost compulsory if your derailleur has a capacity to pull it. If you think Whitedown is steep, you're up for a surprise... Whitedown is nothing compared to Hardknott, Wrynose and the other beasts of the north...
    Good tyres, good brakes as well and don't use carbon wheels
    left the forum March 2023
  • Kieran_Burns
    Kieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    Watch this:

    http://youtu.be/kzNfufUHh9Q

    please note he used a triple. Hardknott after 100 miles of cycling....
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
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  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    A cassette with a 28 or 29 sprocket is almost compulsory if your derailleur has a capacity to pull it. If you think Whitedown is steep, you're up for a surprise... Whitedown is nothing compared to Hardknott, Wrynose and the other beasts of the north...
    Good tyres, good brakes as well and don't use carbon wheels

    Some good advice there. I'm hopefully going to the Yorkshire Dales over Easter and have just bought a 12-29 cassette to replace my 12-27...those 2 extra teeth will certainly make a difference on the steepest climbs. The 12-27 will go on my carbon wheels that Ugo built for me...

    Something else to consider is how you pace yourself. Some Surrey Hills are fairly steep but quite short and the body/mind has a tendancy to push hard when the going gets tough. I had pleasure of doing some very long hills in Gran Canaria and I really had to learn to back off the pace at the beginning even though the inclines were only 10% or so. If my heart rate is in the 180s and I hit a 20% climb, I'm done for. But if my heart rate is nearer 170 then I stand a chance. Obviously lower gears make it easier to go more slowly, which is why I've gone for a 12-29 (with a compact chainset).

    That said, if you can do 100 miles and those hills then you're fairly fit, Whitedown isn't easy its just that Hardnott is alot more difficult. Pace yourself and ensure you have something left for when you need it.
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  • MonkeyMonster
    MonkeyMonster Posts: 4,629
    Be as light as possible while maintaining power ratio :D When out with sky velo people (my club I guess) there were two trainers (helping us get ready for L2P) who were saying train going up hills in bigger gears than feels comfortable and stay in the saddle. Dig deeper.
    Le Cannon [98 Cannondale M400] [FCN: 8]
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  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    train going up hills in bigger gears than feels comfortable and stay in the saddle. Dig deeper.

    Was thinking about this, that perhaps you should train using higher gears than you're using on the day?
  • goonz
    goonz Posts: 3,106
    Put it in the hardest gear you can manage and mash up it as many times as you can. Repeat. Die.
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  • rubertoe
    rubertoe Posts: 3,994
    goonz wrote:
    Put it in the hardest gear you can manage and mash up it as many times as you can. Repeat. Die.

    A man after my own heart
    "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

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  • LiveGiantly
    LiveGiantly Posts: 348
    Be as light as possible while maintaining power ratio :D When out with sky velo people (my club I guess) there were two trainers (helping us get ready for L2P) who were saying train going up hills in bigger gears than feels comfortable and stay in the saddle. Dig deeper.

    I like that advice!
    I ride with God on my mind and power in my thighs....WOE betide you!
    I know I'm not the fastest rider on earth BUT I KNOW I AM NOT the slowest!!!
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  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,117
    gbsahne wrote:
    change the compact for a triple or put an 11-32 on the back (dependent on 9 or 10 speed), thereafter lose some weight and come to the chilterns for some training.

    Which hills in the Chilterns would compare to those on the Fred?

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • LiveGiantly
    LiveGiantly Posts: 348
    rubertoe wrote:
    goonz wrote:
    Put it in the hardest gear you can manage and mash up it as many times as you can. Repeat. Die.

    A man after my own heart

    This is how you get strong legs.....ride hard!!
    I ride with God on my mind and power in my thighs....WOE betide you!
    I know I'm not the fastest rider on earth BUT I KNOW I AM NOT the slowest!!!
    If you Jump Red Lights in order to stay ahead you are a DISGRACE!!
  • rjsterry
    rjsterry Posts: 28,566
    If you want a properly steep hill down your side of London, then Succomb's Hill near Whyteleaf is 25% with no chance of a run up. It's narrow and twisty and often busy, so you have to keep going all the way to the top. Here's the Strava reference (with some fairly silly times).
    [urlhttp://www.strava.com/segments/succomb-s-hill-646100[/url]
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  • gbsahne001
    gbsahne001 Posts: 1,973
    SecretSam wrote:
    gbsahne wrote:
    change the compact for a triple or put an 11-32 on the back (dependent on 9 or 10 speed), thereafter lose some weight and come to the chilterns for some training.

    Which hills in the Chilterns would compare to those on the Fred?

    Bison Hill's good for reps
  • memsley89
    memsley89 Posts: 247
    In the wise words of Matt Bottrill, Power Up!
    5 - Power based intervals - for increased strength

    Find a climb of around 4 - 5 minutes.

    20 mins warm up high cadence, don't concentrate on power or heart rate, start the climb at 70 revs, eg 53 x 17, then each minute drop it down one sprocket, descend the climb and repeat, keep doing the intervals until you can't take anymore!
  • solsurf
    solsurf Posts: 489
    I know this is probably not possible, but it would be worth your while visiting the Lakes and having a go at the hills in advance, Honister and other passes get forgotten about yet all are steep and sap your energy, my main tip is enjoy it and smile
  • warreng
    warreng Posts: 535
    solsurf wrote:
    I know this is probably not possible, but it would be worth your while visiting the Lakes and having a go at the hills in advance, Honister and other passes get forgotten about yet all are steep and sap your energy, my main tip is enjoy it and smile

    Christ - I can only imagine the conversation if I float that particular idea this evening

    Some good stuff here - thanks

    If I change cassette I'll have to get a new rear mech too so 70-80 quid so not sure I want to do that for just one ride

    It looks like I'll have to sacrifice my Sunday social rides and focus on hill reps - up and down Whitedown. What larks
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    2016 Santa Cruz 5010
    2016 Genesis Croix de Fer
  • bigmat
    bigmat Posts: 5,134
    The climbs on the Fred are very tough, especially if its hot. My mate almost passed out on Honister. I ended up walking half of Hardknott (I blamed traffic coming downhill breaking my momentun, but to be honest I was done for after 100 tough miles). My most practical tip would be to be prepared to walk - SPDs rather than Look / SPD-SL cleats make a lot of sense for this one.
  • rjsterry
    rjsterry Posts: 28,566
    Whitedown is 'only' 14% at its steepest and 12% overall IIRC, so some way off the Lakes climbs. The lanes around Whyteleafe and Oxted are a bit steeper, although a bit further away from Epsom.
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    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Part of the anti-growth coalition
  • backo
    backo Posts: 167
    I used this event as a reccy for last year...if you can spare a night away from the mrs!

    Only 70 mile ride but hardnott and wrynose are on the route. This was the first time I encountered these climbs but they were alot less intimidating when I acutally did the fred thanks to climbing them before.

    http://www.epicevents.co.uk/cycle-sport ... -2014.html
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,117
    gbsahne wrote:
    SecretSam wrote:
    gbsahne wrote:
    change the compact for a triple or put an 11-32 on the back (dependent on 9 or 10 speed), thereafter lose some weight and come to the chilterns for some training.

    Which hills in the Chilterns would compare to those on the Fred?

    Bison Hill's good for reps

    I was thinking Whiteleaf or Kop Hill (Nr Princes Risboro') or Lodge Hill or Bowood Lane (both near Wendover)? None are very long (apart from Kop Hill, which is a reasonable stretch) but all have steep bits. Or not steep enough???

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    I thought Whitedown is 18%, not quite as steep or as long as Barhatch Lane.
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  • rubertoe
    rubertoe Posts: 3,994
    Why do you need a new rear mech?
    "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

    PX Kaffenback 2 = Work Horse
    B-Twin Alur 700 = Sundays and Hills
  • warreng
    warreng Posts: 535
    According to the chap in Covent Garden's Specialized Concept Store the rear mech has a short cage and would need a longer one to cope with a lower geared cassette
    2015 Cervelo S3
    2016 Santa Cruz 5010
    2016 Genesis Croix de Fer
  • rubertoe
    rubertoe Posts: 3,994
    Get a second opinion (or for the one off climbing day put a cheaper mech on).
    "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

    PX Kaffenback 2 = Work Horse
    B-Twin Alur 700 = Sundays and Hills
  • meanredspider
    meanredspider Posts: 12,337
    OK - I don't agree with the "higher gear and mash" approach myself and here is why: what you will do is build stronger, heavier, legs. What you need to do instead is to build your aerobic capacity. Take Wiggins and Froome - they climb like goats but don't have massive legs (sticks would describe their legs best) - what I get they do have is fantastic aerobic capacity. You should be busting your lungs not your quads. I've only recently realised this mistake myself - I have fantastic quads but I have the drag them up the hill and they're heavy. Gear down and spin up. And, to train, spin up steep hills as fast as you can.
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  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    WarrenG wrote:
    According to the chap in Covent Garden's Specialized Concept Store the rear mech has a short cage and would need a longer one to cope with a lower geared cassette

    What rear mech do you have? Keep in mind most can go a couple of teeth beyond their stated capacity.
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    OK - I don't agree with the "higher gear and mash" approach myself and here is why: what you will do is build stronger, heavier, legs. What you need to do instead is to build your aerobic capacity. Take Wiggins and Froome - they climb like goats but don't have massive legs (sticks would describe their legs best) - what I get they do have is fantastic aerobic capacity. You should be busting your lungs not your quads. I've only recently realised this mistake myself - I have fantastic quads but I have the drag them up the hill and they're heavy. Gear down and spin up. And, to train, spin up steep hills as fast as you can.

    Wise words. When I've been beaten on a hill, its not my legs that have given up, but my lungs. Noobs may have an issue with strength in their legs but for most of us its managing to put out the required power over a sustained period of time.
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