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Knackered at hilltops

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Knackered at hilltops

Old 07-08-20, 03:34 PM
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Altlandisto
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Knackered at hilltops

Hey folks
Any tips for how to accelerate when you've just done a big ascent and you're feeling it?
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Old 07-08-20, 03:39 PM
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Climb, descend, repeat.

Three times a week or more.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Climb, descend, repeat.

Three times a week or more.
Literally this; you just have to get fit enough that a solid climb doesn't leave you knackered.

Don't be Quintana.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:54 PM
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1. As above and add a little sprint at the top of each repeat if you want.
2. Ride tactically and reserve what you'll need at the top.
3. HTFU.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:55 PM
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Keep doing it over and over and over until you no longer would give your last kidney to avoid that climb.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:14 PM
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Very staunch and motivational replies. Lol.
Just fitness then? No technique?
I've been cycling regularly for 3 months. I can see from local Strava groups that my weekly elevation gain is usually way above most of the other cyclists. Ive started to get the odd 'top 10' on segments so I reckon my fitness ain't too bad. Usually far from the top 10 on the hills though! I really do enjoy the hills, but not quite there yet. I am a big lad though. 6ft2/188cm. 90kg/14 stone. Thoughts?
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Old 07-08-20, 04:19 PM
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How long are these hills? Are they 30 minute grinders? Or 2 minute rollers? Or something in between?
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Old 07-08-20, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Altlandisto View Post
Very staunch and motivational replies. Lol.
Just fitness then? No technique?
I've been cycling regularly for 3 months. I can see from local Strava groups that my weekly elevation gain is usually way above most of the other cyclists. Ive started to get the odd 'top 10' on segments so I reckon my fitness ain't too bad. Usually far from the top 10 on the hills though! I really do enjoy the hills, but not quite there yet. I am a big lad though. 6ft2/188cm. 90kg/14 stone. Thoughts?
Sadly, the one exercise that you can do that makes you better at climbing is......climbing.

BTW - top 10s on Strava? I'd only see those if I left the Garmin on while driving home with the bike in the trunk! SO many riders around here that my rankings on any segment are always at least 4 digits.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Altlandisto View Post
Just fitness then? No technique?
................. Thoughts?
Mainly just #2 of what MoAlpha said :
2. Ride tactically and reserve what you'll need at the top.
You only are able to go max effort for a short time. That'll increase some the more often you ride. So you have to get some experience to know how much time you can put out a max or near max effort. And that comes from experience. Don't start off hard on a long hill because you won't have any energy left before getting to the top.

Certain types of training while riding will speed up the process some. Look up interval training for cycling. However if you have a lot of hills on your route already you are sorta doing the things interval training want's already.

You can also get a coach. There are some online coaches with blogs you can read and services for hire.

But in the end, everything is going to boil down to simply riding more miles and riding often.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:28 PM
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There are all sorts of training advice to get stronger. But in the moment, not feeling “knackered” is about appropriate pacing and gearing for the fitness you have. Long climbs start a bit slower than you think you can maintain, and then build speed and effort gradually as you get farther up the climb.

Also, the climb’s not over until you reach race pace again over the top. So manage your effort so you can ride strong over the top and get back up to speed.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Altlandisto View Post
I am a big lad though. 6ft2/188cm. 90kg/14 stone. Thoughts?
W = m g h

W = work (potential energy)
m = 90 kg + mass of bike, etc.
h = height of the hill

The amount of work you need to do to overcome gravity is directly proportional to your mass. Lighter people need to do less work to get to the top of the hill.

(There is also a component that is a function of friction, but this part dominates on the climbs.)

If you can lose weight without destroying muscle mass, you will climb easier and faster.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:45 PM
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If you can accelerate when you get to the top of the hill you weren't trying hard enough to climb it. Ideally your lungs should be burning, legs like jelly and you should be seriously contemplating selling the bike.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by znomit View Post
If you can accelerate when you get to the top of the hill you weren't trying hard enough to climb it. Ideally your lungs should be burning, legs like jelly and you should be seriously contemplating selling the bike.
Alternatively - as close to throwing up as you can get without actually throwing up.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Alternatively - as close to throwing up as you can get without actually throwing up.
Don't hold back. Vomit weighs quite a bit so if you repeat the climb immediately after throwing up you should be faster.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by znomit View Post
If you can accelerate when you get to the top of the hill you weren't trying hard enough to climb it. Ideally your lungs should be burning, legs like jelly and you should be seriously contemplating selling the bike.
As the group rides happily off into the distance leaving me to struggle home alone.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:56 PM
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In a race or group ride, the time honored tactic for big guys is to drill it to the base of the climb. You want to be at the front, or ideally off the front, as it goes up. Fade backwards through the group and pray that you reach the top before you are spit out the back.
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Old 07-08-20, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Altlandisto View Post
Very staunch and motivational replies. Lol.
Just fitness then? No technique?
I've been cycling regularly for 3 months. I can see from local Strava groups that my weekly elevation gain is usually way above most of the other cyclists. Ive started to get the odd 'top 10' on segments so I reckon my fitness ain't too bad. Usually far from the top 10 on the hills though! I really do enjoy the hills, but not quite there yet. I am a big lad though. 6ft2/188cm. 90kg/14 stone. Thoughts?
There is a bit of "getting used to climbing" that isn't just about fitness. But it is easier, the fitter you are. Also, as the others have suggested, it's really not something that can be replicated by any means other than just "Ride up hills."

Here's an article I just read recently about Edwig van Hooydonck, the Belgian cyclist who won the Tour of Flanders twice by, well;

In the winter of 1988, Van Hooydonck devised an austere training routine. He would drive to the Geraardsbergen house of Superconfex directeur sportif Hilaire Van der Schueren and do five laps of the Muur-Bosberg race finale. It was akin to a footballer practising a swerving free kick a hundred times on the training ground. It meant that he knew every cobble by rote and that these bergs held no fear. On the morning of the Ronde, Van Hooydonck felt terrible. It was a blessing in disguise. “Normally when you feel good, you do stupid things, you attack. I was waiting. Then after 120 kilometres, the cold and rain started. I felt I was going better and better with every kilometre.”

He slipped into a sodden leading group of seven before the Muur. “I wanted to attack there, but Jan Raas told me ‘wait till the Bosberg.’ Going up the Muur felt easy, I was climbing it at 80 per cent. So while the other riders were hurting, I had everything under control.”

He joined up with Dag Otto Lauritzen (7-Eleven) and the pair held a marginal lead onto the race’s final test, the Bosberg. His training kicked in; he had memorised the telegraph pole from which he could attack and keep his speed till the top. Face splattered with dirt, Van Hooydonck raced away through the murk, thrashing the pedals, his head bobbing around like Paula Radcliffe’s. The long-limbed Belgian was no stylist, but it had the desired effect.
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Old 07-08-20, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Altlandisto View Post
Very staunch and motivational replies. Lol.
Just fitness then? No technique?
I've been cycling regularly for 3 months. I can see from local Strava groups that my weekly elevation gain is usually way above most of the other cyclists. Ive started to get the odd 'top 10' on segments so I reckon my fitness ain't too bad. Usually far from the top 10 on the hills though! I really do enjoy the hills, but not quite there yet. I am a big lad though. 6ft2/188cm. 90kg/14 stone. Thoughts?
I'm about your size. I've been riding with clubs for decades. I have never been near the front on any climbs when good climbers are there. I have seen men around 200 pounds who become good climbers but it's rare. I'm not trying to discourage you, just saying if you're kicking ass on smaller climbers after only riding a short time, then you may be exceptional.
If you want to have something left to sprint the top of a climb or charge back to the group then you will have to hold something in reserve. You will figure out the nuances of this over time. I.m sure your body is still adjusting to the stress of cycling and you may improve for years.
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Old 07-08-20, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
In a race or group ride, the time honored tactic for big guys is to drill it to the base of the climb. You want to be at the front, or ideally off the front, as it goes up. Fade backwards through the group and pray that you reach the top before you are spit out the back.
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Old 07-08-20, 05:18 PM
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Also alternate between seated climbing and standing out of the saddle. Works different muscle groups and it really worked for me in the “formative” years of cycling.
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Old 07-08-20, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
There are all sorts of training advice to get stronger. But in the moment, not feeling “knackered” is about appropriate pacing and gearing for the fitness you have. Long climbs start a bit slower than you think you can maintain, and then build speed and effort gradually as you get farther up the climb.

Also, the climb’s not over until you reach race pace again over the top. So manage your effort so you can ride strong over the top and get back up to speed.
This.

There is no feeling better than demoralizing your compatriots with the "thunk" of an upshift, when you left something in the tank and they didn't.
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Old 07-08-20, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
In a race or group ride, the time honored tactic for big guys is to drill it to the base of the climb. You want to be at the front, or ideally off the front, as it goes up. Fade backwards through the group and pray that you reach the top before you are spit out the back.
I’ve survived a lot of climbs using this technique.

Unfortunately, the longer the climb the less well it works.
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Old 07-08-20, 06:21 PM
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Attack the steep bits...

Spin up everything else.

And definitely accelerate over the crest...get up to speed and THEN let the hill do the work.
If you coast after you crest, you're missing out.
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Old 07-08-20, 06:39 PM
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I go a little conservative at first, using any reserves in the upper stretch,

then kind of fool myself into thinking that the top is actually a ways down the backside where the speed picks back up.
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Old 07-08-20, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Altlandisto View Post
Hey folks
Any tips for how to accelerate when you've just done a big ascent and you're feeling it?
Try riding the last third of the climb harder than the first.
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