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Hills

Old 12-24-20, 08:17 PM
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Mork44
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Hills

Need a training plan for a 59 year old man. I rode over 6000 miles this year . Most rides are between 30 and 60 miles. Average between 16. and 17 mph in group rides. No problem keeping up with the group except for hills. Most rides are about 2500 feet of elevation. I am usually the last one up the hill. Any suggestions for a training program. I am willing to buy one if someone has gotten good results. It seems my lungs are holding me back.
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Old 12-25-20, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Mork44 View Post
Need a training plan for a 59 year old man. I rode over 6000 miles this year . Most rides are between 30 and 60 miles. Average between 16. and 17 mph in group rides. No problem keeping up with the group except for hills. Most rides are about 2500 feet of elevation. I am usually the last one up the hill. Any suggestions for a training program. I am willing to buy one if someone has gotten good results. It seems my lungs are holding me back.
You have a training plan. Just keep trying to stay with those folks. How many group rides/week? You're doing group rides now? Where are you?

First principles - are you belly breathing, meaning that you inflate your chest then pull your diaphragm down to pooch out your stomach? You want to do that as long as you can. Your breathing will gradually get faster, but hold that pattern until you can't, then start panting. Once you start panting, you've gone anaerobic. The panting is not to get more oxygen - an anaerobic effort doesn't need any - it's to get rid of CO2. With that mileage, you should be able to hold an anaerobic effort for at least 10'. If that level of effort doesn't stay with the pack, you need better aerobic fitness, which is just a matter of weekday volume, say a 2-1/2 hour moderate ride, next day a 4 hour moderate ride, OR as much as you can manage to do. Keep your breathing rate down when you do moderate rides, gear way down for hills, etc., not your normal hard charging ride pace.

Other than that, there are many training plans online. I've tried a few and the problem always is that they seem to be designed for someone else, i.e. you're still self-coaching, which isn't hugely better than what one was doing without the plan. I use TrainingPeaks premium, which at least helps me keep track of my readiness/exhaustion levels and has made a huge improvement in my self-coaching ability. They have a large number of training plans which load into the TrainingPeaks software automatically.
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Old 12-25-20, 08:45 PM
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In Ohio, Group rides only when weather allows about every two weeks
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Old 12-26-20, 02:39 AM
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The current conventional wisdom says high intensity interval training (HIIT) or polarized training to improve sprints and short bursts such as closing gaps or tackling many short, steep hills, typical of the roller coaster terrain we encounter across much of the US in states that lack many real mountains. (Check Dylan Johnson's channel on YouTube. His videos are all summaries of evidence based research publications, not merely his personal opinions.)

Most training programs for HIIT and polarized training emphasize avoiding tempo, sweet spot, or repeated threshold efforts. That pretty much rules out group rides for these training sessions. Unless it's a very disciplined group with specific goals, most group rides quickly become tempo or harder rides, with the pace set by the group leader.

Check your terrain, especially the segments that give you the most trouble. Gear your maximum efforts to that length of time, along with easy pedaling to recover. If you're on an indoor trainer, set up a timer to suit those routes. Cyclemeter and a couple other apps offer programmable timers.

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Old 12-26-20, 12:02 PM
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Are the majority of your rides with the group? If so, and the group is keeping you at a high level of effort for all of your ride, then you might need to figure out if you can increase the amount of riding you do without the group and just ride at a comfortable level of effort.

Hills will use up your energy reserves and if you are using those energy reserves to keep up with the group, then you are going to have trouble on the next hill every time you get to one.

There are different strategies to get up a hill, some stand and pedal a lower cadence, some sit a spin a cadence that is more typical of what is normal for level terrain. Regardless, both use your energy reserves.

Since you say you feel your lungs limit you, I tend to think that you are riding the entire ride at a high effort. Lungs are what I feel always limit me and I too ride at a very high effort for most of my rides.

So doing some training to improve your overall speed for the level parts (so you can use less effort while riding the groups pace) might leave you with more energy for the hills.

Last edited by Iride01; 12-26-20 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 12-26-20, 12:14 PM
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Hill climbing is watts per kg. Technique matters, but primarily it's that simple. Age is largely irrelevant.

Chasing that group up hills is probably the most fun way to do high intensity training; more structured methods will be more effective but not in any way fun.

You're probably doing a lot of low to medium intensity miles with the occasional high intensity effort. For results, scrap that, ride less at higher intensity with rest days completely off the bike.
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Old 12-26-20, 07:53 PM
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If you aren't having any trouble keeping up with the group on flat terrain or downhills, there isn't much point in a training plan that emphasizes tempo or threshold work. You're already doing that in group rides.

If it's the climbs that give you trouble, work on that. That's what intervals and polarized training are intended to help.

Theoretically, climbs shouldn't be any more difficult than sustained effort on flat terrain or hammering downhill. The reason it usually *feels* harder in group rides is because -- unless the group is well disciplined and cooperates with the leader's training plan -- every group ride of guys who are strong but have no racing experience turns into a hammerfest trying to drop each other on every climb. It feels harder because it *is* harder. And the group probably loafs on flat terrain and coasts or soft pedals downhill. They're conserving energy to suit their strengths, not yours.

With some groups that do that, I'll pull ahead of the group on downhills or when approaching climbs, so we finish more or less together at the top. I dislike doing that but sometimes it's the only way to offset my weakness. It's not bad if the group agrees on some free-for-all sprint zones, then regrouping to ride together.

It also helps to identify the steadiest wheels and follow them. Short, steep climbs tend to be sprints so you still get some draft advantage. But don't draft guys who gas out midway up a climb and start wobbling around from exhaustion, forcing you to brake or swerve around to maintain momentum.

But if the group isn't experienced and steady enough to trust the wheels ahead of you in drafting, that changes tactics.
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Old 12-27-20, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Mork44 View Post
In Ohio, Group rides only when weather allows about every two weeks
Not enough stress to really get anywhere just on that. Do you have an indoor trainer? Do you have a heart rate monitor? A power meter? Any instrumentation?
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Old 12-27-20, 12:45 PM
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How old are the other riders? You naturally lose muscle power as you age. You can compensate by losing weight.
Losing 3 lbs will make quite a difference in your climbing ability. Get a lighter bike if you have the money.
Don't carry water. You can drink when you get home.

Do some climbs and hill jams on your own. Pick a climb that is twice as long as the one where you get dropped. Once you get that down, you should have no problem on a climb that is half the distance and the same gradient.

They asked Eddy Merckx how to be a better a climber and he said 'ride the bike and don't eat!"

That sounds tough, but he was pretty tough.

Last edited by cjenrick; 12-27-20 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 12-27-20, 01:52 PM
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I have a peloton and heart rate monitor
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Old 12-27-20, 01:53 PM
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The other riders are all my age group. My bike is brand new and very light compared to the others.
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Old 12-27-20, 02:10 PM
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Well the other question I'd have is how much experience prior to this years 6000 miles do you have. If you've gone from virtually no mileage to 6000 miles in this one year, then probably you just need more time for your body to catch up.

And if all your efforts riding are high expenditures of energy for you, then your body just isn't getting enough recovery time.
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Old 12-27-20, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Mork44 View Post
The other riders are all my age group. My bike is brand new and very light compared to the others.
What is your weight then? Muscular torso and arms? That would matter in your training strategy whether you're light or heavy.
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Old 12-27-20, 06:40 PM
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Average build. 5 ft 11. 200 lbs.
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Old 12-27-20, 06:41 PM
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I have been riding about 7 years. Last year I rode over 5000 miles
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Old 12-27-20, 06:52 PM
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sounds like a VO2 max thing, which can be improved a bit with training.

how tall are you? a lot of bikes come with 170 mm cranks, if your lucky, 172.5. 175s are great for climbing, that is why all the mountain bikes use them. using a longer crank length can lessen back pain, and in my case knee and hip pain also. plus, if you go back and forth from the MTB to the road bike, the transition is easier because of equal crank length.

attitude can play a part, had a bike shop owner tell me "don't gear down for the hills, attack them!"

of course you have to be in shape to do that, but it is a good tip for climbing improvement.

you do the same amount of work climbing a hill regardless of speed, so may as well get it over with by attacking the climb.

are you a good at descents? tell the group not to wait and catch them on the decent.

i used to suck at climbing, but was kind of crazy in the head as far as descending, i remember one guy saying, 'you can't climb but it don't matter the way you descend," but we don't party like that anymore.
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Old 12-27-20, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Mork44 View Post
Average build. 5 ft 11. 200 lbs.
That makes you overweight.

It seems you don't need to spend $$ on plans and coaching if you want to get faster on hills. You simply need to lose weight. Get it down to 170 lbs or less and you should see considerable improvement in your climbing performance.
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Old 12-28-20, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by cjenrick View Post
how tall are you? a lot of bikes come with 170 mm cranks, if your lucky, 172.5. 175s are great for climbing, that is why all the mountain bikes use them.
Height or inseam measurements doesn't always determine the correct the crank length.

The calculated crank length for me is 170 mm. However, I climb fastest with 150 mm crank if I'm going to remain sitted in most of the climb (only standing for short periods).

I've tried both alternate standing/sitted and mostly standing in the 170mm crank and I just can't beat my sitted performance spinning with 150 mm crank. Sitted climbing effort is also the least with 150mm crank

I'm not recommending short cranks nor 150mm cranks. I'm just saying that calculated figures don't always provide the best results.
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Old 12-28-20, 07:16 AM
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Most of what has been posted should be helpful, I expect you can easily separate the grain from the chaff. My 2 cents would be to "know your hill." That's not a lot of elevation for a 60 mile ride so I figure you may have a couple of significant hills, the rest pretty flat. Probably you do the same few hills again and again. Most climbs will have changes in gradient. Identify the sections where you can briefly shift to a harder gear and increase your speed w/o blowing up your heart rate. Every little bit helps.
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Old 12-28-20, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Mork44 View Post
I have a peloton and heart rate monitor
Great! More volume then, so say 2 interval days/week, one doing speed work. maybe these: https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/a...urance-events/
and one doing intervals at 105% FTP, starting 4 X 4 X 4, working up to 4 X 8 X 4. All the rest at aerobic pace, 70%-75% FTP, as much as you have time for. Lots. During those moderate rides, do an all out 5" sprint every 20'. This fall, I've worked up to 2 hour moderate roller rides. When the weather improves here, I'll be going out for 2-4 hour moderate rides. I've done enough rain riding. At my age, one rain ride/week is plenty.

When I was climbing more slowly than the group, my tactic was to simply hold the power as I went over the top and get back on. Repeat. I sat wheels between climbs, often starting climbs at the back, fine.

There's a long thread about hills here: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...ing-hills.html
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Old 12-28-20, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
That makes you overweight.
There's no way to know that without more data. Chris Hoy was around 6' tall and 200 lbs in peak form for the velodrome.

Heavyweight champions Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson were both around 5'11" and 205-210 lbs in their primes. Neither had the ideal physique for cycling but they were far from overweight for their chosen sport. It's unlikely either would have been better grand tour or one-day race cyclists at around 175 lbs -- they probably would gas out from malnutrition -- although they might have been okay in crits and track.

Some people just aren't optimally built for all types of cycling. But they can still get strong in climbs, by working specifically on training for that weakness.
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Old 12-28-20, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
There's no way to know that without more data. Chris Hoy was around 6' tall and 200 lbs in peak form for the velodrome.

Heavyweight champions Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson were both around 5'11" and 205-210 lbs in their primes. Neither had the ideal physique for cycling but they were far from overweight for their chosen sport. It's unlikely either would have been better grand tour or one-day race cyclists at around 175 lbs -- they probably would gas out from malnutrition -- although they might have been okay in crits and track.

Some people just aren't optimally built for all types of cycling. But they can still get strong in climbs, by working specifically on training for that weakness.
OP is a roadie. I think he provided enough info to suggest he's one. The sport favors BMI of 20 to 22 at the most competitive levels, although BMI of 25 can still be very competitive especially for small riders. At BMI of 25, OP needs to be 175 lbs or lose 25 lbs.

Expert advice often says losing body weight (if you're overweight) is one of the most effective and straightforward ways to improve climbing performance. Assuming of course, you lose weight in terms of fat, NOT muscle weight.
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Old 12-28-20, 11:56 PM
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I doubt that "roadie" is some new classification of human in which an activity magically dictates genetic physical parameters.
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Old 12-29-20, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I doubt that "roadie" is some new classification of human in which an activity magically dictates genetic physical parameters.
The best climbers in TdF have BMI not ranging far from 20. OP's BMI is 28 - A BMI that would be good for Track Sprints but definitely not good for road cycling endurance.

Upper limit of normal BMI is 25. The OP can definitely lose weight down to 25 and see significant improvement.
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Old 12-29-20, 11:54 AM
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Yes. weight loss. As I got older, my power dropped off. Other than trying to train smarter, my response was to lose 20 lbs. from 165 to 145 over a period of years. The only thing I changed to do that was to eat smaller portions. That's it. If I'm not hungry for say an hour before a meal, I don't lose weight. I didn't go so far as to feel weak or dizzy. If I started to feel like that, I had a glass of water with 15g of when protein in it or an apple. Either one is about the perfect snack if needed. A pound a month works fine and isn't any great strain. That's 12 lbs. a year! I strength train, so as not to lose muscle while I'm losing fat. If the OP is very muscular, yep, some of that muscle should go. Lance lost 7 kilos of protein while training for his TdF comeback. Lance's system was brutal, like most of his training: he'd go out in the morning for a 6 hour ride with water bottles only. No food.

I calculate that on a 1 mile 6% climb, putting out 250w, losing 25 lbs. would save the OP 42 seconds. That's an eternity on a group ride, at 20 mph about 1/4 mile back.
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