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Training for climbs in rolling hill terrain?

Old 03-11-20, 07:58 PM
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JDinNC
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Training for climbs in rolling hill terrain?

I am just getting back into road biking and I would like to climb Mt Mitchell this year (Ashville to Mt Mitchell in Aug or Sep). The problem is that are no real long climbs near me so I am wonddering what would be the best way to train for a long climb in a rolling hill terrain.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old 03-11-20, 10:01 PM
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Sprint up the rollers, ride them in a high gear.
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Old 03-12-20, 03:16 AM
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Take advantage of windy days to ride into headwinds as much as possible. Sure helped me, once I gained confidence in bike handling in crosswinds. I usually stick with old school rims, no deep aero rims.

Our prevailing wind is usually from the south, but I have alternate routes picked out for days when the wind is from other directions. It'll make a mile-long climb feel much longer and steeper.

It also made me more aware of the effects of aero kit and body position. But when I want a harder workout I'll sit up into the headwind, and wear flappy clothing.
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Old 03-12-20, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
Sprint up the rollers, ride them in a high gear.
Yes. Gear's going to depend on the roller's size, but go as hard as you can maintain for those rollers. Keep doing that, roller after roller. Don't let off the power between. Accelerate down the face, spin it up, then gradually downshift on the next one. Maybe one seated, one standing, or your preference. Some like climbing up, some seated. The idea is to accumulate time at intensity without fully recovering between. IOW, TT the course. It might be interesting to vary the length of the routes, some 20 some 40 some 60 miles. Slightly different intensity levels.
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Old 03-12-20, 10:42 PM
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Climbing is about your watts per kilogram. Lose weight if you have any to spare, and you can train to make more power on flat ground.
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Old 03-13-20, 02:00 AM
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I don't have any wisdom for you, but I wish you the best. All I know is I hate rollers. One of my least favorite former regular rides was along the Palos Verdes Peninsula that has a bunch of rollers. The more I rode them the more I hated them. It didn't help that I had to ride 30-35 miles to get to them.
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Old 03-13-20, 06:55 AM
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I've done it a few times. It's not super steep, but super long. Issue is, there is actually a very small descent mid-way in the climb. So, the average gradient is NOT 4% in reality. It's a little higher if you take out that distance for that little pause in the action.

Next. Even Phil Gaimon took a good bit over an hour to ascend it from just past Marion to the top. If it took him that long, us mere mortals it's definitely at BEST a "Steady State" really low Z4 or upper Z3 effort. That's if you nail the pacing and can go deep in the hurt cave for well over an hour. So, I'd honestly just get a fluid trainer and do some 2 hr Z3 workouts once a week before you go.

Next. Ride a compact up it. I could probably get up it just fine now on my 53/39 that I'm skinnier and stronger.......but........to enjoy yourself have the best gearing ready you can.

Next. Check the schedule for the snack bar at the top. It isn't always open, and the cell signal can go to crap meaning no credit card transactions. So take cash and take enough nutrition in case you arrive at top and the bar is closed.

Next. I parked at the dollar store in Marion and bought a Gatorade there and just asked nicely if I could park in the far corner of the lot. Worked out well. Just time the weather properly. Low % chances of rain or storms, no fog, not 95 deg, etc.....

Enjoy! Try not to make it so much of a suffer fest to miss out the sights along the way. Lots of little waterfalls, overlooks, the tunnel. Oh, the tunnel. You have to have a front/rear light according to park service. You'll want it. You won't be able to see the road under you in the tunnel without a light, and there might be broken pavement or debris you run over if you can't see it.
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Old 03-15-20, 08:25 AM
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I also ride in rolling terrain where there is almost nothing that is flat and nothing goes up (or down) for very long. I got back into century riding last year where I rode a local century (total of around 4500 feet of climbing and NEVER more than a couple minutes at a time) and the Six Gap Century which is around 11,000 feet of climbing.

I did a lot of riding in my local area simply attacking all the 'climbs' as I encountered them on local rides. The local century (4 weeks before Six Gap) was treated as a training ride. My sense of things was that the training that I did left me well prepared for that ride.

A month later I rode the Six Gap (late Sept) and finished it but had some leg cramp issues and my sense of things was that the training that I had done did NOT leave me well prepared for that ride. My legs simply were not ready for 30 to 50 minutes of constant effort because they had never done that before.

I am going to ride the Six Gap again this year (before I age out of the event as I am already in my 70's). If I had LONG stretches of level terrain I feel that I could simulate climbs with appropriate gearing. But that does not exist around here and the constant (although short) downhills just mess up any effort to simulate a climb. So my plan this year is two fold.

1) I will occasionally be going out for maybe a one hour ride outdoors and then come inside on my trainer (which is a reasonable quality spinner bike with Garmin Vector pedals) for some simulated long climbs.

2) I have found one stretch of road where the average incline is less than 1% but there is VERY little downhill, so I can use that to simulate climbing (450 feet of climbing over 18 miles). Elevation map below.

We'll see how that goes this year.

dave

ps. Those 2 elevations are about as low and as high as anything in the 3 county area where I ride.


'Climb' route

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Old 03-15-20, 05:47 PM
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Alpe Du Zwift repeats. That would be my plan.
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Old 03-18-20, 05:22 PM
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I think Dave has a good idea. I have resistance rollers instead of a trainer, but I find that holding steady state at any power level will hurt like the very devil if you do it long enough. Around here, we don't have any climbs over ~500', 6%-10%, but that's been enough for me to be able to ride well in the mountains if I take every one at the max pace I can hold for that duration and keep that up for about 4 hours. If one doesn't nave at least that terrain, then long sweet spot intervals on the trainer, working up to say 2 X 30' X 10', plus the usual VO2max intervals, endurance work, etc.

I've found one-legged pedaling (OLP) on my rollers to be very valuable, 2' OLP per leg, then 2' Z2 legs together, that's 1 set. 1 set at 50-55 RPM, big gear followed by 1 set at 80-85 RPM, small gear, legs together at 90 RPM. Use gears of a size that the last 15" of each OLP interval you are crying for your mommy. Repeat until one can't keep a tight chain going over the top. Work up to 4 of those double sets, about 48' total, not counting warm up and cool down. This works astonishingly well. Once a week. Warning: one might be shocked at how weak one is.

Another good trainer exercise is to hold upper zone 3 in a big gear of 50-55 RPM, working up to 4 X 10' X 5' or 3 X 15' X 5.
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Old 03-18-20, 07:06 PM
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Strength and torque sessions on the indoor trainer. Teaches you muscle recruitment and pedaling circles with a low cadence and high effort. There’s no hiding from a trainer session, but real world there’s wind, constant changes in gradient, traffic, etc. Indoor trainers eliminate all the variables and obstacles and give you nothing but loving pain. Sweet, sweet pain.
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Old 03-18-20, 09:28 PM
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Ditto, higher resistance and/or bigger gears on the trainer. Last year I forced myself to transition from higher cadence to slower cadence pushing bigger gears to lower my heart rate on climbs so I didn't gas out so soon like I did spinning at 90-110 rpm.

Took awhile to get my legs used to the new routine, but after a few weeks on the road and trainer I got comfortable pushing harder gears at 60-75 rpm seated, and as low as 40-50 rpm standing to pedal. My legs got stronger and climbs got a little easier.

I still fall back on higher cadence occasionally to give the legs a rest for a few minutes, or just for a change of pace. But now I do consistent or repeated high cadence only during HIIT sessions on the trainer. It's easier to get my HR up with higher cadence efforts.
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Old 03-19-20, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I think Dave has a good idea. I have resistance rollers instead of a trainer, but I find that holding steady state at any power level will hurt like the very devil if you do it long enough. Around here, we don't have any climbs over ~500', 6%-10%, but that's been enough for me to be able to ride well in the mountains if I take every one at the max pace I can hold for that duration and keep that up for about 4 hours. If one doesn't nave at least that terrain, then long sweet spot intervals on the trainer, working up to say 2 X 30' X 10', plus the usual VO2max intervals, endurance work, etc.

I've found one-legged pedaling (OLP) on my rollers to be very valuable, 2' OLP per leg, then 2' Z2 legs together, that's 1 set. 1 set at 50-55 RPM, big gear followed by 1 set at 80-85 RPM, small gear, legs together at 90 RPM. Use gears of a size that the last 15" of each OLP interval you are crying for your mommy. Repeat until one can't keep a tight chain going over the top. Work up to 4 of those double sets, about 48' total, not counting warm up and cool down. This works astonishingly well. Once a week. Warning: one might be shocked at how weak one is.

Another good trainer exercise is to hold upper zone 3 in a big gear of 50-55 RPM, working up to 4 X 10' X 5' or 3 X 15' X 5.
One legged pedaling on rollers. I agree that this is a great workout. I usually add playing an accordian while juggling three live scorpions just to break the monotony

dave
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Old 03-19-20, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
One legged pedaling on rollers. I agree that this is a great workout. I usually add playing an accordian while juggling three live scorpions just to break the monotony

dave
It's really not at hard as it sounds. I fit my toe into a bottle cage in the triangle - I only have the forward cage in winter. I admit to cheating: I have a post 6" away from my rollers, next to my right shoulder. My wobbles tend to go right, wonder why. Main thing is to maintain concentration anyway. I once had a friend walk in unexpectedly. I said HI! and immediately fell off, only got one little pedal cut.

Riding rollers is one of those cult admission rituals.
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