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Difficulty with climb

Old 09-19-22, 06:28 PM
  #26  
Highcad
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Originally Posted by Paultreks View Post
I'm an overweight newish roadbike rider (206lbs 5'5"). been riding inconsistenly for two years. I can now ride 20 miles on the flats, however even slightest climbs are difficult. I find myself stopping and fell once. Any advice on how I can improve? I've read building leg muscles is not the answer.

Thank you
Make sure you've got "easy" gearing. Tour de France riders (150lbs - 400W FTPs) can ride w/ "racing gearing" whereas us normal folks need easier gears that will allow us to ride slower up hills. Talk w/ a bike mechanic.
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Old 09-19-22, 07:06 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by t2p View Post
is bike fit / seat height proper ?

what gearing does your bike have ? chainrings and cassette ?

the average 5-5 @ 200lbs plus person will not be a gazelle up the hills - so good chance you will need lower gearing to compensate

spin and take your time - don't push too tall of a gear - especially on long climbs ... bad for the knees ... you will need your knees when you get older
I never had an official bike fit. that being said, when seated my leg is at a 10 percent bend and I'm pretty comfortable for the most part so I think I'm dialed in. No knee issues so far- either going 20 miles on the flats or even when I fell on the climbs.

I have a SRAM PG950 12-26, 9 speed cassette and I believe a Bontrager Select 52/42/30 crank.
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Old 09-19-22, 07:45 PM
  #28  
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Keep in my I'm working with 3 rings up front, so I don't want to cross chain, but I'll be sure to be in lower gear for the climb. like your mindset. I think of myself as a roadie even though I still have a lot to learn. Thanks for the encouragement.
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Old 09-19-22, 08:46 PM
  #29  
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Just get out and ride hills. Find some you can ride then repeat. Do some you can’t ride up, go as far as you can. Next time you will see If you can go further up the hill. IMO the only way to succeed is to do them.
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Old 09-19-22, 09:20 PM
  #30  
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I would not be able to ride the hills around here with your gearing.

My small chainring (like yours) is 30T, but my lowest (largest) cassette cog is either 34T or 36T, depending on my wheel-set.

That gives me rather drastically lower gearing than what you have.

If I were you, I would go to the bike shop, and have them replace your cassette with one that has a 36T cog. If you need to buy a new derailleur to allow its use, consider it additional money well spent. You will probably need a new chain, too.

If you can't climb the hill at all in your gearing, you aren't going to be able to do the hill repeats, etc, that others are recommending. Start with lower gearing, and when you get stronger and/or drop some weight, climbing will get easier, and then you can always shift up a little bit and make it more challenging.
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Old 09-19-22, 10:18 PM
  #31  
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Dude, I'm 210lbs and can get up any hill. I may be 6'2" instead of 5'5" but dragging 210 lbs up a hill is still dragging 210 lbs up a hill. That weight is more than all my buddies, and they drop me, but I can get up anything.

Gearing. You should be able spin up anything until almost fall-over speed. If you're not spinning at 4mph, gearing isn't low enough. Sacrifice top end gearing to get the bottom end. There's nothing wrong at coasting above 26mph.

As said, iterations. Hill repeats, sprints, out of saddle efforts. Also, perhaps contrary to some views, miles. Miles and miles and miles.
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Old 09-19-22, 10:27 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Paultreks View Post
I'm an overweight newish roadbike rider (206lbs 5'5"). been riding inconsistenly for two years. I can now ride 20 miles on the flats, however even slightest climbs are difficult. I find myself stopping and fell once. Any advice on how I can improve? I've read building leg muscles is not the answer.

Thank you
In a similar situation. When I ride with friends, on the flats, I stay with the group, but on the climbs I fall behind. So, weight is definitely a factor.
Slow and steady. Be sure you have low enough gears and don't concentrate on the length of the climb, just on your strokes.
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Old 09-20-22, 03:32 AM
  #33  
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As others have said - your gearing is high. A 22/32/42 crankset can be had for $50 & would give you two gears below your current lowest. Also 28t is a stingy low sprocket; a cassette going to 32t or 34t would push the low end down another gear or so. With low enough gears, you'll be amazed at how you can spin up hills that were impossible before (at walking speed, if need be; a heart rate monitor is a great way to learn what speed is appropriate).
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Old 09-20-22, 06:21 AM
  #34  
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When you ride "once or twice a week" how far/long do you ride? What is your average speed for the ride?
Lose weight
Ride more
Strength to weight ratio is one key in climbing as well as practicing over and over.
If you want to be able to climb with any sort of speed and power you are going to have to lose weight, ride more and longer/harder than you do now and work the hills more.
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Old 09-20-22, 06:58 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
It has been said upthread already, but let me say it this way: train with purpose.

Going out and just riding is not good enough, you need intensity (as has been mentioned). There are many ways to achieve workout intensity— hill repeats, max intervals, etc.— but the “with purpose” part is establishing a regimen which works with your schedule, employs targeted workouts, and assesses improvement.

Naah, that's a one size fits all approach. Regimens are not for everyone. Some of us achieve intensity by just riding without any particular goals in mind other than to have fun and try to go as fast as possible when conditions are good. For me, labeling what I'm doing as some sort of drill and charting blah, blah, blah, etc. would just serve to take the fun out of it, and I'd probably end up doing less, not more "training". Also, unlike you, I do think quantity of riding at any intensity makes a difference to overall fitness and strength. The training needed for being a racer is really irrelevant to someone who's just looking to be able to climb hills with a reasonable effort.

To be clear, I'm not knocking the benefits of training for people who want to train, I'm pushing back on this notion that I think will discourage people from "just riding". The health benefits of just riding is actually the appeal of bicycling for very many people who engage in the activity.
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Old 09-20-22, 08:18 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Paultreks View Post
Keep in my I'm working with 3 rings up front, so I don't want to cross chain, but I'll be sure to be in lower gear for the climb. like your mindset. I think of myself as a roadie even though I still have a lot to learn. Thanks for the encouragement.
Smallest gear would be the smallest (inner most) ring up front, and largest cog (again, inner most) in the back, no cross chaining involved.
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Old 09-20-22, 08:23 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Paultreks View Post
I never had an official bike fit. that being said, when seated my leg is at a 10 percent bend and I'm pretty comfortable for the most part so I think I'm dialed in. No knee issues so far- either going 20 miles on the flats or even when I fell on the climbs.

I have a SRAM PG950 12-26, 9 speed cassette and I believe a Bontrager Select 52/42/30 crank.
the good news is a different cassette with larger cog should be great plus

SRAM offers the PG50 9 spd cassette in different sizes including 11-32 and 11-34 ... the 11-32 and 11-34 sizes might be more appropriate for your climbing

hopefully 11t will work on your freehub - and the chain and rear derailleur will permit one or both ... 11-32 or 11-34

if you have some miles on the drivetrain - probably a good idea to have a new chain installed with the new cassette
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Old 09-20-22, 09:15 AM
  #38  
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The only other thing I can add upon personal reflection to the OP is stay hydrated and fueled as you progress in your hill climbing prowess.

At the base of a 2 mile 4-8% climb I ride frequently, I will take a short break hydrate and sip some organic maple syrup or a GU gel to give me a little extra easy to digest fuel to get up and over without tanking.
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Old 09-20-22, 09:36 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Paultreks View Post
I never had an official bike fit. that being said, when seated my leg is at a 10 percent bend and I'm pretty comfortable for the most part so I think I'm dialed in. No knee issues so far- either going 20 miles on the flats or even when I fell on the climbs.
I have a SRAM PG950 12-26, 9 speed cassette and I believe a Bontrager Select 52/42/30 crank.
that 30 ring with your current cassette should be ok for many hills... in much of NJ. some steeper uphills might be a challenge, for now...
going to a 30 or 32 or 34 cassette will give you more range in that lowest of gear ranges. There is a common 9 spd 12-34 which will give you 2 more significantly lower gears (30 & 34) which is a low price option - only possible additional cost is a new 9 spd chain, which can also be had for well Under $30.
The cassette change is simple, cheap and quickly done, may 10 min total for a bike shop mech, start to finish. Chain? add another 10 min.
A crankset change is also a possibility, but really won't do anything more than a simple cassette change.
Save the big 'upgrades' for that time when you might decide your current bike is holding you back, or want something 'different'.

But with your current setup, you should be able to find some hills to challenge you, but not overly, and make it to the top. Go out and ride more hills. You will get better and stronger at it.
Ride On
Yuri
EDIT- 4 finger typing challenged...

Last edited by cyclezen; 09-20-22 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 09-20-22, 09:36 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Naah, that's a one size fits all approach. Regimens are not for everyone. Some of us achieve intensity by just riding without any particular goals in mind other than to have fun and try to go as fast as possible when conditions are good. For me, labeling what I'm doing as some sort of drill and charting blah, blah, blah, etc. would just serve to take the fun out of it, and I'd probably end up doing less, not more "training". Also, unlike you, I do think quantity of riding at any intensity makes a difference to overall fitness and strength. The training needed for being a racer is really irrelevant to someone who's just looking to be able to climb hills with a reasonable effort.

To be clear, I'm not knocking the benefits of training for people who want to train, I'm pushing back on this notion that I think will discourage people from "just riding". The health benefits of just riding is actually the appeal of bicycling for very many people who engage in the activity.
It’s not “one size fits all,” as my comment was directed to the OP specifically, who, it bears noting, has been “just riding” for 2 years already and still can’t get up the hill but does want “to improve.” Obviously a training regimen is one way to help them reach their goal to improve their climbing, and far from being one-size-fits-all, should precisely and specifically be based on the OP’s current fitness and personal goals.

And, without being judgemental because I don’t know anything about the OP other than what they’ve said, being at only 20 mile long, flat road rides after 2 years does not sound like someone who, as you say, can “achieve intensity by just riding without any particular goals in mind other than to have fun and try to go as fast as possible when conditions are good.” That sounds more like a person who’d benefit from some structure.

I reject the notion that structure, purpose (or whatever you want to call it) is necessarily onerous and un-fun. The absolute explosion of training plans over the past several years, and especially on online platforms like Zwift, strongly suggests that many others feel the same as I do, and in fact, I find that purposeful training is efficient, effective, and enhances riding enjoyment.
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Old 09-20-22, 10:39 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
It’s not “one size fits all,” as my comment was directed to the OP specifically, who, it bears noting, has been “just riding” for 2 years already and still can’t get up the hill but does want “to improve.” Obviously a training regimen is one way to help them reach their goal to improve their climbing, and far from being one-size-fits-all, should precisely and specifically be based on the OP’s current fitness and personal goals.
Well also keep in mind that a lot of us boast and fudge about what we actually are doing. So when the OP said this....
Originally Posted by Paultreks View Post
I've been riding two years averaging riding once or twice a week. not a newbie but not getting in enough riding time a week that I need.
I take that to mean that at most they sometimes ride once or twice a week and in actuality are maybe just averaging a ride once a week if even that much. And then that will get back to after 104 months and maybe only 3 dozen rides it's no wonder they can't tackle that hill yet.

But perhaps a more structured training program might give the OP more incentive to ride more often. But there are actually people that just want to ride for leisure and enjoyment and they probably won't want to train.
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Old 09-20-22, 10:49 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Paultreks View Post
I'm an overweight newish roadbike rider (206lbs 5'5"). been riding inconsistenly for two years. I can now ride 20 miles on the flats, however even slightest climbs are difficult. I find myself stopping and fell once. Any advice on how I can improve? I've read building leg muscles is not the answer.

Thank you
I think the one thing that will really help is too lose some weight. Easier said than done. I'm 5'10" and 205, so I could stand to lose some weight as well. I ran distance events in college at 140-145 so I know that packing around this extra weight doesn't help. On my LeMond Zurich I also have the same triple (52/42/30) and a stock 12-25 9spd cassette. I later switched out the cassette to a 12-28 which is great. I rarely use the 30 up front but do use the 42-28 a lot which works wonders when I ride that bike. As others have suggested, I would think about getting a larger cassette such as an 11-34. Might need a new chain and maybe a new derailleur to make the set up work. It is money well spent if it helps you get up difficult hills. Other things that might help you with hills are doing hill repeats on the bike. When the weather is too crappy for riding, walking up hills and running up hills helps a lot. You can do hill repeats this way as well. Run up the hill and walk down the hill and then repeat.
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Old 09-20-22, 10:54 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Paultreks View Post
I'm an overweight newish roadbike rider (206lbs 5'5"). been riding inconsistenly for two years. I can now ride 20 miles on the flats, however even slightest climbs are difficult. I find myself stopping and fell once. Any advice on how I can improve? I've read building leg muscles is not the answer.

Thank you

Paul, i can empathize . -- , - i dont know your body composition , - but it goes without saying that 5'5 and 206 , - you could either look like a totally jacked bodybuilder, or be carrying around a bit too much brown sugar (or somewhere in between)

Since i'll guess you're somewhere in between and give some advice that worked for me -- I had purchased a new road bike about a decade ago (A Cannondale Synapse ) - and was striuggling up a climb on a popular route in my area. The gearing was "compact" but wasnt necessarilly set up for mountain goat climbing

I purchased a larger cassette plus the tool to install it , -- and locked out my big ring in the front (using the front derailleuer limit screws) as i didnt want to get a longer rear derailleuer and chain for the purposes of this, but i also didnt want to brain fade and shift into the big ring and possibly damage my equipment

I then took my road bike with the mountain bike rear cassette and went to the hill and just rode up and down it several times a session until using the gears in the middle of the cassette became more comfortable.
I mean, thats all i did - i literally drove my vehicle to the top of the hill and parked it nearby and unloaded right there and just did "The Hill" for as long as i could stand it (usually 30 minutes of hill repeats had me pretty gassed )

After i got comfortable ,(maybe 5 sessions like that - about 2 weeks of focused efforts ) -- i removed the big cassette and re-installed the road cassette and continued on .
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Old 09-20-22, 11:05 AM
  #44  
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Personally, I dislike climbing and strive to get it over with as quickly as possible.
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Old 09-20-22, 11:19 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
But there are actually people that just want to ride for leisure and enjoyment and they probably won't want to train.
Of course, but that’s irrelevant the thread topic. The OP came to BF and asked how to improve their hillclimbing. Some say train with purpose, some say just keep riding around, some say get easier gearing, some think the OP needs to learn to use the gears they have…OP says they’ll try stuff, including working on “legs and core,” so it sure sounds like training is in play for the OP.
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Old 09-20-22, 12:38 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Of course, but that’s irrelevant the thread topic. The OP came to BF and asked how to improve their hillclimbing. Some say train with purpose, some say just keep riding around, some say get easier gearing, some think the OP needs to learn to use the gears they have…OP says they’ll try stuff, including working on “legs and core,” so it sure sounds like training is in play for the OP.
So is just more "unstructured" riding.

If I'm in the business of giving advice I think is likely to be considered, telling someone to do more of what got them to the level that they're at seems a lot more likely than telling them to change their entire approach to riding. Again, all I'm objecting to in what you were saying is your statement that "just riding is not good enough". I think my just riding is really quite good enough for my fitness goals, I just happen to do about 200 or so miles of just riding per week.
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Old 09-20-22, 12:43 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I reject the notion that structure, purpose (or whatever you want to call it) is necessarily onerous and un-fun.
I didn't say it was "necessarily onerous and un-fun". It is, however, onerous and un-fun for me, and I really don't care if you accept that or not. I don't think I'm the only person who likes to bike a lot but feels that way, and I also don't care whether you accept that or not.
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Old 09-20-22, 01:14 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I didn't say it was "necessarily onerous and un-fun". It is, however, onerous and un-fun for me, and I really don't care if you accept that or not. I don't think I'm the only person who likes to bike a lot but feels that way, and I also don't care whether you accept that or not.
Oh, did you accidentally post the OP under your dark web handle, or is this thread not about you?
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Old 09-20-22, 01:17 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Oh, did you accidentally post the OP under your dark web handle, or is this thread not about you?

No, but you made a blanket statement that x is not good enough (not just for OP), and I think it quite appropriate to say that I and many other people find x "good enough". Did this turn into the "never challenge chaadster's dumb assertion" thread when I wasn't looking?
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Old 09-20-22, 01:30 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
No, but you made a blanket statement that x is not good enough (not just for OP), and I think it quite appropriate to say that I and many other people find x "good enough". Did this turn into the "never challenge chaadster's dumb assertion" thread when I wasn't looking?
You trying desperately to be clever has never worked with me, so you can’t really think it’s working now, can you? I mean you are what you are, and you should be satisfied with that, and not try to be like me.
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