Author Topic: Preparation for climbing . . .  (Read 3216 times)

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Offline Rixtoy

Preparation for climbing . . .
« on: February 18, 2021, 11:38:35 am »
There may be sufficient posts on this from past discussions, but I am not skilled enough at using the Search function yet to adequately scrub the information to what I need.

So,
I am 71 and new to riding in the last three years, but love it and have done the Bike Across Kansas (supported/500+ miles over 8 days) successfully. While Kansas is not really "flat" ( Eastern Kansas has some pretty good rollers and hills), it is nothing like I will encounter on my planned solo Pacific Coast and possible Southern Tier routes within the next 12 months. Pacific Coast target is August/September of this year, so that is 6 months from right now.

I am told the typical high winds I ride in here in Central Kansas do, indeed, help with leg training and simulate hilly terrain to some level.
And, I do embrace facing those winds as a challenge to overcome.

I am not concerned about gearing as I am ready to take delivery of a 2021 Trek 520 with its wide range of gears.
But, I am a bit apprehensive about being ready to tackle the coming climbs on both the PC and ST routes.

What suggestions do you have if you have faced the same challenge?
I do have an Elite Suito smart trainer I can use with my Cannondale Synapse as they have matching Shimano 11-spd cassettes.
Will using the trainer on selected "climbing" routes within the Rouvy app give me a reasonable base to prepare?

I can also find some pretty nice hills in Kansas city and can drive there to ride them for training, as well as around Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park as my son lives about 40 miles from Estes Park in Colorado.

Any practical anecdotes, training experiences and/or actual "riding the route" experiences on Pacific Coast route that can help me keep this in perspective? I am not a "mph" guy and can just keep pedaling, but not if it does not allow me to achieve the goal of finishing the tour.

I will be riding fully packed for camping with front and rear panniers . . .

Thanks.


Offline John Nettles

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Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2021, 12:00:29 pm »
Rixtoy,

If you want to be confident in hill climbing, just go ride a few days in the nearby Ozarks, most anywhere in the southern third of Missouri, ideally with gear.  If you can ride those steep ups and downs, you will be able to conquer anything the PC or the ST throw at you.  The climbs on the ST & PC are generally longer but less steep.

Otherwise, just put in some decent training miles (more in Missouri and Kansas) and you will be fine assuming you have low enough gears.  You body will adjust pretty quickly into the ride and Washington state is not that bad on climbs overall IIRC. 

If you want some hilly overnighters down here in eastern Oklahoma, send me a PM and I will route you a few that I guarantee if you can ride up without difficulty, you will be fine.  You may not like me for such a hilly route but if you want to be sure you can do it, I can give you a very hilly route  ;D

Tailwinds, John

Offline Rixtoy

Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2021, 12:50:22 pm »
Rixtoy,

If you want to be confident in hill climbing, just go ride a few days in the nearby Ozarks, most anywhere in the southern third of Missouri, ideally with gear.  If you can ride those steep ups and downs, you will be able to conquer anything the PC or the ST throw at you.  The climbs on the ST & PC are generally longer but less steep.

Otherwise, just put in some decent training miles (more in Missouri and Kansas) and you will be fine assuming you have low enough gears.  You body will adjust pretty quickly into the ride and Washington state is not that bad on climbs overall IIRC. 

If you want some hilly overnighters down here in eastern Oklahoma, send me a PM and I will route you a few that I guarantee if you can ride up without difficulty, you will be fine.  You may not like me for such a hilly route but if you want to be sure you can do it, I can give you a very hilly route  ;D

Tailwinds, John

Thanks, John.
Just the type of feedback I was hoping for . . .

I will PM you.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2021, 01:31:47 pm »
Half in jest, and full in earnest:

The best way to ride the TransAm would be to start in the middle of Kansas and go west.  You'll get used to the longer daily rides, and gradually increasing elevation, until you're ready to hit the long, but not too steep, grades in the Rockies.  (Especially with your 520!)  When you get to the Pacific, fly east to Virginia and ride back to Kansas.  After the altitude and length of the Rockies climbs, you'll be ready to hit the shorter but steeper climbs in the Appalachians and Ozarks.

Offline Iowagriz

Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2021, 04:47:00 pm »
I don't know about Rouvy, but you can easily simulate climbing in zwift with that trainer. Alpe d'Huez and the Ventoux both exist in that platform and will give you plenty of practice. Well worth my monthly subscription.

Kansas gravel roads will also give you plenty of climbing (I suspect, as I used to find plenty on Iowa gravel). I'm not familiar with your bikes to know if cyclocross or gravel tires will fit.

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk


Offline jamawani

Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2021, 05:50:43 pm »
There is no rule against stopping in the middle of a climb.
Once, twice, a dozen times. Who's counting?
Not only is a short rest good, but the scenery is usually great, too.
I notice that in the Crazyguyonabike journals,
there are way more picture going up than coming down.

I've toured for 35 years and have come to the conclusion that -
a) If I'm gasping for air, then I might as well stop.
b) I'm not doing it to punish myself.

Offline Rixtoy

Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2021, 09:58:47 pm »

I've toured for 35 years and have come to the conclusion that -
a) If I'm gasping for air, then I might as well stop.
b) I'm not doing it to punish myself.

******************************************************************************************************
Point taken; or, as I tell my adult children" "Misery is optional - no one should be able to make you miserable but you, so don't".
(They hate that saying, but under the influence of serendipity or alcohol, admit I'm right.)

Thanks.

Offline BikePacker

Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2021, 08:11:50 am »
I will be riding fully packed for camping with front and rear panniers . . .
Thanks.
Rix - I comprehend 'fully packed,' in that I have always, and will always, take along my ol'kitchen sink.
With that in mind ... please just keep in mind the old axiom that
'no one needs to get tired touring unless he/she just wants to;'
meaning, as posted ("Jam's" great post : ) previously, 'stopping' is always a wonderful option.
I.e., you will be on 'touring time' ~ and smelling the flowers along the way with each stop is part of the enjoyment for a good number of us.
P.S. You mentioned 'Gearing' ...... a great help to me in enjoying the climbs
is to always be riding with Chain Inches (aka, Gear Inches) under 20.

Offline Rixtoy

Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2021, 08:29:56 am »
I will be riding fully packed for camping with front and rear panniers . . .
Thanks.
Rix -
as posted ("Jam's" great post : ) previously, 'stopping' is always a wonderful option.
I.e., you will be on 'touring time' ~ and smelling the flowers along the way with each stop is part of the enjoyment for a good number of us.
P.S. You mentioned 'Gearing' ...... a great help to me in enjoying the climbs
is to always be riding with Chain Inches (aka, Gear Inches) under 20.

Indeed. As it turns out, my wife and I have ridden probably 150,000+ miles together, each on our own Harleys over the years before she turned to golf and me to bicycling. We recognized early on the real adventure was not at the destination, but in the ride getting there - the smells, the sights, the weather, the people . . . we only ate at places recommended by locals and never rode interstates unless we had to make time It was glorious. One morning we rode to breakfast 30 miles away and, unplanned, rode 1,000 miles before getting back home.
"That" is what it is about. Thanks for awakening that spirit in me - it must be what is driving me for these ventures, as well.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2021, 09:43:32 am »
I notice that in the Crazyguyonabike journals, there are way more picture going up than coming down.

1. Most riders have a lot more time to stop going up than coming down.
2. If you pull out a camera and wave it around, nobody feels like they need to stop and ask, "Are you doing alright?  You need some help?"

Offline misterflask

Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2021, 10:53:42 pm »
Getting all mathy here,

With a 20 gear at a 60 cadence, you'd travel a hair under 4mi/hr.  On a 6% grade, which seems to be a pretty standard steep hill, a mile is 317ft of climb. So at 4mi/hr you'd climb over 1200ft/hr which is pretty brisk.  I know a lot of climbs are done at around 900ft/hr which would be a sedate 3mi/hr.

Since there is negligible wind resistance at these speeds and rolling resistance is the least of our problems, the power required to climb a 6% grade is easy to approximate for various total bikeand rider weights:
             3mi/hr    4mi/hr
250#        90W      119W
300#      107W      143W

I imagine your trainer has a power readout.  Failing that, I have a somewhat fuzzier aero resistance model that estimates riding a road bike in still air at 16mph requires about 140W.  Or, since you live in Kansas, riding 11mph into a 10mph headwind requires the same 140W.

On a warmup ride for a TA trip, I crossed central Tennessee.  It's pretty much a plateau incised by 1200ft river valleys.  On the frequent climbs I started out stopping every 100ft of elevation for a break.  Eventually I got tired of stopping all the time, my strength built up, and I just started grinding them out.

Offline Rixtoy

Re: Preparation for climbing . . .
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2021, 11:01:01 pm »
Getting all mathy here,

With a 20 gear at a 60 cadence, you'd travel a hair under 4mi/hr.  On a 6% grade, which seems to be a pretty standard steep hill, a mile is 317ft of climb. So at 4mi/hr you'd climb over 1200ft/hr which is pretty brisk.  I know a lot of climbs are done at around 900ft/hr which would be a sedate 3mi/hr.

Since there is negligible wind resistance at these speeds and rolling resistance is the least of our problems, the power required to climb a 6% grade is easy to approximate for various total bikeand rider weights:
             3mi/hr    4mi/hr
250#        90W      119W
300#      107W      143W

I imagine your trainer has a power readout.  Failing that, I have a somewhat fuzzier aero resistance model that estimates riding a road bike in still air at 16mph requires about 140W.  Or, since you live in Kansas, riding 11mph into a 10mph headwind requires the same 140W.

On a warmup ride for a TA trip, I crossed central Tennessee.  It's pretty much a plateau incised by 1200ft river valleys.  On the frequent climbs I started out stopping every 100ft of elevation for a break.  Eventually I got tired of stopping all the time, my strength built up, and I just started grinding them out.

I am an analytical guy and this hits home with me.
Encouraged to know my normal Kansas riding in the wind does provide some training basis.
I appreciate the numbers and will digest them.

Rixtoy