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Climbing Training


Rydogg
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Ok, I've recently started doing more climbing in the hope of getting stronger up hills on my road bike. I now climb up kloof nek at least twice a week and try do some other infamous hills around Cape Town on the weekends.

 

My problem is that I can't seem to stay seated up some of the hills. My legs just die out. So I am forced to stand, which seems way easier than sitting.

 

For example, I stand maybe 80% of the way up Kloof Nek. (This may be an extreme example) I know I can ride faster when I am sitting, but I just can't sustain long enough and end up standing.

 

My question is this: Is this training any good, or should I be pushing myself to stay seated up the hills?

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Theoretically you should be using less energy by staying seated. I by default like standing but had to learn to stay seated by training to stay seated for longer periods. Kloof nek is a pretty good climb so staying seated all the way is going to be difficult.

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It is good training.

When you get to the point where you normally stand then pick about 50m or so further on and stand at that point. Gradually increase the point where you stand so eventually you will sit the whole way.

But doing the climbs will make you stronger bit by bit.

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the more you ride the hills the further up you will be able to stay seated! try using a bigger gear than normal on the 'smaller/easier' climbs to help build strength. It's all about conditioning. you've already won half the battle by getting out there and getting on the hills.

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If it hurts to stay seated then do it more. Until you can do four or five repeats up to Cable Station and still do the last one seated in the big ring.

 

Then not only will you be able to climb better, but you will go like a locomotive on the flats.

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My trick, it may help you as well, is to count rotations. e.g. up a tough climb i'll do 50 rotations seated, then if I'm forced to stand, I'll limit myself to 50 rotations standing, and then switch back to seated. This will instantly reduce your standing from 80 % to 50 %.

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'and when the going gets tough, the tough get going' - anon. :thumbup:

 

I remember reading this quote back in my swimming days. I keep it as a reminder. As Andy says, keep going at it. It won't get any more difficult than the strength you are already at... so ride those hills and get stronger and soon Suikerbossie will be just along bump (although I am still working on that one ;) )

 

p.s. Keeping your cadence up is also a good thing...

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I found that increasing my saddle hight slightly (but obviously not out-of-line high) made climbing seated a lot easier. It just feels like I can generate more power and my quads don't seem to start burning quite so soon.

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I know I can ride faster when I am sitting, but I just can't sustain long enough and end up standing.

You could be pushing too hard when you're sitting and not pacing yourself properly. Maybe try reducing your seated speed a bit so you're going at your standing speed. You may be able to hold it longer then and have something left for an acceleration as you get to the top.

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If it hurts to stay seated then do it more. Until you can do four or five repeats up to Cable Station and still do the last one seated in the big ring.

 

Then not only will you be able to climb better, but you will go like a locomotive on the flats.

 

I agree with your training method for the climbs but I find the opposite when I do lots of hill training, I lose a lot of my leg speed on the flats.

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I like climbing by standing up, just feels easier....so other words I should rather sit?

 

Whichever is fastest - train that one :P

 

If you are top heavy like me then it can be faster to climb seated as your upper body weight is supported by the seat.

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I agree with your training method for the climbs but I find the opposite when I do lots of hill training, I lose a lot of my leg speed on the flats.

 

If by leg speed you mean cadence then that is something to train too, but for me it's a separate discipline to building power - more about the pedal stroke and overall efficiency.

 

Usually if I am not riding hard or doing a power-oriented workout I try to spend some time training at high cadence. Both uphill and on the flats.

 

Edit: I should add that in terms of racing preparation, building power generally precedes the high cadence stuff, although both are required to race properly. So as in the OP's case, where he cannot ride up Kloof seated, I would get that right first - build the power - before perfecting the high cadence stuff - refine the use of that power.

Edited by Lucky Luke.
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some cyclists are just more suited to standing or sitting than others. power to weight may have an effect - i've always heard that bigger guys prefer sitting as they can crank easier while seated, while little guys are more comfortable out of the saddle (cue phil and paul) "dancing on the pedals".

 

that being said, my cousin and i have similar physiologies and he'll climb out of the saddle all the way up suikerbossie while i'll stay seated just grinding away (and grimacing...) weird.

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Alternate your current efforts by sitting as far back on your saddle as you comfortably can, and use a slightly harder gear when doing this. Try this on 50m stretches, and try keep a constant speed.

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