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  1. #1
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    Question Climbing issue/ How to improve climbing ?

    Hi there!

    I have been into road biking since last June, rode around 1800 miles until now. Though I have seen gradual progress towards overall stamina and average speed, I still kinda lack when it comes to riding uphill.

    I am 5'4 and weigh 170lbs. I have XS Fuji roubaix frame.

    Would saddle adjustment (horizontal/lateral) would make any improvement?

    are there any other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.

    _Hardy

  2. #2
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    I'm six feet, 220lbs. I have lost weight before while cycling and it has made a pretty big improvement in my climbing performance. Your power to weight ratio needs to improve, either by losing weight or gaining power.

    If you are comfortable on your bike and have been fit before, changing your position will do little to improve, and is ill advised. If you haven't been fit and you are not entirely comfortable on your bike, then having a fit can definitely have an improvement not just on your climbing performance, but overall.

    Are you struggling to turn over your gears? How steep are the hills? You can switch your rear cassette to something like a 12-30 or 32t which will provide you with gears to spin up a hill.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

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  3. #3
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    You're gonna get tough-love from me. To be a good climber your power to weight ratio must be very good. You're about 50lbs heavier than pro racers of your height. If you look after that plus accumulate 10x the miles that you have, if your genetics are good you might become a good climber.
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  4. #4
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    Climb more hills. Being a large guy myself.

    More importantly don't stress out about it.

  5. #5
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    That's a really simple question.
    -lose weight
    -gain power
    -some combination of both

    The rest, like pacing, standing vs sitting ect are things you'll need to learn though experience to best suite you.

  6. #6
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    How do you know you're not already climbing well? Even if you are, it will still feel hard (it doesn't get any easier, you just get faster, blah blah blah)

    Can you give an example of a climb you're using for a benchmark and how you're doing on it?

    A lot of what will make a difference is what you'd expect, ride more, climb more. Technique might matter, I don't think your equipment setup will as much, but ultimately where you are at is probably just needing to keep at it.

  7. #7
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    Climbing issue/ How to improve climbing ?-capture.jpg

    Here is the segment that i usually compare.. (Grade 7-8%)

    Most of the riders from same group pass by me and i keep hearing about my own exhaustion

    As everybody is suggesting..Loosing my weight would be my first/top priority.. Is there any breathing technique to follow on climbs?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by hardycool; 05-02-2017 at 10:07 AM.

  8. #8
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    There isn't much of a secret. Having a low enough gear to easily spin does help, but it's no magic panacea. When I was 15 I went on my first A-level ride that had a lot of climbs, and by the end I was wiped. I asked one of the other guys how he climbed so well, and his response was, "The only way to get better at hills is to do more hills."
    Ghurarmu shirkush’ agh azgushu. Zant ya apakurizak. Gűl-n’ anakhizak.

  9. #9
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    One year on the bike, and (only) 1,800 miles isn't a bad start. But...
    - 5'4" 170 is far (!) from a climber's physique
    - You're just getting started - miles and time in the saddle.

    The fix:
    - Up your miles
    - Keep riding
    - Ride more hills
    - Have fun

  10. #10
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    Hard to tell for sure since some of the segment data is cropped off, but eyeballing the graph and and taking the main climbing part of it, that's maybe 130 feet over .5 miles which is around 5% grade.

    That's uphill for sure, but if you really want to talk about improving climbing you may need to find some bigger hills. Some local climbs around here you can see 6% grade for like 6+ miles. If you can find stuff like that and keep climbing it regularly, the bumps like the one you're talking about here will seem a lot easier very soon.

    In less words, I'd say go look for some climbs over 1000 feet and do them a lot.
    Last edited by jetdog9; 05-02-2017 at 10:38 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardycool View Post
    Would saddle adjustment (horizontal/lateral) would make any improvement?
    Not likely. Your adjustment would have to be waaay off. To the point where it bothers you all the time.

    are there any other suggestions?
    Alberto Contador will train riding uphill 20min out of the saddle. Not suggesting you do that. But climbing is about suffering. As mentioned, losing weight will help. But to get better you also need to suffer. I would suggest hill repeats. Best bang for your buck and you'll see improvements pretty quick.

    You don't necessarily have to be a skinny guy to have good power to weight. I'm 5'9 & 160-165lbs. I'm a pretty decent climber. A friend of mine is a big guy. Not fat but large framed. He's about 50-55lbs heavier than me. He's a great climber. Anything up to 5% and he can push me to my limits. I get him though when it comes to the steep stuff. But he can out climb most skinny guys on 15%+ grades.
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  12. #12
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    What they all said: ride more, ride harder, lose weight. You are just getting started. There are no magic tricks at this point.

    On the BMI charts (I know, they're only statistical guidelines, but . . .) you are at the high end of overweight, borderline obese. To get to the boundary between normal and overweight, you'd have to lose 25 pounds.

    You're off to a good start. Ride more, ride hard, eat less, have fun.
    "Lay me down like a stone, O God, and raise me up like a loaf." Platon Karataev, War and Peace Book XII

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardycool View Post
    Hi there!

    I have been into road biking since last June, rode around 1800 miles until now. Though I have seen gradual progress towards overall stamina and average speed, I still kinda lack when it comes to riding uphill.

    I am 5'4 and weigh 170lbs. I have XS Fuji roubaix frame.

    Would saddle adjustment (horizontal/lateral) would make any improvement?

    are there any other suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.

    _Hardy
    Find a climbing gearing that allows you to maintain your average cadence on flats, and stay in the saddle as much as possible.

    Sent from my XT1575 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    It's all pretty much been said:

    1) Ride more often.
    2) Ride more miles.
    3) Ride more hills.

    Losing weight will come with doing the 3 things above.

    That being said, in order to stay motivated to keep trying more hills, you will need low enough gearing that enables you to stay on the bike. If you have to get off and walk, that will discourage you.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

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  15. #15
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    You: Target your weight to be at or below 125lbs.
    Gearing: Have your final gear ratio be at 36/23t or 36/25t.
    Saddle: Tip the nose of the saddle slightly down.
    Hand Placement: Death grip on the top bar... J/K Relax your arms and hands.

    Also, do more squats and deadlifts.

  16. #16
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    To go faster up a climb (or on the flats), you have to put out more power. So you've got to get in better shape. Losing a bunch of weight helps, too.

    All there really is to it: more power, less weight.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keoki View Post

    Also, do more squats and deadlifts.
    Cycling is an aerobic sport. Lifting weights isn't going to help him ride up a hill unless he has some muscular dysfunction. Strength isn't his limiter.

    Actually, all of your post sounds weird, arbitrary, and essentially made up.

  18. #18
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    I'm not the greatest climber and I don't have a whole lot to add but I do mostly enjoy hills. One thing I will say is to find a long uphill, even if it's not the steepest. There is a psychological component. Learn how to grind away with burning legs and hard breathing while still looking at the scenery and being grateful for a day on the bike. If you can enjoy hills you'll return to them and seek them out and you'll get better because you want to, not because you feel you have to.

  19. #19
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    Also... don't angle your saddle down per Keoki. Keep it level unless a very good fitter tells you otherwise.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neolithic View Post
    I'm not the greatest climber and I don't have a whole lot to add but I do mostly enjoy hills. One thing I will say is to find a long uphill, even if it's not the steepest. There is a psychological component. Learn how to grind away with burning legs and hard breathing while still looking at the scenery and being grateful for a day on the bike. If you can enjoy hills you'll return to them and seek them out and you'll get better because you want to, not because you feel you have to.
    This totally true, if you embrace them rather than dread them, it will show up not just in your mind but in your stats as well.

  21. #21
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    Best pro tip I've ever heard "If you want to go up hills faster, just push harder on the pedals".


  22. #22
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    Like other's said - for your height you are quite heavy to be good at climbing. I'm definitely heavy to be a good climber and I'm 170lbs at 6 feet tall.

    For hills i have a few suggestions beyond weight though:

    1. Be patient- 1800 miles is not much riding for a year I think, it takes several years to build your aerobic engine. The more you ride the faster you will gain.
    2. If you don't have the time to add lots of miles make sure what you do is focused - as in doing intervals designed to climb - if you have a 5 minute climb you want to be good at do intervals that have about the duration. This will help a bunch if you can combine it with quite a few more miles/year.
    3. Learn to dig deep on climbs. It's only pain, ignore it. That tolerance to pain delivers results not only in climbing but also training. When you get to the top of a hard climb (assuming your Dr says you are healthy enough to push as hard as you want), you should be thinking you are just going to collapse if you gave it your all. Same feeling you should have at the end of the last repeat of an interval session. You might be quite surprised how much you are leaving on the table at the end of a climb. Of course you need to know the hill and how hard to push when so you actually finish the climb on a strong effort over the top and don't blow up before you get to the top.
    Moderation is boring - do epic s##t

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  23. #23
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    As far as breathing, I slow down when I am "out of breath" just like when I was a kid. I don't measure breathing rate, but I do measure pulse. When I am out of breath pulse is over 180 (15 in 5 seconds) some times 17. At my age I try to keep it below 15. We have quite steep hills near my summer camp. In May with a loaded bike (weeks supplies) I have to stop and walk to limit pulse. By mid June I don't. A young person should be able to improve that fast.
    People's body geometries differ. I used to ride with a tri-athlete whose heavy arms and chest allowed him to swim and run must faster than I. His legs were so spindly, he was a good match for me on a bicycle. I have all my muscle in my legs and have very undeveloped chest & arms. After I popped my biceps and deltoid tendons (fall), the surgeon told me to limit my weight lifting to five pounds even on the good side. I had been doing that before the injury. So he agreed, I have a limit on upper body strength.
    So if your legs aren't under-muscled, and your route doesn't max out your pulse or breathing, increase the weight on your bicycle to maximize effect of your training time. And repeat the uphill sections several times. Or do similar profile in a gym. Max pulse 180 up to age 20 to follow the cardiologist's benchmark, 200-age upper limit. I don't follow instructions, I'm 66.
    As far as losing weight, I've know guys 5'4" and 170 lb that were all muscle. If you're not and have excess fat around the middle, the following diet allowed me to lose 45 lb, down to 5'8" and 170 lb:
    Three meals a day no snacks. No snacks out riking bike either.
    Sugar <5 grams per meal (read food lables)
    Meat <2 grams per lunch & dinner average 1.5. No meat @ breakfast.
    Replace saturated fat whereever possible with mono-unsaturated fat and polyunsaturated if you can't find mono-products. I limit cheese for example. Pizza is very rare.
    That's it. I don't count calories and eat a lot of carbs (bread, shredded wheat for breakfast) Doctors tell me my tri-glicerides should be excessive with all the carbs, but they are entirely normal. Chloresterol dropped from 213 before diet to 150 after, now on lipitor down to 105.
    Resting pulse 72 winter, 66 summer. Previously 85.
    I don't drink or enjoy alcohol. If you do, replace some wheat with beer or wine.
    I eat a lot of sugar-free peanut butter & sugar free jelly on low sugar (italian) bread, one sandwich per lunch & dinner. I eat fish about 1/3 of lunches and dinners. My meat is usually turkey or white chicken. I use Kraft olive oil mayonaise (hellmans is a fraud IMHO), oilivio butter on pancakes. I use sugar free syrup on pancakes ones or twice a week. I eat some fruit, but find grapes strawberries & delicious apples have too much sugar. I'm diabetic is why I changed the diet. I don't have to use insulin.
    See Dr Furman, six keys to incredible health. I developed my diet before I saw his TV show, but his diet is probably even better than mine. He has a lot to say about saturated fat & cancer incidence as the third world changes over to more "fast" food.
    Best of luck achieving your goals.

  24. #24
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    You'll need to lose some weight to match your height.
    I'm pretty heavy (190) but I'm also tall (6'5)
    And I can manage an W/kg of 3.8 at FTP and over 4W/kg on shorter climbs
    You must simply commit to suffering.
    One member posted above - it doesn't ever get easier. You improve, and automatically your speed increases. The exertion you feel stays the same.
    Unless you go beyond what you feel is manageable, and then even some more, you won't improve.
    At the same time you must find enjoyment in all this, because you won't want to do it over and over
    Last edited by toki; 05-03-2017 at 04:34 AM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keoki View Post
    You: Target your weight to be at or below 125lbs.
    Gearing: Have your final gear ratio be at 36/23t or 36/25t.
    Saddle: Tip the nose of the saddle slightly down.
    Hand Placement: Death grip on the top bar... J/K Relax your arms and hands.

    Also, do more squats and deadlifts.

    Trolls taste like chicken.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
    -- Warren Buffett

    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



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