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  1. #1
    Hammer
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    Spinng on climbs !

    What are you a Masher or Spinner ?

    I've always been known as a masher, and enjoy standing and attacking climbs. So today I wanted practice staying seated and spinning on climbs. So I went out and played on some hills, tad under 9 miles of climbing. I did revert to old habits several times on a couple climbs but reminded myself to practice spinning. Hey old dogs can learn new tricks, but oh how the urge to stand is hard to break. Fun day !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrWMNf1HZ7U

  2. #2
    Pathlete and Pedalphile
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    Quote Originally Posted by zipp2001 View Post
    What are you a Masher or Spinner ?

    I've always been known as a masher, and enjoy standing and attacking climbs. So today I wanted practice staying seated and spinning on climbs. So I went out and played on some hills, tad under 9 miles of climbing. I did revert to old habits several times on a couple climbs but reminded myself to practice spinning. Hey old dogs can learn new tricks, but oh how the urge to stand is hard to break. Fun day !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrWMNf1HZ7U
    Nice 370z in the background, yours? I'm looking for sport model right now. Sorry for changing the subject.
    If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

  3. #3
    Hammer
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    Quote Originally Posted by redondoaveb View Post
    Nice 370z in the background, yours? I'm looking for sport model right now. Sorry for changing the subject.
    Yes ! It's a little rocket, and a blast to drive.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by zipp2001 View Post
    Yes ! It's a little rocket, and a blast to drive.
    That's why I'm looking for one.
    If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

  5. #5
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    I am generally a spinner. The only time I sometimes mash is near the top of a hill.
    “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



  6. #6
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    Spinner. If I don't spiny, my knees remind me to.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    I am generally a spinner. The only time I sometimes mash is near the top of a hill.
    Same here and it works quite well for me.

  8. #8
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    I am mainly a spinner, but I like to stand up on the steep bits to stretch out my legs and lower back. Then as soon as the grade relaxes a bit I sit down (and shift back down). In order for this to work right, you have to shift up a gear or two just before you stand up - this helps keep the momentum up.

    Decades ago during a multi-day tour down the Blue Ridge Parkway I stood up for a section of a climb without first shifting up and lost a lot of momentum. "Idiot!" I told myself, "You have to shift up, then stand up..." And then my warped mind took over and came up with this:

    Shift up, stand up...
    Stand up for the climb.


    apologies to Bob Marley
    Life is short... enjoy the ride.

  9. #9
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    I feel spinning vs mashing comes down more to fitness and gear choice than any actual preference.

    In top form, I spin way more simply because I have the power to push the pedals faster.

    Sitting and spinning is typically a faster way to climb for longer durations than standing.

  10. #10
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    I am 5'10'' 200lbs. I climb like a 1/2 blind, 3 legged Billie goat pulling a sled full of rocks. I get there, but it takes a long time. Grades above 7 won't let me spin for long. I just don't the the P/W ratio. So I wind up in the smallest gear and mashing. awesome. 7 and down and I'll usually find a good comfortable rhythm in the mid to upper 70s. I guess that is not exactly spinning either.

    cmn

  11. #11
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    I alternate positions, very frequently.

    I will take a little issue with your terminology, however. Standing is not necessarily "mashing". I consider "mashing" to refer to using a relatively high gear and thus a relatively low cadence, more often sitting than standing. Pro climbers like Contador are out of the saddle often, sometimes for long stretches, but they're not "mashing."

    See if you can find some video of the 1998 Tour de France, in the mountain stages after Pantani took the lead, and Ullrich attacked on several climbs to try to regain time. Pantani always went right with him, and there are some classic moments illustrating the contrast in styles, with Pantani standing up at a relatively high cadence, "dancing" on the pedals, and Ullrich beside him seated pushing a big gear. Pantani was the one standing, but Ullrich was the one mashing.
    We are far from pefect,
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    I alternate positions, very frequently.

    I will take a little issue with your terminology, however. Standing is not necessarily "mashing". I consider "mashing" to refer to using a relatively high gear and thus a relatively low cadence, more often sitting than standing. Pro climbers like Contador are out of the saddle often, sometimes for long stretches, but they're not "mashing."

    See if you can find some video of the 1998 Tour de France, in the mountain stages after Pantani took the lead, and Ullrich attacked on several climbs to try to regain time. Pantani always went right with him, and there are some classic moments illustrating the contrast in styles, with Pantani standing up at a relatively high cadence, "dancing" on the pedals, and Ullrich beside him seated pushing a big gear. Pantani was the one standing, but Ullrich was the one mashing.
    Pantini was an exciting rider to watch climb back in his day. Its a shame he was just another doper. To the original question, I try to be a spinner but when the grade get to a certain point (over 8%) I start in with some ugly mashing. As a heavier rider (180lbs) standing while climbing is not really a good option

  13. #13
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    I pedal according to the grade and the distance of the climb.

  14. #14
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    spinning up a climb for a sustained threshold or close to threshold effort is mixture of
    1. hard practice (i.e., you gotta climb)
    2. proper gearing
    3. a perfect bike fit

    (The same can also be said of time trialing, of course).

    If your bike fitting is even a little off, you'll go numb (under high effort) and that's when you'll start to get out of the saddle because either your crotch is numb or your back is strained or your mental focus is starting to waver.

    When I say spinning, I mean 80 rpm minimum, but preferably 85+. Below 80 rpm, you're not really spinning. Time to get lower gearing. I notice that for a lot of folks, even racers, when the grade gets to be around 8%-10% or higher, that's when they start to pedal in square, their hips start to rock side to side. You know, when the grades get to a certain level, there is really no pretty pedaling method anymore unless you start to switch to 32t-36t cassette.

    for me, I like to practice on a road that has consistent 5-7% gradient because this usually allows me to focus on form without the square pedaling. Steep but short hill repeats are fun, but I don't fine these little repeats long enough to allow me to get into a sustained high effort rhythm.
    Last edited by aclinjury; 05-08-2017 at 02:58 PM.

  15. #15
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    I'm a Clyde and a rookie to road bikes. I'm a spinner. I find up off the seat to hammer feels good for a bit but takes more energy than sitting and spinning. For me it feels wiser to sit and spin on hills and stand and mash on top of the hill but more for a break to my ass.

  16. #16
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    For most riders with some experience, spinning may feel harder, and mashing (or even standing climbing) may feel faster, but you are relying on those slow-twitch endurance muscles to spin. They don't burn as much O2 or glucose. You won't tire out as quickly. Over a long climb, standing up you'll notice a precipitous drop in speed. Seated, you can maintain a constant speed for longer, and that speed will generally be higher. You are not relying on ballistic bursts of strength. You're also not wasting energy throwing your weight around.

  17. #17
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    I started cycling at age 58 in the Texas Hill Country and soon thereafter in the Ozarks. I learned to sit and spin and use gears as they were intended. My spin is likely slower than that of other cyclists, but on a long sustained climb, I like to settle into a comfortable cadence and make my way up the hill.

  18. #18
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    My only reason for standing is not to go faster or to make the hill easier but rather to stretch out some muscles that could use it. Typically I only do it on really steep (and short) sections because that extra strain helps stretch those muscles...

    YMMV
    Life is short... enjoy the ride.

  19. #19
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    Very rarely do I mash, spinning is much more effective for me and I am faster. It really depends on the situation.

  20. #20
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    You nailed it.

    This is a favorite topic for me. If riders do serious climbing, few have the option of carrying 90rpm--even with a compact and 28. I've never witnessed anyone (road biker) spin up a long 15% grade and likely never will.

    It's a good idea to train on some steeps if you'll be riding them in order to develop power in the 60 rpm range
    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    I feel spinning vs mashing comes down more to fitness and gear choice than any actual preference.

    In top form, I spin way more simply because I have the power to push the pedals faster.

    Sitting and spinning is typically a faster way to climb for longer durations than standing.

  21. #21
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    I like to mix it up. On a long hill with pitchups, I'll stand on the pitchups. I just find it easier for me to stand if high effort is required, then recover as the hill eases. But I can stand for 5-10 min if I take it easy. The key for me is not attack when I stand, just focus on maintaining speed and some spin, I really don't mash unless it is super super steep.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    I like to mix it up. On a long hill with pitchups, I'll stand on the pitchups. I just find it easier for me to stand if high effort is required, then recover as the hill eases. But I can stand for 5-10 min if I take it easy. The key for me is not attack when I stand, just focus on maintaining speed and some spin, I really don't mash unless it is super super steep.
    Standing up is way less efficient. Upper body weight is on the legs, and they're also turning the crank, hovering in and out of anaerobic threshold against the relentless tow of gravity. Putting that weight on the saddle allows the legs to concentrate on turning the crank, no matter what the cadence.

    I rode with a kid who could whack up climbs out of the saddle for 20-30 sec, sit down, then do it again. He weighed around 120#, and had great strength to weight ratio. Heavier riders are better off sitting.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Standing up is way less efficient. Upper body weight is on the legs, and they're also turning the crank, hovering in and out of anaerobic threshold against the relentless tow of gravity. Putting that weight on the saddle allows the legs to concentrate on turning the crank, no matter what the cadence.

    I rode with a kid who could whack up climbs out of the saddle for 20-30 sec, sit down, then do it again. He weighed around 120#, and had great strength to weight ratio. Heavier riders are better off sitting.
    I find that if I stand going up a hill, I blow up quickly. Sitting and spinning gets me there and I can do this for a long, long time. At 175# and 5'10", I'm not a clyde, but I'm not a stick either.
    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein

    "Beware of geeks bearing formulas."
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    "Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don't. -- Pete Seeger



  24. #24
    dcb
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo View Post
    You nailed it.

    This is a favorite topic for me. If riders do serious climbing, few have the option of carrying 90rpm--even with a compact and 28. I've never witnessed anyone (road biker) spin up a long 15% grade and likely never will.

    It's a good idea to train on some steeps if you'll be riding them in order to develop power in the 60 rpm range
    Yes. Was climbing the other day - 6 miles at just over 9% average grade. RPM range 60-75 which is right around threshold power for me on that climb. The only way for me to spin would be to get much fitter or ride my mountain bike which has lower gearing.

  25. #25
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    When i am putting in my best efforts i am always at 75-80 rpm. I try to gear my bikes so i'll have that available on the steepest pitches.

    The most recent science i've read on the topic is that experienced riders tend to 'feel' where they are the most effective, so go with your gut and pay attention.

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