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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:46 am 
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So I have averaged once a month on the bike for the past year. On climbs I dont gas out aka run out of breath, but its as if my leg muscles get burnt out and just give up. I get off and walk for a minute to give them a rest then can get another minute of climbing before the burn out again.
Im a big dude at 5'9 230lbs and know losing weight will help out, but just feel like I have something wrong with me and should be able to climb better. I am absolutely going to be getting on the bike more often but want to fix the situation asap because I hate having to make people wait for me.
My question is: What can I do to become a better climber / rider in general. I know the first answer is get on the bike more than once a month. I am hitting the gym 4 days a week now, what exercises would be good to do to assist the goat muscles. I have gotten off the treadmill and hit the exercise bike for my cardio now, should I be doing short uphill sprints? long sustained climbs?
I have started taking a multivitamin as well as a fish oil vitamin on a daily basis, any other thing I should get that will assist me?

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,
the midget clydesdale who wants to be a goat


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:40 am 
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You've got the most important thing... ride more often.

Make sure you've got a good fit on the bike. Climbing w/ your seat too low, in particular, will really hurt - regardless of your fitness. Competitive cyclist has a good fit calculator.

Besides just more time on the bike, if you want to add some structured training, I suggest some tempo efforts. It's easier with a HR monitor, but for a rough guide just increase your effort until your breathing starts to get a little more rapid. It's not an all out effort, but a strong effort that you feel like you can keep up for a while. Try to sustain this effort for 5-10 min, take a few min recovery, then repeat, working up from 1-2 to 4-6 reps. So your first workout might be 10min easy warm up, 2x5min tempo with 5 min recovery (easy spin), then 10min cooldown. Later you can work up to 4x10min or whatever your tolerance for suffering allows :) . It will be hard at first of course, but after a few sessions will get better. For me, it's easiest to do this on a steady, gradual climb. You could do it on the trainer too, it's a good way to pack a big workout into a short amount of time.

If you want to learn more about how your body responds to riding, and how to improve your fitness, I suggest Joel Friel's book The Mountain Biker's Training Bible. Also, Chris Carmichael's The Time-Crunched Cyclist gives a good introduction to high intensity training, which is a good approach if you have limited time.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:17 am 
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If your goal is to increase endurance and climb better, why are you spending so much time at the gym and not just riding your bike? You probably already bought that expensive gym membership so you have to use it, I understand. If I was you I would increase my intensity at the gym, ride the bike, run on the treadmill, get on the rowing machine. Switch it up and watch the pounds melt away. Nothing at the gym will make you a better climber or make your lungs feel any better. The only think that will make you better is just climbing; do you have a road bike? If not get one, learn about sustaining a high cadence (just watch Lance), it works.

As for nutrition: There is no magic pill to make you a better climber, although there are some on here that think Hammer Nutrition is gods gift to climbing :D With that increased intensity you will want to eat more, but drink a crap load of watch and stay away from junk.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:26 am 
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Los wrote:
I am hitting the gym 4 days a week now, what exercises would be good to do to assist the goat muscles. I have gotten off the treadmill and hit the exercise bike for my cardio now, should I be doing short uphill sprints? long sustained climbs?


Just my .02, I am not a personal trainer.

If you are already in the gym, hit the leg presses, squats, step ups at a medium to lower weight, max times (until exhaustion). If you max out the weight then surely you will build strength and bulk but that isn't the goal, the goal is continuous resistance over a period of time. Of course you need significant recovery time between workouts (doing that 4 days a week would be too much, in my opinion)

Naturally the deal is, if you want to be a better climber, climb more. But often easier said than done. In my experiences, it is about forcing yourself to do it. Off the treadmill and on to the stationary bike, find a "climbing" RPM and hit that.

I'm in no way a speed racer but I've come to enjoy climbing. It is a long process but I bet if you made it your goal to ride at least 2-3 times a week through the summer and concentrate on climbing, I bet you'd see huge improvements by July/August.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:27 am 
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Oh yeah, here is my other suggestion.

Beer.

Seriously. Drink some beer, get all pumped up about riding, register for some event 3 months out. Wake up the next day and realize "Oh shit, I just registered for _________ . I better get my ass in gear"


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:24 am 
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EMFC wrote:
If your goal is to increase endurance and climb better, why are you spending so much time at the gym and not just riding your bike? You probably already bought that expensive gym membership so you have to use it, I understand. If I was you I would increase my intensity at the gym, ride the bike, run on the treadmill, get on the rowing machine. Switch it up and watch the pounds melt away. Nothing at the gym will make you a better climber or make your lungs feel any better. The only think that will make you better is just climbing; do you have a road bike? If not get one, learn about sustaining a high cadence (just watch Lance), it works.

As for nutrition: There is no magic pill to make you a better climber, although there are some on here that think Hammer Nutrition is gods gift to climbing :D With that increased intensity you will want to eat more, but drink a crap load of watch and stay away from junk.


I knocked another 3 minutes off my time up Otay Mountain in the rain yesterday. I assume you're referring to me when you say "some think Hammer Nut. is god's gift to climbing." All I can say is that it's definitely doing something for me. Be it placebo effect or actual performance enhancement, I don't really care. I know it won't make you a better climber, but if you're lacking in nutrition, hammer or any other form of nutrition during a ride will make a difference. But nothing will beat just spending time in the saddle. That's for sure.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:30 am 
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The year before I came to SD I went "all out" (for me...) training for a race that I really wanted to do well in. I never went so far as to change my diet or pay attention to heart rate or any of that. What I did do is pick a really fun local ride that I could fit in a couple days a week after work, and then do a longer ride on the weekends. When I first started this local ride took me over 3:45 (and I had been riding lots and thought I was in half-decent shape then :hello: ).

I soon realized I needed to de-freeride my bike, so I had a light xc wheelset built, 2.1 tires rather than 2.35s, and went from 50mm to 110mm stem. It seemed like the stem made the biggest difference. The point is, a lighter bike is a lot easier to climb than a heavier one, so that is something for you to consider. I probably cut 30mins off my time right away just with those changes. (I still have 2 wheelsets for this bike, makes a huge difference).

When riding I kept track in my head of times to 5 or 6 main points. I also tried to overtake & pass every other biker I saw. Doing these things always gave me something to push towards, small goals that are easy to aim for. I would sprint as hard as I could up the small/med hills then cruise at the top to rest. On the flats I always pushed hard as I could at a sustained pace. Others have mentioned intervals/sprints and doing these up the hills really worked well for me. I became able to ride harder for longer and my times steadily got better until I eventually plateau'd at a consistent 2:03-2:05 for the ride.

You don't need to ride the same trail over and over like I did. But to get stronger you definitely need to push yourself. Intervals work. I was probably getting my heart rate into the proper target range without even realizing it...from what I've read that makes a huge difference. Cross training will help, better nutrition & hydration will help. But simply getting out and riding more won't be enough if you're not pushing yourself. I ride lots these days but am stuck in a rut climbing-wise because I tend to spin granny gear up hills rather than push.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:04 pm 
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EMFC wrote:
If your goal is to increase endurance and climb better, why are you spending so much time at the gym and not just riding your bike? You probably already bought that expensive gym membership so you have to use it, I understand.


I didnt buy it, my fiancee did. I spend time in the gym with her, to help her stay motivated. (and enjoy the scenery of course) She is scared of dirt (working on that) so getting her on a bike is a work in progress.
LOL I already built an expensive bike to go along with an expensive gym membership so I have to put that to use as well.
Im not looking for a magic pill or a magic workout, just wanting to know what worked good for you guys before you were superman. I know there were a few here that had some weight issues before. Getting my ass on the bike should be something that I can make happen on my own, but hearing Evan tell me what his routine was and hearing that it worked for him helps me out. Ya know? :bang:
Thanks for the input everyone!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:47 pm 
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Los wrote:
Im not looking for a magic pill or a magic workout, just wanting to know what worked good for you guys before you were superman. I know there were a few here that had some weight issues before. Getting my ass on the bike should be something that I can make happen on my own, but hearing Evan tell me what his routine was and hearing that it worked for him helps me out. Ya know? :bang:


No, there is no magic pill, but nutrition, regardless of your skill level is key. Have you looked into P90X. I know right now it seems like a fad, but I have seen several people on that program, and they show results. It has a nutritional guide, intense workouts, and yoga (don't laugh at the yoga. The sretching it gives your body is major). For all those that think the gym doesn't give you a lick for climbing - riding alone is not gonna cut it. If your legs are skinny or fat, but have little to no muscle mass, then fuggetaboudit. Nutrition, a solid workout program, and pedal efficiency. If you want to spend the money, get a trainer (most take MTB if you don't have a road bike) and a spin video. That will help your cadance and your pedal efficiency out tremendously. Hope this helps.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:01 pm 
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I didnt read everyone elses but heres my climbing training recomendation:
Not sure if this applies to squishies but for hardtailing...
Always ride in one or two gears harder than you think you should be in even though this will slow you down. Do NOT shorten your rides though! Do this for a year or so.

Then spend one month of rides that only last 15 minutes and make them all huge bursts of eveything you got. still staying in the highest gear possible at all times.

Then, (keeping that habit of staying in high gears, except when you need the juice to impress your friends or an actual race!), drop it to the appropriate gear and youll fly. Fly punk ass fly. But I just love the high gears when I can actually crest the hill it is very easy to keep that lead because at the top of the hill your already in the bigger chainrings thus not missing a beat.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:28 pm 
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that touched me, man


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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 1:14 am 
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oh god los ! what u do is you smoke a cig rest and climb again. haha dont worry they all waiting for you hahahah jk

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:04 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:51 am 
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Just add one of those hidden seat post motors...once a month won't cut it, you won't even get over the ass pain from the tiny seat :) I did once a week and that wasn't enough to keep up with these climbing monkeys. It's summer now though, chill till fall, too hot know!! :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:53 pm 
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Los, some of it is mental. Nutrition is important, gear, etc..... but in your mind you must create an animal that want's to devour pain. I consider myself a goater, and climbing never gets any easier, just more tolerable and faster when in shape. Climbing fitness can be fickle though, hence the future feelings of obsession you will feel as you attempt to build build build and not go backwards in achievement. Your weight will take care of itself, and will probably make your transition more extreme (to good climber) because of the shedding of weight whilst building your strength carrying extra weight in the begining. One thing is true though, you must climb at least every other ride, and at least 2 days a week with spinning days in between and ample recovery.

Cowles, LC, Otay mtn, mix it up between extended constant and technical hell. If you subject yourself to climbing pain regularly, you will begin to identify your phases of recovery and know how to dose the energy output.

I agree with Danimal in the sense that every time you climb you should be riding at a pace that is just uncomfortable enough. Not too hard where you will pop before the top, but not so easy that you find yourself enjoying the scenery.

Daryl?


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