HELP Please! Bike Skills

Short Sharp Hills

18 messages
29/09/2013 at 12:07

I have just been out on a 35 mile bike ride and I am struggling with some technical skills.  Whilst I am technically okay going up long drags of hills, I do struggle when the incline gets sharp/steep.

I tried to get out of my seat today and I was all over the place, in the end I had to stop, nearly at the top - it wasn't lack of strength (I don't think anyway ).  I have a slight feeling that I go down gears too far and then I don't have any fluidity in the movement of my feet to actually get up to the top without falling off.

Any suggestions welcome.

29/09/2013 at 15:38

If you're talking about how to get over short hills, then start off by powering up it to start with, especially if it's preceeded by a downhill.  You'll get a lot of the way up just on momentum.  You can keep the momentum going for a little longer by changing down as soon as you feel your legs start to slow.  A little pre-emptiveness will help here (be ready to change down).  Hands on the hoods, get out of the saddle if necessary, which will also give you more power to wring the last bit of juice out of your 'momentum climb'.

Don't lay down so much power you're sprinting.  If the climb continues, use less power, but if it's one you think you can blast over, then you can use a little more should you choose to.

If it's just a simple hard climb, get into a lower gear AT the point your legs start to slow down a little too much.  Work out what you're doing now, so you can decide if you need to change down earlier or if you can hang on a little longer.  Don't be afraid to get out of the saddle, as you can produce more power this way, but at the expense of using more power this way.  Rock the bike side to side, but keep yourself fairly in the middle.

HTH

cougie    pirate
29/09/2013 at 16:44
If you're out of the saddle you want to be in a harder gear than when you were sitting down. You're generating more power that way so you need to be in a harder gear to take advantage. When you sit down you want to be in an easier gear again.
Britrisky    pirate
29/09/2013 at 22:07

So change up, stand up ... although when I'm doing this I have to be ready to change back down again, because I can't keep standing for more than a few pedals!!

29/09/2013 at 23:33

Or...... get a triple. Worked for me at Hever today with monster hills on the gauntlet course.God knows how the people with out at least a compact managed. I was cruising past people in granny gear.

30/09/2013 at 08:52

Thanks all - need to get used to this as there are some killer hills at IMW!

I will practice trying to change up and then stand up see if that helps.

Bouncing Barlist    pirate
30/09/2013 at 10:16

I would recommend a compact front chainring for IM Wales if you dont have one, its a double sprocket 34/52 instread of 39/53 you get with a standard road chainring.  With a compact you get pretty much the same range of gears as a triple without so many overlapping gears and need to change rings so often.

Practice out of the sadle, keep yourself relaxed and allow the bike to slightly swing from side to side.

01/10/2013 at 16:08

Thanks BB - I do suspect I have a compact but will start counting when I get home !

01/10/2013 at 18:24

I think I have a front chainset of 50f/34. And a back of 28/12. But I do think I would benefit from a 52 as suggested as I have fairly strong legs but not as much cadence so thanks BB I will look into this.

Calf    pirate
01/10/2013 at 20:24

when you said you were all over the place what did you mean....tired or the front of the bike was wandering left and right across the road....if the later when your out of the saddle and for instance pushing down on the left pedal it is the right side of your body the force is acting against so you need to be bracing that side...concentrate on keeping the wheel straight ahead and don't let the bike move too much under you a little is ok but too much is wasted energy....and practice practice practice!

01/10/2013 at 20:39

I tried Spin classes and it helped me as I was another that could only stand for a few pedal strokes

 

01/10/2013 at 21:03

Keep the chainset as it is, you don't need a 52 front chainring.

The answer to the problem is do more miles on the bike - get fitter and improve your bike control.

02/10/2013 at 11:37

Calf - no legs aren't tired - I just don't seem to have any control of the bike!  I think it is that I need to change up a gear but will need to practice, practice I agree.

Rich - I do spin classes around 4 times per week, but feel fine on a spin bike, but do notice I need to turn it up quite a few times before I get the fluidity in my pedal strokes, I just think I need to adopt this out on the open road.

Popsider - thanks for this, I think I wrote this wrong - I have no intention of changing the chain-ring until my fitness levels are up to scratch!  But will hope to change this by August next year, when I have plenty of miles in my legs.

 

Thanks all.

02/10/2013 at 12:28

I'm the same in Spin, I can crank it up and do a standing climb for ages.  I can climb on a singlespeed mountain bike, but, on the rare occasions that I road bike, I cant climb whilst standing.  It is without a doubt poor gearing choice.

oii
02/10/2013 at 14:31

Bumblebee - as cliched as its sounds, practice practice practice. I purchased my first road bike sept 2011 and its only in the last 6 months that i have felt confident! You will certainly, as already said, need to be in a harder gear if you want to stand up... 

When i can, i do the weekend long rides with my local tri club, riding in a peloton really boosts my confidence - fellow riders are so happy to dish out free advice too which is ace. It means i can watch the talented riders do their thing, as i am an elephant on a bike, watching the graceful types really helps me. Its all about learning.

as previously mentioned here, i do rate spin classes with regards to understanding what your pedals can take when you are stood up doing "hill work". Boringly i have had to up my core work, funnily enough, that has really helped my stregth. 

I can highly recommend picking a local hill that you are familiar with and work on that. I bet Froomey was a right wobbler when he first started out. 

Last of all, they said that the 2012 Tour De France was the first tour that was won "sitting down". Sky knew just how much energy the other competitors burnt by stamping pedals and trying to get ahead doing loony out of the saddle efforts. If you watch some of the moutain stages from that tour, you will see Nibali et al trying to lose Wiggo etc, and Wiggo stays calm and eventually reels the pretenders back in......  

Bouncing Barlist    pirate
02/10/2013 at 15:15

Standing vs Seated depends on the rider and their relative strength in either position, body mechanics and power to weight ratio.

Standing is typically used for a short burst of power or just to give some relief to the legs muscles from pushing a certain way.  e.g. on a long or very steep hill ill stand for short spells or will change between seated/standing climb every 25 or 50 pedal revs to give the give some relief to the way the muscles burn in each position.

The exception to the above is lighter riders, who find it easier to seated climb for miles and miles.  It amazed me how some of the TDF riders will climb out of the saddle at 100+ cadence up the likes of Mont Ventoux / Alp D'Huez?  That comes from years and years of training/conditioning.  That said Oii makes the point that it doesnt suit all riders, particularly Wiggins and Froome, thats probably on account that theyre tall and thin and have long levers.

Everything on a bike will come from practice, that means practice on the road.  You can build strength on a gym bike / at spinning classes but youll condition to road riding better on the roads.

Bouncing Barlist    pirate
02/10/2013 at 15:16

Edit to above, 3rd para should have said:

The exception to the above is lighter riders, who find it easier to STAND and climb for miles and miles.  It amazed me how some of the TDF riders will climb out of the saddle at 100+ cadence up the likes of Mont Ventoux / Alp D'Huez?  That comes from years and years of training/conditioning.  That said Oii makes the point that it doesnt suit all riders, particularly Wiggins and Froome, thats probably on account that theyre tall and thin and have long levers.

02/10/2013 at 15:37

I did all of IMUK seated, only standing to stretch now and then, not for power.  Each to their own, but I think standing can wear you out really quickly.


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