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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to find a way to improve my climbing. At the moment, it's both that I run out of breath and my legs fail on me during the climb. Many told me that climbing can be improved...well...by climbing some more :D.

Unfortunately, there are absolutely no hills around my town. And I only get some mountain action during the weekend. Well...to be onest, it's only a day out of the two and it's more like once every two weekends, not every weekend.

So, as this basically means a mere two days per month, I am training on the road (as in flat road :( ) as much as I can. (Where "as much as I can" means "plan to do it 5 times a week, and really do it 2 or 3 times").

Questions:
  • 1. Is there any chance for my climbing to improve (even at a slow rate) by training on flat roads?

  • 2. Would it be better to go with more cadence or force during my runs? Any suggestions are welcome.

In case this matters: I'm 6'6", 232
 

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ovidiugm said:
I am trying to find a way to improve my climbing. At the moment, it's both that I run out of breath and my legs fail on me during the climb. Many told me that climbing can be improved...well...by climbing some more :D.

Unfortunately, there are absolutely no hills around my town. And I only get some mountain action during the weekend. Well...to be onest, it's only a day out of the two and it's more like once every two weekends, not every weekend.

So, as this basically means a mere two days per month, I am training on the road (as in flat road :( ) as much as I can. (Where "as much as I can" means "plan to do it 5 times a week, and really do it 2 or 3 times").

Questions:
  • 1. Is there any chance for my climbing to improve (even at a slow rate) by training on flat roads?

  • 2. Would it be better to go with more cadence or force during my runs? Any suggestions are welcome.

In case this matters: I'm 6'6", 232
Heres my two cents. Im a climber, and FWIW Im 5'11 and 155.

1) I would say your climbing performance would improve from riding on flat roads. Riding anywhere will increase your fitness and make you faster/fitter. Getting you down from 232 will help a lot too. I find i have difficulty staying with the bigger guys on the flats (power to weight not as important here ) but can stay with almost anyone on a grade... loosing a few will help you a lot IMO.

2) If you want to simulate a short steep climb, you could stand up and push for 30 to 60 seconds in a hard gear... maybe 70- 80 rpm... kind of a quasi interval work...

Bonus. heres a trick... when climbing a long hill. focus on something say 50 feet in front of you a tree or mailbox works great... imagine a rope tied to that object and pull yourself up to the object. when you get like 10 feet from it, find somethign else 50 feet away... repeat. This helps break up the hill/pain.

Stick with it, you will get better...
 

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Heres my two cents. Im a climber, and FWIW Im 5'11 and 155.

1) I would say your climbing performance would improve from riding on flat roads. Riding anywhere will increase your fitness and make you faster/fitter. Getting you down from 232 will help a lot too. I find i have difficulty staying with the bigger guys on the flats (power to weight not as important here ) but can stay with almost anyone on a grade... loosing a few will help you a lot IMO.
+1

I cant agree more... at 6' and 138 pounds I am also a climber. Speed on climbs is all about power to weight ratio. The fastest way for you to get faster is to shed pounds without losing power. (This is where those big gear,low cadence standup sprints come in.)

Unfortunately I also have a hard time hanging with the bigger guys on the flats, because I cant put out the same power and weight becomes less relevant. So try to find your "optimum race weight" where you are light enough to tackle the climbs, yet still powerful enough to motor in the flats.

Good Luck
 

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If you have flat roads only, you can work on your off-road climbing speed. Choose a pretty big gear 50-70 rpms and grind away. Focus on your pedal form though. If you have the option of doing this into a headwind, even better as it will more simulate the effects of the climb
 

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Of course you can get better climbing even by riding only the flats.

Try, to vary things a bit.

Do high speed big gear sprints, go for twice as long as your weekend climbs take.
builds power,

Do high speed low gear spins, 130 rpm for twice as long as your weekend climbs.
builds foot speed for accelerating over obstacles.

Do a long easy ride, 2 hours plus, easy to talk pace, better yet nose breathe only.
builds aerobic and lung capacity.

We have hills so I try to stay in 2nd chainring, and grind up them to build power.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well thanks everybody. I was scared that everything I would get on this would be 'no can do!', but it seems, looking at everyone's posts (greatly summarized by jeffscott) that almost any kind of riding would help.

I see now that variety is my friend - so I'll alternate them all (well...not sure about those 130 rpm, maybe it'd be more like 90 for start :) ) and look ahead for the weekends to see my progress on the real thing.
 
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