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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been riding solo at some local trails, and thought I'd join a beginner-level group ride. To make a long story short, these guys went twice as fast on climbs as I normally do, even the guy on the circa-1980's rigid bike was passing me. Either that was not beginner-level or I'm WAY out of shape - I'm beginning to think the latter.

Anyways, what is the best way to tackle a short, steep, technical climb? Any advice regarding gear usage would be great.

Thanks!
 

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My normal climbing gear on steep technical spots is middle ring up front, big one in back. This is a low enough gear to power over rocks and ledges, while still keeping adequate momentum. I only use granny gear (small in front, big in rear, lowest gear on the bike) when I am dead tired.

Another consideration is your riding position. On steep sections, my shoulders will be low over the handlebars, torso just north of parallel over the top tube, and butt will be only on the very front point of the seat. You want to have just enough weight in back to keep your rear wheel locked down.
 

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Domestic Fowl
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pocketplayer said:
I've been riding solo at some local trails, and thought I'd join a beginner-level group ride. To make a long story short, these guys went twice as fast on climbs as I normally do, even the guy on the circa-1980's rigid bike was passing me. Either that was not beginner-level or I'm WAY out of shape - I'm beginning to think the latter.

Anyways, what is the best way to tackle a short, steep, technical climb? Any advice regarding gear usage would be great.

Thanks!
First, there's always weenies on group rides that try to make it a hammer-fest. Get used to it. ;) Second, you just need time in the saddle. You'll eventually get things figured out.

One major mistake newbies often make is to use a gear that is too easy on climbs and techy stuff. Many people see a climb ahead or a technical section and just ratchet the gears down to the easiest one. This is often a mistake. You should use the biggest gear you can comfortably turn over in these sections. Using a gear that is too easy has a couple of problems...... 1) too much torque, which causes your back tire to spin out and lose traction and 2) using a gear that is too easy means you're moving slower, and speed is your friend for balance on climbs and momentum on techy stuff.

There's not really any magic formula for selecting gears, you just need to practice. Take the time to ride a section of a trail a few times trying out different gear combos. Eventually you will be able to feel when you're in the right gear combo for the given obstacle.
 

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Good advice above. Also, pick out the couple of people in the group that seem pretty cool, and maybe just a little bit stronger with you, and seek them out for more rides... Riding with different riders, of different style and ability is good. Especially if they push you a little.

Like FRC said, hang in there and don't let the weenies get you down.... :)
 

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as a beginner myself

pocketplayer said:
I've been riding solo at some local trails, and thought I'd join a beginner-level group ride. To make a long story short, these guys went twice as fast on climbs as I normally do, even the guy on the circa-1980's rigid bike was passing me. Either that was not beginner-level or I'm WAY out of shape - I'm beginning to think the latter.

Anyways, what is the best way to tackle a short, steep, technical climb? Any advice regarding gear usage would be great.

Thanks!
I often find myself in the same position. Recently I converted to clipless pedals and I find I'm able to keep up a bit better. If you're still on platform pedals that'll slow you down as well.
 

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In your boat

I have been riding a few months now. I actually started to loose weight (which i did .. still alittle over) .. Then i got a friend into it. Then i became addicted and started a begginer ride. So the moral of this story is i still get passed on hills :) ... Just work at it. I have never been too atletic, and some of the guys i have gotten into the sport are better riders then me now.

But as long as ur trying your hardest and keeping those cranks moving that is all you can do. I try to ride a harder gear combo till my legs give out and then switch lower. What i was doing at first was just riding my granny all the time .. that is no good. Try to avoid that.

sho
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I find myself in the predicament where I'm more experienced than my friends who ride casually, but apparently not quite good enough keep up with the big boys. I guess that means more solo rides. Thanks for the tips!!
 

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Nervous Descender
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pocketplayer said:
I've been riding solo at some local trails, and thought I'd join a beginner-level group ride. To make a long story short, these guys went twice as fast on climbs as I normally do, even the guy on the circa-1980's rigid bike was passing me. Either that was not beginner-level or I'm WAY out of shape - I'm beginning to think the latter.

Anyways, what is the best way to tackle a short, steep, technical climb? Any advice regarding gear usage would be great.

Thanks!
I agree with the gear selection advice given, and-

Remember that the line you take has a lot to do with it. Conserve momentum where ever possible. A lot of experienced riders are faster- not only because they're more fit and use better gearing, but because they pick the smoothest line (for them) which allows them to climb most efficiently (for them). Think of it this way, you could be more fit than a more experienced guy, but he knows the best line and all of the subtle moves. This is why my unfit, 50 year old, but very experienced uncle with bad knees can leave me in the dust on a mogul trail when we're skiing. He doesn't have to work nearly as hard as I do, since his body is already programmed for all the right moves.

Also, the best line for them might not be the best line for you.
 
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