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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm very new to mtb. I had enough of listening to friends and co-workers telling me how awesome it is and I decided to get myself a bike and conquer some trails.

In July, I'm going to a mtb clinic in a VERY hilly area (you know, hills the size of tiny mountains). The problem is the area I live in is very flat--flat as a pancake and there are no mtb trails with hilly terrain close enough to my home to make it out to ride them very often.

So, my question is, how do you train for hills on your bike when there are no hills? I don't want to be completely unprepared and out of shape for pretty intense hill riding in July. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm in central Wisconsin (very flat), but I'm headed to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the mtb clinic (very not flat).
 

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Get there a month early. haha
High intensity interval training.
What you need is short high output efforts, Whether on flat or inclined surface isn't important.
Start now and repeat 3 or more times a week to see improvement. Near your highest possible output for 60 seconds. Rest for a couple minutes. Repeat twice more. Do this three times a week. I'd suggest trying to lengthen the high output time to 120 second over time.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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LOL, I don't know. I start my ride by climbing 1000 feet.

Intervals will certainly help with the fitness aspect.

Bikes handle differently when there's a grade. So if you can find a way to put yourself on some hillier trails, it will really help. Maybe a couple Sunday field trips between now and July.
 

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Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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Depending on where you are head south or south west and do some road riding. There are plenty of steep hills at the glacial boundry and unending rolling terrain in the unglaciated area.

I would not consider the UP to be hilly or anything to worry about.

Pushing a 'too big' gear can help but as mentioned the bike handles different when actually climbing.
 

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Yea, in the absence of hills, just do some road riding and try to keep your speed up throughout the ride. I used to ride the same loop all the time and try to cut down my time each time I went out. As mentioned, there are other aspects of hill climbing besides muscle and aerobic fatigue. But this will still help to condition your body for the workout at your clinic.

I'm no pro rider, but my advice once you get out there on the real climbs for your first time, is to not be afraid to use your gears. Don't kill yourself on the first climb, don't rush through them. Try to climb at a consistent pace, and pay attention to the line you're taking to minimize bump and obstacles that'll steal your momentum. My goal on technical climbs is never to do them faster, but to do them smoothly and with less effort each time, without having to put a foot down, and to have some air left in my lungs to keep riding once I get to the top of the hill.

Have fun.
 

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I can't think of a good substitute for actual climbs. I can ride in my tallest gear, full speed on level pavement and keep up with most roadies without getting more winded than they do.. When I climb a long, steep hill, I get winded even in my lowest gear. What I find most interesting about it is that I feel I am pushing much harder on the former than the latter.

Do not climb in too low of a gear or you will burn yourself out. Remember that you are not at the gym in a spin class.
 

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R.I.P. DogFriend
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I can't think of a good substitute for actual climbs.
Wind does a decent job if it's strong enough. It'll wear you out to ride into a good stiff headwind.

If you have access to a gym with exercise bikes, some of those have programmable resistance you can dial in to simulate hills.
 

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You could always go ride The Under Down by Erma WI, or come to Rhinelander and ride. Hopefully in a week the Wasburn trails will be open.
 

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don't worry about hills. The only thing you need to do at your level is get time in the saddle.


Every other day even for 15min of intervals will do wonders for you. For absolute least amount of time spent, just ride around your block or any place you can do sprints with the least interruptions.
5min warmp up.
3x
1min sprint
1min rest
5 min cool down.

This will do wonders for your fitness if you'r starting from nothing. It's boring but it works.
 
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