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Old 2009-04-14, 09:42 PM   #31
billnye
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I banged this novel out in response to a crank length query over in the Florida mUni Meetup thread, and it seemed too topical not to at least cross-link. Comments (beyond the obvious TL;DR hehe) appreciated.

"[it was] too long; [I] didn't read [it]",

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Old 2009-04-15, 01:55 AM   #32
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I've been improving my climbing a lot lately, probably due to losing around 20 pounds more than anything else. But here's something I have struggled with, and am finally showing improvement ...

First, I ride almost only muni, primarily on 29er w/150s. The thing I struggle with is what a bike rider I know calls "blowing out my legs" on a climb. I tend to do whatever I need to do to stay on the uni and keep climbing, which means I often overexert on a climb and end up either not completing it (due to UPD or running out of steam), or make it but suffer from going anaerobic on the climb. What I would ideally like to be able to do is figure out, as precisely as possible, the minimum effort required to maintain forward motion, and keep that pace so that I can successfully climb most of the hills I encounter.

My riding buddy and I have been doing some significant hill climbing practice lately, riding fire-road hills with around 8-10% grades (there aren't many hills where I live, so not a lot of choice) for 2-4 miles. I've been more successful in finding the rhythm that others have talked about, and notice that my buddy rides at a slightly higher cadence up the hills than I do--not a ton, but he ends up significantly further ahead. We were talking about how we're each just trying to stay in the "flow" zone, where things are just kind of clicking along and going well. The simple practice is probably helping a lot, too.

But I guess the test will be when I'm riding the regular trails and see if the practice on fire roads helps out there. I'll be crossing my fingers.
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Old 2009-04-15, 05:01 AM   #33
scott ttocs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkittle View Post

My riding buddy and I have been doing some significant hill climbing practice lately, riding fire-road hills with around 8-10% grades (there aren't many hills where I live, so not a lot of choice) for 2-4 miles. I've been more successful in finding the rhythm that others have talked about, and notice that my buddy rides at a slightly higher cadence up the hills than I do--not a ton, but he ends up significantly further ahead. We were talking about how we're each just trying to stay in the "flow" zone, where things are just kind of clicking along and going well. The simple practice is probably helping a lot, too.
If you can ride up an 8-10% grade for four miles (gaining 1800 feet?! ), what are you complaining about? What hills "blow out" your legs if they are good for these rides?
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Old 2009-04-15, 10:14 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by onewheeldave View Post
I can tell by what people post from other regions that what they consider a 'steep' hill, would, by Sheffield standards, be better described as 'mild'.

People who talk about tackling 'steep' hills on Cokers with 110mm cranks,for example, are, I suspect, not riding the kind of hills that I'd call 'steep'.
The 'steep' hill at the end of my road is so steep that it has a handrail for people walking up it! I can't ride up it on coker with 110s at the moment, but mainly because I haven't ridden coker for a couple of years. I don't think it'd be impossible if you built up leg strength.

I think you might be surprised about what people can get up on a Coker with 110s though. Particularly if you haven't ridden with any of the strongest riders out there. I don't think there is any road hill in the UK that isn't rideable on a 29er with 125s, or at least I haven't found one yet - and I've seen people like Sam and Tue climb stuff that is close to the limits of my 29er ability when they were on a coker with 110s. There is a stinking great hill out of Ambergate in the Peak District, seeing that lot of fast people ride up it on coker whilst I was in low gear on the 29er was kind of scary.

When I was in New Zealand, we rode Arthur's Pass from Hokitika - at one point that is 1:6 for several km (there is 1000m of ascent in the whole day) - I cranked up it slowly on a 29er with 125s, most people walked bits, Roger Davies just powered up it on his 36", I think he had 125mm cranks on.

The road I live on now is fun to ride up - it is not super steep, but it is made of big Derbyshire stones, so it is basically one big lovely rock garden. It's like a little bit of muni at the end of every ride.

Also, you can work out percentage grades of hills by looking at how much it goes up on an ordnance survey map, and how long it is, then using the formula here. Streetmap.co.uk has 1:25,000 OS maps which are good to calculate gradients off.

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Old 2009-04-15, 11:28 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by joemarshall View Post

When I was in New Zealand, we rode Arthur's Pass from Hokitika - at one point that is 1:6 for several km (there is 1000m of ascent in the whole day) - I cranked up it slowly on a 29er with 125s, most people walked bits, Roger Davies just powered up it on his 36", I think he had 125mm cranks on.

Joe
Arthur's Pass sounds like a beautiful but brutal ride. I mapped out the route you described:

http://www.mapmyride.com/route/nz/ho...23979447293515

(How far did you go in a day? It is a long, steep ride!)

You can sign up for the routing service here:

http://www.mapmyride.com

It is free and it lets you map out and share rides. If you click the elevation option, it includes a profile map with road grades. You can map out road rides or wilderness rides (by turning off the "follow road" option under settings.) It is a fun site to play with, and you can share routes. (I have no affiliation or financial interest.)
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Old 2009-04-15, 03:40 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by scott ttocs View Post
Arthur's Pass sounds like a beautiful but brutal ride. I mapped out the route you described:

http://www.mapmyride.com/route/nz/ho...23979447293515

(How far did you go in a day? It is a long, steep ride!)
I think we did Hokitika -> Arthur's Pass village one day, then Arthur's Pass -> Springfield, then Springfield -> Christchurch. It is a nice ride for sure. If you have a muni with you, Craigieburn is a great ride round there too.

Joe
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Old 2009-04-15, 06:22 PM   #37
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I hadn't ridden my unicycle since the summer of 2007 until Monday and hill training is where my renewed journey has begun. I now live in Pittsburgh near a rather large and hilly, forested and trail-covered area called Frick Park. I've also gotten married and gained some weight (unrelated I hope). I'm now in a position and place where unicycling can fit back into my life and I want to once again go at it full force. While home on Easter I got my unicycle, a custom-built 26er by municycle.com in Germany. I'm ashamed to say it's gathered a little rust.

So, upon entering the park on Monday afternoon I was ready to knock the rust off the uni and myself as well. I was happy to mount on the first attempt and roll off somewhat unsteadily. The ride went well, very cautiously, though well until I reached a the bottom of the ravine and had to make my way up. I huffed and puffed, see-ed and sawed my way up the steep incline, which carried on and on. It was an absolute killer and my legs were dead after I made it up (falling once). I managed to go back down the ravine and fought with everything I had to keep myself going up the other side and did eventually make it, tired and breathless enough to walk the uni the ten minutes home.

That may sound like I had an awful time of those hills, but actually they are what motivates me beyond anything. Today I went out for my second ride and tackled two more big inclines. Neither of them were any easier than the first day's hills, but I felt a little bit steadier. I know that in a month I will be mounting those crests with relative ease and will be zooming around those trails with a huge smile on my face. That smile was on my face today as well, but largely owed to looking towards the future.
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Old 2009-04-28, 03:44 AM   #38
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I have been trying something new on hill climbing. When I was just learning I found grabbing the seat and really jamming down the pedals very helpful. Since that time my balance has improved a lot. My new "drill" is to try some road hills and some dirt hills without touching the handle at all. It forces me to stay in balance, and it also keeps my speed down. If I try to take it too fast I end up pushing myself off the unicycle. (That is why I originally found grabbing the handle so helpful.) So I go slow and easy up the hill, hopefully in balance the whole way.

Is this be best way to climb hills? No, but it is great for building skills. I still usually ride holding onto the handle, but I can now get up some steep (OK, steep for me) hills without UPDing. The key for me is to stay in balance and take it at an easy rate. The handle lets me power up the hill, but in tricky or rough spots I can slow down and take it a half-crank at a time without UPDing.
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Old 2009-04-28, 07:06 AM   #39
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I have a hill near my home which is my own private Everest: never succeeded in climbing it (rather long ascent).
I have tried it with every uni I own (from 20" to Coker) and after 6 years I still fail!
the problem is not leg strength but either I run out of steam (breath ... effort asthma starts) or, if I try slower, I UPD (and I am unable to freemount big wheels when going up!).

this limitation in hill climbing (and fear of passing-by cars) is why I do not practice long distance (for Muni I don't care : I just walk up!)
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Old 2009-04-28, 08:10 AM   #40
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the problem is not leg strength but either I run out of steam (breath ... effort asthma starts) or, if I try slower, I UPD (and I am unable to freemount big wheels when going up!).

this limitation in hill climbing (and fear of passing-by cars) is why I do not practice long distance (for Muni I don't care : I just walk up!)
I'd love to see a pic of your "Everest". My hill is on a bridge that has handrials along the pedestrian track. If I run out of steam or UPD for whatever reason I just mount holding the rail. The rail is also tall enough to keep me inside on the bridge and out of the river below. Any lower and it would be scary looking over the edge.
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Old 2009-04-28, 08:28 AM   #41
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My "Everest"
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Old 2009-04-28, 09:55 AM   #42
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I'd love to see a pic of your "Everest". .
don' have a picture but here it is under the name "route de la fontaine au lynx"
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...16716&t=h&z=16

it starts from a lake at the bottom and ends up at the big road: I do not have in my office the google that will allow me to calculate the height of the hill (it's not terrible ... except for me!)
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Old 2009-04-29, 04:30 AM   #43
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it starts from a lake at the bottom and ends up at the big road: I do not have in my office the google that will allow me to calculate the height of the hill (it's not terrible ... except for me!)
Lotta trees out there... it must be nice to have natural hills and not have to seek out manmade hills.
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Old 2009-04-29, 06:42 AM   #44
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don' have a picture but here it is under the name "route de la fontaine au lynx"
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...16716&t=h&z=16

it starts from a lake at the bottom and ends up at the big road: I do not have in my office the google that will allow me to calculate the height of the hill (it's not terrible ... except for me!)
Hey, I think I rode that hill*. There is an offroad track from the top of it back down to the lake right?

Joe

*I was on a 26" though
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Old 2009-04-29, 12:12 PM   #45
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I think you might be surprised about what people can get up on a Coker with 110s though.
I'd agree with that. Some people just seem to like short cranks and it doesn't seem to stop them climbing the hills.

I'm not a fan of short cranks myself, but in my experience it doesn't seem any harder climbing hills on my 36er with 145s than on my 26x3 muni with 150s. In theory the higher gear on the bigger wheel should make it harder. There's one bit of road on my usual commute that's mostly between 1:6 and 1:5 for a quarter of a mile, then levels out to 1:8 or so for half a mile. When I first got my coker I didn't think I'd be able to ride it, but it seems no harder than on the muni.

My recommendation for hill training is live on top of a big hill, work at the bottom and ride to work

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