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  1. #1
    Kick Start My Heart
    Reputation: davez26's Avatar
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    Better climbing: Who gets credit, weight loss or skills? And other questions.

    So I've lost 25# or so by riding a lot more and watching my diet. Wasn't to far out of shape, I've done bike events at 250, but got serious this year. 6'1", 259 to 234. Nothing too crazy, and l've been doing a lot of road riding to prep for some events on that bike. So I've been getting some PRs on Strava, and I wonder:
    Is this due to less weight, or much better fitness and skills? I suppose a little of both.
    I get cold easier since losing weight. In my head or normal?
    My clothes are getting bigger? I know the answer to this one. I am getting smaller.
    One cool thing out of this is that I have to refigure tire pressures and sag on the bikes. Nice!

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  2. #2
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    I climb better since I've lost weight. Because of this I ride more because I'm not intimidated by the climbs anymore at the trails I go to. I ride better because my fitness level is improving due to riding more because I lost weight. So far from 320 in December to 268 this morning.

  3. #3
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
    Reputation: Zachariah's Avatar
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    Weight trumps everything else, when it comes to climbing. Reward yourself with a lighter bike, once your weight loss goal is met....then, it's WOW!
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  4. #4
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    I've climbed Bear Mountain in New York twice now. Last year and last month.
    Even though I weight a few pounds more than last year, I had less trouble
    climbing this year. Same bike, same gearing. So, I'm guessing my legs and
    lungs are in better condition.

    RIDE WITH THE NEW YORK CYCLE CLUB - YouTube

  5. #5
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    Reputation: evasive's Avatar
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    Better climbing: Who gets credit, weight loss or skills? And other questions.

    I'll disagree. I have gotten older, fatter, and stronger. I am probably 8 lbs heavier than I've been the last 5 years (230ish, would like to be ~200). On the other hand, I climb much better than even a year or 2 ago. I'm on an AM bike that probably weighs in the mid 30s so I'm not a fast climber, but I'm consistent.

    I think the biggest thing is learning to budget your energy. When you can idle along (and how to do that) and when you have to throw in the bursts of energy. Being lighter and fitter is big, but I know some fit guys who don't know how to ride a bike, and it shows.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  6. #6
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    8 pounds isn't much though. I take a crap after a big meal and loose 8 pounds. When we are talking about loosing 20 pounds or more, that's when the difference is pretty noticeable. I can tell quite a difference since loosing nearly 50 pounds since last riding season. And in my case, I'm on a SS so there's no budgeting my energy. Not the short steep climbs we have here. It's on or off.

  7. #7
    beater
    Reputation: evasive's Avatar
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    Better climbing: Who gets credit, weight loss or skills? And other questions.

    Great. But that doesn't have anything to do with my point: there are other factors that can lead to better climbing. No, 8 pounds isn't huge, but it's enough that I do notice it, and if the OP specified a weight loss threshold, I missed it. And while it's not huge, it's in the wrong direction, and I'm still consistently climbing better. My rides, for reference, tend to be sustained grinders in the ~1,000 foot range.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  8. #8
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    I don't see skill meaning or doing much of anything if you don't have the cardio to back it up.
    Pedaling Gorilla

  9. #9
    beater
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    Quote Originally Posted by goforbroke View Post
    I don't see skill meaning or doing much of anything if you don't have the cardio to back it up.
    Nobody skate skis, huh? Skate skiing is an incredibly technique-dependent sport. A very fit person who doesn't have the technique down won't last too long, and has a good chance of being outskated by a better skier, even one who isn't as fit. Mountain biking isn't quite as technique heavy, but still requires a fair amount, at least in my experience.

    It shouldn't be hard to understand that experience/technique/skill allows a rider to budget their energy and spend it more efficiently. Having more energy for longer meets my definition of "better climbing." I did a group ride last summer that starts with a 3,000' climb. I felt pretty good at the top, but one of the riders was completely wiped out by the time he made the summit, despite being pretty fit. He didn't know when to diesel, when to attack, how to identify a rest opportunity, or how to navigate a technical feature. Or think about a climb like Amasa Back with lots of little punchy climbs - if you have the skillset, it's not particularly taxing. But if you don't know how to climb that kind of trail, it's punishment.

    Nobody would argue that climbing is easier when you're lighter and fitter. I'm not. When I wrote "I'll disagree" in my initial response I was responding to Zachariah's statement that weight trumps all else (but I was on Tapatalk and didn't quote the post). The idea that improving your skills plays no role in improving your climbing is completely counter to my experience.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  10. #10
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    I struggled with the same hills for years at 255. At 220 I can get right up them. I don't think it's because my skills suddenly increased after being stagnant for many seasons. I see it in other activities too from running to yoga. Everything is a factor in better climbing but in my opinion weight is a bigger factor than the others.
    He who dares....wins!

  11. #11
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    what gets you up the hill is power/weight. A 10% increase in power is going to have the same effect on your climbing speed as a 10% reduction in weight. So yeah you are climbing stronger because of both, but I'd guess it's skewed a bit toward the weight side, because just riding more (as opposed to structured workouts from a coach) is unlikely to make you that much stronger, assuming you were in decent shape to begin with.

    Technique does enter into it, but not nearly as much as some other sports. Turning the cranks is turning the cranks - it isn't like swimming where good form can make an out of shape guy fast and all the fitness in the world won't make you fast without form.

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