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  1. #1
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    Having trouble climbing -

    A little background first - I'm 6'4" 230 to 240 lbs and 50 years old. I have been mountain biking about 10 years and considered myself to be an intermediate. I didn't make everything, every time I tried to ride it but I make most things fairly consistently. Then I started taking a mtb class because there were several climbs I never made. The instructor is a woman and most of the students are women. Now I feel like I'm getting weaker and weaker at climbing and am a solid beginner mountain biker.

    Thru the class I have recognized that previously I was making most climbs and ledges with momentum. If I hit the snag with enough speed I made it over. If I didn't have the speed at the bottom I wouldn't make it. Most of the class we are starting just before the climb from a dead stop. Other students are making them and the instructor always demonstrates how to make it so I know it can be done. Since the class is focused on control and picking lines I'm going slower and making it over fewer and fewer obstacles. Even when I'm not riding with the class I find myself riding slower.

    In the class I spend most of the run up just getting clipped in with very little time/distance left to accelerate. Since I'm going so slow and still not clipped in, I'm struggling with balance and lines right up to the ledge. I get bounced out of the line I want with every little rock I hit. And since I'm not clipped in I can only push down on the pedals, not pull up. I would think I could generate at least as much climbing force as anyone in the class, but it seems everyone climbs better than me. Yes, I know I out weigh them, but I would think I could lift my body weight just as well as they could lift theirs.

    Any advice for me? Is it that much harder for a clyde to climb than smaller/lighter riders?

  2. #2
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    I am no expert at climbing by any means, but it sounds like you are talking about short steep climbs (5' - 20' vertical) and probably with rocks/roots (not long fire road type climbs). I believe momentum is your friend, why slow down to pedal up the hill if you can hit it with speed and use your momentum to clear the hill and obstacles.

    I don't believe it is harder for a "clyde" to climb, but I do think it is harder for a rider with a lower power to weight (p/w) ratio to climb and most (not all) clyes have a higher (w) and thus a lower (p/w). I do know some clydes that have a high power to weight ratio and smoke most people on hills (their legs are pistons!!).

    Never heard of mtb classes? Can you provide us with some sort of link? Best class is to ride with someone better than you and then either by watching what they do, or just trying to keep up, will make you a better rider.

  3. #3
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    I think gasiorv is right. I about die on long fire road climbs but short steep ones aren't too bad for me. It's all in how much of your momentum you can sustain on the climb, not how much climbing you can do from a dead stop.
    What am I supposed to put here again?

  4. #4
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    These are indeed short steep or ledgey/rocky climbs. We are stopped just below the climb as each student gets their turn. We stop fairly close to the climb so we can see what each student does and how they made it or where they got stuck.

    Before the class I would hit the bottom of these with as much speed as I could. Speed is EXTREMELY helpful in clearing a ledge or rock garden or whatever. But I don't have any speed when I start ~5 foot vertically below and maybe 30 feet horizontally away from whatever we are working on. Keep in mind almost everything in our area is rocks. The rocks are loose and bounce you around as you hit them or they are held in place and form ledges.

    I am being frustrated at no longer being able to clear what I use to clear consistently. But I can say that I'm getting better at making things at very slow speed. Previously if I came to a near stop I dab'd a foot or get off and walked over it.

    I will see if I can find a link or something. Our instructor posted on a local board that she was starting a class and I joined. I had been riding with anyone I could before the class, faster or slower, but that wasn't helping me much. The fast guys were SOOOOO much faster I rarely saw what they did. When I did see them it was like they flew the bike over ledges that I had to pound up. Then I saw them practicing bunny hopping on to a picnic table. I didn't want to ride with them until my skills improved a LOT. I wasn't learning much from the slow guys I was riding with - I just had to stop and wait for them.

  5. #5
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    There are some pictures in post #9 on this thread - Thank You Austin we are stopped / starting from about where the ledge pictures are taken from.

  6. #6
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    "I am being frustrated at no longer being able to clear what I use to clear consistently. But I can say that I'm getting better at making things at very slow speed. Previously if I came to a near stop I dab'd a foot or get off and walked over it."

    It sounds like your learning good slow speed technique, but at the same time I don't think anyone would tell you hitting a hill with speed is "wrong"
    Have you asked her about it?

  7. #7
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    Momentum is our friend.
    But, if you have to start from a stand-still, us hosses can put down some torque, albeit, for short periods (at least in my world).

    Just glanced at those pics in other thread - speed won't get you through the step-like climb, just choose a clean line, keep your balance & power through.
    Trailwrecker at large

  8. #8
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    Update - I went out this morning and pretty much just worked on climbs. I found that what was taught in the class works good if I follow the instruction. The class was to sit on the nose of my saddle and grind away on the granny ring. That works. But I was a dirt biker for many years and that doesn't come naturally to me. When it gets steep I want to stand up and move forward. That doesn't work with the granny ring. All I do is spin. If I move my weight back to control the spin it starts working again. How far back? To the nose of the saddle! Doh!

    What I had been doing and am more comfortable with is to stay in the middle ring. That way I carry more speed / momentum and spin less. Yes I have to crank harder but it seems to work better for me. At least that is the way I'm used to riding. If I start spinning in the middle ring I can move back and get traction again. But on a tough climb if I spin or lose momentum, I'm pretty much done anyway.

    After having figured this out I have to chose one or the other. Combining them doesn't work. Either sit on the nose and grind in granny or stay on the middle ring and carry speed. Maybe with practice I can learn to start with speed in the middle ring and drop to granny and sit down if I need to.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CxAgent2
    Update - I went out this morning and pretty much just worked on climbs. I found that what was taught in the class works good if I follow the instruction. The class was to sit on the nose of my saddle and grind away on the granny ring. That works. But I was a dirt biker for many years and that doesn't come naturally to me. When it gets steep I want to stand up and move forward. That doesn't work with the granny ring. All I do is spin. If I move my weight back to control the spin it starts working again. How far back? To the nose of the saddle! Doh!

    What I had been doing and am more comfortable with is to stay in the middle ring. That way I carry more speed / momentum and spin less. Yes I have to crank harder but it seems to work better for me. At least that is the way I'm used to riding. If I start spinning in the middle ring I can move back and get traction again. But on a tough climb if I spin or lose momentum, I'm pretty much done anyway.

    After having figured this out I have to chose one or the other. Combining them doesn't work. Either sit on the nose and grind in granny or stay on the middle ring and carry speed. Maybe with practice I can learn to start with speed in the middle ring and drop to granny and sit down if I need to.
    In my experience (25 years....maybe less than yours ):

    Dont lose your confidence.............you sound like you know what your trying to do ....and can do most of it.

    Fit(ish) clydes can generate quite a lot of power even if their pw ratio is not as good. Most (certainly not all) Lighter riders cannot sit on the saddle in the middle ring going up a steepish climb.........they HAVE to stand up or use the granny ring. Sitting is more efficient...........therefore they use the granny ring. If your fit enough to stomp up the climb in the middle ring .....do it..........it will take its toll after 20 or 30 miles but...........

    Watch the pro racers....unless the course is VERY technical their PW ratio (and VR Max)is good enough to use bigger gears ....watch how many will be using a double rather than a triple chainset next year or look carefully to see if any are running bigger inner rings on their triples.

    On my mountain bike I like to stay seated and use a 34 X 32 unless it gets really steep then I drop into the granny ring and prey .....i usually find I can run faster ......I know this defeats the object but it brings it into perspective a little.

    Its funny cause on my road bike I have to stop myself from standing to much during long climbs as i know this is ineficcient...(i wonder if it something to do with the frame angles ).........A lot of the people I ride with run out of gears on the big hills (road) and have no choice but to get out of the saddle......

  10. #10
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    With 25 years of mountain biking - you have at least double my experience. And was out for over a year. I try to say that my dirt biking experience transfers - but some does and some doesn't. Keeping my butt on the seat doesn't transfer because I could only sit down for very short times. Now I'm trying to learn the sitting trick.

    I would like to say I'm fit or even fitish but watching other riders and my pot belly tell me otherwise. I'm working on it but it took me years to get this way so it isn't going away overnight. Teach me to sit at a desk all day. As far as riding 20 to 30 miles - I haven't done 20 miles off road yet. I'll try for 20 in the morning. I tend to use up all of my energy in 10 to 15 miles. If I feel like I would go longer I usually add tougher routes and end up in the 10 to 12 range. I have done long road rides but I prefer off road riding. In my opinion road rides are a social event and mountain bike rides are for fun.

    I have ridden off road with some very, very good riders. They stay on their big ring most of the time. When they have to drop to their middle ring I'm struggling to stay in the middle ring or even keep moving at all. It is clear that they use momentum to clear obstacles. (Actually most times they bunny hop what I have to pound my way thru.) I was trying to keep my speed up and use momentum but that is not what the class is teaching. I think I will a better rider if I learn both - and when to apply them. Thanks for your comments and encouragement.

  11. #11
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    From what I'm reading I think you clearly stated where you can make a lot of improvement. Balance. Both side to side, and front to back. This will help both with you clipping in and when your actually going uphill.

    I'm glad the class taught lines and that is incredibly important when you are as big as we are. Using a little more gear and only going to the granny when you absolutely about to burn out helps as well. The key is taking a smooth line, laying down the power smoothly, and if and when you do have to stand to slowly shift your weight back slightly to give your rear tire more grip. Having the right tire pressure and tires don't hurt either.

    Can you trackstand? Oh yeah, how long?

  12. #12
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    Can I track stand? Only if you count a few seconds as a track stand. So no. A large part of the class is improving balance and mine can use improvement.

    Picking lines is something that does transfer from dirt biking. I usually see the line I want quickly but rarely can hit that line. I usually have 2 or 3 'contingency lines' .

    An update - I did 15 miles this morning. I overslept or I would have done 20 miles. Worked on climbing for a good part of it. I am definitely finding that staying in the middle ring and applying power smoothly helped. I had not done that before.

    I am also finding that pedaling BEFORE I think I need to helps. I was downshifting before the hill then waiting until my speed had dropped to match the gear before I started pedaling. Bad move. If I start pedaling earlier I frequently never reached the point of maximum mashing on the pedals. That made it MUCH easier to climb.

    I will post pictures later.

  13. #13
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    Balance

    Yep......airdefence is right............pick the right line......ride smooootthh......and balance.

    Something i have noticed...(i wonder if any other clydes have??).............my balance was very good when I was lighter................
    My dad was a roadie (fixed gear of course ) and told me I needed to practice trackstands.....so when I was 14 I practiced ..a LOT...I used toe clips and straps..............eventually when trying to beat my "record" in the house I came off and broke my shoulder ...haha
    My balance (and technical rididing) is nowhere near as good as it was and I think this has a lot to do with weight (maybe my center of gravity has shifted as I can now do track stands sat on the saddle better than standing up ))....or maybe its cause i reached the grand age of 46.

    It may be worth your while practicing trackstands and just hopping about on the bike.(I do this on grass now and use flat pedals to improve my technique rather than clipping in, and its easier to bail....its also quite good excercise...............don't worry if your not actually "hopping" the bike..........it will still improve your low speed balance.

    Have fun..............

  14. #14
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    i like to stay seated as much as possible and just spin my way up the climb... as long as I can keep myself "on top of the gear" i just spin my way up with out issue... if I drop to a lower cadance my legs give me fits about having to mash my way up.... but for short quick climbs hit it with the right amount of speed and momentum my way up is far easier then grunting (and spinnging the tires) your way up.
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    You will find that if you sit and spin, you have a natural cadence that fits you best and most comfortably, that you can maintain. You may need to adjust gears to find this gear that will allow you to maintain this cadence through the steepest part of the climb.

    The key is learning how to apply your power to the pedals with just enough lift and down pressure to maintain that smooth cadence. Sometimes you need to session the climb to figure out what works for you. If momentum works for you go with it. If you can learn to save some reserves and just maintain cadence and pedal through while sitting on the nose and keeping the front end down while the back end bites, you'll improve a lot. Sometimes, brand of tires, aggressiveness of tread and adjustment of air pressure is what it takes to clean a climb. Sometimes it takes dry weather. Sometimes it takes cool weather where you won't overheat. Sometimes it just takes a bit more riding and conditioning climbing to get over the hurdle.
    I mix and match on an as needed basis between sit on the nose and spin versus stand and mash. BTW, some frame designs are amazing at climbing chunk. My Niner RIP made it much easier for me to clean chunk on stuff I used to get defeated by on my single pivot 26 incher. I'm 225, 6' 5" and 50 also. Keep trying, keep experimenting, and figure out what works best for you. Downhillers will tell you that in chunk, speed is your friend. The same can hold true for climbing, if you can maintain it and momentum while going uphill.

  16. #16
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    Sitting on the nose of the saddle helps. Steady power is good. Another thing that can help on very steep pitches, when your chest get's close to the stem is to pull up on the handlebars-this is another way to weight the back wheel.

    Observations:
    -Clyde's greater weight makes it more difficult for him to balance.
    -You can apply only so much power to a wheel before it breaks free and spins. Clydes need more power to go up since we weigh more. Therefore, we are more likely to spin-out on a steep ascent.
    -Momentum is your friend, but sometimes a climb requires slow speed climbing skills.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for all the good advice.

    Had class again this morning. This was probably the most frustrating class or ride I can remember. We were working on a climb we have worked on before. I have never made that climb. Its not a climb I would look at and think "I don't think I could climb that". But I have not made it yet. We also worked on a climb leading to that one that I usually make. I didn't make that one a single time today. And I had enough run at this one that I was always clipped in and had decent speed. There is no excuse for me not making that climb since I consistently make it any other day. Did I mention that I was very frustrated today?

    I finally split off from the group and rode by myself - or should have. I ran across a couple of ladies riding alone and clearly not knowing where they were going. I asked if they need directions and one of them started calling my name. Turns out it was the Physical Therapist who worked on my broken leg for most of a year. I rode with them until my PT fell on a rocky down hill and broke her wrist. After we got it splinted and walked her out she told me this was her third time to mountain bike. If I had known that I would not have taken them on that downhill. More frustration. Yes, I was watching them ride and gaging what they could ride so I could pick trails that were appropriate. Both of them were riding strong and under control. We stopped just before the hill and talked about it, what to expect, what line to take, and to get off and walk if she wanted too. I didn't see the fall but she said she hit it with too much speed and bounced off the smoother line into a big jumble of rocks. I guess she felt pressured to ride it by both of us riding in front of her.

  18. #18
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    Wow, sounds like a rough day.

    Climbing is a personal aspect of the sport. There are techniques, just like in motorcycles, but everyone figures out their own way to apply the techniques. MTB has even more variables like speed and how the motor is feeling on a particular day. Best thing you can do is practice and find a groove that works for you. I will say that slamming into climbs at high speed will likely cause more headaches that good climbs.

    Bigger obstacles/rocks do require speed to pop up on top of, but the rest of the time rock crawling is best done in a low gear at a speed that is fast enough. How fast is that? Fast enough to keep moving forwards without getting stopped by the rocks you are trying to get through.

    Clyde has nothing to do with climbing ability. Health, strength, balance, and coordination play heavily in the equation though. The latter 3 can make up for lack in the first if you take it down a notch and spin a lighter gear
    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine
    that's the stupidest idea this side of pinkbike.

  19. #19
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    btw you can be huge and have balance. i can still hop on only the back wheel for at least a minute before i exhuast myself. I asked about the track stand because that if very common to most people, and its great practice.

    thought about this today on my ride, try leaning on a tree to clip in before climbs, at least one foot so you have more time to get going. also, only clip in on down stroke so your foot is pushing down and forward. that will make that a lot easier for you.

  20. #20
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    Have you tried spinning the middle chain ring, sitting on the tip of the saddle, and leaning back off the bars? It gives you great feel for what's going on under your butt.
    I like cheap stuff that works great and is very sturdy.

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    just thought.....shoes

    Just had a thought.................if your not clipping in very quickly, look at what type of shoes you are using and the positioning of the cleat.

    I had to cut quite a bit of the sole away on my present (cheap ) pair to clip in quickly and have spent more time "adjusting" the cleat than any other pair...........just a thought.

  22. #22
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    First some answers -

    I need to and have started working on track stands. If I ride up to a stop I might go a few seconds. If I jump on the bike at a stop I'm doing good to make it that long. I will continue to work on my balance.

    Shoes - I have had trouble clipping in. I will check my shoes to see if that is part of the problem. When I can I hold onto a tree and clip in both sides before I ever start pedaling.

    I think the biggest cause is a lack of strength. For my weight (~250 lbs) I don't think I can generate as much push as the lighter people. I will bet I weight about 100 lbs more than most people in the class. Easily 50 lbs more than the next largest guy. I started doing hill climbs on the road yesterday to try to improve my strength. I know its not the same. But if the problem is a lack of strength on my part then repeated hill climbs of any sort will improve that.

    Now for some pictures. The first three are a climb I now make consistently.


    This is the bottom of the climb. It doesn't look hard at all in the picture. But you are making a left turn just before you get to it then all the ledges are off camber trying to push you to the right. This bottom part is really about just keeping your balance and keeping moving. Ahead you can see my bike just before a right turn.


    You can see my bike in the picture to show location. Just out of the right turn is about a 1 foot ledge at the top of a short ramp. (ledge is almost directly above my left grip) There is one line of the ledge that has some 'ramp' to it so if you can hit that line its not a hard ledge. But you have to get to this point with your balance and get lined up properly. At the same time I have to be accelerating hard so I have some momentum to get over this ledge. The problem for me was both hitting the line and accelerating. If I get to far to the right there is a double snag where my front wheel hits a small bump at the same time my rear wheel is climbing the ledge. I finally quit worrying about hitting exactly 'the line' and just accelerated enough that I could climb the square part of the ledge.



    If I get my back wheel over that ledge (lower left of the center of the picture), the rest is easy. It just about 6 foot more vertical over about 20 foot horizontal with some roots at the top. There is time to get momentum back before I get to the roots.

    Note this is a climb I had never made before the class. Now I make it most of the time. I credit that to the class teaching me to slow down and balance a little more than just 'hit it with momentum'.

    I will post some pictures of the next trouble spot in a separate post.
    Last edited by CxAgent2; 08-17-2009 at 01:17 PM.

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    power

    If you think you are lacking power lots of hills are obviously a good idea......dont forget the protien drink when finished and these sessions should be 30 - 60 minutes (maybe a bit longer depending on fitness)

    Try some interval work....gear where you can just keep your cadence at 50 - 60 stay seated, do 4- 6 of between 5- 10 mins with your recovery interval at half of your "climb".

    If you drop below 50 then the gear is to high and can cause knee problems so be careful.

    I much prefer to do these on my turbo trainer or sometimes road bike.......whatever ....I dont particularly enjoy these sessions but have come to accept that there is "riding" and there is "trainning".....(i think riding should always be enjoyable

    Interesting photos.....i live in the uk so i have no idea about that type of dirt.....but i am intersted...........is it powdery and fine or course and hard? ....loose or quite compact?

    Whatever it is it looks better than the wet muddy cack and loose stone I usually ride.....our summer has been very poor for the 3rd year here in the North East(uk)

  24. #24
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    These pictures are the next big climb on that same part of the trail (Windy Loop).



    This is the bottom of the climb. Doesn't look too hard. There is a slight right turn at the top of this picture. I usually spin out on the last root in this picture at the beginning of the right turn.



    This is the view looking just above and to the right of the previous picture. I have never made it past the little ledge near the lower left of this picture



    I've never made it this far still on the bike. I have either spun out or stalled out on the roots or rock below. I normally pull off behind the tree on the left to get back on the bike. I can ride the rest of it clipped in or not. But I haven't managed to keep moving all the way thru here.

    So I can make the first climb consistently. But I haven't made the second climb ever. This doesn't make sense to me. The second climb doesn't look that much harder than the first one. The only thing I can think is I'm just too weak to power up the second climb.

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    The first climb is pretty much hard rocks with a few loose "marbles" scattered about. The second climb right now is loose powdery dirt with loose rocks everywhere. We haven't had any rain in months. I've tried the second climb with it has been hard packed dirt and even a little wet. It always get stuck (spun or stalled) at about the same spot.

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    age = ...nothing lasts forever. Sad but true.
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    I think you need to ditch the riding class. There was a climb I couldn't make and I just kept hittin' it in different gears until I made it. Followed a few different lines, too.
    Some of the climbs on my regular rides vary greatly with the weather. If it's been very dry, they get too sandy and I probably won't make them. I have good days and bad days.
    I like turtles

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    Quote Originally Posted by zarr
    age = ...nothing lasts forever. Sad but true.
    I got about the same thing from the cardiologist today. She also said that the "beta blocker" she has me on is limiting my heart rate so I don't have a "major cardiac event". I won't go into what those were - none were good. So the bottom line in her opinion was that I reached this age in mediocre shape and it will take MUCH more work than it ever has to improve my conditioning. I'm not going down without a fight but it does confirm some of what I thought I had observed. Looks like I will be doing a LOT of hill repeats to go with more fun rides.

  29. #29
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    An update so that anyone having similar problems can use this thread as a reference.

    I got my brother to go ride with me and coach me.He has been biking for years (bmx to mtb and recently road) while I was dirt biking and recently came to biking He had some interesting comments.

    First he noticed I wasn't pedaling full circles. I had worked and worked on that so I just quit for some reason. I started again and quickly found out I haven't been for long enough that my muscles aren't used to it anymore. Then we figure out my pedal adjustment is so loose that I pull out of them when I try to apply max power. I cranked them up by 4 clicks before I quit pulling out accidentally. I used to be a little to tight with the same setting so I wonder what happened.

    Then we start climbing a hill that we have hit in the class. It has 4 - 5 ledges from about 6 inches to almost 24 inches high. First attempt I try to hit it with enough momentum. He points out that no matter how fast I hit the bottom I will be out of momentum before I get to the largest ledge near the top. Momentum is never going to get me up this climb. So he demonstrates going to granny gear and powering up the climb - slow but effective.

    I try and can't keep my balance. In low - low I keep trying to accelerate on the easier parts so I have momentum for the next ledge. But by accelerating and overspinning my cranks I lose balance and get bounced way off my line. I have to slow down and keep a steady load on the chain. Now I can maintain my balance and stay on my line.

    But now I lift the front wheel over a ledge and stop when my rear wheel hits it. I'm not lifting my rear wheel over the ledge. Since I am used to using momentum to climb everything I don't normally need to worry about lifting the rear wheel - clear the front wheel and the rear follows it up. At this lower speed I have to at least unweight the rear or I stop dead when the rear wheel hits the ledge.

    So I start watching other people ride during the class and elsewhere. There look to be two very different ways people ride the same climb. Some people use momentum like I was doing. The problem with this approach it that some climbs will always burn up all of your momentum before you are finished. Some people downshift and grind up a climb at lower speeds. They move slower but appear to be more consistent in making the tough climbs. The best riders do both. The use momentum where possible and grind where they have to. The very best riders can shift back and forth during the same climb. I generally throw my chain if I try to shift during a hard climb. So for the moment I am picking at least the chain ring before the climb and only shifting the rear during a climb.

    Hmm, lots of new things to think about and practice. Clearly I need more practice. I just have to start riding more

  30. #30
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    So sorry to hear that you've determined that you will need to ride your bike more to master this skill. We all have our burdens.

    Your description is very good.

    I try to avoid being in low-low (small in front--#1 in back) in technical conditions like the climb you describe. There are two reasons for this: 1) When you loose speed in low-low there is no way to down shift, 2) I find that granny up front and #2 in back allows me to build momentum in-between obstacles. You might want to work on riding this climb in low up front and #2 in back, this will allow you to build momentum for the ledges.

    Admittedly, there are certain climbs where I have no option.

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    I am finding the same thing. Low - low is too low for anything but sitting and spinning. It has to been really steep for that to work. I climb better in granny - 3 since I can gain some speed if I get the opportunity. It also seems to help with climbing because I have enough load on the pedals that I can power the front wheel up and hold it there for a while. Since I rarely used granny before I'm having to learn such things.

  32. #32
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    Right, I like granny - 3 also, the best choice is very situational. I use that for a couple of technical creek crossings near me; basically rock gardens with water flowing over them.

    On my bike, granny - 3 is similar to middle - 1, but has the advantage of allowing me to down shift if needed. There are a few climbs around me where I go in at speed in granny-3 knowing I'll be in granny-1 by the top.

  33. #33
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    I guess I take for granted that I can do pretty good on technical climbs. I'm not the best in my group by any means. Riding in New England forces you to figure out how to climb.
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  34. #34
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    If you choose or are in a certain moment climbing on the nose of the saddle you must use your weight around to get balance. The upper part of your body still can make a huge difference. And to pass those ledges you definitely must at least unweight the rear wheel.

    About the start, a friend of mine always says that we should use the breaks. Try to use your front break, clip your "strong" foot on a power position ( 11 o'clock) and push. Then put the other foot on the pedal and release the break. You will find that it only takes one revolution of the cranks to get clipped in.

  35. #35
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    CxAgent2 - I wanted to thank you for the detail you have gone into discussing your climbing issues. Yesterday I read this thread and all of your detail and trails helped me clear a section today that I had been unable to clear. I dropped to 1-3, moved up on the nose, pulled down on the bars and soldiered up the incline. My previous best was about half way, using momentum going in and then running out of steam, unable to downshift in time.

    On the way back, the hill is a shorter steeper climb. I had good momentum going in, downshifted then stood up and grinded. I had/have a great amount of satisfaction and wanted to share it with you. Again, thanks! Keep hammering. Scott

  36. #36
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    Scott - Thanks. I posted this both to learn what I was doing wrong so I could learn to climb better and to help others. I'm glad to hear it helped you.

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    nice thread

    I'm also getting a lot out of this thread. I have had very similar difficulties and your description of the problems is fantastic. Climbing up technical stuff is really my greatest challenge on the bike. Early on, I had no fear and was totally inexperienced. I used the granny gears and would spin but often had my weight too far back, and on the saddle, and would get bounced out of lines, and then stall and fall -- some pretty nasty bruises on rocks. I've learned ways of spinning, keeping constant pressure on the pedals, and keeping weight forward (nose of the saddle as you put it, though for me it has been much more about leaning chest close to bars and pulling hard). The even pressure on the pedals, I've learned, really keeps the center of gravity MUCH lower. If most weight is on the saddle, then COG is high compared to when 75% or more weight is on the pedals -- COG moves down low on the bike -- can feel it.

    I've gotten much better and can make many climbs that I only dreamed of initially. Weight is a definite disadvantage-- I know b/c I used to be very light BITD.
    Confidence is a problem for me whenever I see a ledge of most any size at all. I'm afraid of bouncing back, and then falling off sideways. Helps to hear about lifting rear wheel. I also need to master the technique of lifting front wheel over obstacle while climbing. How do you all do that?

  38. #38
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    Good thread on skills, I'm older at 62 and border clyde at 195, been down for a couple of months so conditioning is beginner. I too took a class to refresh and learn advanced techniques.

    we didn't really go into hill climbing, but clearing obstacles such as logs, ledges and rocks by slow pedal wheelie, at speed wheelie and hop, bunny hop. also for climbing body position keeping the body low over the bars arms tucked in hext to your side.

    I found that I could loft the front wheel over but couldn't get the rear wheel up very high. That is until the instructor told us the bunny hop was like hopping on the bike. we all tried hopping while standing on the ground. I couldn't hop off the ground very far, that was my problem. bad knees and unconditioned legs. heh!

    Standing starts on a hill is very critical, find a ledge or rock to support one down foot (left) the other (right) clipped in at attack level. the bike must be vertical, In granny gear. we practiced, while sit balancing, to raise the left foot off the rock and tap the pedal until we had muscle memory. Started by pedaling down with(right)up attack foot, instantly raising left foot clip and begin pedaling. And of course, all in one motion.

    Girls will allways outpedal a clyde, lighter weight with higher power to weight ratio. I've ridden with some 100 lb female intermediate/experts. Wow!
    Last edited by nagatahawk; 09-17-2009 at 03:41 PM.

  39. #39
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    First - what is BITD???

    I find it easier to lift the front wheel while climbing than on a flat. Suggest you work on the skill the same way on either one. Start by learning to lift your front wheel over a curb. Some people compress the front suspension first. I just throw my weight back and keep pedaling. My front wheel will lift just with the weight shift (one benefit of being a clyde). Strong pedaling means I can keep it floating for some distance. Even if you don't lift your front wheel at all you will probably roll up a curb. If you are concerned about hitting a curb lay a 2x4 on the ground in front of the curb - then you WILL just roll up it. Practice until you don't touch your front wheel on the curb. Now find a place where the curb is uphill on the approach and practice that until you don't have to thing about it any more.

    Lifting the front wheel while climbing is the same thing. A quick shift of your weight to the back lifts the front wheel. Since the bike is already 'front end high' it shouldn't be as hard to lift the front wheel.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by nagatahawk
    Girls will allways outpedal al clyde, lighter weight with higher power to weight ratio. I've ridden with some 100 lb female intermediate/experts. Wow!
    Now someone tells me this!!! I've been watching and finally decided that I'm roughly twice their weight but clearly not twice their strength. That was a bit of a let down.

  41. #41
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    I still find the easiest way to lift the front wheel is to use the pedals. Even when climbing. If possible, immediately before the ledge, give an extra push on the pedals and if you are in a neutral position on top of the bike, the front wheel will rise. All it takes is a small pull with the arms. Try to do this when you have your stronger leg at the 11 o'clock.
    When climbing, since the front is already “very light", most of the times a gentle pull with the arms is enough.

  42. #42
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    Great and informative thread. Getting back into this after a few year hiatus, I've found that I'm older, not as fit, and have to reevaluate my game plan for these short climbs, because I can't push the middle chain ring the way I used to! My biggest problem is reprogramming my brain to get in granny-3 or 4 before I hit the climb to be able to get to granny - 1 when I need it . I know I can't get from middle-1 to granny-1 while climbing, so it's not available. My granny gear was only used for the last little bit of a long non-technical climb when I was getting gassed in the past.
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  43. #43
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    Thanks for tips of front wheel lifting. I've done this some, but think I need to do the curb practice until it becomes second nature. Great idea.


    BITD = back in the day!

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