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  1. #1
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    Sustained Climbing or Climbing Repeats? What to do.

    So I'm trying to figure out how best to use my limited training time. I have years of cycling base in my legs and I can ride for many hours but I don't usually feel strong, powerful or fast. I'm planning to do some XC races this season and I've been doing my sprints and now I have started to add the climbs back in to my routine. I usually can get out and ride 3 - 4 times a week.
    What do you think? Go for long sustained climbs...say 1 hour to 3 hours. I live in CO so that isn't a problem. Or go for interval climbs and do climbing repeats.
    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    I think you should do something like what's on your courses.

    In my area, no race would have a 1 hour climb, let alone 3. Our laps tend to run around a half hour, so while there are some pretty climbing-intensive races on the calendar, the climbs are not that long. Being able to do those climbs faster, and then two more times would be a much more useful skill for me than being able to spend an hour or three doing one long climb.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    Depends on what kind of races you are doing. Being in CO, most races have long climbs, but only a couple have ones that will last 1hr. I would recommend doing two types of workouts.

    - for 2-3 weeks start with some force workouts, 2-3 min hill repeats at 60-65rpm. HR not important for this workout.

    - then once or twice a week do 2 or three 20-30 min repeats on a hill with a HR of 80% MAX 90-100% LTHR
    cadence should be around 80-85 rpms. use gears to get the right cadence and HR

    - after a month or 6 weeks, switch to shorter hill repeats 4-6 min with HR closer to max. cadence should be around 80 rpm.

    hope that helps!
    MTB Coach
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  4. #4
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    yeah.

    the short answer is both!

    timing is important. as you get toward your top priority races on the calendar you want to do shorter more intense work.

    just remember that when you do a 1+ hr climb, if you are going hard, it takes a lot out of you and you will need to recover/rest!!!!
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  5. #5
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    Both. But in Michigan I'm lucky to find a 1/4 mile climb. I do use a ski hill which is a 1/4 mile at 18% which is nice. I'll do 6-8 climbs. I wish I could find climbs that were longer than a 1/4.

    After Sundays race performance, I'm going after climbing repeats like crazy. I thought I was going fast (TT race) but finished 6th. Disgusting.

    Somebody else said this too, but be sure to recover after hill climbs. on the next day, do another endurance ride. Easy but longer. Definitely a couple days before you hit intervals again.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by vetprowanab View Post
    So I'm trying to figure out how best to use my limited training time. I have years of cycling base in my legs and I can ride for many hours but I don't usually feel strong, powerful or fast. I'm planning to do some XC races this season and I've been doing my sprints and now I have started to add the climbs back in to my routine. I usually can get out and ride 3 - 4 times a week.
    What do you think? Go for long sustained climbs...say 1 hour to 3 hours. I live in CO so that isn't a problem. Or go for interval climbs and do climbing repeats.
    Thank you.
    Whatever on a long sustained climb you can still do intervals....and on shorter climbs you can just repeat the intervals...

    Can't you preride some of the courses?

  7. #7
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    I'd go for longs first, it burn your muscles and get your legs much stronger initially then when stronger move to shorter but faster climbs.

    If you can climb at a moderate pace for 1hour or so, then you'll be able to stomp a 20min climb at a reasonable pace, in theory.

  8. #8
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    i want to know what kind of XC races have 3 hour climbs

  9. #9
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    Thanks all for the insight. I truly appreciate it and feel like I have some good ideas going forward.

    The course are typically available for inspection but my schedule and the distance to the races will probably not allow it.

    I wasn't saying that the races I do will have 3 hour climbs, rather, there are climbs around my home (Colorado front range) that take me 3 hours to complete, thus, long sustained climbs are possible from a training perspective.

  10. #10
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    In live in Ontario. I struggle to find a good long climb to train on. Most I can usually find is about a 10 minute climb. Thankfully there aren't too many races around here with climbs that long. Still suck when I get to a race that does have a long climb and my legs are like jelly by the time i make it up.

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