Need some encouragement climbing. Can't do what I used to.- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    9

    Need some encouragement climbing. Can't do what I used to.

    I took 3 years off from mtbing and got back into to it this year and having a blast over the past month or so. I feel as good as I ever have. I stay in decent shape normally (in comparison to the average public) and don't feel all that different than a few years ago, but hitting some trails that used to be hard for me seem overly hard now. Some harder climbs i used to clear without stopping from exhaustion, I just can't anymore with all the best intentions going into it. BTW. I'm 48.

    My climbs in Massachusetts aren't long and an example of a climb that kills me is only .024 mile long, 140 ft with grades between 10-36% and the harder part is in the first 1/3. It's very rooty and full of large rock (not loose). I tend to bonk after that first part and just my breathing and power make me stop.

    I guess I'm not in the same shape i was a years ago. I'm trying to figure out what's the best way to train for this type of hill. My guess is to make sure I hit hills like this 1-2x per week, 1 long ride and continue lifting power lifts like squats and dead lifts.

    I know there isn't a magic answer here and just need more time in the saddle, but I'm looking for any encouragement and advice I can get.

    BTW. I have a Trek EX8 2014 29er. My lowest gear is 24x36. From my understanding that is pretty low. Maybe there is lower I can go, but I'd rather not lean on mechanics to make things easier for now. I do this for the exercise and fun and not racing. I aim for personal bests of course so I have something to measure my progress.

    Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    5,141
    Running and squats if you can't get out to ride more often.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: David R's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,500
    More training, or an e-bike...

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    13,358
    Complex carbs like rice, beans and peas before you go out. Potassium like from a banana after. Take a day off periodically. Keep going.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    135
    Quote Originally Posted by Pkdawg View Post
    ...just need more time in the saddle...
    My experience is that you've nailed it there. Just riding more will make the biggest impact, even if it's on flat roads. If you're not riding a ton and want to get faster, swap the lifting for more riding. When you can't ride more supplement with some lifting.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    9
    Itís funny. I road less often a few years ago, but it was easier. I guess Iím more out of shape now than I realize or I was in better shape back. Never seems good enough. 🤪 Who am I kidding? I just got older.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    11,037
    I can feel a big difference in my riding abilities if I take more than a week off.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: J.B. Weld's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    13,615
    If you don't have it already get strava and target climbing segments. Pick a few rides a week and go for some pr's. Know where the finish line is and really go for it, 100%.

    For some the challenge of busting your own record is motivation enough to get them out on the bike more, and from that improvements will follow.

    Unless you were really something when you were younger you're probably not done setting pr's yet, I'm a decade older and am still getting them.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    905
    What effort level are you riding at before hitting these hills? Are you already near redlined before the climb even starts? Did you have a proper warm up or just go straight into it?

    I was total crap on climbs until I learned to pace myself and make sure I do even a mild warm up.

    Otherwise you have steep punchy climbs so train for power. Just remember intensity requires recovery afterward!

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: sturge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    1,354
    I agree with the more riding approach. You already said you are in pretty good shape...you just aren't in RIDING shape. This means more experience in the saddle, learning how to set up for a technical section, picking a line, being in the right gear, mental approach, having your bike set up properly, etc. You have not been doing this for awhile and so you can't consistently clear tough sections and keep grinding. Keep riding and pushing yourself and you will see improvement.

    Look at professional athletes and the time they spend in preseason to get into game shape. They do lots of cross training & weight training but to get really good at it they need to be playing the game repeatedly.
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...:thumbsup:

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: d365's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,228
    You've been back riding for a month?..... what did you expect?

    Just enjoy riding, man. Be thankful you can ride. Focus on what matters...having fun. Stop. Breath. Walk. Whatever.

    You'll get there in due time, after due mileage. Don't have a coronary over it.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,319
    I'm 52. Been riding BMX/MTB all my life although I wished I'd trained more seriously when I was young. But last 20 years I spend 6-9 months riding big back country, bla bla bla. I'm not a XC winner by any means, more of a war horse. My normal riding crew is 25-35.

    Anyway, I've traditionally taken the winter off. Each year it takes longer to get into shape. The last few years "Winter" is really only 2.5 months (nov -> mid Jan). For the first 2 months this year I rode (mostly road) 3 times a week or more. The stopwatch and HR meter said I was making almost no progress the first 2 months. Things are coming along now although I still don't feel as good as last year.

    Point is I've been riding regularly for years and after a 2.5 months break my fitness is piss poor and doesn't come back quickly either. Its part of aging. You fall of the tip of the spear so fast, in our 20's we can skip a month and come back and literally perform the same at least for a one day effort.

    So don't beat yourself up, just RIDE YOUR BIKE and don't stop again ever.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,541
    Youth is wasted on the young.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MSU Alum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    4,641
    I'll be 68 in August. I just PR'd a 5.9 mile, 1271 foot climb circuit that starts at 6500 feet.

    What does that have to do with you?
    Nothing, but it makes ME feel pretty good!


    Honestly, keep at it. In about 2 years, if you came out here, you'd probably blow my PR out of the water. Just don't give up.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: CCSS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    533
    Set a climbing goal. Last year I set a goal to do 250,000 feet of climbing - 100% singlespeed. I did some on dirt on my SS MTB, and some on my SS CX bike on my hilly neighborhood streets.

    I beat the goal by 3,000 ft and felt stronger the entire year. Iím 52.

    And this year Iíve reverted to playing guitar and drinking beer

  16. #16
    high pivot witchcraft
    Reputation: mtnbkrmike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    3,790
    Start commuting.

    And squatting.

    Actually, start doing a bunch of composite exercises. For strength. Squats. Deadlifts. Bench. Rows. And overhead press. 5x5 StrongLifts is a dead easy program to follow, with very little time commitment, and a big time pay off in the saddle.

    But most importantly, ride as often as possible. If that means commuting, then commute. My riding strength increased exponentially when I started commuting a while ago, and then rose dramatically again when I got into 5x5 StrongLifts.

    Good luck!
    2020 Kona Unit
    2019 Forbidden Druid
    2018 Kona Honzo ST 30th BDay SE
    2015 Kona Paddy Wagon Fixed Gear

  17. #17
    g=9.764m/s2
    Reputation: Undescended's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    508
    Quote Originally Posted by Pkdawg View Post
    I took 3 years off from mtbing...BTW. I have a Trek EX8 2014 29er. My lowest gear is 24x36. From my understanding that is pretty low. Maybe there is lower I can go, but I'd rather not lean on mechanics to make things easier for now. I do this for the exercise and fun and not racing. I aim for personal bests of course so I have something to measure my progress.

    Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
    Gearing is your Friend! I became an avid rider 4 yrs ago at 49 on a Ď15 GT Zaskar 9r likely with the same drivetrain you have. While fine for the flowy XC terrain, the steeper climbs drained me and had me pushing the bike more times than not. I found my peace by dropping the front derailleur to go 1x on the 24t chainring with adding a 11-42 cassette and a Goatlink to the rear derailleur for clearance. That gave me a .57 low gear and I happily rode that mod for a year and half until the frame broke. I never missed top end gearing cause I just want to get to the top of the hill so gravity can take over to send me back down. Now I have a Ď18 Jeffsy with 9-46 cassette and 26t chainring which is again a .57 low gear plus a 2.9 high gear which is right in line with a SRAM 10-50 12sp with 30t chainring.
    As others may have said, conditioning is key and takes time. Iíve averaged 1500 trail mi/yr and Iím still slow as hell climbing. I do make it up short punchy climbs now without my legs giving out in pain but still need to push up the long steep grinds when they just have nothing left to give cause my lungs canít keep up...d;o)

  18. #18
    high pivot witchcraft
    Reputation: mtnbkrmike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    3,790
    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post
    ...And this year Iíve reverted to playing guitar...
    Me too. Since COVID...Mesa Mark V 90 watt head. Not one, but TWO Mesa TA-15 heads. A Mesa Mini Recto cabinet. A Mesa open back 1-12 cabinet. And most recently, a Tele Ultra. And now I am eying up a Fender Princeton.

    I thought I needed an intervention on the biking gear. Well, I do. Clearly. But now I need one for guitar gear too. COVID has been expensive for me...

    *back on track - sorry for the momentary diversion...*
    2020 Kona Unit
    2019 Forbidden Druid
    2018 Kona Honzo ST 30th BDay SE
    2015 Kona Paddy Wagon Fixed Gear

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    7,765
    Youíre running a 24/36 and you want to climb 36% grades?

    The only fitness training Iíd suggest is hiking boots, that gearing ainít enough for what you want to ride, especially if you want to sit and spin.

    I run 26/10-51, I use the 51 when itís a steep seated grind (bail out gear), next to largest two cogs are my my stand and mash for tech climbing.

    If you like the way your bike rides,consider upgrading you drivetrain to something like Shimano XT 12sp.
    GG Megatrail 27.5 (Braaap!)
    GG Trail Pistola 27+/29 (speedy)
    Pivot Shuttle 27.5 (wife's)

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Me too. Since COVID...Mesa Mark V 90 watt head. Not one, but TWO Mesa TA-15 heads. A Mesa Mini Recto cabinet. A Mesa open back 1-12 cabinet. And most recently, a Tele Ultra. And now I am eying up a Fender Princeton.

    I thought I needed an intervention on the biking gear. Well, I do. Clearly. But now I need one for guitar gear too. COVID has been expensive for me...

    *back on track - sorry for the momentary diversion...*
    I have the Mark V too. Love it.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: David R's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,500
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Start commuting.
    Good advice. Even if it's short. I take a slightly longer route home via a 2.7km climb that drops me at the top of my local trail network, then it's about 3.5km to the bottom on some mellower trails and a couple of KMs home on the road. Smashing that one climb at max effort 2-3-4 times a week did wonders for my fitness last summer.

  22. #22
    Occasionally engagedÖ
    Reputation: Ptor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,696
    I think you'll come around to climbing better faster than you think. I come out of every winter in pretty good shape (run year round, XC skate ski in the winter) and find it takes more than a month to get comfortable on climbs again. I have the same symptoms you describe -- get halfway up the climb and lay gasping over the bars. But after a few weeks to a month or so of riding regularly I find myself at the top of a climb and realize I've turned the corner. If you just keep doing what you're doing, you'll get there sooner than you think!
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  23. #23
    jrm
    jrm is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    11,569
    aside from lifting and riding to/from work during the week ive found stretching at home, before during and after a ride relaxes a good bit of my bodies tension, mostly upper body and legs when im riding. Tensing up at the beginning of any kind of technical situation..climb or descent is going to hamper your output..just relax..shake that shit out..deep breath..whatever sends your heart rate down a couple of clicks..

  24. #24
    BOOM goes the dynamite!
    Reputation: noapathy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    4,580
    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Youíre running a 24/36 and you want to climb 36% grades?

    The only fitness training Iíd suggest is hiking boots, that gearing ainít enough for what you want to ride, especially if you want to sit and spin.

    I run 26/10-51, I use the 51 when itís a steep seated grind (bail out gear), next to largest two cogs are my my stand and mash for tech climbing.

    If you like the way your bike rides,consider upgrading you drivetrain to something like Shimano XT 12sp.
    Not everyone needs uber baby gears. Somewhere midway between 26/51 and 24/36 would be more reasonable, but I find it hard to climb anything remotely technical in the lowest gear anyway - I either spin out, do way too much ratcheting or pedal strike.
    :nono: :thumbsup:

Similar Threads

  1. New hip fracture, looking for some words of encouragement
    By RichMN in forum Rider Down, injuries and recovery
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 07-30-2016, 08:24 PM
  2. Need a little help/encouragement for my first wheel build.
    By sunvalleylaw in forum 29er Components
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-19-2016, 06:30 PM
  3. Replies: 19
    Last Post: 12-14-2012, 02:22 PM
  4. A Word Of Encouragement
    By givati in forum Rider Down, injuries and recovery
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-23-2012, 08:40 AM
  5. i need encouragement
    By boombastico in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 06-18-2004, 11:32 AM

Members who have read this thread: 125

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.