SS climbing pace / technique- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    singlespeed smash brother
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    SS climbing pace / technique

    A thread on passion reminded me of something I've been meaning to ask the SS community for a while.

    When Climbing those Long unrelenting climbs, what is the best / quickest way up? And is there really any difference either which way? The aim it to ride the whole climb and not to get off and walk.
    In my mind there are only a few options.
    (A) Sprint/Mash up as far as you can for as long as you can out of the saddle. This covers the initial ground quickly but usually results in a maxed out HR and all power drained from the body making it hard to maintain the ineveitable ultra hard low cadance or Hr to recover.
    (B) Steady out of the saddle effort. Your effort is as constant as you can make it with out your HR spiking. You try to maintain the same locadance speed up the hill.
    (C) Stay in the saddle for as long as you can. For gearies they say this uses less energy than out of the saddle efforts. Is this applicable to SS?
    (D) Mix it up. Sprint out of saddle for a short burst but then ease back before you blow to recover in the saddle then short burst again. Repeat ti at the top of the hill.

    So what do you all do/ think? Is there another miracle technique that I hav't concidered?

  2. #2
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    take a shot of whiskey, but a stick between your teeth, shoot your self in the arm with a .22

    That way you wont feel the pain of climbing.


    I all seriousness though, Its just what works for you on any given hill. There are times to smash and go all out, and then there are times to just pace and stand and rock it out. The more climbing you can do seated the better off you are. When you stand you are using some many more muscles that you are definatley using more energy. But you are not going to SS with out standing out of the sadde.

    I try to go as far as I can seated in a noraml(some what controled) candence, and then when I need to stand I do. I will also try to get back in the saddle if the hill allows it.

  3. #3
    Misfit Psycles
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    Quote Originally Posted by shwinboy
    When Climbing those Long unrelenting climbs, what is the best / quickest way up?
    (D) Mix it up. Sprint out of saddle for a short burst but then ease back before you blow to recover in the saddle then short burst again. Repeat ti at the top of the hill.
    sometimes the best isn't the quickest, but the best gets you to the top.
    sit to rest and maintain (some) momentum, stand and repeat.
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  4. #4
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    It all depends on the type of climb. Is it just a fire road or is it a technical trail with obstacles along the way?

    Fire trail: Steady pace. Sit all the way up if you have the power to keep up the revs at the given incline. Otherwise stand all the way up. If the incline is steady, it is best to just do one thing, stand or sit. If the incline shifts, you can shift position.

    Technical trail: Stand and pedal at a moderate pace to economize. Then burst up to speed when you need to get up a ledge or a steep rock. Afterwards, go back to the slow steady pace and catch your breath before the next challenge. If possible without losing the flow and momentum, sit down to rest a bit.

    The above is just my way of doing it. Others may have other tactics.

  5. #5
    SSasquatch
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanU
    It all depends on the type of climb. Is it just a fire road or is it a technical trail with obstacles along the way?

    Fire trail: Steady pace. Sit all the way up if you have the power to keep up the revs at the given incline. Otherwise stand all the way up. If the incline is steady, it is best to just do one thing, stand or sit. If the incline shifts, you can shift position.

    Technical trail: Stand and pedal at a moderate pace to economize. Then burst up to speed when you need to get up a ledge or a steep rock. Afterwards, go back to the slow steady pace and catch your breath before the next challenge. If possible without losing the flow and momentum, sit down to rest a bit.

    The above is just my way of doing it. Others may have other tactics.
    That pretty much sums up my technique, although I find that if there is any type of incline at all I tend to get out of the saddle, because when seated I can't keep revs high enough to sustain speed. I can maintain a steady stand up pace without blowing up for a long time.

    From an efficiency standpoint, I think that if you can sit and spin you can maximize your output by using proper spin technique, but I seem to be able to generate more raw power by standing and using all of my weight (220lbs). I like to think my climbing technique is similar to that of using an eliptical trainer where I am using my whole body to get up the hill.

  6. #6
    Nat
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    Do you really have all those choices? I do whatever method it takes to keep moving, and it's not usually up to me. I give myself up to the circumstances.

    I like the slow-mash, but do whatever the terrain/gearing/fitness dictates.

  7. #7
    mudnthebloodnthebeer
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    Whatever the terrain dictates. A perfect setup for a long fire road climb for me would be gearing that allows me to climb the majority seated but forces me to stand for the steeper ramps. Getting out of the saddle from time to time helps me keep my hammys loose.

    Maxing yourself out at the base of a long climb is a losing proposition, but there are definitely times when wisely investing a burst of energy in order to maintain your momentum is the way to go.

  8. #8
    Des(s)ert Rat
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    That's where I'm at. Whatever I can manage to make it to the top, including low gutterral grunts that frighten wildlife and small children.

  9. #9
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    I don't max myself out at the base of a long climb, but you definately want at least a burst of speed to cover some ground quickly. 3 hard pedal revolutions to pick up the pace at the base of the climb (or just before), and then, try to keep the cadence up. I rarely stay seated on a climb, since it's a hardtail, and standing is the best way to keep them hooked up.

  10. #10
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by shwinboy
    A thread on passion reminded me of something I've been meaning to ask the SS community for a while.

    When Climbing those Long unrelenting climbs, what is the best / quickest way up? And is there really any difference either which way? The aim it to ride the whole climb and not to get off and walk.
    In my mind there are only a few options.
    (A) Sprint/Mash up as far as you can for as long as you can out of the saddle. This covers the initial ground quickly but usually results in a maxed out HR and all power drained from the body making it hard to maintain the ineveitable ultra hard low cadance or Hr to recover.
    (B) Steady out of the saddle effort. Your effort is as constant as you can make it with out your HR spiking. You try to maintain the same locadance speed up the hill.
    (C) Stay in the saddle for as long as you can. For gearies they say this uses less energy than out of the saddle efforts. Is this applicable to SS?
    (D) Mix it up. Sprint out of saddle for a short burst but then ease back before you blow to recover in the saddle then short burst again. Repeat ti at the top of the hill.

    So what do you all do/ think? Is there another miracle technique that I hav't concidered?
    Never walking should not be the goal. Sometimes (most times) walking/riding will be the fastest and most efficient way.
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  11. #11
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    I stand up all the way.

    Slow and steady pedal strokes, maintain my rythym as much as the terrain permits, don't think, just pedal...get in the zen-zone...don't look up, just pedal.


    R.

  12. #12
    People of zee wurl,Relax!
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    Don't think just do.

    This is the reason I ride my SS more than my other bikes. I hate to think about what gear I'm in or if my shock has the correct amount of sag for the terrain. If I see a hill I climb it. If it's a hard climb I HAVE to stand up to climb it and yank on the handlebars. I hate hate hate walking my bike so I do whatever it takes to keep on keepin' on.
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  13. #13
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    I politely disagree...

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    Never walking should not be the goal. Sometimes (most times) walking/riding will be the fastest and most efficient way.
    that's why they're bike rides not bike walks. If I can ride it geared, my goal is to clean it on my singlespeed.

    If it's a race, sometimes you've got to get off and run but on regular rides, I want to ride it.

  14. #14
    They turned me loose
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    Sit, Stand, Walk. Shake it up.

    I climb most things standing, puts me in a position to throw the front end where I need it. Standing does not trash my knees as climbing whilst sitting does.

    I equate my climbing to Axl Rose shimmying around stage.

  15. #15
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    But the question was "What is the best/quickest way up?" Many times the quickest way is walking/running. There are plenty of times on recreational rides when I get off and walk/run because I want to keep up with my buddies who are all on geared bikes. Sure, I could probably grunt up those climbs at about a 30rpm cadence but I would fall behind and they don't suffer SS riders who can't keep up. I'd catch them at a stop but I like riding WITH them. Walking/running up some climbs keeps me in touch and makes for a better ride.

  16. #16
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    Why must everything be quickest/best way? Just enjoy it!

    I climb, I sit, I stand, I drool. Nothing more.
    I does not care that I will conserve energy when I am sitting. To climb standing are kinder to my knees, and I can use my arms better to make the climbing more effective, and more enjoyable.
    When the cadence sinks under 30, I reduce the pressure at the pedals, and use my whole legs.
    Every muscles are screaming and helping me under the climb when I am standing, and that's a good thing.

    When I am too tired after standing, I sit down and try to pedal slowly with low cadence (low force) in few seconds, then I'll be climbing standing again. Changing the position helps my endurance. I have crawled and drooled (less rolling resistance!) up several hills, just because I was determined. Of course it is funny, but when I am tired, I prefer to walk.

  17. #17
    Nat
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    I know I'm not the only one here who appreciates the art of sitting down (not on one's bike). That's actually my favorite thing to do when I get tired. That and lying down in the shade.

  18. #18
    i like to bicycle
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    racing and riding

    i've noticed racing SS that the speed necessary to stay on the bike at all, and walk/run when you have to, is faster then the gearys most of the time. that makes me smile. in general i do mix it up. jam the stuff you have to jam, because of the pitch or the technicalness of it.

    i agree that standing and rocking the bike has to use more energy but sometimes it's just more comfortable for me, and sometimes it's just the only way for me to make the climb.

    cleaning every climb is a nice goal but i'm down with walking/running. i'll even stop and lay down and take a break.

  19. #19
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    My method of climbing is simple. ATTACK!!!! Rest at the top, hahahahaha. Just kidding.
    I use the same method described by Nat and others.

    Shorter steep hill- seriously I attack it. Get it over with.
    Long, Long climb w/ no technical spots- slow-mash, or I call it pedalling squares. Use my body weight to turn the cranks over in a slow controlled manner, saves energy.
    Sit/Stand combo for everything in between haha.

    Like someone else said, SS'ing is all about simplicity. I never understood it until I tried it. Don't think, just SURVIVE!! Flow and maintain MO'. I really like to rail corners take my foot out and keep the momentum at all costs and take as much of that momentum into a climb as possible. Riding rigid has really helped me learn how to ride a bike and pick awesome lines. Once you have a steady comfortable pace, keep turning the pedals over and you can make it over anything.
    On one gear fixed or free is where I want to be.....

  20. #20
    Don't be a sheep
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannybob
    that's why they're bike rides not bike walks. If I can ride it geared, my goal is to clean it on my singlespeed.

    If it's a race, sometimes you've got to get off and run but on regular rides, I want to ride it.
    Yep. That's why I call my singlespeed my "commitment bike". I only ride it when I can commit because I refuse to get off and walk and where I live and ride that's a stiff proposition at times. I see sooooo many people pushing their singles on easy terrain it makes me shake my head. Gear down or get gears, you should not be walking a bike on basic trails.
    "Do not touch the trim"

  21. #21
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    Also remember that it is OK to run an easier gear. Just because some people run 2:1 ratios doesn't mean you have to. Where I live there is no way I can run a 2:1. The singletrack is just so tight and twisty and the hills are steep enough that it is hard to get up them in a 2:1. Most all of us here run a 32x20 or 32x21. That is on a 26" wheel. On my 29"er I even go up to 32x22 on one of our trails. Stronger you get the easier the gear will become then you can move down the chain. BUT REMEMBER, There is no shame in having fun!! Run the gear that makes the ride enjoyable all the way around.

    OK, Need to go to the bike shop and build my new toy today! Weeee. later, JC
    On one gear fixed or free is where I want to be.....

  22. #22
    just another bleepin SSer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    Do you really have all those choices? I do whatever method it takes to keep moving, and it's not usually up to me. I give myself up to the circumstances.
    Me too. If the climb is mellow and I can sit and spin at a high enough cadence, that's what I do. A bit steeper, I stand so I can hold the cadence up. Even steeper (or if I get caught behind a conga line of granny-geared folks crawling up the hill), I get off and walk.

    I think I stand much more than anything else.
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