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February 27, 2012

All words that Florida cyclists hate to hear.  During shorter races you can attack them and know that the two minutes of pain will be over quickly, but when you get into extended distances (70.3/140.6) these hills take their toll on you.  I am 6’6 and just over 200 pounds so I do not have a climber’s build and I work harder than some of these smaller cyclists.  I have always pushed a larger gear with a lower cadence on hills (it is what feels comfortable to me) and always got up out of the saddle to climb.  Recently, I have been toying with climbing in a smaller gear, faster cadence and remaining seated throughout the climbs.  I was told by one of my fellow cyclists that remaining seated will help build more leg strength which in turn will help on the flats with less fatigue.  With that in mind, I am concentrating all my climbs to the seated position and on race day (Clermont) I will be able to sprint up the hills.  Time will tell if this will work or not.

Last year at the Rhode Island 70.3 I was riding near a pack of what seemed about 15 cyclists up and down the hills.  Before the race, I had looked at the elevation chart I thought I would be able attack the hills for the full 56 miles and not hurt my run.  I stayed with the pack and pulled away from them about mile 45, then hit a longer climb where the pack caught up and subsequently passed me.  I tried to catch up to the them on the flat because they were all in my Age Group and felt  would be able to hold my own in the run.  We hit a few more climbs between mile 50-56 and the last one toasted my legs.  The group I was chasing was already out on the run when I got into transition so I threw on my shoes went.  I felt good and ran a 6:30 first mile, well on the second mile up multiple hills into Brown University, my legs started to spasm and I knew I would not be able to catch them.  I vowed that this would not happen again.

Here are some interesting videos from YouTube on climbing, first one by Troy Jacobsen and one by Chris Carmichael:

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