Question: I'm training for RAMROD, a one-day event in Washington state. It covers 155 miles with three major climbs totaling 10,000 feet of vertical gain. My weekend training ride includes a tough climb of 6,000 feet that I've done all-out for three weeks. Now the nerves in my lower back are inflamed and I'm in pain even on the flats. I've had an expert bike fit, so bad … [Read more...] about Why Do Long Climbs Hurt My Back?
In a past newsletter, Coach Fred Matheny said that a winter spent on the leg-press machine won't automatically produce greater climbing strength. Here's another take on this issue. I read Fred's comments with interest. As a long-time cycling coach and personal trainer here in Berkeley, the issue all comes down to specificity: We get precisely what we train for and nothing … [Read more...] about How to Become a Better Climber on a Bicycle
Question: I do a weekly workout on a 1.5-mile-long hill with a steep, 15% grade. I have good endurance but my speed is glacial. I also have a history of knee problems so use a triple crankset. A riding friend suggested that moderate hills are better training than this killer climb I'm using. Do you agree? -- Lawrence C. Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Yes, moderately steep … [Read more...] about Should I Train on Steep Hills or Moderate Hills?
Question: I'm a former wrestler, 5-foot-8, 165 pounds with 8% body fat and very large arms and chest. Despite my small stature, I need to buy XL jerseys and cut the cuffs to get them over my arms. Does this muscle hurt my climbing? -- Jim D. Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Excessive upper-body muscle is definitely a detriment to cycling performance, especially on hills. Your arms … [Read more...] about Does Upper-Body Muscle Hurt Climbing Ability?
Question: I'm 5-foot-4, 128 pounds and 55 years old. When climbing in the hills around Palo Alto, California, I keep up with younger, stronger riders until the grade gets above about 8%. Then I go backwards. This seems to be a strength issue and I've been doing low-cadence, big-gear intervals. Should I add weight training? -- Harry P. Coach Fred Matheny Replies: At … [Read more...] about How Can I Climb SteepGrades Faster?