Question: I’m 70 and take a spinning class two days a week and train on the road two other days. Then I ride with a group of 40-somethings on Sundays.
On climbs, I can stay with the group nearly to the top before I reach my max heart rate and have to back off. I’ve tried slowing my cadence and standing as well as increasing cadence and sitting, but I reach my max at about the same place on the hill. Is there specific training that could help me hang with these youngsters? — Stan S.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: You’re blowing up on the hill at the same point because you don’t have the strength or fitness to do the early parts of the climb below your lactate threshold.
By the time you get partway up, you’re over your limit. But your riding partners haven’t accumulated enough lactate to slow them down. No wonder — they’re nearly 30 years younger!
You can improve by increasing your power at lactate threshold. Each of my eBooks gives attention to this along with advice for climbing better.
Very briefly, you need to climb in training at an intensity slightly below what would cause you to blow up. Use a gear, cadence and effort that allow you to make the climb in question at a hard but sustainable pace. Then repeat several times. Do this once or twice a week and you should see improvement in 4-6 weeks.