Another thought: I haven’t been Munning long enough (16 mos) to know alot about what others ride, terrain wise, but the longer, harder shuttle descents in Santa Barbara work you ferociously. None of us are fit enough to “clean”–at the very most–more than about half a mile of steep downhill at a time, often much less. On runs like Tunnel and Sadle Rock, a 100 meters of super grim rolling leaves me totally gasping with my legs on fire. I always thought that unhill was the one and ony cardio blaster; but with all that back pressuring the pedals, multiple hopping and keeping the core tight, hard downhilling is a king-sized cardio workout. If I haven’t been riding hard during the week, or miss the long rides for a few weekends, I’m dust befoe the trail is half over and I’m just trying to survive. It’s not unuual, toward the end of those rides, to have to lay down after each half mile out of pure exhaustion.
I’ve also noticed that my uphill fitness does not exactly translate to downhill endurance. I can put in some good after work uphill rides on local fire trails and still get my ass thouroughly kicked up at SB when we go for a long one.
I ride a coker in the trails. There are many hills in the Long Island Greenbelt that were impossible for me to climb with any size wheel. But PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. One attempt after another I conquered them all. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to be able to ride everything everywhere. Walking it to me is no different than cheating.
Don’t just go with what’s easy.
Take what seems to be impossible and make it a challenge.
Ask Lance Armstrong .
DON’T GIVE UP!
Whether you learn to ride long climbs probably has a lot to do with where you live and what the trails are like around where you live. If the good trails all start with an uphill dirt road climb then you’re going to get used to the climbing.
My favorite local trails are on Tiger Mountain. To get to the fun trail is a 1000 vertical foot climb on a dirt logging road. The road ride is 3 miles long with 2.6 miles of that climbing and about 0.4 miles of flattish sections. Average grade is about 7.5% with some short sections of 10% to 12%. When I first started muni riding I couldn’t ride up that climb. Getting to the top was a ride for survival and I’d have to take many rest breaks along the way. Now I can climb the whole thing in one go and instead of riding for survival I can ride to push myself to go faster. You learn to ride it and get better because of it.
24-27% grade off-road is brutal. I doubt the bikes are even riding that. 24-27% on a paved road is brutal for any amount of distance. There is a short paved climb labeled at about 22% near one of the trails that I like to ride. The climb is only like a quarter of a block long. I’ve gone up it with my muni just to see what it was like. Very doable for that short bit with fresh legs. It would be brutal though if it was in the middle of a longer climb. Any grade on dirt is harder than the same grade on pavement. 24-27% off-road is brutal. I think I’d be walking that section. The sections that average 7% though should be ridable.
Often on switchback climbs the maximum grade will be in the switchback turns. People will often quote the grade in the turns as the maximum grade of the climb. It makes for impressive numbers but is deceptive because the steep turns are over with quickly. Then it’s back to the normal grade of the climb. It’s the numbers for the normal grade of the climb that I’m interested in with a note saying that the grade spikes up to 14% or more in the switchback turns. Too often I see the stats for a climb and all that is mentioned is the maximum grade in the switchbacks.
UniFied, there are no unrealistic expectations, especially a guy like you, Andrew, with a climbing-for-turns fitness level. At some point you will be able to do any muni hill as your skills will grow to match the given challenge.
Of course, this is from a guy whose skills barely matched the challenge of a paved climb.
Good to see that there is more interest in MUni climbing than there
was a few years ago. Living in the Netherlands, I have no long climbs
(nor descends) nearby which I think is really sad. I have to make do
with short climbs (my usual MUni area has up to 22 metres = 72 ft
height differences) but some are quite steep, up to 35+ %. I measure
my overall MUni progress mainly in terms of climbing: I keep logs of
where I ride and where I fail. For short sections, 25% uphill (on
gravel) I can usually do, I max out around 30%.
For MUni, I really wish I lived in mountainous area!
Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict
“As with all great social movements, the origins of mountain unicycling are unclear. - Hannah Nordhaus (Los Angeles Times)”