You have heard about the fall beauty of the Hilly Hundred Weekend in southern Indiana and have signed up. You have also heard about all those HILLS. In the next series of articles in my Fitness Corner, we would like to describe these hills and suggest how you approach them on ride day. We also hope to give you some training tips so that you can start training NOW for fun and success during Hilly Hundred.
Bicyclists tend to describe three types of hills, each of which requires a different approach. The first hill can be described as abrupt, short and steep. Its length is less than that of a football field. It is generally agreed that you stand and attack this type of hill. You may wish to shift up one gear just before standing, depending on how abrupt the elevation changes. You will encounter plenty of these hills in Green County. (Not the attacking type? Read on about techniques for moderate hills.)
The second type of hill is longer, closer to a 2-4 minute climb. It is actually more efficient to sit for the majority of this climb, since you expend about 10-12% more energy when you stand. However, you will want to break this moderate climb up with occasional stands. This allows you to recruit differing muscle groups (thus warding off fatigue) as well as maintaining your momentum. Since you will be encountering plenty of moderate hill climbs on Hilly Hundred, we provide a more detailed explanation of how to approach these in a subsequent article.
The third type of hill is considerably longer, requiring 6-10+ minutes to traverse. Here in the Midwest, I can only laugh at this description. You will be hard pressed to find a 10 minute hill climb anywhere here in Indiana. So we will save this discussion for when you are headed out west to the mountains.
As you start rolling on Saturday of Hilly Hundred, you can expect both short and medium length hills. Plan to stand up and attack those shorter hills. For the moderate hills, take a seated approach with only occasional out-of-the-saddle surges. A detailed explanation of this latter approach can be found in the next article