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Ok, you guys confirmed what I thought elevation gain was. Another ? I'm reading about this ride I'm doing (Dairyville Dare) and there's a lot of talk about how tough the hills are because of the AMOUNT of climbing there is- 7500 ft gain in 100k (62 miles)= 120 ft/mile. That (it seems?) is only like a mile and a half of climbing in 62 miles, right? Is that considered tough? I know about grade %, etc- I'm talking about the AMOUNT of climbing. Also, how do you train for hills when you don't have any hills to train on?

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The Evanston Bike Club says their Saturday 7AM ride includes some lake access hills. I'm planning on doing it this Saturday. I'll report back on the hills.
If the ride is a loop, then its 7500 ft of gain over 31 miles (you start and end at the same elevation, so approximately half the ride is descending). That averages out to a 4.5% grade while climbing. That will be hard ride. Where is this? Sounds fun.

There are no long hills that I know of in Chicagoland, but there are plenty of shorter steep ones out in the burbs (Burr Ridge, North Shore along Sheridan, Fox Lake). I don't have any good routes though.
Dairylanddare.com It's August 15th in Dodgeville Wis. There's 100,133,200,266 and 300k routes
7500 ft of elevation gain is no easy task...Better get prepared for a serious kick in the ass especially if it is a series of two or three big hills. Best of luck.

-Ali
I've done hill repeats at one of the suburban boat launches--but truth is bikes aren't allowed on that road, so you might get yelled at. Besides, riding up the access road five or 10 times still won't prepare you for the kind of long hills you'll find in Wisconsin and farther afield. You just have to do it. Get in your small chainring before the climb (if you shift from the big to the small under a load, you may shift your chain right off), and then shift as needed to your easiest cog and try to maintain a rhythm while seated. I think a lot of people make the mistake of trying to attack a hill when they don't have to. Which is one thing if you're racing, but if you're doing a metric century or other organized noncompetitive ride, it makes more sense to conserve your energy where you can. Stand up for the steepest parts, but you should be able to climb most any hill while seated.
I'm not a novice, but obviously I'm not an expert either- so I appreciate the tips-Thanks. But is 7500ft of climbing a lot within 62 miles?

Natalie said:
I've done hill repeats at one of the suburban boat launches--but truth is bikes aren't allowed on that road, so you might get yelled at. Besides, riding up the access road five or 10 times still won't prepare you for the kind of long hills you'll find in Wisconsin and farther afield. You just have to do it. Get in your small chainring before the climb (if you shift from the big to the small under a load, you may shift your chain right off), and then shift as needed to your easiest cog and try to maintain a rhythm while seated. I think a lot of people make the mistake of trying to attack a hill when they don't have to. Which is one thing if you're racing, but if you're doing a metric century or other organized noncompetitive ride, it makes more sense to conserve your energy where you can. Stand up for the steepest parts, but you should be able to climb most any hill while seated.
I think you just have to go up beyond the Cheddar Curtain and practice. The hills west of Madison are truly something - that is why that will be the site of the Olympic cycling events if the Olympics come to Chicago. One method used in racing up long hills is to concentrate on the wheel ahead and just maintain the distance. Also if you can get your weight back and pull on the handle bars that increases your output as you get some arm muscles helping. Then you can switch to standing and pedaling which uses different muscles and gives others a bit of rest. In racing, descending is its own skill set, but if you are not racing it should just be fun and not harrowing. Good luck. I wish I was a climber, but at my age I know better who I am. Two stents in the heart also remind me just as often.
As somebody else put it here.... get ready for some serious
kick in your lower back... I've done the Horribly Hilly Hundreds
(67 miles, 5700 feet elevation gain) 10 days ago and I have
to confess that a) I stopped multiple times (7 I think), b) I
pushed my bike for the last 200 yards on the last climb (and
after seeing my picture at the arrival of the ride I told myself
that I should repress any sense of guilt). There were plenty of
people who would just push their bike on every single steep
climb (but they all got on their bikes for the last 100 yards...).
I wasn't completely unprepared (did two centuries
the two weeks before, went riding once in more or less the same
area at the beginning of May). And I knew some of the roads in
the area (did the Wright Stuff Century last September, some roads
are the same). No, there isn't anything around Chicago which
prepares you for those hills... It's not 2-3 long hills, look at the
profile of the ride (it's on the Dairyland Dare web site, click on
the comparisons with the HHH). About a dozen hills, each between
200 and 300 feet elevation, 10% steep. I did the HHH with a triple
and I found myself using the lowest possible gear (30 in the front,
28 in the back) on too many hills. Yes think about the gears you
have on your bike (the one reason I have a triple is called Wisconsin).
Now the Dairyland Dare is later in the season and that may help you
with being in shape (I didn't cycle anywhere as much as I wanted
this spring), but you could still be surprised. I think that a lot will also
depend on the temperature on the day of the ride..... We'll see how
tough the Dairyland Dare really is (I'm signed up, apparently the
lesson of the HHH wasn't enough). Get in your car, drive to Wisconsin
and hit some of those roads. Bring lots of water with you. It's a lovely
area for cycling, the secondary roads can be really empty. But it's a
roller coaster.....
I really appreciate all the feedback you guys have given me- Thanks a lot
David Travis and Marco speak truth! Get thee north of the Cheddar Curtain to Kettle Morriane or the Tyrol Basin ski area (town name uncertain) and get in all the hill riding you can. My personal favorite is around the New Glaris, WI area - home of lots of hill bike riding on roads and trails plus the best damn microbrewery in the Midwest.

Evane X is right about the local hill riding. Fox Lake and Sheridan-North Shore are good. I prefer Burr Ridge because its closer to my residence travel-wise and the hills are short but steep rollers. For a weekender, you can travel to Bloomington, IN and ride the Hilly Hundred route. You might be able to download the two-day route map from the CIBA website. Another great excuse to go riding up and down hills is the area around Galena, IL (northwest corner of the state). I just got back from the TOMRV ride which went through that locale. Very hilly - especially on the road between Galena and Hanover, IL.!

You now have lots of ideas. Take these, brother - may they serve you well.
They often climb the north shore beach access roads, where you have very little distance to build speed before a seriously steep climb. These aren't long climbs, but they're helpful in building your hill climbing legs.

In the city, you could do a decent circuit of short climbs in Beverly, Morgan Park and Blue Island. The undulating ridge that runs north-south between Longwood and Western has lots of short climbs - some of them moderately steep. Nice scenery, too. Note that the climbs get steeper as you get closer to the Cal-Sag. The longest climb is SW on Lothair from 111th & Longwood, often w/bonus burn due to SW headwind. The two steepest I've tried are an E-W street (Union or York?) by MetroSouth Hospital (formerly St. Francis) in Blue Island and 110th Place WB from Longwood.

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
The Evanston Bike Club says their Saturday 7AM ride includes some lake access hills. I'm planning on doing it this Saturday. I'll report back on the hills.
Brian Bird said:
My personal favorite is around the New Glaris, WI area - home of lots of hill bike riding on roads and trails plus the best damn microbrewery in the Midwest.

Without a doubt. when I was going to school up in Madison, I rode a few times with the Bombay Bicycling Club, including a ride to New Glaris. It was the best ride I'd ever done! The climbs were tough but doable on a double, while the descents and scenery made each climb totally worth the pain.

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