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Where do people go to get a proper training for climbing hills ? Obviously a trip to Wisconsin every weekend is out of the question. I'm not sure that a parking garage would do (but if somebody has an idea of organizing a chrono in the tallest parking tower in Chicago, that could be fun, I'm not sure the security would appreciate). I'm signed up for the Horribly Hilly Hundreds (100k, and I am NOT one of those crazy wisconsinites / ironpeople who can do the 200k and then start running just because they hadn't had enough). I still don't think I'm fine with the training (did 49 miles at the Quadrupedal Century before my bicycle broke down, otherwise I would have finished it, but I suspect that I'm not there yet for the HHH). Suggestions welcome

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Check out the SW suburban area around Palos Hills. IIRC there are a couple of long steep ones out that way, but it's been years since i used to go out there on my fixed...

Otherwise, about the best this part of the world may have to offer for killer training conditions is lotsa wind.
HHH was full when I tried to sign up, so I'm doing the "Insane Terrain" challenge, which as I understand it is organized by some of the same people and covers pretty much the same routes the HHH does.

Like you, I'm curious to see how I do, since I don't get many hills to climb on a regular basis.

If you ride up Sheridan Road to Highland Park, there are a couple of spots where there are some super steep hills that drop down to beach areas on the lake. I don't know exactly where they are, but they're pretty easy to spot. These aren't epic climbs by any stretch, but they're plenty steep and you go up and down two or three times you'll be feeling it.

As for in town, the parking garage for Home Depot and Guitar Center on Halsted is a halfway decent short-but-steep climb. If I'm passing by, I'll go up it just for the hell of it.

The bridge on Damen between Fullerton and Diversey doesn't look overly steep but for whatever reason I'm always a bit winded when I go over it.

But yeah, in Chicago, the best quasi "hill" training seems to be pushing strong headwinds on the lakefront trail. I have to think that all the times I've done 15 straight miles of non-stop headwind would offer some sort of benefit.

I guess you and I will find out this June and July, respectively.
If you don't have a lot of time to get out of the city, climb bridges into the wind. Even better, put loaded panniers on the back, so that you're adding 30-40+ lbs to the bike. If you do a circuit incorporating multiple bridges on a regular basis, especially on a heavier bike w/added weight, you will be able to climb and fly when you ride hills in Wisconsin in a light road bike. Been there, done it - multiple summers. It really helps a LOT.

I'd also agree with Brett's tip about riding the lakefront path on a windy day - into the wind.

Brett - about the Damen bridge, there's almost always a headwind, which really adds to the workout.
Anne Alt said:
If you don't have a lot of time to get out of the city, climb bridges into the wind. Even better, put loaded panniers on the back, so that you're adding 30-40+ lbs to the bike. If you do a circuit incorporating multiple bridges on a regular basis, especially on a heavier bike w/added weight, you will be able to climb and fly when you ride hills in Wisconsin in a light road bike. Been there, done it - multiple summers. It really helps a LOT.


I'd also agree with Brett's tip about riding the lakefront path on a windy day - into the wind.

Brett - about the Damen bridge, there's almost always a headwind, which really adds to the workout.

There's also a bit of a hill on museum campus drive just before shedd aquarium. If you're heading north on the path you can turn onto campus drive just before soldier field. At the top of the hill, you can get back onto the path heading south or you can loop around the drive in front of Shedd to get on campus drive going south. It's not ideal but it's convenient.

There's some car traffic but it's fairly light especially earlier in the mornings.

BUMP!
I seem to recall a bridge on Damen on the south side over an expressway (I-55?) that was larger than most
For hill climbs within the city limits, I think that bridge is the biggest climb. Start at Damen & Archer (by Huck Finn Donuts), go north over the bridge to Blue Island.

Jeff said:
I seem to recall a bridge on Damen on the south side over an expressway (I-55?) that was larger than most
If you're stuck in the city use those headwinds that swirl around no matter which way the wind is out of.

Sit up and spin, push some long gears, one-legged drills, anything into the wind every time you ride. It isn't like riding the mountains of California but headwinds can be effective. Repeating others, jam up any other little rise you can find.
Mike's right. Drive to Lemont. Park on State Street. Ride any direction out of town. Find two hills separated by a valley. Ride back and forth from top to top. Rinse. Repeat.

mike w. said:
Check out the SW suburban area around Palos Hills. IIRC there are a couple of long steep ones out that way, but it's been years since i used to go out there on my fixed...

Otherwise, about the best this part of the world may have to offer for killer training conditions is lotsa wind.
great thread.

all good replies.


obviously the farther out you go the better (I've done the Ironman Wisconsin
loop several times (Verona)), Johnson's Mound in Kane county is awesome,but if you are really crunched for time - get a mountain bike and a loaded backpack and pull a trailer up cricket hill at Montrose and the lakefront path. if it's muddy you get an better workout... ;-)


DB
Do take the advice of the adding weight to your bike for training. A few years ago I trained in Palos for a century in Arizona. I trained 3 months on the local hills and still flew off the back of any group while climbing. Sustained climbs of 7-8 miles are a huge difference than the small local hills. I am not sure if my advice translates well to the Hilly Hundred, but in my experience I was underprepared for the hills.
bump!

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