The Chainlink

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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Just north of Crystal Lake on the Prairie Trail there is a 1-mile section with short but completely insane over 20% grade hills. 

I've used the added weight technique in multiple seasons, riding bridges into headwinds.


Beverly, Morgan Park and Blue Island have some short but steep climbs. 


BTW, I do NOT recommend riding up Cricket Hill by Montrose with a heavy load.  Think about how this can tear up the ground, leaving it vulnerable to erosion.  Consider that this can leave the area a lot worse than how you found it.  Not very green, folks.  :(

Pablo said:

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.

If your interested Brett or know anybody that is I have a slot that I'm selling for the HHH, I had a back injury that prevents me from going.


The only proper way to train for the HHH is to go to Blue Mounds and face the beast

Brett Ratner said:

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.
Just...riding can sometimes be good enough. 10 years or so ago, on the P2P in the Colorado Rockies and my MB-4 with low gearing, I had to spin in my granny ring to get up the mile-long grades. 10 years later in the Santa Cruz mountains (Bonny Doon road in particular, I think it was) I could churn up 7% grades seemingly indefinitely in a 39/28 combo with no problem. Who knew?? Not I, until I did it (that was all the gearing I had.) And all I'd done in the meantime was just ride a lot. I do tend to push big gears rather than spin a lot - maybe that helped? And carry some extra weight when I'm going to work, doing shopping, etc.

Willow Springs, Palos, Lemont and BurRidge (Bluff Road is a good stretch) have the best climbs on the southwest side.



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