The Chainlink

I need suggestions for hilly areas within a 1-2 hr drive or (preferably) train ride of Chicago.  I'm training for Dairyland Dare and short of driving 3 hrs up to Dodgeville before the August 10 race, I'd like to practice my shifting on hills closer to Chicago.  

Major bonus if I can get there by train with my bike. I've ridden in Three Oaks/Indiana Dunes area but it doesn't loo like the South Shore line allows bikes, which is really disheartening.  I need to be able to do it as a day trip.  

I know that anything this close to Chicago isn't going to be nearly as hilly as the areas west of Madison, but something is better than nothing. 

Your advice is much appreciated! 

Views: 2807

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Here's a zipped folder containing the route and necessary files. The document "leader info" describes the start location of the longer leg (the second part starts out of the town assuming a lunch or coffee stop, which you'll need if you're not used to hilly riding.)

Attachments:

Your event happens in two weeks. You can't accomplish training in that time. Trying to train will only make your legs sore and leave your body tired. Just continue whatever riding you normally do and get extra sleep.

You need low gears for this ride. Be sure they work. Be very sure they work. Put together a bag of food you will want to eat when pushing hard. Drink a lot of water  starting two days before  the event and drink a lot during the event.  Stop drinking alcohol now. If the weather is hot alcohol will matter. And get sleep. Think about hill training for next year's event

Thanks again, everyone. As I meant to convey, my biggest concern is with lack of familiarity about anticipating the proper shifting while heading towards and then climbing a hill. My general fitness level is good as I ride regularly and have been "training" on paths like DePlaines River Trail, Skokie Lagoons, and the LFP over the spring and summer. I might be overthinking the whole shifting on a hill thing, but I haven't done it too often, and never on this particular bike (which thankfully does have functioning low gears (28t granny up front and 13-28t on the rear....and I might even swap out the rear with a 13-34t I bought on ebay). That said, the advice to eat and hydrate is always welcome as I know it makes a big difference.  

OK. I've done a lot of riding in that area of Wisconsin. It is one hill after another. There is not a lot of flat. There is also a lot of downhill. Rest on the downhill. Go harder than you think is reasonable on the flat. And don't go any harder than what you could manage on the flat when the road goes up. By hill #5 you are going to think I'm out of my mind, there's no way to get over the top of this hill w/o total maximum effort. Thing is, you are not doing a ride of 5 or 10 or 20 hills, you're just doing hills. Do not blowup early. The most conservative advice is start the hill in the gear you will need to finish the hill. Shift just once and shift as far down as you will need to go. You will lose a little speed and momentum at the foot of the climb but so what, the goal is to get over the top and not totally trash yourself early in the ride. And if you do try to rush the hill at speed in a big gear be ready to shift down just as soon as the pedals start to move slow. Always shift early, never shift late. You want to keep pedal speed up. Grinding slowly at the pedals will kill you very soon.

You want to give some thought to the downhill. I have done 60mph downhill in Wisconsin. I have nowhere near the skill to make that speed on real mountain roads. Fifty mph downhills are really common. If you are to get any rest at those speeds you need to be very stable on the bike.  You won't be stable and you can't go fast if you get to the top so trashed you're just shaking.  Using a low enough gear on the uphill leaves you ready for the downhill. And put your saddle down. Lower saddle means more stability. Less weight on your arms. Arms and shoulders get beat up on downhills. The beating is worse if you are grabbing your brakes all the time. You need to relax on the downhill. No one ever listens to the advice to put the saddle down, I know that, take the wrench with you just in case you decide I was right. Loss of power from a slightly low saddle is totally insignificant unless you are doing a TdF time trial.

Your low of 28x28 should be plenty. I can do repeats on Blue Mound in 42x24 and make most random loops of 100k in SW Wisconsin on the same. Dairyland Dare I would want 42x28 for 100k. For 150 or more I want a motor. Just use that 28x28 and use it in time. There are no points awarded for topping climbs in big gears.



prof.gfr said:

Thanks again, everyone. As I meant to convey, my biggest concern is with lack of familiarity about anticipating the proper shifting while heading towards and then climbing a hill. My general fitness level is good as I ride regularly and have been "training" on paths like DePlaines River Trail, Skokie Lagoons, and the LFP over the spring and summer. I might be overthinking the whole shifting on a hill thing, but I haven't done it too often, and never on this particular bike (which thankfully does have functioning low gears (28t granny up front and 13-28t on the rear....and I might even swap out the rear with a 13-34t I bought on ebay). That said, the advice to eat and hydrate is always welcome as I know it makes a big difference.  

Thanks - that is really really useful advice and I appreciate your experience with the terrain and honesty about strategies! 

Good advice from John above. I'd also recommend against swapping out your rear cassette/freewheel unless you know for sure that your derailers and chain can take the extra 6 teeth without an issue. A few years back I swapped out rear freewheels for a lower gear without thinking it through before a century in SW Wisconsin - ended up unable to shift into the lowest 2 gears. I finished the (very hilly) century, but it was a little less pleasant, if only because I had to consciously think about my shifting so much to make sure I didn't drop the chain or do something even worse to my bike. 

As soon as you feel resistance on the uphills, shift!

I've done it and it works. Not exciting, but you may be able to work it into your commute (my motivation), depending on where you live and work.  When you don't have a lot of time to train, it can offer an efficient solution.

Lisa Curcio 6.5 mi said:

There is a member of the Chainlink who tells the story of training for hills by loading up her bike and riding up and down bridge overpasses.  Boring, but effective training.

Good advice. And if your brake pads aren't fairly new, it may be worth a quick check to make sure there's enough left in them to do the job. If there's not much left of them, replacing them before your WI adventure may be worthwhile.

John C. Wilson said:

OK. I've done a lot of riding in that area of Wisconsin. It is one hill after another. There is not a lot of flat. There is also a lot of downhill. Rest on the downhill. Go harder than you think is reasonable on the flat. And don't go any harder than what you could manage on the flat when the road goes up. ..

Take a Metra to Crystal Lake and take the path to Lake Geneva. Some hills up there, some you'll probably walk on the first try.

check out johnson's mound in far west suburb. not sure what town; but it is a killer hill . asphalt paved

and switchbacks. very little car traffic. we used to ride there and do repeats to train for HH, HHH, etc.

it will kick your A$$

 

there is a METRA pretty close - maybe UP West line to Elburn ? or Geneva

 

http://www.kaneforest.com/ForestPreserveView.aspx?ID=29

Elburn, the Metra stop is like 2-3 miles from the Mound.  It's where my dad used to take us sledding every year

Agree with J.A.W.  Plot a ride from Arlington Heights to Lake Geneva, WI.  You will get over 2,000 ft of hills on the ride up.

RSS

Groups

© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service