RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Walking up the hills

Ok so I’m a veteran hill walker. Living where I do in NJ there are literally no hills to train on. If I go to my parents there are 3 rather small hills. So just curious what people seriously think of those of us who have to hop off half way to walk up the rest of the way? Do you view us as wimps? Quitters?

I personally don’t see it as quitting or being a wimp. You are still getting a workout and you are doing what it takes to get to the top and keep moving on. I’ll be honest I weigh well over 200lbs so I say my even attempting to do this is something to be applauded. I guess I’m just worried about people judging me for walking up the hills. I’ve seen people call hill walkers sissies and other names so it kind of is bothering me right now.

49 Replies

Blumblebees, March 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm

CyclingRoberto:
You asked, so here’s my read on this.Wahhh I’m fat and can’t go up the hills!I live in NJ and there’s no hills to train on…wahhhh.I was born in NJ, and there’s plenty of hills.If you live in South Jersey, hop over the Delaware to PA where there’s hills a plenty.And if you put in the mileage even on the flats, you will ride up every hill.And you might loose some of the extra poundage.It’s the Register’s Bicycle Ride… not Walk.If you can’t ride up a hill because of some physical limitation beyond your control, or you just don’t like to ride uphill, that’s one thing; but if you are too out of shape and under-trained, that’s another.You sound like you’re worried about what others are thinking.I wouldn’t go there myself.I’m more concerned with what I think of myself.Walking is out of the question.

Ok first at no point was I whining. I was stating a fact. I live in central jersey and where I live there are no hills. I do not drive so getting to areas with hills is out of the question. As it is where I live is congested with traffic so all of my riding will be on back roads and the loop around nearby park. My point with my weight is that it IS harder to go uphills. It is not about the limitations it is about having to lug extra pounds up a hill. Someone who weighs 180 has less to drag up a hill than someone who weighs 250. Its math. Don’t believe me? Pile on an extra 50-80lbs in a backpack next time you go training and come back and tell me that you didn’t notice a difference. 12 years ago when I was in much better shape and did ragbrai I still had to walk up a few hills. And believe me back then I got in A LOT of training. I was doing 40-60 miles 4 days a week. Yes I will be more out of shape than most. That happens when you have spent the past 10 years not being very active. My starting point is behind most of the others. But in the past month and half I’ve become much more active and can do so much more than I could 2 months ago. I’m not worried about training. I am worried about getting over hills. I was just curious to see what others think of people who walk up hills. And yes it does matter to me on occasion what others think. Because honestly I’ve always been more motivated to get things done when I’ve worried about what others think of me. I know that is pretty messed up but it is a fact. Then again if I cared more about what other people think I wouldn’t even attempt this at all. I’d be to scared to step outside for fear of what others thought.
I’m doing this for myself not for anyone else.

#156870

jeffreydennis, March 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm

If you don’t have hills try this
1. Ride against the wind. A nasty head wind is worse than climbing.
2. Over gear for training. Pushing a big gear is great training for climbing.

Last, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Screw ’em.

#156967

knees36, March 23, 2012 at 7:00 pm

The biggest hills (that I know of) this year come on Day 3, the biggest would be coming out of Lehigh…lots of walking on that one for lots of people. That’s also “loop day” with two nice hills, so you can eliminate two of the four for the day by not doing the loop. Around Anamosa there will be some hills, can’t remember what they might be like, but these old knees made it up them on past RAG’s so they can’t be too serious and the last day of the ride usually has some hills, but none of them have a name that I know of, so maybe they’ll be okay too. Wednesday is the probably the toughest and our legs will still be fresh. The majority of the ride is flat so the tush will be tested the most. Cheers.

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knees36, March 23, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Sandaltan: K36; tractor low is the way to go especially if you are a bagger hauling your worldly possessions.RIDE RIGHT

Ain’tthat the truth, ST? I’ll be hauling me and my gear to Sioux Center, but riding with the Dodger Cyclists for the week, as usual, albeit slower than all of them. Cheers and it can’t get here too soon. 8)

#157130

SFC JKL 2, March 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm

-Bees

The secret to hills is having bigger gears. I’m 240 pounds and now live in the mountains of Georgia. The street I live on is 18 degrees (potter’s hill anyone). I have a 26t granny in front with a 12-28 cassette. If I run into a hill I can’t climb with that, I figure I don’t deserve to be on a bik.

If you want some hills to ride our local event is http://www.dahlonega.org/index.php/six-gap/three-gap-bike-ride.html

We also have the Brasstown Baldbuster in May but I haven’t scene anything on it yet this year, so I’m not sure it’s going to happen.

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Anonymous, March 23, 2012 at 8:59 pm

You can get off and walk DOWN HILL if you want..or push the bike anywhere for that matter.
It’s called cross training…There should probably be a ragbrai patch for it..
Walk five miles of the route and get a patch.

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jake d, March 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Bees

I’ve been doing this ride for 20+ years and have yet to see someone ridiculed on the route for walking a hill. People on the ride tend to be less self righteous than SOME who post on this board.

Some seem to forget, (or never knew in the first place), that RAGBRAI is not an athletic event restricted to only riders who meet specific physical or performance standards.

It’s a bicycle tour across Iowa. With an invitation to anyone with the fortitude to give it a try. A chance for even average riders to push themselves further while spending a week connecting with the land and the people of Iowa. If that includes walking a few hills…So what.

Donald Kaul, (co-founder of RAGBRAI), has been quoted as saying, “Sometimes I just like to get off and walk…the hill was just a coincidence”. Truth be known, in the early years half the riders walked hills and no-one thought anything of it.

Give it your best Bees, you’ll do just fine.

#157264

knees36, March 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm

jake d: BeesI’ve been doing this ride for 20+ years and have yet to see someone ridiculed on the route for walking a hill. People on the ride tend to be less self righteous than SOME who post on this board.Some seem to forget, (or never knew in the first place), that RAGBRAI is not an athletic event restricted to only riders who meet specific physical or performance standards. It’s a bicycle tour across Iowa. With an invitation to anyone with the fortitude to give it a try. A chance for even average riders to push themselves further while spending a week connecting with the land and the people of Iowa. If that includes walking a few hills…So what.Donald Kaul, (co-founder of RAGBRAI), has been quoted as saying, “Sometimes I just like to get off and walk…the hill was just a coincidence”. Truth be known, in the early years half the riders walked hills and no-one thought anything of it.Give it your best Bees, you’ll do just fine.

Very good points, Jake. Cheers.

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shawndev, March 27, 2012 at 8:17 am

Bees: The only people who might have a derogatory thing to say aren’t worth considering anyway. This is my second RAGBRAI. I live in Kansas, can you say flat as a pancake? (actually there was an analysis done a couple of years ago, and Kansas is FLATTER than a pancake). I rode with guys 5-10 years younger than me who live and train every day in the hills of Arkansas and Georgia. Twister hill was the biggest beast I ever rode up. Hit 45 MPH going down, hit probly 4 MPH going up. About fell over a couple of times. At those moments, I wished I was closer to the right side, so that I could walk the hill. I rode it all through sheer determination and the fact that I was boxed in on the left. But I never once thought anything less of the walkers.

Point is, the hills may amount to 2 or 3 miles of a 470+ mile ride. Take the big picture. Walk where you have to walk, ride the rest. BFD what others think. They’ll think a lot more of seeing you at the Mighty Miss, finishing, than grinding up a hill and wrecking your knees and not finishing.

Do what you gotta do and HAVE FUN! If you aren’t having fun, why do it?

#161827

shawndev, March 27, 2012 at 8:20 am

COnclusion: Simply put, our results show that Kansas is considerably flatter than a pancake.
Study: Kansas vs Pancake flatness

#161828

shawndev, March 27, 2012 at 8:30 am

isitsummer: Hello Bees,Once during 2010 ride my knees and I were walking up a steep hill, I heard a young man say “Oh great, I’m getting passed by a walker.” Summer

Now that’s funny. Last year I did the Capital of Texas Triathlon, my first one. I over-spent my fuel on the bike portion and was cooked by the time I got to the 10K run. That tri also benefitted Wounded Warriors, and there were plenty of them doing the tri, very inspiring. At one point on the run a WW with a prosthetic leg passed me going up a hill. I said, “Man, that’s soooo uncool.” He said, “What is?” I said, “A guy with one good leg passing me up a hill.” He laughed his butt off, and we finished the rest of the run together. Sometimes his leg was hurting and he wanted to walk, sometimes he wanted to run. The first time he wanted to walk he told me to go on. I said, “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m probably not finishing in the money. I’d rather hang out with a hero than pretend to be one.” That was the best part of the whole day.

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mootsman, March 27, 2012 at 9:41 am

We all support people who would rather walk the hills. You didn’t mention the type of bike and gearing you have. Maybe super low gears would allow you to ride them? Or if you’re on a mountain bike already, good high pressure road tires to replace the off road tires.

#161846

giantron, March 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

These are great stories folks.
But to Bees original concern, I’m 220lbs so I know what you’re talking about. I’ve walked a couple of hills in my day, Potter hill was one. I’d hoped to make it up but got cut off and lost momentum (that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!!).
But for us big guys I have a couple of suggestions.
1- Learn to spin. What I mean is it’s a lot easier to spin fast in a really low gear than to try and muscle through a higher gear. So practice a fast pace rotation of your legs as often as possible to build up that technique.
2- Learn to alternate “pulling” and “pushing”. Try only pulling up on the pedals for 3 or 4 strokes, then only push down for three or four. You’ll find you don’t burn out either muscle quite so fast
3- Look into lower gearing. I was amazed how easy I got up some hills on my new touring bike (touring bikes are geared really low to carry all that weight up hills) compared to my regular road bike. A friend of mine got up Potter hill by himself on a TANDEM! He’s a good rider, but the low gearing really helped him out.
4- Practice Standing on the pedals. This is an okay way of helping to improve climbing. Get in a really high gear and stand while pedaling. It does help.

I’ve done all these things and still gotten beat on a few hills. Don’t worry about it. No one cares, if somebody has a problem with it then they’re the one with the problem. Enjoy the ride.

#161848

Bartaped, March 27, 2012 at 10:33 am

No shame in having to walk the hill……….. shame is having a ego to big not too! Ragbrai is about enjoying Iowa not worring about what others think if you do want or need to walk a hill.

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“Bicycle Bill”, March 27, 2012 at 10:41 am

shawndev:“I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m probably not finishing in the money. I’d rather hang out with a hero than pretend to be one.” That was the best part of the whole day.

+1, shawndev.

-“BB”-

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