How To Climb Like A Boss
Pardon the pun, but for cyclists, hill climbing has its ups and down. The downside is that climbing can be a painful experience, but the upside is that there is real satisfaction to be had in completing the test. It doesn’t matter where you go to ride the hills, the challenge forever remains the same.
There are some cyclists who take to climbing like a duck to water, and those folks usually have a light build and the ability move their legs quickly and smoothly. For everyone else, climbing takes a lot of practice, but it’s an essential part of the game for any aspiring road racer.
Listed below are some tips that should turn you into a better climber.
Watch Your Weight
Gravity is the enemy of every cyclist, and while you will never beat that foe entirely, you can give yourself an edge by losing some weight.
We suggest losing weight the right way, which means steering clear of crash diets. We all have foods and beverages that are our kryptonite, and those need to be the first things you remove from your daily diet. Simply eliminating the junk will help you reduce your daily calorie intake, which in turn will get your weight down.
Lose no more than a couple of pounds per week, as losing more is a sure way to decrease muscle mass. Slow and steady wins this race every time.
Improve Your Power-To-Weight Ratio
Getting your weight down is good, but it’s only one piece of the battle. Increasing your power output is also high on the list.
If you have an event that is coming soon, try to see if there is a local climb that roughly matches what you will be up against in the race. If you find one, get warmed up before tackling that hill 3-5 times, making sure to rest a little between each ascent. Do this a couple of times per week and you will see your climbing power start to improve.
Train For Those Long Climbs
An event that take place through mountains may mean that you don’t have a similar local climb to practice on.
If this is the case, ride hard for an hour at a sustainable high pace. It should be a tough ride, but not so tough that you need to give up before the hour is over. A headwind helps, and you should also continue to pedal hard when hitting downhill stretches.
Pacing and Position
A lighter and stronger body is great, but you also need to pay attention to pacing and position during a climb.
If you push yourself too hard, you may end up crossing the point of no return. Do not go flat-out, but rather ride with determination, breathing deeply and calmly so that the upper part of your body remains in a relaxed state.
You can get more power by rising out of the saddle, but that’s a position that can quickly get tiring. Most gradients will be easier to manage if you stay in the saddle, with the out of saddle position best reserved for the steepest portions, or when you need to stretch out your back a little.
Prior To The Climb
We know that eating while you ride is tough, but that energy comes in handy in a climb. Try to get in an energy gel a couple of miles before the climb arrives.
If you know you are in a group that contains good hill climbers, force your way to the front of the pack prior to the climb so that you won’t lose too much ground on the hill. Follow the other tips mentioned here, though, and it might just be you leading the pack up the hilly sections.Check out more of our
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