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Top 10 Tips For Climbing
Pacing
Start a climb at a comfortable pace and then slowly increase it if you can. Riding at an
even effort is much faster than if you go too hard and then blow, not to mention being
much less painful.
Equipment
Most new bikes come with compact gears, where the chainrings are slightly smaller than traditional
ones and the rear cassette is slightly bigger. This is a huge bonus when it comes to both
long climbs and steep climbs as it gives you a much broader range of gears. If you still
have a traditional 39 inner chainring and a 23 or 25 sprocket at the back but do loads
of climbing, consider changing your gear ratios.
Stay seated
The most efficient way to climb by bike is to stay in the saddle, and reserve standing
on the pedals for short climbs or stretches where you need to put out a little bit more power,
or simply to change position to ease tired muscles.
Cadence
The textbook climbing cadence is between 80 to 90rpm, so to be as efficient as possible,
aim to pedal at this speed. It lessens the force you’ll have to push through the pedals
compared to a slower cadence and so it can reduce fatigue on your muscles. Having said
that, a lot of research suggests that your natural cadence will be your most efficient,
so unless you are a long way outside of these parameters, don’t worry too much about changing.
Training
OK, we know you might not want to hear this, but there really is no substitute for hard
work. Climbing has a heck of a lot to do with fitness, and in particular power to weight
ratio. Structured intervals focussing on increasing your power over 10 minutes to an hour, even
if done on flat roads, should lead to a marked improvement when it comes to the climbs.
Relax
Climbing can be uncomfortable, but you’ll be able to save a load of effort if you concentrate
on relaxing anything that isn’t powering the bike. That means your arms and torso particularly.
It doesn’t come naturally at first, so you'll have to focus on relaxing.
Break the climb down into manageable chunks
Long climbs in particular can be really tough psychologically, so a good tip is to break
the climb down into smaller sections. It could be taking it one kilometre at a time, or split
it into sections based on the gradient. Either way, not thinking about the top is a good
idea, especially if it’s more than an hour away.
Lose weight
There’s no arguing with physics, power to weight ratio largely dictates how fast you’ll
cycle up hills. Training increases your power, but you could find that shedding a few kilos
will help you climb faster too. Your body is the cheap way to lose weight, but if you’ve
got deep pockets, then you’ll be able to lose plenty of weight from your bike.
Ride efficiently all day
How fast you can go up a climb can be governed as much by the non climbing sections of your
ride as by the climbs themselves. Avoid hitting the bottom of a climb when you’re already
out of breath. If you’re in a group, try and work it so that you’re sheltering before
you get to the climb to be as fresh as possible.
Nutrition
Make sure you eat and drink enough before you get to the climb. It takes a while for
carbohydrate to be absorbed into your body so take on fuel 20 minutes or so before you
hit the bottom of the climb. Likewise, in order to stay hydrated, you need to drink
consistently through your ride, so don’t leave it all to the last minute. If you’re tackling
a particularly long climb, you’ll need to drink on the way up too.
Have you got a good climbing story?
Tell us about it in the comments section below the video.
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Top 10 Climbing Tips - Climb Like A Pro

1632 Folder Collection
曹胤捷 published on October 23, 2015
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