Hill climbs are usually the divide in cyclists and not every cyclist is suited to them. A lot of it comes down to the body composition and naturally being born to do it. However, using a few simple tricks and harder training sessions you can completely transform as a rider.
Here are 8 tips/tricks to helping you tackle your climbing…
Being essential to a good training plan, hill reps are a must for all cyclists.
A good session will involve riding out locally, within an appropriate distance and cycling up a hill as hard as you can, recovering on your way down then repeating even harder than before. It is brilliant trick for extra muscular strength too, improving both your short and sprinting burst power.
Start by doing shorter sessions – 10 minute ascent will do to begin with but try increasing your time each time you endure this session. If the area you live is flat, experiment with higher gears instead. The resistance of it will act as an imaginary hill and provide the same effect.
Knowing The Hill
You can’t test yourself on something you are unfamiliar with, hence why it is important to stay locally and not push yourself too hard.
Knowing your climb can help when it comes to pacing and technique whilst cycling. You can also prepare for the steepest parts by toning down. Knowing your distance and potential struggle helps you work on weaker areas of your cycling.
Use A Heart Rate Monitor
Like we mentioned above, knowing your climb is so important especially when considering your health. You don’t want to crash half-way through your summit neither do you want to feel empty when you get to the top – with no energy to spare.
Knowing your heart rate and monitoring it can help you judge and maintain areas of effort for your climb, such as steep areas. Don’t ever push too hard or you’ll find yourself crashing before you have even really started.
Are You A Sitter Or A Stander?
Although this is not just a climb factor, it is still important to find your comfort zone whilst cycling.
No matter what type of cycling you are doing, it is essential to feel comfort in what you are doing. Especially on longer endurance rides.
Whether you are a sitter or a stander it usually varies on the person and is mainly todo with body composition and endurance. The lighter you are the easier it is to ride out of saddle while heavier riders tend to stay seater however like we mentioned, this is usually based on preference.
For beginners, we highly suggest practicing both and compare your heart rate for what works best for you.
Power to Weight ratio is a basic equation so It goes without saying that if you produce enough power you can give out enough power.
Losing the correct amount of weight can have a real positive effect on both your mental and physical state but do not go over board as cycling does not require you to be the strongest and fittest, a lot of it comes down to your body’s state of mind. If you want to climb or do that race, you will.
If you still want todo hill climbs but are uneasy on your weight try doing smaller climbs, starting with standing starts for a greater effect.
Practice Breathing Techniques
This technique almost goes without saying but so many cyclists don’t do it or don’t know how too. If you want to be pro this is a valuable tip worth practicing.
When climbing hills – quick and shallow breaths is a placebo on the mind into thinking ‘panic’. If you are dropping off a climb ignore any sense of panic and fill your lungs with ever breath, controlling and steadily counting your breaths.
It is a common factory that riders drop off the almost flat-section of a hill when first practicing climbs. Beginner cyclists are more likely to see this happen than pros per say. However, unless you really need to stop… keep pushing as racers see this is a vulnerable tactic to surge or out ride you.
Initially you will find climbs a struggle but never give up and the more you push and work on this strength the easier it will get.
Find The Right Gear
A lot of cyclists when purchasing a bike won’t really notice or touch the back gearing on your wheel, unless you are a racing cyclists. However when practicing climbs this is a really good trick to test yourself and push your strength.
A wide space cassette will give you more gears with a lower resistance but is harder to find that ‘perfect gear’.
If you are struggling for your pedals to turn, fiddle around with your gear set up but make sure you test and practice the different gears.