Hill climbing is an integral part of cycling. Unless you were born with perfect cycling genes or trained your way into them, chances are you will struggle. If you have come to this article it probably means you are a beginner looking for tips. You have come to the right place. You're going to have to deal with the discomfort of climbing mountains for a long time. You'll need to embrace the pain and the fact that it's going to last a while. You will get there, keep pushing. Practice makes perfect. Focus on your own improvement without comparing yourself to other people. It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game, but it’s also a surefire way to become unhappy with your own body. With that said, let's look at some tips for getting the most out of your hill climbs.
Back to basics
Take on enough nutrition, stay hydrated and have enough fuel on your ride. This is a very overlooked aspect of your hill climb training routine. No matter what bike you have, how well prepared you are or what level you're at you always need enough energy to make your way to the top. Don't underestimate this factor or rely on burning your fat reserves to get you up the hill. You will need regular energy & water to keep the machine running.
Use your upper body. Pull back on the bars to give yourself a bit of leverage Once you have a good grip, use your upper body to pull yourself up. Keep your abs pulled in to keep your body in an upright position. The stronger your core is, the more energy you will conserve and be able to use for climbing.
Breathe deep and take in oxygen. Open up your chest by lifting your head and placing your hands wide on the handlebars. As you breathe out, imagine you are releasing all the stress and anger that has been building up inside you. This breath will help to clear your mind and focus on your next steps.
Focus on your cadence without focusing too much on your cadence.
The cadence is a measure of how many times you pedal per minute. This is measured by the revolutions of your cranks per minute. It is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). The higher the RPM, the harder you pedal. The lower the RPM, the easier you pedal.
If you are trying to keep the same cadence for all grades, you are going to have to increase the cadence on the steeper grades. As you get to the top of the hill, you may have to slow down a little. This is because you are running out of energy.
For steep climbs, your cadence should be between 65-75rpm, for flat ground, it should be 95-100rpm. Summary: For all gradients, you should be able to maintain a cadence of around 75rpm. If you don't have enough gears, and are forced to power your way up a climb at 40-50 rpm, this is very difficult and inefficient. You will get exhausted and go much slower. It's better to just walk the bike up to the smoother section of the hill.
Remember to pace yourself for the final climb, and use the hills to build up energy. It's important to know what you're climbing before you start the climb. This will help you to manage your energy and pace yourself more effectively.
Climb in a seated position
Try to climb in a seated position. It is often more efficient to climb this way because you can maintain a higher power for longer and it is more aerodynamic.
You can get more power from your legs if you pedal standing up. However, your legs and upper body will tire more quickly if you pedal standing up. This is great for acceleration or getting through a particularly steep section. But, when the fast-twitch muscle fibers are exhausted, the burst of power will evaporate, and you will find your power dissipates.
If you're riding in a group, you can use the momentum of your friends to help you accelerate. By shifting up one or two gears as you rise out of the saddle, you can take advantage of the momentum of your friends to help you accelerate.
Believe in yourself
Don't underestimate your abilities, you're in this to have fun and improve. With more training and consistency you will get better. Getting to the top is more about how you ride and how you think rather than how much power you have. You'll be climbing hills like a tour de France pro before you know it just don't aim to reach that level over time. Focus on gradual improvement and only compete against yourself. Happy hill climbing.