The road to cycling success is often blocked by mountains, but climbing over them makes us stronger, faster and fitter…
There are many points of view on the best way to climb, but one thing’s for sure, efficiency is king! First you will need to decide which type of climber you are. Are you a climber who likes to stand on his pedals and charge up the mountain like Alberto Contador? Or are you a more measured and efficient climber who remains seated and keeps a steady pace like the Kaiser, Jan Ulrich? Standing is definitely a more powerful way of charging up the mountain, but it’s also a faster way to blowing up! Remaining seated and in a comfortable position and pace is definitely more efficient. It’s also a great way of applying pressure to your competitors and hitting them where it hurts on those steep ascents. Below are three tips to help you smash that next climb.
Trim up, Speed up
The more kilos you carry up the mountain the harder it is to climb. Trimming a few of those off season kilos is one guaranteed way to shred that mountain faster. Have a look at your nutrition and diet and see if there is some tweaking that will help you lose some additional weight. Ride your local climbs regularly. When you lose even as little as one to two kilos, you will see a marked improvement in your performance, because you’re moving less weight with the same power.
In the past, the old theory was to smash out a ride on tiny cogs and big rings. It was all about a show of power and strength. Traditional gearing was the only way to go. Science now tells us that spinning an easier gear and a faster cadence is a more efficient way of climbing a hill. Try using a compact chainring and 11-32 cassette. This will up your cadence and alleviate those tired heavy legs!
Drafting seems like a waste of time at 12km’s per hour, but you would be surprised how much energy you conserve if you tuck behind someone. There is also the consideration of wind, which often tends to blow stronger, the higher up you go. Aerodynamics aside, there is a mental benefit to pacing off someone. Following someone’s wheel allows you to develop your own steady rhythm on the ascent and provides you with that bit of extra energy to power away from your burnt out opponent at the summit.