Not all cyclists are able to smash up when it comes to riding on hills or slopes. Every cyclist has a different body and muscle composition that makes some riders to shine on the flat roads, while some can create havoc on the slopes. No one can excel at everything, and if you’re someone who can’t ride up, there is nothing to disappoint. There are ways to improve your climbs or tackle the highlands.
Below are some simple tips and some additional training sessions that will help you completely transform yourself as a rider.
7 Ways To Improve Your Climbs
#1 Repeat hill rides
Hill prep rides are the building block of a good training plan. A session involves riding to hill or slope of suitable distance for around 30 seconds to 10 minutes depending on your ability and target and climbing up as hard as you can. You can recover on your way back and repeat it again.
Short ascents (about 30 seconds) on hills provide good muscular strength exercise, which is ideal for improving your sprinting capabilities.
The resistance of climb hills also improves your short burst power. If you want to climb for longer, consider 10-minute ascents and ride at 80 to 90 percent of max heart rate approximately.
#2 Know the climb
Don’t be the type of rider who hits off hard at the beginning of the climb, only to run out of gas within 20 meters of ascending.
Knowing the climb can really benefit you in pacing yourself and understanding what techniques suits you best. If you know where the steepest climbs are, you can make some changes to your training sessions and prepare for it.
If you find that the climb you targeted will be included in a race and thinking of participating in it, try it beforehand by pre-riding the climb at least once.
#3 Know yourself by using heart rate and power monitor
It’s essential you know yourself by knowing your heart rate or power for the duration of the ascent so that you have a better understanding of your efforts and power. You don’t want to be that rider, who speeds up to the summit and fails to reach the summit because he/she got no gas left in the tank.
Keep in mind that power numbers respond instantly to increased efforts, but heart rate takes time to compile. So, don’t push yourself hard top soon to get there, otherwise, you’ll find yourself in the red.
#4 Lose weight
You can improve your climbs by losing weight. Lighter cyclists will always have an upper hand when it comes to riding.
It’s basic physics involving in gravity. If you’ve more body fat in yourself that you need — losing some of it will produce some really amazing results. But do it in a healthy way, after all, you do need your power producing muscles.
#5 Breathe easy
Breathing is important in the competitive cycling game. Sometimes riding uphill can cause a panic reaction resulting in short, sharp breaths.
Addressing it by quick and shallow breaths is the normal panic response, but the implications can be negative. It tricks your body into thinking it’s in trouble, which leads to reduced performance and even panic attacks.
If you find yourself in such situations during a climb, ignore any sense of rising panic, and breathe steadily and normally. And remember to fill your lungs with every breath.
#6 Don’t stop at the brow of the hill
During races, its common sightseeing many riders climbing uphill drop on the brow of the hill. The strong riders didn’t exhaust any of their power, but the weak climbers have almost blown up their gaskets.
The only they can do is to relax, congratulate themselves for the efforts, and climb down. This presents a golden opportunity for strong climbers to surge ahead. So, pedal hard when you reach over the brow of the hill – or risk losing.
#7 Adjust your gears
This is another way to improve your climbs. Many riders never adjust the gearing of their newly purchased bikes. But, simply swapping the cassette or chainset of your bike can do wonders. Usually, double chainsets come with chainrings – size 53/39. This is the highest level of resistance. Mid-compact chainsets have 52/36-sized chainrings, while the compact ones have 50/34 size.
On the rear, a wide spaced cassette such as an 11-36, 11-34, or 11-32 will provide you more gears with a lower level of resistance. If you’re finding it hard in turning the pedals on the climbs, alter your gear set-up by opting for a smaller chainset and broad ratio cassette. This will assist you in spinning more quickly.
Good luck! 🙂