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  1. #1
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    Approaches to climbing

    Hi all. I personally find hill climbing (on a road bike) quite tough, and I would like to get better. Just been out for a ride around Surrey today and I had to stop halfway up one hill and walk up it. Such a FAIL! The others I completed, but it was hard going.

    My mental attitude seems to suffer somewhat faced with a steep incline (in that I think I can't do it and negative thoughts flood my brain!!).

    Do you guys have certain approaches to hill climbs that you think help you out? Do you stay seated? If not, when do you climb out of the saddle?

    I would love to know what everyone thinks

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Admin's Avatar
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    I love climbing, despite being dreadful at it. My overweight and unfit person technique is:

    Start in a low gear - you can always change up, but if you blow through your muscles' reserves in the first couple of minutes of a long climb it's very very hard to recover.

    Sit down - standing is for sprinters.

    Pace yourself - don't attack the hill, but ease into it. Find your 'happy place' pace and don't exceed it.

    Have low gears - there is no shame in a triple chainset or a compact with a big sprocket.

  3. #3
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    Great, thank you for your tips! I'm currently running a nice compact chainset at the moment - but if I take in some steeper hills I would definitely swap it out for a triple.

    Today I also learned freaking out about a hill whilst clipped in is not good. Cue zero speed topple

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Admin's Avatar
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    Zero speed topples are the rite of passage of clipless pedals.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    hi Catcake, I used to struggle with hills when I first started cycling and often had to get off midway and walk it, but I am now much better at them. Admin has said it all really, but pacing yourself is definitely the key. i used to attack the hill too hard and run out of steam before the top. Slow and steady is the key. Also the best way to get better at hills is cycle lots of hills I live in a hilly area so had no choice but to get good at hill climbs. It really does get easier the more climbs you do and you will notice your fitness improving dramatically. Soon you will be zooming up the hills!
    Twitter: @cyclosally
    http://www.strava.com/athletes/sallymcsorley

  6. #6
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    Oh, also, I find a bowl of porridge before hill climbs helps enormously
    Twitter: @cyclosally
    http://www.strava.com/athletes/sallymcsorley

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Nat@JoyrideCycles's Avatar
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    I'll definitely agree with setting a pace. Settling into a nice steady rhythm works for me. It's hard at first but after a few months it'll come and you'll be much happier.

    Always, always, always save your granny ring!

    For shorter hills or rises, try accelerating hard into the bottom of the hill and allow this speed to carry you up the first half of the hill. When you feel gravity starting to pull at you, get out the saddle and use a quick burst of power to carry yourself over the crest, then sit back down and spin it out to maintain a nice steady speed throughout.

    I have found that weight training for my legs has helped me endlessly with hills. I'm still really slow, but it seems to hurt less these days!
    Instagram @bikeshopnat | Blog Joyride Cycles Bikeshopnat | Facebook Joyride Womens | Strava Nat@JoyrideCycles

  8. #8
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    Thanks ladies, such great tips. I do get an enormous sense of pride when I do manage to conquer a hill. I'm just going to keep going at them and practising. I'm also going to start cross training with Kettlebells - squats ahoy! I reckon this will help out my legs

  9. #9
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    I find concentrating on turning the pedals works for me, I'm definitely no hill climber, when the going gets tough I count every downward push of the pedals and push slightly harder on every 3rd stroke, which means the effort alternates on each leg with a slight rest in between. So basically it goes L, R, Push, R, L Push. I have to concentrate on counting 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 which keeps me from being able to think about the pain and wondering how much further is it etc a bit like meditation.

    Also only look at the few metres in front of you, don't look to see the full extent of what you have got left to do, just ride at your own pace and make everyone else wait for you at the top if necessary.

    Apparently it does get easier!!!!

  10. #10
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    Hey Daphne, I tried your technique to and I think it certainly helped. I thought I would also share this article that my friend sent to me: http://easycycling.com/how-to-climb-...n-a-bike-fast/

    There's some interesting advice in there, which I shall put into practice on the next hill climb!
    strava: http://www.strava.com/athletes/lhulme

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