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  1. #11
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    I hate hills. But I love them when I get to the top! Especially the MTB ones because then you get the descent, yay!

    I learned a great tip whilst on my Dirt Divas course last year for climbing hills off-road, and that is to put your thumbs over the grips as opposed to under them when your climbing. It increases the strengths in your arms and enables you to pull on the bars more so you can transfer your power through to the pedals. A small thing but it makes a massive difference!

    On the road I tend to sprint a bit before the hill to give me a good start, push hard and try to keep my pedal rate the same, just change gear as it gets harder. If I'm feeling masochistic I don't stand up, but if it hurts too much then I do....

    I would say keep your head down and don't look up, but... that backfired on me once when I was so busy staring at my front wheel and the tarmac, and concentrating on breathing so my lungs didn't pop that I didn't notice the stationary bus in front of me I just stopped in time, what a wally!!

  2. #12
    Senior Member
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    Great article :-)

    Does anyone find that some days hill climbs are easier than others? Some days I feel really good on the hills. I mean don't get me wrong, I still feel it, hill climbing is not a breeze or anything, but some days I am much better at them than others. I have not quite worked out why this is, whether it is my diet on the day or in the days before, quality of sleep etc.. I wish I could pin point it so I can replicate the good days! Perhaps I should keep a food and training diary. Today I found cycling really hard. I pushed myself still, but my legs suffered big time and everything hurt! I have just had 6 days off the bike though so maybe that is why (although I was hoping a rest week would help with muscle repair and make me stronger!).
    Twitter: @cyclosally
    http://www.strava.com/athletes/sallymcsorley

  3. #13
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    Completely - some days I feel so unfit and useless on hills. Then I get home and Strava tells me I've got lots of PRs My perception is all out of whack sone days. A training and food diary sounds like a good idea to aid your training though - especially when it comes to nutrition and performance.
    strava: http://www.strava.com/athletes/lhulme

  4. #14
    Super Moderator Nat@JoyrideCycles's Avatar
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    Weedon, Northampton
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    Same here! I always feel good the day after yoga and after a good breakfast. I always feel terrible if I have done anything strenuous like weights or big gear training. Oh and I go backwards in headwinds. HATE headwinds.
    Instagram @bikeshopnat | Blog Joyride Cycles Bikeshopnat | Facebook Joyride Womens | Strava Nat@JoyrideCycles

  5. #15
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    Well I've spent the past couple of weeks changing my approach to hill climbing and it is slowly paying off! These are my stats climbing the south ascent to Alexandra Palace (I think the really slow one at the bottom is a ride where I stopped halfway up).

    Screen Shot 2013-03-09 at 13.37.27.png
    strava: http://www.strava.com/athletes/lhulme

  6. #16
    Senior Member
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    Zoooooooooom! Brilliant Laura :-) What hill climbing technique did you adopt?
    Twitter: @cyclosally
    http://www.strava.com/athletes/sallymcsorley

  7. #17
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    Hey Sally,

    I've just really been putting into practice the suggestions from this article: http://easycycling.com/how-to-climb-...n-a-bike-fast/

    I've also been really careful about my diet and I am trying to lose a little weight so there is less of me to go up the hill But I think its mostly about the technique so....

    1. Getting in a really easy gear early on and staying on top of it. Sometimes at the start of the hill I think the gear is too easy, but I stick with a high cadence and it pays off halfway up
    2. Avoid changing down if I can avoid it as this loses speed
    3. Trying to increase my cadence and power as I get to the top of the hill. Sometimes I try and stand or sprint but its really tough.

    She also says don't hunch up, which is something I do a lot. I find breathing a lot easier if I remember to stay more upright.

    I also never look at the top of the hill like a few of the ladies here have been saying - it freaks me out so I limit my gaze to a couple of metres in front
    strava: http://www.strava.com/athletes/lhulme

  8. #18
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    Mar 2013
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    Byron Bay, Australia
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    What cassette do you have on the rear? If you have integrated brake lever and gear shifters you will also need to change the left lever (from 2 clicks to 3) if you "swop out for a triple" possibly a new front mech itself. Some rear mechs wont be able to deal with the amount of slack chain a granny ring will give the chain so you might need a new rear mech too. Basically nearly a whole new drive chain which can be quite expensive.

    You might be able to get a set of smaller chain rings at the front or be able to put a larger casette on the rear rather than have to change all of it which might happen if you want a triple.

    On the hill climbing, dont worry, it hurts everyone to start with. And it still hurts later! The great thing is, you can take it at YOUR pace, take it slower at the bottom and you will be able to get that bit higher up. Its not about pushing really hard, try starting at a much slower pace than you think you can hold and up it if you feel you can. Get a measure of your HR and breathing then decide if you want to up the pace. Its better than pushing to hard to start then feeling the burn and having to stop. I find stopping and starting and then getting back into the zone is much harder.

    I had a panic attack halfway up my Pyraneean pass as I thought I couldn't do it and my husband had gone on ahead!

  9. #19
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2013
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    London SW
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    I ride a fixed wheel bike most of the time, so changing into an easier gear on a tough hill isn't an option for me. I use Nat's method whenever possible - build up as much speed as possible on the approach so that I can rocket up the first part of the hill (sometimes the entire hill!) using momentum. It can carry you a long way and it looks impressive

    That only works on the shorter hills, though - for the long ones, you need to knuckle down and spin your way up in a low gear. I'm fairly heavy so I keep my bum on the saddle until I absolutely need the extra power. When you ride fixed you get used to hills beating you, though! I remember one hill that I'd got the entire way up until maybe 2 foot from the summit and I wasn't able to go any further - it wasn't that I was too tired, it was just that the gradient was too high for me to get a full pedal rotation happening so I had to stop before I toppled sideways. I stood in the road going "NOOOOOOOOOO!!" by myself like a loon for some time.

  10. #20
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2013
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    1
    Daphne, I am def trying your techique too! Anything to think of something else!

    Also I once noticed a woman on a sportive stopping for a few seconds when it got too tough, and then carrying on... not walking up like I did. I tried it, just stopping for 5-15s or whatever, and then carrying on, and it worked. At least that way I felt I had done the climb, just with 1-2 small breather breaks. And I did not ruin my cleats in the process!

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