How To Improve Your Climbing Speed

How To Improve Your Climbing Speed


If you’ve been cycling for some time, or even
if you’re just starting out, you might want to work on your climbing to help you keep
up with your peers. So, here are a few tips from GCN that will help to improve your
climbing speed for that hilly sportive or group ride. Gears There is no shame in having small gears, or
even a triple chainset if you want. Even the pros will sometimes put granny gears on for
the most extreme gradients. Having small gears will enable you to maintain a comfortable
and efficient cadence, even on the steepest sections of climbs. This will save your legs,
allowing you to stay seated for longer. Pace yourself Longer climbs are all about pacing. Don’t
be tempted to race others or go too hard at the beginning of the climb. Save something,
wait for halfway, and THAT’s where you can press on to the very top. Recover Recover when the gradient slackens. It’s rare
that a long climb has a steady gradient the entire way. Some parts will be steeper than
others. If there is a section which flattens off slightly, then use this part to recover
before the road kicks up again. If you have other riders around you, then take advantage
of their shelter on the flatter sections. This will give you a faster overall speed
up the climb without needing to expend any more energy. Use a Garmin or similar GPS device and program
your route in. Related to our last point, a Garmin or similar GPS device can be a great
way to make you faster on roads that you are unfamiliar with. By plugging in your route
before you set off, you will not only be able to see exactly when the climb starts, but
you’ll also be able to see any flat sections where you can recover. Additionally, you will be able to see when you are nearing the top, helping you to judge your effort. Position yourself Position yourself well when you enter the
climb to give yourself some ‘slipping room’. If you are in a sportive event full of riders,
then try and make sure you’re near the front as you enter the climb. Often if you are stuck
near the back, you’ll almost have to come to a stop as the group compresses when the
speed slows, and the road narrows. Starting the climb near the front will give you a clear
view of the road ahead, and also allow you some slipping room, where you can allow riders
to pass you while still staying with the group. Lose weight Climbing is pretty much all about power to
weight ratio, so if you’ve done all you can to improve your power, then the next step
is to try and lose some weight. This can be from your body, bike or equipment. Use a power meter. Using a power meter in training and on the
day of your event can really help on longer climbs. Even with adrenaline flowing, you
aren’t going to suddenly be able to do 20% more on the day than you could the previous
week in training. Start the climb at a power that you know you can sustain for the duration,
and then, if after a third of the way up you still feel fresh, start to nudge things upwards. We’ve reached the top of the climb, and we’re
about to begin the descent. What are you going to do? For more how to’s, subscribe to GCN.