How To Ride A Hilly Triathlon | Climbing Tips For Triathletes

How To Ride A Hilly Triathlon | Climbing Tips For Triathletes


– Riding hills in training is one thing. Riding hills in a race is whole different thing all together. After all, it is a race,
you want to go fast this is your big dance. But trust me on this one, and this is coming from a man that’s known for some bad mistakes, there is knack to riding
a hilly triathlon. So let me run you
through a few of my tips. (whooshing) (upbeat music) Today I’m riding the Ironman
70.3 Mallorca course. It starts out with 15 kilometres or so of relatively flat roads leading
into a rather cheeky climb. As a race I’ve done numerous times, some well, some not so well, but one thing I have learned
from racing these kind of courses is that a majority of the field will ride the hills far too hard. It’s a fact that we have to
accept before we move on, if you can’t, then you’ll likely fall in to one of the following scenarios. Alright, just hitting the climb, I am holding a great cadence, I’m just keeping it going
from the flat into climb, I feel great, yeah. Oh god, maybe it’s not so good. (upbeat music) We subconsciously try to maintain the same comfortable cadence
from the flat into the climb. But this just results in
a sudden spike in power and probably a sudden regret too. Right, here we go, still sitting
in zone three heart rate, I am flying. Yeah. Oh wait, hang on, zone
four, zone five, zone six. I think it’s broken. Oh man. Heart rate is a great
tool for measuring effort. But, it’s not as quick
to respond as power. Your monitor might read zone three and you might feel quite fresh
in the start of the climb but it could take a little longer to reach the actual effort zone you’re in. If you done either of these, you’re likely be suffering
in the last third or quarter of the climb. Perhaps still holding a higher power than you were on the flat, but considerably less than when
you first started the hill. But by this point it’s too late, you’ll have burnt a
number of precious matches that could cost you later in the race. (upbeat music) Yeah, nailed it. Ahh… – Yeah! – Where’d he come from? I didn’t go hard enough. Push too hard on the hill and the tendency is to
back off at the top. And potentially cost you more time than if you paced it better. Recognise any of those? I think we’re all guilty of a couple. But, let’s look at how you can avoid them. You want to start thinking about
the climb on your approach, not as you just hit it. Now I appreciate it is race day, you can’t afford to fully back off. But, perhaps consider
keeping a slight cap on it. Actually for some, riding
with a slightly high cadence will help to reduce the muscular fatigue leading into the climb. And it’s also really important
to reduce any sudden surges or spikes in power before the climb. Just try to maintain a
constant effort level, settle into a nice rhythm. As you’re into the climb, you should start shifting down
your gears to easier gears as it helps to reduce any spikes in power. It also helps to reduce that
urge to maintain your cadence from the flat to the climb. And even if you don’t have a power metre you should work to the feel
and pressure of your feet through to your pedals, the aim being to maintain the pressure from the flat onto the climb. Don’t be surprised if
you see a few athletes opening up a gap here. They’re likely making all
those previous mistakes and you may well see
them later on the climb, later on the bike or even on the run. As we get stuck into
the meat of the climb, it’s important to try and find
that groove and rhythm again. Now if you are working to power, most athletes naturally find that they ride a slightly
higher power on the climb and they struggle to hold back. However, I tend to advise, that you cap this at around five to 10% above your target race power. That way, you’re still
utilising this increase. But you’re making sure
you don’t go too hard into the red, potentially causing damage for later in the race. If you are working to heart rate instead, just make sure you keep
this the same to the flat to the hill but make sure
you’re not making any surges or spikes in effort level. If you pace the climb
well, as we crest it, you should be able to
settle straight back in to your target power effort or pace. As Matt Bottrill mentioned in
one of our previous videos, this is a point that so many athletes lose a considerable amount of time. So you want to try and get
straight back into your aero bars and start laying that power
down, if you paced it well, and potentially start passing
some of those athletes that have gone far too hard on the climb. Now ultimately, we want
to remind ourselves that the run off the bike. So going into the red or
far too hard on the climb is only gonna hamper that. So you want to aim for a
really evenly paced ride. At the end of the day,
we’re own worst enemies. And mostly comes down to
holding ourselves back and pacing the bike evenly. I’m sure many of us have
loads of stories of mistakes on courses like this. So please do share them in
the comments section below. It’s always fun to read. And if you haven’t done so already, just click on the globe
and subscribe to GTN. If you’d like to see
that Matt Bottrill video on how to cycle faster for
free, just click down here. And today we haven’t actually
spoken about the technique of climbing, particularly on a road bike, so you can see a video on
how to climb on a tri bike, by clicking down here.