How To Ride Steep Climbs Faster | GCN’s Cycling Tips

How To Ride Steep Climbs Faster | GCN’s Cycling Tips


Steep climbs are brutal, let’s face it I mean anyone could ride up a long climb. You just have to go slowly enough, right? Well steeps climbs though Si that’s when you’re really going to start to suffer but surely there are some tricks of the trade to not only help us ride them but to ride them faster. Well it’s funny you should say that Matt. Do you ride steep climbs in or out of the saddle? Well in short it depends on you. And if favour one over the other, that’s probably for the best. And the advantage of riding in the saddle are that if your gears permit you can spin an easy gear meaning that you will end up doing less muscle damage that may or may not matter. It just depends how long and how many climbs that you going to have to ride and then if the climb is really steep then it’s also gonna help you maintain traction at the rear wheel by keeping more weight over it. And I’ve never heard in a pro race a rider seated actually beating or even keeping up with riders who are riding out of the saddle on very steep climb that’s except of course for cobble climbs where you get far more traction when you’re sat down over your back wheel so it’s better to say then, depending on your fitness level that you’re gonna go far faster on steep climbs
riding out of the saddle allthough you might pay for it a little bit later because you are expending far more energy The gears that you choose to ride up steep climbs and therefore your cadence are really important so the first point is that you need to change
gears before you need to. And particularly from the big chain ring to small chain ring. Because even the most expensive gears don’t really like to shift under pressure. So shift before
you get stuck. And secondly, if your gears allow it, you’ll be glad of some lighter gears especially on longer rides so keeping a high but comfortable cadence. And what you mean by gears allowing? Well essentially having gears that are small enough so you might want to consider having a 34 tooth chainring at the front and then maybe even going up to a 32 cassette at the back. Those gears should be easy enough to peddle up just
about any tarmac. Well you should be giving it a little bit of wellie as well of course. A really short, steep climbs pacing might seem like an alien concept. If all you can do is get up the climb then you just gotta
give everything you’ve got for as long as you got. But many steep climbs are preceded by less steep sections or in fact might just be really steep for really long. So in either of those cases you’re gonna use your head as well as your legs. Yeah. If you know that a climb gets steeper on the shallow part try and go as gently as you can so that you can really dig in deep and go hard when the road pitches up and gets steep so to
quantify that – speak about it in terms of time – we could lose perhaps thirty
seconds on the shallow initial part of the climb but actually gain around a minute
on the steep section so you need to use your head for pacing that’s pretty clear what about using your head to help you try harder? well it’s a bit of a horrific cliche but
having a positive mental attitude will help you no end in cycling and that’s no more evident on steep climbs just like this one. yeah feeling positive is gonna help you dig deeper. You’ll get more of yourself and then paradoxically it’s also gonna hurt
less. I know it sounds a little bit far-fetched but from my experience when I perceive an effort to be good I go much faster than when i perceive an effort to be bad so when I’m struggling to hold a wheel for example I just feel like I’m going slowly The steeper the gradient the more that
your math will be holding you back. It’s simple physics really so if you’ve got a light light bike and you’re a light rider then you’ll need less power to get over the climbs. But there is a limit to how light you can go. So if you train on steep climbs and you’re
targeting an event that’s peppered with climbs, definitely worthwhile think
about losing a kilo or two. You’ll get a big advantage from that. Well, but if you’re a larger rider then don’t despair. Firstly just look at the Tour of Flanders, a race characterized by loads of steep climbs It tends to be won by riders from the larger end of the pro cyclist spectrum. Showing you than ultimately power can win out think about also using your natural
attribute to your advantage so pace yourself on the climb and over the top really start to turn on the gas and
try to reel in on the flat sections in the downhill as skinny climbers will have got away from you onthe steep bits. It
works in pro racing and it can also work for you. Think back to a few years ago when Thor Hushovd won a mountain stage of
the Tour de France doing exactly that. So, steep climbs then? Pace yourself, preselect your gears and then get your head in gear as well. And don’t forget you gonna need to
absolutely smash it as well. That is true. Anyway. For how to train for steep climbs how about clicking just up here. And
for a masterclass on the art of climbing itself from none other than Alberto Contador no
less click just down here. Yeah make sure sure you subscribe to GCN before going to either of those. It’s completely free. In theory you’ve just gonna click on the red globe.