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5 Steps To A More Efficient Hill Climb

Climb in the Saddle

The longer that you can stay concreted to your saddle, the more efficient you will be. As tempting as it can be to stand, try and resist for as long as possible –  It does feel more powerful when you stand on the pedals!  It feels more powerful because of the upper body weight that you are exerting onto the pedals – You can use up to 12 per cent more energy through the extra work your back and core muscles have to endure while you stand up. Sitting also enables the saddle to take upper body weight off your legs!

Ride the Best Line Possible

Where ever it is manageable you should try and reduce the gradient of the hill by going wide on the corners and avoiding the inside line. When climbing hills it is important to remember that taking the shortest route doesn’t make it the quickest. If you ride through the apex you will disrupt your rhythm and be forced into pedaling harder. It is more beneficial to try and hold the same gradient by moving out wide. This will allow you to stay in the same gear and uphold your current speed – Maintaining your momentum will make tough climbs a lot more manageable!

Peak Power Intervals

Riding up hills in higher gears improves your leg strength and puts more power in each of your pedal strokes. By improving your peak pedal strength, you will help your legs fight off fatigue during challenging climbs, when you’re typically using a smaller gear. To improve your pedal force, try and find a long, moderate hill and begin to ride up it as you would normally. After two minutes, switch up to a higher gear and slow down your cadence to somewhere in between 45 to 65 rpm. Sustain a smooth pedal motion and climb this way for two minutes (or longer if you think you can manage it). After this, switch back into a lower gear and recover as you see fit for up to ten minutes. Repeat this to the summit of your chosen hill.

Shift Gears

Shifting gears is a vital part of carrying out a successful ascent -To start with you should to aim to establish a cadence before you approach a hill. The stroke rate to strive for when tackling a hill should be the same as your normal cadence, just in a lower gear. As discussed earlier, make sure you remain seated as you approach the climb. Position your bum back in the seat and lean your torso slightly forward as you begin your hill approach, helping yourself stay balanced against the hills incline. Move into a lower gear when your pedals per minute starts to slow – this point will vary depending on the hill and individual. Staying in your flat ground gear will be liable to cause unnecessary resistance and could easily lead to early fatigue. Ease up on the pedals and switch into a lower gear until you have returned to your original cadence and feel comfortable. If you feel like you may have to stand up at any point to maintain your current speed, then change gears again as you see fit.

Grip Position

It can be preferable to ride up hills with your hands positioned on the top of the handlebar hoods. This method is fairly aerodynamic, powerful and comfortable. During longer climbs, it is a common sight top see Tour de France cyclists riding with their hands on top of the handlebars. This position is comfortable and it is widely though that it helps to open up the lungs, making it easier to breathe.

Written by Rory Owen from TG Store

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