How you ride hills during a race can either set you up for a great finish or a despairing bonk. To ensure that you’re the one breaking away instead of fading away, check out these tips on how to dominate an undulating bike course.
Short Hill – 50m or Less
Approach: If the hill isn’t very steep then use the momentum you’ve built up to carry you to the top. Remain in aero and try to refrain from shifting gears. Wait until the last possible moment if you have to shift.
Near top: Remain in aero and stand for about the last 20 meters to keep your momentum going over the hill without shifting gears.
Crest: Don’t rest at the top. Sustain your speed and stay aero, carrying your momentum through the hill. End your climb 20 meters past the crest of the hill.
Medium Hill – 1/4 mile
Approach: Keep your momentum going into the hill for as far as possible, while staying in aero. Downshift as you slow down and take on the remainder of the hill at the tempo you would like to maintain for the whole climb.
Downside: Make sure you look past the crest of the hill and if its flat, upshift to maintain your tempo. If it’s downhill, upshift and stand up for five seconds to regain your momentum.
Long Hills – 1 Mile+
Ascent: Don’t attack – Some people will out climb you, but ultimately you will out ride them over the course of a whole race. Managing your energy is essential. When you’re fresh and the adrenaline is pumping around your body, being aggressive is easy. However, you’ll pay for it on the fifth or sixth hill…or on the run stage during a triathlon! Find the ideal tempo for the distance you’re riding on your training days and keep to it on race day.
Near top: Stand with about 20 meters to go to boost your momentum ready for the descent.
Written by Rory Owen from TG Store