Everyone's biggest fear when they're training for a big ride is the thought of cycling uphill. Even worse, the thought of not being able to make it, having to walk, or hitching a ride in the support van. But, your next tour doesn't have to be this way. Hills are never easy, but with these six tips, and a little practice, it will get easier.
- Build Stamina With Hill Repeats
Find a hill that is on the edge of your comfort level and ride up for five minutes, then return to the base of the hill for a five minute rest, then repeat two more times. As your training, try to do this every few days and get just a little further up the hill each time. This will build up your stamina, confidence, and muscle memory.
- Build Lean Muscle vs. Bulking Up
Cycling requires lean muscle, not the bulky weight-lifter legs you see at the gym. Instead of pounding the iron, try yoga or plyometrics to build a cycling-friendly body.
- Practice Focus Techniques
• Breath control helps keep your body relaxed
• Keep a high cadence and stand in order to accelerate
• Find a mantra that works for you and repeat it when things get difficult. It could be "I am strong, I am fast, I love climbing." Pick something that works for you.
• See yourself making it to the top of the climb in triumph. It sounds crazy, but research indicates that Visualization Techniques are more than a myth.
- Don't Just Shift, Have a Gearing Strategy
Between 75 and 85 is the optimum cadence for most riders for riding uphill.
- Put Your Body In a Power Position
Open your chest to allow for deep breaths, release your tension, leverage your arms and core for power, and saddle for force.
- Stand Up Strategically
Standing up is used for surging, sprinting, and on longer climbs when you need to stretch your back and legs. Don't stand too often or you'll become fatigued much faster and reduce the chance of making it to the top.
This post was adapted from a since unpublished article by Eastern Mountain Sports.