Sooner or later every cyclist has to tackle “the big hill.” You know the one – It’s the hill you’ve been avoiding!
The renowned Stelvio Pass in Italy is a favourite amongst many cyclists
Here are ten tips to help you overcome your next climb:
1. Mentally Prepare
It might sound strange, but get your mind set on tackling the hill, and it will help. If it’s a serious challenge, then drive it in a car or ride it on a motorbike, so that you can visualise each stage of the hill. Above all, visualise reaching the top, and while you’re riding, relive that feeling.
2. Pull on your pedals
Switching from push to pull, using your toe clips or clipless pedals, is a good way to change which muscle groups you are using and rest some of them.
3. Push back a little on the seat
This opens your chest and allows you to breathe more efficiently.
4. Anticipate your gear changes
When you’re climbing, you’re putting maximum load on the chain, so make sure you change down BEFORE you need to in order to reduce that pressure at the point of change. Many cyclists have made the error of trying to change on a hill only to find they snap their chain.
5. Attack the start and the finish of the hill
Power into the start of the hill so that your momentum takes you up the first part of it, then settle into a steady seated rhythm. But as you near the top, give it another burst of speed to get to the crest, and stand up if that helps! But try to avoid too much standing, it will wear you out.
6. Use the camber on curves
Roads are cambered to assist water flowing off them. There can be a significant difference in the steepness of the hill across a curve, so learn to read the road and choose the less steep, often slightly longer option.
7. Take 5 shots of booost
Breathe in 5 shots of clean 99.5% oxygen so that you start the climb full of energy, with well oxygenated blood.
8. Grip your brake hoods
Gripping hard when the going gets tough will give you a little more power when climbing. It’s not efficient, but it will help over a short distance.
9. “Switchback” the road
If you’re really struggling, you can zig-zag from side to side on a really steep section, which will reduce your angle of ascent. Please don’t try this if you’re climbing a busy road with lots of traffic.
10. Don’t look up!
When you are looking at what’s ahead, a long climb can seem like a nightmare, so focus on the road in front and only allow yourself a look up every few minutes – that way it will seem you have progressed well!
This is a guest post from our friends at booost oxygen.
booost oxygen are a British company. booost is Europe’s No.1 brand of sports oxygen and it comes in a super tank with 100 shots, and a travel tank (ideal for cyclists) containing 25 shots of 99.5% oxygen. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Google+