Positioning, mental toughness and calm are just a few of the subtle tricks that can help you get up a climb quicker.
Create sliding space: If riding in a group, start the climb at the front of the group. That way you can slide backwards during the climb (effectively climbing slower than others in the group), but not lose touch with the group. This is an especially effective tactic in a large group going up a short climb.
Don’t go into the red: This might sound simple, but so many cyclists slip into oxygen debt simply because they don’t ride smart. If others in the group are setting a tempo you cant maintain, don’t hold on until you blow up. Instead ride a manageable tempo. Who knows maybe those in front of you will blow up themselves and you’ll come rolling right through them later in the climb.
Spin to win: Simply stated you’ll climb more efficiently by spinning an easier gear at a higher cadence, rather than grinding uphill in the big ring. Aim to maintain at least 85 rpm going up the climb. If you fall below that, shift into an easier gear.
Break climbs into parts: Especially on long climbs, break the effort into manageable pieces. Use the road sign up ahead, the mileage gauge on you cycling computer, or whatever other landmarks help you break things up. Focus on overcoming that smaller obstacle, then recalibrate on the next one. Before you know it you’ll be rolling over the summit.
Find partners: Mimic the gruppeto strategy in pro cycling, where non-climbers band together and ride over the big climbs as a group. Shared suffering is better than solo pain.
Don’t panic: Don’t waste mental energy worrying about a climb. Just pedal your bike and good things will happen.
For more, check out this video from our friends at the Global Cycling Network.