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I would love any advice about how to efficiently climb hills on a road bike!!

Thanks so much!
 

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There's no real science to it. Just climb more hills. After you do that, climb bigger hills.

Some smart guy once said: It never gets easier, you just get faster.

It's true.
 

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find a long hill, longer the better. for example, climbing a long 8 mile 5% hill will do wonders with endurance and strength. dont race, start slow, be consistent. speed will come with time. soon you will be doing 20-30 mile climbs now that you have the desire. even if you dont make it, you're on your way
 

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Stay seated. Be patient.

Some guys think it's easier standing up and rocking the bike side to side. They can use their upper body weight to help push down on the pedals. It takes much more energy to do this, as the whole body is being used.

It's more efficient, less debilitating on the body, to sit on the saddle, arms relaxed on the tops or hoods, and concentrate on smooth, circular pedals strokes. This conserves energy, becoming all the more important as the heart rate climbs up into anaerobic and the legs start screaming. Above all, be patient. You want to blow up at the summit, not before.

Practice makes perfect. You'll learn to love suffering! It's part of the joy of cycling!
 

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Cycle Boy
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oroy38 said:
There's no real science to it. Just climb more hills. After you do that, climb bigger hills.

Some smart guy once said: It never gets easier, you just get faster.

It's true.
Yes it is. That "smart guy" was Greg Lemond :)

The most efficient position to climb is when seated. So depending on how steep the climb is try and spin up the climb. However, good training is try to vary it by doing intervals. Check out youtube.com for some climbing videos from Chris Carmichael. Pretty helpful stuff. Plus, there are other videos there that describe climbing techniques.

Most important, remember what the other "poster" quoted - "it never gets easier, you just get faster" :)

:thumbsup:
 

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There is no real secret to hills but there are a few tricks that can help you be a little more efficient.

1) keep your upper body relaxed at all times
2) anticipate the gear you will need at the bottom of the hill
3) practice - your legs will eventually adapt to the efforts but it will take some time
4) Stay seated on the long gradual climbs, and try to get out of the saddle on the sharp smaller ones
 

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anticipate the gear you will need at the bottom of the hill
+1. Watch spinning out too early during the climb. Try to always keep at least one cog in reserve that you can use if you're about to blow up.
 

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get the right cassette for your rides. 11-23 will not get you up many hills unless you're damn strong and can get oxygen to those huge thighs you have.

12-26 was pretty amazing for my hilly century ride.
 

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Roll Model
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Try to keep your cadence up, I get more worn down at 70 rpm than I do at 90. It still takes a lot of riding to get there.

Have fun!
 

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Depends what you mean by hills, too: little steep hills are all about just getting them out of the way (an anaerobic peak won't hurt you here, and will help you develop recovery capacity), while long climbs are all about establishing rhythm and building endurance so you can keep--and then later expand--that rhythm (anaerobic peak 200 meters up an 800 meter climb will DEFINITELY hurt, and be very bad for morale).

Long climbs never, ever, ever become easy: you just learn to manage your suffering in more rewarding ways.:wink:
 

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Ibashii said:
Depends what you mean by hills, too: little steep hills are all about just getting them out of the way (an anaerobic peak won't hurt you here, and will help you develop recovery capacity), while long climbs are all about establishing rhythm and building endurance so you can keep--and then later expand--that rhythm (anaerobic peak 200 meters up an 800 meter climb will DEFINITELY hurt, and be very bad for morale).

Long climbs never, ever, ever become easy: you just learn to manage your suffering in more rewarding ways.:wink:
Agreed, I should have specified.
 

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Several posters have advised to stay seated. It ain't that simple. If it were, you wouldn't see those guys in the Tour de France on long climbs riding out of the saddle for long and frequent stretches. You can bet they haven't picked the "inefficient" method.

So there are two big qualifiers to the "stay seated" advice. First is that people vary, and some body types and riding styles are more suited to different positions. Second is that you have to vary position to stay fresh and reduce fatigue. Even if it's more efficient at first to climb seated, if you stay in that position some muscles will become fatigued, and efficiency will drop. Changing position (standing) will use a slightly different combination of muscles, and give some of the others a rest.

All good climbers vary position. Some sit more, some stand more, but they all change it up. So a rider who wants to improve needs to work on all those techniques.

It's more fun that way, too.
 

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If you can, lose weight. At 41 my weight had been climbing steadily since college. This year I finally got serious about losing weight. I am down 20+ pounds and climbing is where I notice the difference the most. I went from mid pack on group rides in the hills to top third.

On the flat, your speed is based on sustained Watts/frontal surface area.

When climbing, your speed is based on sustained Watts/Kilogram.

Train to increase your watts. Lose weight so you can convert more of those watts into speed and acceleration up the hill.
 

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x2 on finding different positions that work, especially on a long climb. I've learned to stand up and push, but still maintain my speed, rather than increasing speed, eg, taking off from a light. Kind of like riding an EFX machine, just a steady constant pace. I can do this for a few minutes now, gives different muscles a chance to work, lets others take a break, and then I sit back down and spin for a few more minutes, then stand back up again, etc.
 
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