ROAD BIKE CLIMBING TIPS

Some love them, others hate them, but climbs are an essential part of the cycling experience. For those who want to enjoy climbing there are some principles we should keep in mind.

CLIMBING POSITION

When climbing, we usually hold the bars on the tops. The body weight stays on the saddle and the legs remain the main source of power. To achieve the best performance, a general interplay of our body muscles is needed so they are engaged in the movement in the best possible way. There are two types of climbing technique.

  1. We sit in the saddle holding the bars at the tops. This position is used especially during long climbs when we ride at a constant speed. We spin our legs in a nice round motion, and the trunk and arms stay firm.
  2. Holding the hoods, we take turns in being in and out of the saddle. This is a more dynamic way of tackling climbs and is usually applied on short climbs with varying inclines. Riding out of the saddle often provides some relief and a change as we use the full weight of the body for pedalling.

PLACING THE CENTRE OF GRAVITY

Another important thing when climbing is positioning the centre of gravity. The head should not get over the bars. The thighs should stay above the saddle and, if the climb gets even steeper, above the tip of the saddle. If a climb is really steep, we lower our body closer to the top frame tube to be more horizontal. The steeper the climb, the wider we should enter a corner to avoid the steepest part and maintain momentum.

BREATHING AND TEMPO

During climbs we should stay loose and pay attention to the correct breathing technique to provide our muscles with the oxygen they need. We should watch our heart rate in relation to the length and difficulty of the climb. If we cross the anaerobic threshold too early, we will suffer at the top. If you are not familiar with your current heart zones, we strongly recommend taking the lactate test, which will help you to face the training challenge more effectively.

OBTAINING ENERGY

Climbing is generally more demanding than riding on level ground. If we do not provide our body with enough energy in advance, we might face some serious problems later. We should not forget to supply our body with carbohydrates even before the road starts to incline. An energy bar will do the job.

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