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  • Mr Boffinhead

    For youtube examples of starting too far back, Millau stage 16 1987 TDF where Herrera makes this mistake. For ratcheting up the pace step by step until you crack your opponents, Pantani 1997 Aple D’Huez.

  • Pink

    Carlos Sastre disagrees. He says start at the back and lazily smile your way past everyone in front of you. This has never worked for me though.

  • jules

    nice tips Jono. the climbing out of the saddle one is important. you need to train for it – your arms as much as your legs. I remember Bertie saying that he couldn’t stay out of the saddle in the early part of his season as his arms would get tired. I notice the same thing. also starting up the front – so true. another variation on advice above in the article, especially for clubbies is – go at your own pace. on long climbs, club racers don’t have as finely tuned a feel for pacing as the pros. that means you shouldn’t push yourself into the red, just to keep pace with someone who may die halfway up the climb (and take you with them).

    • jakub

      haha, now it finally makes sense, I was always wondering why Bertie’s arms don’t look as skinny as Froome’s. I never realized that you actually need some arm strength if you’re climbing out of saddle as much as Contador does. If I recall correctly, he mentioned in one of GCN’s videos that it’s not unusual for him to do 20 minutes out of saddle climbing efforts while training.

  • Neil_Robinson

    in jono’s example of a 6% climb at 30km/h you’ll likely need to be crouched slightly on the hoods to minimise frontal area. on a climb, power to weight is king, but sometimes power to drag is important too.

    on longer or slightly steeper climbs, when aero comes out of the equation, then open up your lungs, put your hands on the tops, and give your diaphragm some space. more oxygen = more power = better power to weight. also remember to relax the hands/arms, there’s no point them taking some of the blood/oxygen your legs need.

  • Paolo

    I think SE should be done as prep for the season or a block of racing and not for a race. It’s like endurance , you need the base to put the specifics on top. If T.Martin does 45mins SE’s on a TT bike in Dec there might be a reason for it. Rumor says, Ullrich rode the Tourmalet in training with 53×12. Did seem to hurt him ;-)

    • jules

      well he couldn’t beat Lance. and he can’t use the usual excuse.

      • Paolo

        Oh well, he did beat everybody else and he won a few races himself.

  • chip

    Good to see you back Jono

  • AlexXSmith

    Pfffft. It’s so easy to be a great climber, just do this: 1. Have great genes for superior power to weight ratio 2. Have unlimited time to train 3. Don’t be the average fat guy with a job and family reading this. #bitteroldfatman

  • ed – dubai

    lots or hilly kms at intensity and lose some weight

  • ?ack Dennis?n

    “Generally, if you weigh less than 65kg and can accelerate like Contador, then you should.” – 1.95 and 85kg. I’ll just suffer out the back then!

    Seriously how many guys reading this weigh less than 65kg, let alone reckon they can kick like Bertie?

    • Wish I was on the bike…

      Not sure Jack, but it seems are you few reckon they can improve on Jono is advice. For me, I’m grateful for Jono’s expertise and really pleased to read his advice and fantastic writing. Welcome back Jono.

    • Only 10% of the guys using https://www.cyclinganalytics.com/ weigh less than 65kg, and most people using that site have power meters and are pretty into their cycling, so you’re right that 65kg is very light.

    • Name Goes Here

      I weigh less than 65kg, it’s the “kick like Bertie” that I’m missing…..

    • Michael Sproul

      59.4kg here…ahem…not much raw power though unfortunately, do alright on the XC bike though!

  • Hackintheback

    Love the evolution of the site and the direction it’s gone in, but am always pleased to see it harken back to its roots with these occasional “tips” pieces.

  • Patrick M

    It seems like I read all these climbing tips, but it never helps! The best tip to become a better climber: climb more hills! But on the way to 8,848m, it’s all determination. I developed http://everesting.io to calculate just how much determination you’d need…

    • winkybiker

      Very cool calculator!

      • A

        But too bad he does not know how to calculate average speed…

        • winkybiker

          Yes, you’re right. Simply averaging the uphill speed and downhill speed doesn’t do it, of course!

          • How should the overall average speed be best then calculated then? I’m always trying to improve the app! You can contact me at admin@everesting.io

            • winkybiker

              You have to take the total distance and divide by the total time. An arithmetic average of the speeds ignores the fact that you spend a lot more time at the lower speed.

              • Aha, yes. A 10km climb @ 10km/h up and 30km/h down should be 15km/h average, not 20km/h. This will be tricky to auto-calculate on the input section, because distance isn’t known until the submit button is pressed… I’ll think this over on my next ride. Big thanks for the point in the right direction!

              • Update: the “total time” calculation has been updated to be ( ascent time + descent time ) x total laps. Before, it was the total distance / the average speed (incorrect). The output should be more accurate now. But, that doesn’t solve my input field auto-calculation yet…Thanks again!

                • winkybiker

                  Switch your logic so the user inputs are climbing speed and descending speed.

  • Jono!!!!!

  • Simon

    Jono you missed the 9th way to improve your climbing….don’t get old!

    • winkybiker

      And the 10th way…eat less

  • brucegray

    Essentially, once you have your bodyfat % where it should be, any climb over 3 minutes long will be limited by how much blood you can get to working muscle…in other words cardiac output. And cardiac output is the product of heart rate and stroke volume. Now here’s the paradox, the bigger your heart becomes, the lower your maximum heart rate becomes. So it is very very difficult to make significant climbing gains apart from by reducing bodyfat, and optimizing muscle strength (which is difficult in a seasoned rider, especially of Masters vintage). In fact, my view is there’s more to be gained from getting onto a clean low fat diet so as to improve arterial compliance and reduce artherosclerotic plaques, which increases cardiac output.

    • Geoff Nash

      Can you please point to evidence that supports your statement that HR Max lowers with increased cardiac output. There are many variables at play here and my understanding is that this issue is not clear cut. For example, an untrained individual will hit their HR Max easily and quickly. A highly trained individual (with a larger cardiac out put) will need to work much harder to hit HR Max. So there is an important psychological (motivational) component to take into consideration that makes conclusive testing difficult.

      Another limiter to achieving HR Max is fatigue. For example, a trained individual may have an increased cardiac output from an 8 week training block, but a lower HR Max due to fatigue from the very training that increased their cardiac output. Any study would have to ensure that the fatigue levels in individuals being tested were the same. This is very hard to quantify.

      You also mention you are a master’s athlete. Max HR declines with age, independent of cardiac output. To my knowledge these and other variables have made testing this hypothesis very difficult with many experts believing MR Max has individual limits that are not correlated with cardiac output.

      If we take your statement to it’s logical conclusion, we would then expect the fittest elite athletes with large cardiac outputs (runners, cyclists, cross country skiers) to have lower HR Maximums than other athletes and the general population. This would also mean that (low) HR Max would be an predictor of performance for aerobic endurance events. I have not read any evidence that supports this.

      The more I learn about human performance, the more skeptical I am of black and white statements. Humans are far more varied and complicated than that.

  • Derek Maher

    Good article.I think another important point is to make sure your bike/pedal/cleat position setup is spot on so you are applying the power equally to the pedals through both legs.Its very easy if the setup is wrong to favour one leg and end up with an imbalance in muscle development and become injury prone.


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