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  • ginga_ninja

    I love Chloe’s writing, so funny, more please. As a “hill climber” I can confirm that descending can really make up for all that time you gain uphill, I used to hate it when I’d get caught after a climb because I wasn’t a fast descender. :) Also, trying to hang onto someone’s wheel is a great way to take your mind (and eyes off the climb) and to push yourself harder than you would riding by yourself.

    I also agree that’s it’s a good idea to look at your gearing. I often had old-school riders saying that I just had to get used to the 23, regardless of the incline – which is good for strength – but when you’re racing or trying to keep a tempo, it’s good to have the 25 or 27. Even as a strong hill climber, I ended up going a 27 for hillier courses/races because it meant I could keep a higher cadence and get rid of the lactic acid. No use in being hard-a$$ in your 23 and getting dropped because your legs are lead. :) Also, check your rear-cassette! I was taking a hill climbing course once and this one lady, a relative newby, was really struggling up a 2km climb – she had a 11-19 on the back! I don’t think I could have done the climb in that gear.

    My other hill-climbing tip is music! I had a couple of playlists with music that was at the tempo of my hill climbing (took a bit of trial and error to select songs). The music made the slog more bearable – and dare I say it, fun – and I’d try and keep up to the music. I can’t do hill climbs without it, one earphone out of course. :)

  • Dave

    I agree with the ninja above, the list should be sixteen tips long with the first eleven being gearing, gearing, gearing, gearing, gearing, gearing, gearing, gearing, gearing, gearing and gearing.

    Put a 11-28 or 11-30 cassette on the rear and keep your cadence up above 80 rpm so you don’t make the sacrifice of grinding away all cartilage in your knees just to look hard. If gearing that ‘easy’ is good enough for a hard rider like Alberto Contador it’s good enough for you!

    Oh, and put a compact chainset on the front too, unless you’re Marcel Kittel you won’t miss the tiny difference between the 53×11 and the 50×11.

  • Clavikul

    Awesome article as usual. We need more from Chloe!

  • Katie T

    These are great tips! Thanks Cloe.

    Giving away my greatest tactic here, but in a race situation I combine the use of my descending skills to get a good head start on a climb. This means I am able to set my own pace on the climb.

    Another tip I’ve got is: learn to move your bike when you’re out of the saddle. I was absolutely hopeless at this until I found the right coach who was able to explain it to me in a way that I could understand. This one is also not about being the fastest, but about using as much of your body and muscles as possible to increase your output. Changing up your position (in the saddle vs out of the saddle) can help you get over those nasty pinches!

  • NSC

    Loved this article. As a not so great climber some affirmations of things I already do and some great new tips. Awesome writing.

  • jules

    there is a lot to the descending tip – it’s amazing how much time you can make up that way. i’m about 83kg but I’ve done OK in big, long mountainous races against much lighter competitors – partly by limiting my losses up the climbs but then giving it both barrels on the downhill – especially if it’s a technical descent. a lot of riders/racers like to ‘call a truce’ on the descents but I say – go for it.

  • ML

    Love these. I learned another climbing tip from Chloe’s Flanders recap this spring: not all climbs are created equal, and even sprinter-types can train to climb well for 40s at a time. Helped my mental game a lot!

  • Winky

    I’d be careful about the tip to “wheelsuck” and stay with the group as long as you can. It can be better to go your own pace from the beginning, rather than go too hard and then spending the rest of the climb just surviving. But it depends. The motivation to stay with a group can force you out of your comfort zone and increase the training benefit, if that’s what you are after. Otherwise, a steady pace is likely a faster way to the top of long climbs.

  • Eliza Kwan

    Loved this article! Thanks Chloe :-)


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September 25, 2017
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