Climbing Steep Hills
Climbing a Steep hill is a gut busting experience, but with some of these tips hopefully it wont be as painful or dreaded as it previously was.
First of all, we are not talking about an ordinary hill here, if you want climbing techniques for hills read this post. Steep hills are a whole other animal all together.
Before you even begin this precipitous climb set yourself up for success, make sure your bike is set up properly. Consider if getting compact cranks or even triple cranks upfront is right for you. If you are grinding away at 50 rpm for any extended amount of time then it may be time to make a switch.
Before The Climb
If you know the steep hill is coming up, take it easy before the climb, restore your energy. If you are in a group allow them to take turns upfront, try to come into the climb as fresh as possible.
Brain wash yourself into “loving” the climb, always saying how easy it is going to be or how you are looking forward to it. The mental game is a most of the battle, it is the same for any type of work… It sounds ridiculous, but I promise it makes it better.
Make sure to only pack what you need… especially if there is a store that you can get things at or an aid station on the other side.
Don’t Start Too Hard
Make sure that you don’t go in to oxygen debt immediately, you may hate life half way through the climb if you started out too hard.
See that picture up above? The pros are doing it… so should you! I zig zag in order to reduce the grade and make it easier on myself, especially if it is a hill that is leading up to a strava segment. If your cadence is starting to slow to a grinding halt zig zagging may just save you from an embarrassing stall.
Take Wide Corners
Take the outside of the corners effectively reducing the grade. This will save your legs for steeper sections of the climb.
Use your body weight to help you getup the hill. Make sure to rock the bike back and forth gently in order to put your body weight directly over the pedal on the down stroke.
As the grade continually increases you will need to start engaging more muscle groups in order to complete the climb. While standing up, pull down on the handle bars with both hands to give yourself more power.
It takes a lot of core strength and proper weight distribution to complete a steep climb. Your lower back might start to scream in agony, but just remember the mental mind games and how much you “love” it.
As with any hill… envision rocket boosters attached to your bike… it is practically cheating it is so effective.