help climbing hills technique



mortonmoore

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Jul 16, 2007
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is it better to try and stay in the saddle for as long as you can or to get out of the saddle for majority of the ride?

should i be concentraiting on pulling up on the pedels to get more speed??
 

sogood

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Aug 24, 2006
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How about riding with a mix of sitting and standing positions? By switching, it gives your leg muscles some variety and keep them fresher.

And if you haven't been pulling up, then you better start learning to.

Bottomline, try them all and see what suits you best.
 

Dean Thomas

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Jun 16, 2007
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mortonmoore said:
is it better to try and stay in the saddle for as long as you can or to get out of the saddle for majority of the ride?

should i be concentraiting on pulling up on the pedels to get more speed??
Try and maintain your momentum for as long as possible going back through your gears as the load increases. Try and stay seated as long as possible keeping in mind effort and cadence I try to keep my cadence above 70 on any climb. While seated don't push or pull on the pedals try and concentrate on pedaling in circles this is much more efficient (this also works on the flat try it).
Standing uses much more energy because not only are you pedallng but now you are supporting your weight aswell (try this on the flat to prove it to yourself stand up and see how long you can maintain it).
On steeper climbs where you can't maintain the required power ouput in the seated position you will need to stand, this is fine but try and pick a cadense/tempo that you can stay on top of i.e. think of kind of bouncing on the pedals.
Once your have developed your climbing technique you can consentrate more on working on your leg strenght by climbing in harder gears.

Dean
 

flash79

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Jul 13, 2007
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I agree. On harder climbs you have to get out of the saddle but you can use a combo of both to get up the hill, depending on how fast you want to go or how large of a climb it is. Coming from a mountain biking background keeping your cadence up and using the gears on your bike is the most efficeint and easiest way of getting up the hills. Also as a tip for the pedaling when you are at the top of your pedal stroke try to kick through it. This will only work if you are using toe clips or clipless pedals though. It will kind of force you to pedal in circles. Also do not forget to breath and relax as you are climbing this is very important that you do not tense up and focus so much on getting up the hill. Just relax your body and breath and you will do just fine. But when you get tot the top make sure you prepare yourself for the next hill ahead. Make a nice decent and get you speed up to carry the momentum into the next climb.
 

li rider

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Oct 11, 2004
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The length of the climb is also important. while you may be able to stand for a short climb, it is much harder to stand for a very long climb.

I also stand up just as I near the summit to give myself that last burst, then let gravity help me.


mortonmoore said:
is it better to try and stay in the saddle for as long as you can or to get out of the saddle for majority of the ride?

should i be concentraiting on pulling up on the pedels to get more speed??
 

BtonRider

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Jan 30, 2006
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Personally, I prefer to sit when I climb. I've always found it to be easier and with a high cadence you can just spin up most hills at a pretty good speed. When I started trying some tougher hills I had to stand. After doing repeats on those hills for a few weeks I was strong enough to stand all the way up the longest climbs in the area. It definately burns more energy.

It really depends on what you want to do. If you want to be as efficient as possible, stay seated. You're wasting less energy when you're in the saddle. If you want to get up the hill faster, though, you'll need to stand.


li rider said:
The length of the climb is also important. while you may be able to stand for a short climb, it is much harder to stand for a very long climb.

I also stand up just as I near the summit to give myself that last burst, then let gravity help me.
 

kopride

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May 17, 2006
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A lot of variables in this question including distance, grade, and the gearing of your bike. But the most important factor is to know your hill. The best technique is to ride your usual hills solo (where you want to spank a buddie, or it is part of a race course) and figure out the rythym of the hill. I actually have spots on my usual hills where I know what gear I will be in where and whether I will be standing or sitting at certain points. If you are not happy with how you road a particular hill, if you are solo, turn back down and ride it again, until you get more efficient and figure out the best way to climb a particular hill. I always find stop and start points of particular hills and run an interval time to see how it compares with prior times. Even without a power meter, hills are one of the few places when actual time comparisions alone are great since gravity is a constant, and wind is not much of a factor. The Power meter makes it even easier to compare apples with apples.

All I know is that I don't like anybody to beat me up one of "my hills." Unless the other rider's watt to kg is really substantially better, you can beat a slightly better rider up the hill if you know how to ride that hill. If you have a race that has a few formidable hills, it always behooves you to check them out and fool around with different ways to get up quickly.

Gearing can be huge as well. On a big steep long hill, a compact crankset or a good granny gear can be a lifesaver. All things being equal, the guy with the 34/23 will beat and be fresher at the top than the guy pushing a 42/20 up a ten minute climb at a steep grade. I will gladly trade away an 11 or 12 hammer gear for a 23 or 25 granny on a course with a few long steepies. With ten speed rear clusters, these tradeoffs aren't as big a factor as when we ran 6s. To some extent, your gearing can dictate when you need to stand. If you run out of gears on a long climb and your cadence is still falling, you have no real choice but to stand.
.
 

Skoorb

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Jan 9, 2007
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Other than the hills that are so steep they literally cannot be climbed while seated (except in a mountain bike because of its gearing), most will do well to stay in the seat as long as possible. I think many people get out of the seat too early and it's generally not as efficient. As speeds get lower, a mix can be used and I see this is what the best riders do on the tour, so they may go between first gear seated and then go up 1-2 gears and get out of the seat (with a reduction in cadence) for a few moments, then back in the seat again. And, as mentioned, some hills just have to be done out of the seat for the entire thing, but only very, very steep ones.
 

mortonmoore

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Jul 16, 2007
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thanks for all the input
the reason why i ask is because i havent been riding in a few months, got a new bike, went riding with friends and one hill that we climbed just killed me.
was breathing so hard that at the top my throut was ruined, still ruined 3 days later. i phisically couldnt turn the pedels any more. i had to ride out of saddel the entire climb in my easiest gear and i couldnt turn the pedel anymore, i tried sitting but couldnt get any momentum, my easiest gear was still too hard out of saddel. mabe my cardio wasnt up to scratch. it was a long steep bendy hill. im gym fit but cardi fit my have been my down fall????????

Skoorb said:
Other than the hills that are so steep they literally cannot be climbed while seated (except in a mountain bike because of its gearing), most will do well to stay in the seat as long as possible. I think many people get out of the seat too early and it's generally not as efficient. As speeds get lower, a mix can be used and I see this is what the best riders do on the tour, so they may go between first gear seated and then go up 1-2 gears and get out of the seat (with a reduction in cadence) for a few moments, then back in the seat again. And, as mentioned, some hills just have to be done out of the seat for the entire thing, but only very, very steep ones.
 

Skoorb

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Jan 9, 2007
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mabe my cardio wasnt up to scratch. it was a long steep bendy hill. im gym fit but cardi fit my have been my down fall????????
Extra weight will murder on a tough hill, absolutely ruin you. Lack of leg strength and/or endurance will, too, but also cardio fitness definitely can because if your cardio system can't keep up your legs will start to fail you. I can totally peak my heart rate up on some tough hills feeling it at least as much in my lungs and heart as legs and my cardio strength is better from running/swimming than my cycling legs.
 

mortonmoore

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Jul 16, 2007
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i dont have massive legs so i always feel it in my legs when i put them under pressure. im tring to get my cadence up so i use more body than legs. i will get the better of that hill but want to make sure i have my technique right first so im not wasting my time. i think i need to concentrate on the circular motion rather than the solid push down. and get my cardio solid.


Skoorb said:
Extra weight will murder on a tough hill, absolutely ruin you. Lack of leg strength and/or endurance will, too, but also cardio fitness definitely can because if your cardio system can't keep up your legs will start to fail you. I can totally peak my heart rate up on some tough hills feeling it at least as much in my lungs and heart as legs and my cardio strength is better from running/swimming than my cycling legs.
 

Skoorb

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Jan 9, 2007
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mortonmoore said:
i dont have massive legs so i always feel it in my legs when i put them under pressure. im tring to get my cadence up so i use more body than legs. i will get the better of that hill but want to make sure i have my technique right first so im not wasting my time. i think i need to concentrate on the circular motion rather than the solid push down. and get my cardio solid.
To get better on that hill, too, find one that's not as bad and do it over and over until you start wondering if all this is worth it and it's a lot easier if you could be satisfied watching tv instead of out there teasing your pain threshold :) Hill repeats like that will really toughen you up. You will know you're crazy on the day that you not only beat this hill that beat you but then when you're at the top you turn around and do it again just because you can (even though you will dread what's coming up all the way down the hill on the way to the second climbing of it). That may seem crazy to you now, but it will come quicker than you think if you want it to!
 

mortonmoore

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Jul 16, 2007
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thanks...i will get the better of that hill one day...one day...



Skoorb said:
To get better on that hill, too, find one that's not as bad and do it over and over until you start wondering if all this is worth it and it's a lot easier if you could be satisfied watching tv instead of out there teasing your pain threshold :) Hill repeats like that will really toughen you up. You will know you're crazy on the day that you not only beat this hill that beat you but then when you're at the top you turn around and do it again just because you can (even though you will dread what's coming up all the way down the hill on the way to the second climbing of it). That may seem crazy to you now, but it will come quicker than you think if you want it to!
 

DZ-015

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Oct 25, 2005
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mortonmoore said:
is it better to try and stay in the saddle for as long as you can or to get out of the saddle for majority of the ride?

should i be concentraiting on pulling up on the pedels to get more speed??
Hi Morton,

Personally I find hill climbing to be a case of mind over matter - consequently I see a lot of peole get hung up on technique, gearing, position etc. The most important thing to get established when tackling a hill is your state of mind. Try to be relaxed as possible at the start of the climb and focus on maintaining a smooth rhythm. Avoid hunching your shoulders and try to find a position where you feel balanced on the bike. Imagine you're trying to touch the bars with your knees when pulling up and smooth out each pedal revolution. I don't know if you compete with others, but you can score a good psychological blow on your opponents if they see someone who looks balanced, smooth and efficient riding along-side...

Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth allows you to get more oxygen into your blood via your lungs. Try a breathe-rite strip if you have trouble breathing through your nose.

I spend one day a week doing hill intervals and I find it helps my climbing. I ride out of town and ride up a hill for around 8km, turn around, recover on the descent and repeat until my legs give out (usually about after 5 reps). This should be done at high intensity on a larger gear than you would normally use (I use 52x21 or thereabouts depending on the gradient). Do a recovery ride home...

Hang in there - you'll be riding away like Michael Rasmussen before you know it..
 

Fitz_NH

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Jul 15, 2007
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mortonmoore said:
is it better to try and stay in the saddle for as long as you can or to get out of the saddle for majority of the ride?

should i be concentraiting on pulling up on the pedels to get more speed??
I'm fairly new to the road scene but mountain biked for years... so take my advice with a grain of salt.
On longer hills, I find looking down helps. I'll throw a look up to get my bearings every now and then but tend to focus more on spinning and my cadence. I tend to get disheartened on the long hills and will slack pace if I know I have a couple hundred or a thousand of vertical to go. Shorter hills I stare at the top. I'm sure it's more of a psychological thing as I find myself doing it when I bootpack for skiing also.

Fitz
 

factory61

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May 20, 2007
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I would definitely look at your gearing as well. If you had a tough time turning over the pedals in your easiest gear even while you were out of the saddle, you may want to look at changing your rear cassette.


Looks like there is a lot of good info from other riders on this topic as well. But this may help your confidence and will help you start to hammer the hill on a regular basis. Before you know it, you'll be flying up it in a taller gear!
 

iliveonnitro

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Mar 29, 2006
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factory61 said:
I would definitely look at your gearing as well. If you had a tough time turning over the pedals in your easiest gear even while you were out of the saddle, you may want to look at changing your rear cassette.
It's much easier to just change the hill :)

Do what is natural, and try a combination of both so you don't limit yourself to one or the other.
 

Robbie Hatfield

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Jul 6, 2007
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Why not just put a power-assist on your bike? Before everyone jumps on my **** about the 'that's cheating' garbage, remember that by not running to work, everyone here is 'cheating' already anyway. :p


Robbie
 

Alex Simmons

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Mar 12, 2006
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Dean Thomas said:
try and concentrate on pedaling in circles this is much more efficient (this also works on the flat try it).
I'm not convinced on this statement. Do you have any evidence that this is in fact the case? My understanding is that studies (e.g. Coyle) show that in fact the opposite is true.

Anyway, not into debating it as this topic has been hashed to death.
 

Alex Simmons

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Mar 12, 2006
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DZ-015 said:
Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth allows you to get more oxygen into your blood via your lungs.
I'm interested in this statement. Can you expand on why that would be. i.e. evidence?

Thanks