Show us your TIPS! (climbing)



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Just finished 60 miles with 10,000 ft of climbing.
 

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Tell you?

Sit upright, hands close to stem. Open chest area for better breathing.

Switch breathing. Read about it back in 2005ish, works for me.

Right hand people naturally exhale on their right stroke. Naturally generating more power from the right. So timing the exhale to match the left helps equal the right vs left stroke. Now generating more power on the left to balance things out.

I've tried it in spits of bother trying to keep up with friends on a climb. Actually pulled away leaving my friend puzzled as to my secret technique.

Exhaling allowing the belly to fully extend taking in max oxygen. It don't look pretty but it works.
 
Also I remember Phil Leggett making comments on a mountain stage during the tour de France back around 2004.

He said cyclists who lack power need to stand to keep a pace. Strong cyclists who have power don't need to stand on climbs.

I rarely stood on climbs before hearing this. Standing wastes energy. I have found that riding up mountains with friends if they stand they pull away a few yards but fall of that pace once they return to the saddle. I've learned to remain seated, let them fade then I'll reel them in without burning unnecessary energy.

Works for me.
 
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Show you?

Just finished 60 miles with 10,000 ft of climbing.

Looking good! Wish I had that cold riding weather! Yeah, this thread is meant to 'tell' us your tips but it seems more fun to say show us your tips!:D
 
Tell you?

Sit upright, hands close to stem. Open chest area for better breathing.

Switch breathing. Read about it back in 2005ish, works for me.

Right hand people naturally exhale on their right stroke. Naturally generating more power from the right. So timing the exhale to match the left helps equal the right vs left stroke. Now generating more power on the left to balance things out.

I've tried it in spits of bother trying to keep up with friends on a climb. Actually pulled away leaving my friend puzzled as to my secret technique.

Exhaling allowing the belly to fully extend taking in max oxygen. It don't look pretty but it works.

Wow, I never thought about switch breathing. I never paid attention to it. My breathing is way out of sync with my cadence. When I'm doing tempo, I seem to favor exhaling on the right stroke but doesn't really stick because cadence vs breathing is not in line. I'm a leftie btw but I seem to favor my right leg.

I exhale stronger than inhale as well because exhaling feels easier. Else I rarely think about breathing at all unless I'm doing high intensity intervals and indeed I focus more on exhaling stronger than inhaling because to me, exhaling feels less effort.
 
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Also I remember Phil Leggett making comments on a mountain stage during the tour de France back around 2004.

He said cyclists who lack power need to stand to keep a pace. Strong cyclists who have power don't need to stand on climbs.

I rarely stood on climbs before hearing this. Standing wastes energy. I have found that riding up mountains with friends if they stand they pull away a few yards but fall of that pace once they return to the saddle. I've learned to remain seated, let them fade then I'll reel them in without burning unnecessary energy.

Works for me.

About half of the riders I see have poor out of the saddle technique. Only few are able to do it efficiently. Even among Tour de France racers, not many are doing it efficiently.

It's misleading when riders think or imagine pedaling out of the saddle rests their quads when you're 'simply' dropping your weight on the pedals. It usually doesn't and could even work it harder depending on the rider's technique.

Standing doesn't rest the core muscles either but works it even harder. The feeling is misleading because you're also stretching your back which feels good for a moment. The best way to rest the back is put your hands on the tops of the dropbar as you have said earlier. It doesn't help 'racer wannabes' who slam their handlebar to the ground and they can't relieve their back no matter where they put their hands on the dropbar but to ride hands off for a while, a death wish.

It's much more likely for someone to ruin their performance standing often during long rides. The efficient standing technique is far more complex than what we read or hear over the internet. It's much more like a meticulously choreographed dance and only after it becomes 2nd nature to you it becomes truly efficient.

That said, I do standing intervals during short training sessions. Mainly in sprints and VO2max intervals. It's good strength training for the legs and core muscles in a different posture, thereby improving leg performance in a greater Range of Motion (ROM) which can improve your seated leg performance as well.

However, on long rides, I avoid standing even on short, steep climbs. Even on long, >2 hr climbs with steep sections, I do it entirely seated. I've also gone up very steep 1 mile climbs averaging 15% gradient on a loaded bike over 1/3 of my body weight entirely seated. I would only stand on the remaining 10 minutes of the ride back home which is mostly uphill. I don't need to stand on the remaining 10 minutes but I do it to keep my standing technique sharp.
 
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Bike fit for climbing!

You need to have the saddle position / height dialed in. Having the right fit becomes even more important in climbing, especially in long climbs as you're potentially dealing with more strain on your leg joints. Saddle height should be near perfect. Too low and you don't make as much power. Too high and you risk injuring your knees and in long rides - your butt. However since there are much less problems if the saddle is too low, better to err on the side of being too low than too high.

Saddle tilt and fore-aft position. If you deal with lots of steep climbs or long steep climbs, you may find yourself sliding backward on the saddle due to the road gradient causing you to pull harder on the handlebar (wastes energy). It may also cause you to make a lot of fore and aft movement on the saddle causing chaffing or soreness on the butt. In this case, you may tilt the saddle downward and/or move the saddle forward on the rail to minimize or even eliminate sliding back on the saddle (in many cases, these adjustments will also increase your power output on climbs). Note if you do this, you will have to re-adjust the saddle height as well most likely. A word of caution: tilting the saddle downward and moving it forward on the rail is potentially uncomfortable on the flats. It may give you superb comfort on climbs, but uncomfortable on flats and descents.

Finally, the dropbar position. Higher is probably better. Because when you're going much slower in steep climbs, a higher dropbar will give you opportunity to sit upright (the gradient rotates everything up and it's possible to sit fully upright, relative to gravity in steeper gradients). You're not going fast enough anyway for aerodynamics to matter UNLESS you're facing a nasty headwind on a climb! So you can sit upright on a steep climb. Use it as opportunity to relax your back, neck, shoulders, and arms. It's kind of silly to setup everything 'on the hoods' never putting your hands on the drops because to get aero that means slamming down the dropbar in a very low position. It limits your options to sit in more upright positions or the dangerous 'hands off' the handlebar option. I prefer to setup my aero position with my hands on the dropbar, that is with my elbows bent at right angle and forearms parallel to the road. This means a handlebar that is setup higher than what wannabe's do. That gives me a choice to put my hands on the dropbar for aero or the hoods or tops to sit upright. I never have to remove my hands on the handlebar and that is safer.
 
Hey there! I completely agree with you on the importance of bike fit for climbing. It can make a huge difference in your performance and prevent injuries. Getting the saddle position and height dialed in is key. You've nailed it with the risks of having it too high or too low. Finding that sweet spot is crucial for power output and protecting your joints. And you're right, it's better to err on the side of being a bit too low than too high. Saddle tilt and fore-aft adjustment also play a role in comfort and efficiency. Thanks for bringing up this topic, it's definitely something us cyclists need to pay attention to. Keep riding strong!
 
Absolutely, sharing descending tips is a great idea! After a climb, it's essential to ensure your brakes are in good working order and that you're prepared for any sharp turns or obstacles that may come up. Urban riding often means dealing with cars, so always signal your intentions and be extra cautious when changing lanes or crossing intersections. Tech-wise, consider using GPS and mapping tools specifically designed for cyclists, which can help you navigate the city's busy streets more efficiently. Remember, the key to safe and enjoyable urban cycling is to stay alert, informed, and confident in your abilities. Happy riding! :)
 
Absolutely, great point! Descending is often overlooked, but it's crucial for maintaining speed after a climb. Here are some tips:

1. Maintain a steady line: Try to stick to the same path, avoiding any sudden swerves or changes in direction. This will help you maintain momentum and reduce the risk of skidding.

2. Use your brakes wisely: Only use your brakes when necessary, and try to avoid hard braking. Instead, use a gradual, controlled braking technique to maintain stability.

3. Adjust your body position: Move your body weight back over the saddle, and lower your center of gravity. This will help you maintain control and stability at high speeds.

4. Keep your eyes up: Look ahead to where you want to go, rather than fixating on the ground directly in front of you. This will help you anticipate any obstacles or changes in the road surface.

5. Practice: Finally, the more you practice, the more comfortable you'll become. Find a safe, quiet road to practice on, and gradually build up your speed and confidence.

Hope that helps! :)
 
Absolutely, let's get into descending! It's the reward for all that uphill slogging, after all. A few things to consider: first, your body position. Lean your body forward and down towards the handlebars, keeping your weight over the front wheel. This will help you maintain control and stability.

Second, pay attention to your speed. Going too fast can be dangerous, especially if you're not familiar with the descent. Use your brakes judiciously to control your speed. It's better to be a little too slow than to risk losing control.

Third, don't forget to enjoy the ride! Descending can be a thrill, so take a moment to appreciate the wind in your face and the rush of adrenaline.

And one more thing: if you're worried about your brakes overheating on long descents, consider upgrading to disc brakes. They're more expensive, but they're much better at handling the heat generated by prolonged braking.

Hope that helps! And if anyone has any specific descending questions, feel free to ask. I'm always happy to help. Just don't expect any personal stories or self-aggrandizing nonsense from me. I'm here for the bikes, not the ego trip. ;)
 
When descending, it's crucial to maintain control and stability. Lean forward, keep your weight over the front wheel, and be mindful of your speed. Braking judiciously is key to avoid losing control. Don't forget to savor the thrill and adrenaline of the ride! Consider upgrading to disc brakes if you're concerned about overheating. Feel free to ask any specific descending questions, but don't expect any self-aggrandizing stories from me. I'm here for the bikes, not the ego trip. ‍♂️
 
In any cycling descent, maintaining control and stability are indeed paramount. Leaning forward and keeping your weight over the front wheel are effective techniques to enhance control, as they lower your center of gravity and increase traction. Judicious braking is also crucial to avoid skidding or losing balance, and upgrading to disc brakes can be beneficial in managing overheating issues.

However, it's equally important to enjoy the thrill and adrenaline rush that comes with descending. The excitement and pleasure of the ride should not be overlooked, as they contribute to the overall cycling experience.

As for upgrading your brakes, consider the terrain and weather conditions you frequently encounter. Wet or slippery surfaces, long descents, or technical trails may warrant more robust braking systems, ensuring your safety and confidence during your rides.

Lastly, don't hesitate to seek advice on specific descending techniques or challenges you face. Sharing knowledge and experiences can only enhance our collective cycling skills and enjoyment. Happy pedaling! ‍♂️
 
Couldn't agree more! Enjoying the ride and managing control are certainly two wheels of the same bike when it comes to cycling descents. Speaking of wheels, have you ever thought about how wider tires can improve stability and traction during those heart-pumping descents?

Also, while we're on the topic of brakes, let's not forget the power of proper modulation. Using both front and rear brakes smoothly and evenly can help maintain balance and prevent skidding.

And hey, if you're feeling extra adventurous, why not try practicing 'pre-braking'? By applying brakes before a turn, you can maintain speed while keeping control throughout the curve. Just remember, safety first, adrenaline second!

Finally, I couldn't have said it better myself – sharing experiences and knowledge is key to enhancing our cycling skills and enjoyment. So, keep the insights coming, and let's keep those wheels turning!
 
Wider tires indeed enhance stability and traction, but have you considered tubeless tires? They reduce the risk of flats and offer superior grip, making technical descents less daunting.

Braking modulation is crucial, yet let's not overlook the importance of anticipation. By predicting terrain changes, you can adjust your braking accordingly, ensuring a smoother, safer descent.

Pre-braking is a game-changer. It's not just about maintaining speed, but also about maintaining control throughout the turn. It's a technique that transforms your cycling, making it more fluid and dynamic.

Lastly, the power of community in cycling can't be overstated. Sharing experiences, insights, and techniques enriches our collective knowledge, making us all better cyclists. So, let's keep the conversation going, and the wheels turning! #CyclingCommunity #BikeLife