How to PB a long climb – Bike Magazine Australia

1. Make a plan

A long climb can mean a lot of things. 10 minutes? An hour? Your body can only sustain particular efforts for a certain amount of time. A ten-minute climb can be attacked at threshold (about an 8 out of 10 effort), while a one-hour beast will command a bit more discipline (6 or 7 out of 10). Make a plan and stick to it – or risk seeing the red mist descend.

2. The approach

Eating and drinking on climbs can be difficult. The few kilometres before a big hill are the best place to make sure you’re adequately fuelled and hydrated for the job in front of you. If you’ve been riding for an hour or more, or if the climb is a long one (say, over 20 minutes), grab a snack of about 20-30g of carbohydrate (a banana or a gel), and swallow a good few mouthfuls of fluid. If you’re in a bunch, now’s the time to sit in and relax.

3. The start

It’s always tempting to begin a climb as you mean to continue… Full Gas! That said, it’s absolutely essential to hold back on longer climbs and avoid sprinting at the start: Going anaerobic won’t hurt for the first 30 seconds, but then it’s going to really burn. If you blow, there’s no coming back, while if you hold back a little early on, you can always unleash your inner maniac when the summit is in sight. Nothing in the world beats the feeling of cruising past your mates who’ve sprinted the first 500m and are now drooling on their top tubes with several kilometres to go. And remember to press that lap button on your computer if you want to check your data later!

4. The rhythm

Once you’ve pushed your body up to a hard-but-sustainable level of effort, the mental games are going to begin. You should be breathing hard, but regularly, and your legs should hurt, but not so much that they’re going to stop moving anytime soon. It’s pretty unpleasant, but some positive self-talk is going to get you through. Repeat a few motivating words to yourself ‘fit and strong’, ‘I’m doing this’, sing your favourite party tune, or even count pedal strokes. Whatever you do, embrace the pain, and keep asking for more!

5. The finish

Once you sense the summit is approaching, it’s time to ramp it up. If you can see any other riders in front, try to reel them in. Jump out of the saddle, shift down the cassette, and give it some, sprinting the last 15–20 seconds so you’re completely spent at the top.

Hit the lap button on your bike computer, have a rest and enjoy the view, then take in a long and rewarding descent.