are 180 pounds, lean as you can get, and convinced that
there is no way you can keep up with that 135 pound rolling
toothpick on the next big climb. Well, you're right. He will
ride away from you, but not because he's light.
riders from vertically-challenged areas of the country are
positive they can't climb hills. As a result, they don't
climb hills very well. Great climbing is a skill-dependant
aspect of cycling, just like sprinting, cornering, and
descending. If you know how to climb, you stand a better
chance in the hills.
next time you encounter a climb, relax! Climbing fast will
put you at or near your lactate threshold. Staying seated
and calm with your upper body relaxed helps keep your HR a
few beats lower, allowing you to pedal little harder before
reaching threshold. Remember watching Lance in the
He was calm and controlled, even as he rode away from Zülle,
Escartin, and Virenque.
a lower gear. Do not try to muscle your way over long
climbs. Reduce your gearing and increase your cadence. You
won't accumulate lactic acid as quickly, and are more likely
to make it over the climb without blowing up. You will lose
much more ground by blowing up and crawling to the top than
you will by riding your own steady pace, even if your pace
doesn't quite match the local featherweights.
physics to your advantage. When you have to climb out of the
saddle, align your body over your pedals on the downstroke.
If you have to carry that body weight up a hill, make it
work for you. I don't mean "throw your bike around
underneath you." That will only enrage the riders
around you and hasten your departure from the back of the
field. Instead of pulling your bars in toward the center as
you stand and climb, push them out to the sides. You are
already using your triceps and shoulders to support your
body weight, why use your pulling muscles as well? Using
more muscles means using more oxygen. You can only transport
so much oxygen; use it wisely.
biggest hill in town is a highway overpass? Minor detail.
You can practice seated climbing on an indoor trainer with
the front wheel elevated 4-6 inches above horizontal. You
can hone your out-of-the-saddle climbing technique on even
the smallest of climbs. If you need proof that big guys can
indeed climb, George Hincapie has made it through the
toughest climbs of the Tour de France, at 180 pounds.