Coaching: Rolling A Climb

Most people think a climb is over when you crest the top.  That's just not true.  In fact, the top of any climb is just the beginning of something else.  And that something else can be one of the greatest tricks in your arsenal.

To put in perspective how you can add a powerful weapon to your climbing quiver, let me ask you a question: How many times have you seen someone crest a climb, only to drop their head and soft pedal (or worse, coast) over the crest?

Let me ask you another question: How many times have you seen determined chaser manage to close a big gap by driving through the crest of that climb?

I know I've seen it all the way from the Pro Tour ranks down through the smallest group rides.  And I know that the guys riding out the crest of the climb are getting a lot of extra speed that the soft pedalers are missing out on.  I'll also tell you something: the physiological cost of that speed is really, REALLY small.

Read more about getting bonus speed in the hills after the break:


Climb Like A Pro – Part 3 (Podcast #23)

Climbing up Tower HillClimbing is often the albatross that follows us around on our two-wheeled adventures. Long climbs.  Short power climbs.  Varying pitch.  Everyone has a weakness when it comes to climbing.  I've spent the past two episodes of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast defining what “makes” a climber and the importance of leg speed skills in your climbing, hoping to give you the confidence to go out and hit the hills like a pro.  This time, I'm going to put the last pieces of the puzzle in place.  You'll hear about breathing and rhythm, reading the road, breaking a climb into parts, and finally the discussion will turn to how to tackle a variety of climbs that you may encounter, including:

  • Short “roller” type climbs
  • Short “power” climbs
  • Mid-length climbs
  • Long “grinding” climbs
  • The ultra-steep, long climbs

As I promise in this podcast, I'm including a couple of links to previous posts that I've published:

Breathing (part 1) – Physiology

Breathing (part 2) – Putting Skills into Practice

Reading the Road

As always, if you're on iTunes, please leave a rating: it helps the show move up the rankings and allows me to bring this information to more and more people.  And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me with questions.

Check out the previous episodes of the “Climb Like A Pro” series:

Climb Like A Pro – Part 1

Climb Like A Pro – Part 2

Climb Like A Pro – Part 2 (Podcast #22)

Climbing in CooperstownIn the last podcast, Climb Like A Pro – Part 1, I covered some of the basics of climbing physiology and what makes a good climber.  In part two, it's time to tackle some of the more technical aspects of your bike and your technique: namely gearing and leg speed.  Along with fitness, perhaps the most important choice you can make in terms of climbing strongly is your gearing choice.  Are you on a standard when you should be on a compact? Do you use an 11-23 tooth cassette when a 12-27 is more appropriate?  And how does your leg speed, or ability to control that leg speed, factor into those decisions?  I'll cover the following in part 2 of the “Climb Like a Pro” series:

  • Proper crankset gearing
  • Proper cassette gearing
  • The importance of leg speed while climbing
  • Leg speed out of the saddle and efficiency
  • “Flattening” the terrain

As noted in this podcast, here are links to some in depth information on choosing proper gearing:

Choosing Crankset Gearing

Choosing Cassette Gearing

Be More Efficient: Pedaling Efficiency

As always, take a moment to rate the Tailwind Coaching podcast on iTunes and help me reach more and more people.  And if you have any questions, you can either email me or post them to the Tailwind Coaching Facebook Page.

If you want to check out the rest of the “Climb Like A Pro” series, check here:

Climb Like A Pro – Part 1

Climb Like A Pro – Part 3

I'll see you next time: I'm going out for a climb or two…

Climb Like A Pro – Part 1 (Podcast #21)

Iron Bridge NJ ClimbIf you're like most cyclists, you have one part of your ride that you just hate.  Some people hate flat roads, some hate headwinds, some even hate group riding.  More than any other part of cycling, far and away the most hated thing out there is climbing.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard people grumble about climbing or say “I'll see you at the top” at the mere sight of the road rising in front of them.  While climbing isn't fun for most of us (and those of us who find it fun are probably brain damaged) everyone out there can learn to be a better climber.  Whether the goal is to turn the screws on your local group ride, win your next race or simply suffer less, you can go uphill faster and be fresher at the top, and I'll tell you how.

In the first part podcast (this topic is far too large for just one podcast) we'll discuss:

  • Some of the things that “make a good climber”
  • What physiological skills make you faster and stronger in hills
  • The idea of “switching off” muscle groups and energy systems
  • Mental aspects of climbing strongly
  • Different body and hand positions and the pros and cons of each
  • Standing vs. Sitting
  • Breathing and why it's important

Additionally, you can find more information on climbing in the following posts:

Climbing – Positioning Yourself For Success

Climbing – Revisiting Position and Physiology

Climbing – Suffer In Silence (psychology of climbing)

Breathing Techniques – Part 1

Breathing Techniques – Part 2

As always, feel free to rate the Tailwind Coaching Podcast on iTunes, and check out the rest of the podcast series here:

Climb Like A Pro – Part 2

Climb Like A Pro – Part 3

Smoothing Your Pedal Stroke

Have you ever watched a pro cycling event like the Tour de France and marveled at how man and machine are almost one being?  Isn't it remarkable how smoothly and efficiently each rider can propel their machine forward at speeds that make us mere mortals raise our eyebrows in amazement?  Have you then compared them to some of the folks on your local group rides and seen the night and day difference?  Maybe you are one of those riders who resembles a semi truck as opposed to a Ferrari, and you want to change that.

Keo Blade pedalsYou're probably worried that "I can't change that, those guys are gifted."  Well, yes, that is true to some extent.  Those guys spend their entire lives training and racing, and the vast majority of them are genetically gifted with high VO2 max and incredible natural ability.  But you can still improve your pedaling technique, which will put you on the path to being more efficient and stronger on the road.  And it won't cost your entire training week to accomplish, either.