Best way to tackle long steep climbs (eg on strava)?

Home Forum Bike Forum Best way to tackle long steep climbs (eg on strava)?

Viewing 29 posts - 1 through 29 (of 29 total)
  • Best way to tackle long steep climbs (eg on strava)?
  • Haze
    Member

    Alternate between standing and sitting for me, shifting up a gear for the standy bits.

    I try to keep the effort high but only enough that I can maintain it.

    Just do what everyone else does and get in the car with strava on for your road KOM’s!

    LoCo
    Member

    Just do what everyone else does and get in the car with strava on for your road KOM’s!

    or a moped 😉

    atlaz
    Member

    Find a cadence/effort that works and push that gear. If you get any short, sharp ramps, a click or two on the shifters and out of the saddle. There’s a couple of climbs with some 13-15% sections that taught me not to go all out on the easier bits if it means you basically have to zigzag on the steep bits not to fall over. Also means that as it flattens out, you can get on with going quicker rather than trying to find out why your lungs and legs stopped working.

    When one is on a road bike, or at least on a smooth road climb, what’s the best way to tackle it? For the sake of argument, to get a KOM time (I’m not super-obsessed with strava but looking to improve my fitness and I’m interested in the physiology of riding bikes).

    On a short steep hill, I usually stand up and mash the pedals. Seems to be the quickest way, if not the most efficient.

    Whereas on longer climbs (say, 1.5k or more), I’m torn between standing (and going faster) vs sitting and staying more efficient. Would the quickest way just be to stay sitting, somewhere near the anaerobic threshold, then get out of the saddle and sprint the final 200m ish? Or intermittently stand up to get a bit of speed, then sit for a bit? Presumably people are different and maybe everyone needs to just do it slightly different?

    I’m kinda interested in what the science/sports physiology answer is to this question, but I’ll take anecdotes from people too!

    qwerty
    Member

    Get to know the climb by riding it many times, you’ll learn where you can sit and push the gear and where the steeper sections are that may benefit from some out of the saddle power. You’ll go anaerobic much quicker out of the saddle so use that tactic wisely.

    qwerty
    Member

    Oh yea, and if you have those gear things on your bike work which gear for which section, probably drop down for out the saddle.

    timb34
    Member

    The “Performance” tab on Strava segments can be really interesting for this – if you compare your performance with the KOM then you see where they were going faster, and how their speed/effort varies with the gradient.

    IanMunro
    Member

    Pretty much what qwerty says, you need to know the climb and know your body. I tend to start at what feels like a sub-maximal effort, with the aim of steadily winding up the effort so that you’ve used up all your anerobic effort just at the top – or if racing someone else just after the top. Bottom half pretty much always sat, but the upper half in and out of the saddle to keep the gear turning over.
    But you’ve got to have a feel for how long your body will go at a given discomfort level.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    Would probably alternate.

    Bit of psychology too. I tend not to look too far ahead, since seeing a summit makes me ease off slightly, which knackers rhythm and momentum. And the real summit is usually a bit further. Same if turning a corner and see a long demoralising further uphill stretch. Sod the rules – I wear a peak on the lid.
    Also count pedal strokes in 3’s sometimes – esp. if one leg stronger than the other.

    will
    Member

    Height in inches divided by weight in KG. If the number is greater than 1 then climbing standing is better.

    Can’t remember where I read that, but seems to work for me.

    Also, will depending on your gearing. If you have a compact you’d be more inclined (no pun intended) to sit and “spin” where as if you are running traditional gears you’ll reach a point where sitting isn’t the most efficient way.

    For what it’s worth I do most of my climbing standing, with brief sections seated.

    qwerty
    Member

    One labourious, painfull way of knowing a climb is to ride out to it and ride it 6 or 8 times, your rest period is braking on the way back down, as you get tired you’ll notice gradients in it that you were not aware of before. Mentally very hard to do.

    Having just changed gearing from a 30 granny with a 12-25 block to a 39 standing up on some of the Dales hills has been the only way to get up them. This has had the effect of giving me PRs on every hill, so there’s’your answer

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    Didn’t Sky work out that Froome could climb quicker seated, because of the reduced drag?

    CaptJon
    Member

    Put it in the hardest gear you can turn, go flat out and only change when you can’t turn the pedals anymore. Climbs are just wonky sprints. Probably only works is you’re 12.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    Didn’t Sky work out that Froome could climb quicker seated, because of the reduced drag?

    yes, but froome can do about 300mph.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    yes, but froome can do about 300mph.

    True, but doesn’t the same principle apply, at a lower speed?

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    drag isn’t proportional, at 1/2 the speed, you’ve got 1/4 of the drag*.

    (*actual factor may be different, it’s been years since i did any work on this kind of thing)

    so, other factors may become more important at mortal speeds.

    as for the OP, i sometimes ride up ‘the dale’ out of hathersage, it’s long AND steep.

    i sit until some muscles start screaming at me, then i stand until different muscles give up, then i sit down, and repeat for about 16mins until i get to the top.

    Haze
    Member

    qwerty – Member
    Oh yea, and if you have those gear things on your bike work which gear for which section, probably drop down for out the saddle

    Depends on the climb for me, on lesser slopes I shift up when getting out of the saddle.

    If it’s honking then I’ll probably keep in the same gear.

    Premier Icon adsh
    Subscriber

    Standing pushes a higher gear, lowers cadence but raises heart rate and lactic acid. If the slope and gearing allow you can with training get into the zone and stand for minutes on end around threshold IF you don’t go into the red. Most slopes and gears mean standing at VO2 max and recovering seated.

    Working on the turbo and hill reps allows you to build both.

    True, but doesn’t the same principle apply, at a lower speed?

    Only if aero drag is the only variable, which it isn’t. Froome weighs **** all and has skinny arms, there’s not mcuh there to add to his legs by standing up.

    Sitting down your legs and cardio system work at the same rate to give a certain power output. Standing up recruits more muscles, but you’re still limited by the ammount of fuel your heart can pump. If you trained stood up you’d go faster stood up as your cardiovascular system would get more training than your legs. They found this with hand cycles, you can atach pedals to the arms and legs and you don’t actualy go any faster. If you do go faster it’s short term before your body runs otu of fuel.

    Fastest way will be an aproximately constant power output, easing off slightly on flater bits, and ramping up the effort towards the end. How close to the end you ramp up the effort would depend on the climb and your fitness.

    drag isn’t proportional, at 1/2 the speed, you’ve got 1/4 of the drag*.

    (*actual factor may be different, it’s been years since i did any work on this kind of thing)

    It’s a mixture of linear, square and cubic terms, which vary with speeds. The drag from your torso for example will be described by a set of equations, but the trasnition from laminar to turbulent flow (and their respective equations) will occour at a much lower speed than the flow arround your arms or frame, which will be lower again than the speed at which flow arround your rims, and then spokes.

    I know a lot of riders that stand on just about every climb they come across, whether it be long/short, steep/gradual or road/off-road. I don’t get it myself as I feel more comfortable sitting. Don’t think I’ve stood on a road climb since my mid-teens. Off-road is a different matter when things get really technical/steep etc.

    Not read the replies but try gripping the bars either side of the stem, makes a big difference in speed for me. Obviously this is when sitting down only.

    andypaul99
    Member

    Not sure aerodynamics comes into play on the low speeds of a climb, if its steep 10%+ unless you are a pro i very much doubt you will be travelling more than 10mph anyway.

    qwerty
    Member

    Instant Strava King

    mrblobby
    Member

    On lots of the shorter climbs you can gain a lot of time by coming into it faster, getting the speed back up on bits where the gradient eases off, and especially picking up the pace coming off the climb. Get those bits sorted first. Also if you feel the need to get out the saddle, knock it down a couple of gears so you maintain speed as your cadence will probably drop. Long climbs just find a gear you can keep on top of and make sure to accelerate on bits where the gradient eases off.

    Not sure aerodynamics comes into play on the low speeds of a climb, if its steep 10%+ unless you are a pro i very much doubt you will be travelling more than 10mph anyway.

    Don’t know if you’re referring to my advice but gripping the bars either side of the stem on a climb isn’t about aerodynamics. Give it a go, works for me.

Viewing 29 posts - 1 through 29 (of 29 total)

The topic ‘Best way to tackle long steep climbs (eg on strava)?’ is closed to new replies.