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Hill climbing,

even the words strikes fear into some cyclists, yet others relish the challenge of a good hill climb.  

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We're never going to climb like the Pro's, but with a little training and the correct technique, it will become easier.

Why do we want to climb after all? Why not is what I say. After all, at the top is where we get the best views, the cleanest air, a fantastic sense of achievement having conquered the slopes. 

The secret of success is really down to just a few things like breathing, technique, groupset and positive mind set. 

There's nothing more certain that if you think you're beaten, you will be beaten. So before you even begin on the lower slopes, get a positive can do attitude, attack the hill at a pace you feel you can continue to the top. It's so much easier to increase the speed gently if you've started a little slower, but if you've burnt your wick half way up, slowing a little isn't going to help you at all. Hill management, know how fast you can climb that particular hill and stick to that pace, but believe in yourself, after all your good enough to be in the position of getting to the lower slopes to begin with, it's now just a case of a little practice and you'll be topping out if not far faster it will certainly be much easier.

Breathing correctly is so important to good hill climbing, many climbs when I've not been breathing correctly (no I dont mean breathe through your eyes) I burn out way before the top even though my legs still feel good enough to carry on, my lungs threaten to explode and that ends my hill climb until I recover. The secret is simply, steady, even breathing and try get a rhtym going that doesn't go with your pedal cadence, that will change as the hills gradient alters. You want your breathing to continue, I use counting, 1,2,3, in 1,2,3, out. It works for me honestly, have a go next time your out.

If your going to get out of your saddle, remember it's less efficient than staying in you saddle, but when the need arises and out the saddle you must try and keep the same cadence, do this by using your gears just before getting in or out of your saddle. If you do come out of the saddle, try and make it a smooth, fluid move and keep the wagging of the bike to a minimum, same when your sitting back down.

Groupsets play a big part in making it easy or hard for you to climb. Given the fact that we live in quite a hilly area, you may be lucky enough to be able to swap your cassette depending on the ride for that day, or swap a bike, better still.....

But seriously, if your on a big ring front and back, it's going to be much harder than others. Given this it makes sense when buying a bike to look what sort of rider you are, what riding you want to be doing and then go for the groupset that serves your needs best.

Above all, I've always said that when anyone of us are climbing up a hill no matter how steep, Ride Your Ride  Don't be drawn into keeping up with another rider. We all climb hills differently than others, so ride your ride, know your limits and above all try and enjoy the hill.

Last tips, slow to start - easier to finish.



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