QUESTION: Climbing kills my legs. On a long hill or a sequence of short climbs, I can feel my strength ebb. What’s the best way to ride a hill, and how can I build strength and stamina? — David W.
RBR REPLIES: The usual reason riders die on consecutive hills is simple — they attack the first one too hard and then have no zip left for the others. If you go so hard that you’re panting uncontrollably, you’re in big trouble.
On a single long climb, it’s the same story. Don’t go too hard during the first third or you’ll die before the top.
The second reason is overgearing. Your pedaling cadence while climbing should be almost as high as on the flats — at least 80 rpm. This means that you probably need lower gearing than you have.
Finally, to climb well, climb. Many people avoid climbs on their training rides and wonder why they’re no good on hills. Seek out hills once or twice a week and go up at a brisk, steady pace. You’ll improve.