Day 2 of the Tour de Wyoming in July was the kind of epic climbing day that defines us as roadies. Before the ride, I warily eyeballed the course and elevation map for that day, knowing it would test everything I had as a rider. It was one of my toughest days on the bike ever. But also one of the most rewarding. And, thinking about it and other challenging climbing days in years past, it offered numerous tips and lessons worthy of sharing.
When you stand on a climb, do you have the tendency to lean way over the front of the handlebar, much more than necessary for the grade you're on? It's something we often see riders do, but it's a technique flaw that is easily fixed. Here's why you want to fix it: Leaning so far forward puts too much weight on the front wheel, which grinds the tire into the pavement and scuffs off speed. This actually makes the hill harder.
I can stick with the weekend group ride most of the time. But the route includes five short hills, and when we hit them the pack goes berserk. The mellow pace is replaced by mad sprints to the top. I'm usually 30 meters off the back and have trouble catching up before the next hill. How can I stay in contact?
Last week I wrote about riding a two-day credit card tour from Winter Park, Colorado (8,573 ft. / 2,613m) to Steamboat Springs (6,732 ft. / 2,052m). I covered 100 miles over two days, which the Tour de France would cover in one day. And I’m obviously much slower than the pros, but the same principles of riding the multi-day Tour apply to my mini-tour and to any back-to-back days of riding. Today I'll focus on some tips for climbing. And next week, I'll add some tips on eating and nutrition.
Your fast friends go downhill in strange postures. One tucks low over the top tube and holds the handlebars close to the stem, his nose nestled between his knuckles. Another puts his hips behind the saddle, resting his stomach on the seat. And you’ve seen pictures of pros sitting on the top tube in front of the saddle, chin almost touching the front wheel — although no one in your group has quite jacked up his courage to try it. What's the best compromise of speed and safety?
I went to Europe to watch some Tour de France mountain stages and ride the routes (wonderful trip!). I'm confused about the course profiles the Tour organizers handed out. They were intimidating to look at -- jagged and showing an unridable steepness. But the roads, though tough, weren't nearly that steep. What gives?
Did you ever wonder if hot rims can cause a blow-out? On long descents, riding the brakes can cause the rim to get very hot. Would disc disc brakes be the answer for overheating the rims during breaking? Learn if there are techniques that you can implement to prevent the rim from overheating during descents.
I just finished the hardest ride I have ever done -- the 1,200-km Boston-Montreal-Boston. I made it through the 30,000 feet of climbing, but the steep, curvy descents really scared me. I literally crept down hills, squeezing the brakes for dear life until my hands ached. Do you have any advice for overcoming this fear and letting myself go a bit more?
Some riders are naturally more aggressive than others and have a very good kinesthetic sense, so they descend fast and look forward to it. Others have a highly developed sense of self-preservation, so they go more cautiously. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with either approach. But if you want to descend faster without sacrificing safety, here are some tips.