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Tips for hills


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The BF and I started MTB'ing end of March 2010 and have'nt missed a weekend riding since. The best thing ever... however the hilly parts can prove to be a challenge :rolleyes:

 

We are definitely somewhat fitter than when we started out. I'm just wondering if any of you have some tips for us. I have started focusing on my breathing, leaning slightly forward and listening to the voices that scream "Gee hom gas girl!" when starting a climb and must say it does help, but does it really at the end of it just come down to fitness and building muscle (stronger legs)?

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For me it is all about pacing your self. people start to fast and run in to a surge low/lactic sat half way up the hill and then they give up. mentally i try to pick up the pace as i go up and peak at the top but it takes practices and you need to get to know your body.

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Pace yourself, establish a nice breathing rhythm, and maybe use your bar end extenders to change your hand position and to stretch your body out a bit and shift your weight a bit forward. A glance at the top (or as far as you can see) is ok, but stay focused on the trail in front of you and take it in sections.

Practice makes perfect!!

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RELAX....This is probably THE most important thing you can do aswell!

Ride light: do not have a death grip on your handlebars. You should be able to wiggle your fingers. Your arms and shoulders should be relaxed. Do not lock your elbows or hunch your shoulders. If you can't ride without locking your arms or tension in your shoulders, have the fit of your bike checked, specifically the stem length and saddle position. With enough practise...you'll GET THERE sooner than you know.

N'Joy

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DONT LOOK UP!!!

Once you have seen what you need to get over, focus on what you have to overcome now, not in a few minutes.

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I'm def not a very good climber, so I can relate somewhat to what works/not and what you should be doing.

- Get over the fear of hills

- Gear down in advance and start the climb with a higher than necessary cadence - it will soon be the desired one anyway. Get a rhythm that feels comfortable and try not to gear down too much during the climb.

- Dont ride too easy gears on a climb as this will actualy slow you down, but it takes a while to get the hang of it. The more you do it the quicker that will happen

- Try not to look at the top of the climb, as this can demoralize you big time

- Tell yourself you actually enjoying the climb, and keep in mind that there is probably a decent on the other side, which will allow for rest/recouperation.

- Loose any additional body weight you might be carrying with you

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Thanks! Very useful tips - especially the 'ride lite', I like that. And will confess that I do tend to hold onto the grips/handlebars very tightly when climbing!

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To ride better uphill, you need to ride uphill more often...

 

Absolutely the right tip.

 

Go to Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve. A lot. It will turn you into a monster climber. Or kill you. Best you hope for the former ;-)

 

"Do more of what you hate" is the best cycling advice I've ever heard.

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Not that I MTB, but 1) I slide back in the saddle, I find it adds more grunt to the stroke, 2) Take weight right off the handlebars, just touching them lightly with the fingertips, 3) Stand up occasionally in a relatively heavy gear to ease my bum.

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Not that I MTB, but 1) I slide back in the saddle, I find it adds more grunt to the stroke,

 

on a MTB you do not move over the back when you climb, you move more forward and drop your body lower to get more traction and stop the front from lifting.

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As everyone says, "Ride uphills more often" but make sure you are learning from each time you ride the hill. ie Why was that easy/hard? What did I do different?

 

The hills are as much about technique as they are fitness. I am also fairly new to cycling but love hills. (Maybe because as a kid my dad would take us riding up Northcliff hill to the water tower so I conquered my fear early)

 

There are few things to consider:

 

Cadence, Leg power and Gear Choice

 

Experiment with different combinations each time you try the hill and see what works best. I like relying on my leg strength so my cadence is slower but gears "harder". For me this is the most energy efficient way of getting the best times on hills.

 

My girlfriend also just started cycling with me and is also battling a bit with the hills, so let me know what works well with you.

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'ride lite',

 

Combine that advice with Eldron's tip:

Go to Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve*.

 

* - Insert any hilly terrain, Graskop, Tzaneen, Clarence etc.

 

 

Riding lots of loooooonnnnggg hills makes you tired and not ABLE to grip tight. Because of the length of the climb you tend to concentrate more on technique and breathing and cadence and relaxing etc.

 

Other that that, enjoy every hill because the view from up top is so rewarding!!!!!!! That and the going down on the other side!! B)

post-25-016815500 1277292186.jpg

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on a MTB you do not move over the back when you climb, you move more forward and drop your body lower to get more traction and stop the front from lifting.

 

Indeed!

 

Try shifting to an easier gear as well - that way when you hit a rock/bump you can pedal over it not get caught out in too big a gear and stop.

 

A silly tip: try and pedal "straight and smooth" - I've seen loads of people that pedal rather erratically with the bike moving left and right in time with the pedal stroke. This happens because people tend to over emphasise the down stroke (because their quads are strongest) - by pedalling smoothly in circles you reduce the left/right movement and increase pedalling efficiency.

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A silly tip: try and pedal "straight and smooth" - I've seen loads of people that pedal rather erratically with the bike moving left and right in time with the pedal stroke. This happens because people tend to over emphasise the down stroke (because their quads are strongest) - by pedalling smoothly in circles you reduce the left/right movement and increase pedalling efficiency.

 

 

Agreed - but that you learn from riding in Magaliesburg up rocky hills. If you don't maintain that constant even stroke you land on you ass your even worse face.

 

Make sure your saddle is in correct place too, if it is too far forward you can't use your hamstrings or glutes.

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Imagine a rubber band between you and the top of the climb, smoothly accelerating you to the top. You want to start out slow and gradually increase your speed, so that you are peaking as you reach the top. Don't stop pedalling until you are completely over the hill. I also like to imagine words for the actions I'm doing, such as 'spin-spin-spin' while cranking up a hill. Keep your pedaling nice and smooth and soon you notice the difference!

 

When I feel the legs burning, it helps to gear up two clicks and stand and pedal hard for a few seconds - stretches you out. Shift back up while you are busy sitting down and try not to break rhythm, practise this and it becomes second nature.

 

Of course these are ideals and on really long hills, its usually just a slog to the top, but great to bear in mind.

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