It’s normal to fear climbs because of how tired we think we’ll feel and the fear that we may not be able to keep up with the others. But there’s a solution to that. Here are 5 tips that’ll help you to cruise uphill without stealing the energy you’ll need for the rest of the tour.
Control your breathing
Take a deep breath. This is the sentence you need to have looping in your head. Never let your breathing speed up. Breathe in slowly and consistently until you fill your lungs, and then let the air out until your lungs are empty, as if you were blowing out a candle.
It’s normal that as time goes by it becomes more difficult to control your breathing, but always keep one thing in mind: the biggest mistake of breathing is to hold your breath when the effort is greatest because this will make you even more tired. The slower you breathe, the easier it’ll be to control the effort.
It seems almost impossible to always keep up the same rhythm because we have some difficulty in defining it, but it’s not impossible. Try to count one and a half rounds of your pedal every second and you’ll find the right rhythm to control your effort.
The importance of finding this rhythm in your pedalling is that if you pedal faster you’ll start panting and if you pedal slower you’ll increase the effort, bringing on muscle fatigue much quicker.
Don’t worry if you don’t find your rhythm at first; the mere fact that you’re thinking about it and striving to find it is already bringing you closer to your goal;)
Usually, we tend to stand up when we start cycling uphill, but that may not be the best solution if we’re not experienced cyclists and in good physical condition. Standing up increases speed, it doesn’t reduce fatigue. When professional cyclists do this their idea is to use the weight of the body to ‘push the pedal further down’, thus making it easier on the legs. Another strategy they take advantage of is to tip the bike to the opposite side of the leg they’re pressing down because that way they transfer more effort to the arms, thus saving their legs in order to increase the output.
A good way to control the effort when pedalling while seated is to ‘paddle’ with the handlebar, pulling it backward when pressing down on the pedals. Try it 😉
Height of the Saddle
If the saddle is too low, it’ll put pressure on your knees and could cause pain. If the saddle is too high, it’ll cause you to move too much on the saddle, which could cause skin rashes.
So, ideally your saddle should be at the ideal height for you (it varies from person to person). A good way to know how to adjust it to your height is to read our article “Do You Know How To Adjust Your Saddle?”
Zigzag as you Cycle
Inevitably, it’ll take longer to reach the end of the climb, but the entire relative slope will decrease. This strategy isn’t very advisable in urban circuits because of the danger associated with cars. However, in steeper climbs it can be used to lessen your tiredness.
Now, with this advice, do you feel more capable of cycling uphill? We have a tour to one of the highest points in Portugal: Serra da Estrela Road Sport Tour