7 Climbing Tips for Beginner Gran Fondo Cyclists
Here are some tips to help you have fun when the road tilts upward on your first Sportive or Gran Fondo
1- Use the right gear.
Climbing is a lot more than simply choosing the right cogs and chainrings. You have to know when to use that toothy collection of 18 to 30 gear choices. Technique is all-important.
2 - On short, steep climbs, it's tempting to leave it in the big ring
Take advantage of your momentum and power over the top. Don't do it-repeated redline efforts will hurt your knees and load your muscles with lactate. That's fine once or twice-but don't forget you're in this for the long haul. Learn to love the small ring.
3 - On longer climbs, gear down
Keep your cadence around 90 rpm and spin. There's no rush and pushing hard may lead to knee problems or premature fatigue.
4 - Pace yourself
It's a long ride, and climbing has a cumulative effect. The snap you drain from your legs on the road to Black Canyon won't come back when you hit the mesa climbs later in the ride.
5 - Don't go anaerobic!
Pros like to say they "only have so many matches to burn." By this they mean that they can go hard a set number of times in a race-making or following attacks, riding hard on hills, or sprinting. Once they've used up their fund of hard efforts, they're done. So keep your pace below the redline. Use a heart monitor or a finely tuned understanding of perceived exertion to keep track of your matches.
6 - Alternate between sitting and standing
You probably have a preferred climbing style, and most riders climb seated. But standing occasionally works different muscles and gives your butt a break from saddle pressure.
7- Move on the saddle
When you're climbing seated, ride for 20 or 30 strokes in your normal position in the middle of the saddle, then slide to the rear for another 30 strokes followed by sliding to the nose. Alternating positions on the saddle works muscles in different ways and increases long-haul comfort.