Climbing is often the albatross that follows us around on our two wheeled adventures. Long climbs. Short power climbs. Varying pitch. Everyone has a weakness when it comes to climbing. I've spent the past two episodes of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast defining what "makes" a climber and the importance of leg speed skills in your climbing, hoping to give you the confidence to go out and hit the hills like a pro. This time, I'm going to put the last pieces of the puzzle in place. You'll hear about breathing and rhythm, reading the road, breaking a climb into parts, and finally the discussion will turn to how to tackle a variety of climbs that you may encounter, including:
Short "roller" type climbs
Short "power" climbs
Mid length climbs
Long "grinding" climbs
The ultra steep, long climbs
As I promise in this podcast, I'm including a couple of links to previous posts that I've published:
Breathing (part 1) – Physiology
Breathing (part 2) – Putting Skills into Practice
Reading the Road
As always, if you're on iTunes, please leave a rating: it helps the show move up the rankings and allows me to bring this information to more and more people. And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me with questions.
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In the last podcast, Climb Like A Pro – Part 1, I covered some of the basics of climbing physiology and what makes a good climber. In part two, it's time to tackle some of the more technical aspects of your bike and your technique: namely gearing and leg speed. Along with fitness, perhaps the most important choice you can make in terms of climbing strongly is your gearing choice. Are you on a standard when you should be on a compact? Do you use an 11-23 tooth cassette when a 12-27 is more appropriate? And how does your leg speed, or ability to control that leg speed, factor into those decisions? I'll cover the following in part 2 of the "Climb Like a Pro" series:
Proper crankset gearing
Proper cassette gearing
The importance of leg speed while climbing
Leg speed out of the saddle and efficiency
"Flattening" the terrain
As noted in this podcast, here are links to some in depth information on choosing proper gearing:
Choosing Crankset Gearing
Choosing Cassette Gearing
Be More Efficient: Pedaling Efficiency
As always, take a moment to rate the Tailwind Coaching podcast on iTunes and help me reach more and more people. And if you have any questions, you can either email me or post them to the Tailwind Coaching Facebook Page.
I'll see you next time: I'm going out for a climb or two…
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If you're like most cyclists, you have one part of your ride that you just hate. Some people hate flat roads, some hate headwinds, some even hate group riding. More than any other part of cycling, far and away the most hated thing out there is climbing. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people grumble about climbing or say "I'll see you at the top" at the mere sight of the road rising in front of them. While climbing isn't fun for most of us (and those of us who find it fun are probably brain damaged) everyone out there can learn to be a better climber. Whether the goal is to turn the screws on your local group ride, win your next race or simply suffer less, you can go uphill faster and be fresher at the top, and I'll tell you how.
In the first part podcast (this topic is far too large for just one podcast) we'll discuss:
Some of the things that "make a good climber"
What physiological skills make you faster and stronger in hills
The idea of "switching off" muscle groups and energy systems
Mental aspects of climbing strongly
Different body and hand positions and the pros and cons of each
Standing vs. Sitting
Breathing and why it's important
Additionally, you can find more information on climbing in the following posts:
Climbing – Positioning Yourself For Success
Climbing – Revisiting Position and Physiology
Climbing – Suffer In Silence (psychology of climbing)
Breathing Techniques – Part 1
Breathing Techniques – Part 2
As always, feel free to rate the Tailwind Coaching Podcast on iTunes, and look out for the second part of this climbing podcast coming soon!
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The spring classics are in full swing, with fans and riders deep in the throes of Holy Week. With Scheldeprijs being only a day away and Roubaix looming on Sunday, the cobbled classics are nearing a close, although no doubt we are in for some more spectacular performances. Up next will be the Ardennes Classics, with their steep bergs and tortuous descents. For many cyclists, it's the absolute best part of the season, if not for riding but for watching.
Watching these races inspires many but saddens some at the same time: "Why can't I climb like that" and "I don't know how he does that" are common phrases uttered while riders shatter the steep bergs and cobbled pitches of the classics. It takes a special kind of rider to be able to climb that stuff, right?
Nope. What if I told you everyone can train to be better on the moderate length, steep climbs. And for the duration of the classics, I'm GIVING AWAY a HIT workout that will help you do just that.
Simply copy the enter the code "classicsgift" between now and April 21st (Liege Bastogne Liege) during checkout to get your FREE "Berg Buster" HIT workout (available below).
Workout details: Paying homage to the medium length (1 mile in length or less) steep bergs of Belgium, this HIT workout is designed to train your body for the stresses of attacking moderate climbs. Grouped into blocks, the first block will focus on pushing hard gears through your most powerful muscles (glutes and hamstrings) and accelerating in the saddle using your quads, simulating surges in the peloton. The second block will force you to get comfortable accelerating out of the saddle to simulate covering attacks from the front. The third block puts it all together, teaching you how to be a berg busting ace!
Pain is an interesting, often elusive and sometimes debilitating creature. Almost always negative in connotation, it denotes a kind of suffering, either physical or mental, as a result of some assault upon our body or mind. As human beings, we associate pain with misery, with suffering, with disability and typically strive to avoid it wherever possible. However odd it may seem, athletes in general (and cyclists in particular) seem to live for the rush of agony that often accompanies competition.
But why? What is it about this universally negative condition that drives some of us to seek it out while the majority of the population tries to escape it?
What, really, is the nature of pain?
Continue reading “The Nature of Pain” »