5 Ways to Become a Better Climber

And do not doubt yourself if you leave riders with powerful reputations behind. You can only be sure of your own output on a given day, so don't waste precious concentration and energy second-guessing the fitness of others.

Your Secret Weapon

Twice a year; once as you ride in to your fitness in late spring and another time near your peak in mid-summer, climb a mountain or pass that is twice as long and hard as anything you will see throughout the year. One of the reasons that professional road racers can motor over mountain passes in big gears is that they are completely confident that they can top the climb and recover in time for the next ascent—they have all survived worse on many occasions.

One way to achieve such confidence is to pick a couple of days each year to climb harder and higher—to push yourself so far beyond what you have led yourself to believe is your limit. The end result after your massive effort is that all lesser climbs will seem well within the realm of possibility, regardless of your perceived fitness or pain threshold on a given day. Absolutely knowing that you can bust out a big climb is far more empowering than most cyclists would believe.

More: Get on Up: 5 Ways for Cyclists to Improve Their Climbing

Serve It Up

Last but not least; if there is going to be suffering involved, it is always better to give than to receive. Keep the pressure on when you are climbing with a group and, often, superior athletes will crack.

Always keep in mind that, regardless of the fa?ade, everyone suffers on a climb—so find that place within yourself where you can block out everything and everyone around you, keep your effort steady and balance your power output on the edge of your pain threshold.

Resist the urge to back off the pressure when your rivals relax and sit up. Why prolong the effort by taking a break? The sooner you can reach the summit, the less you will hurt.

More: 7 Hill Cycling Tips for Flatlanders

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Got a technical question? I'd love to give it a shot. Contact Richard Cunningham at: AskRC@roadbikeaction.com

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