Some tips for climbing

Mountain biking requires a different state of mind than static road cycling does
Some mountain bikers brag that they love to climb. They lie. Thats like saying you love to have the dental hygienist scrape plaque off your teeth with that sharp metal spike. Its necessary, and you willingly submit to it, but you dont love it.

On the other hand, there is an element in climbing that fosters, if not love, then at least addiction. Like a junkie, you crave the pain because there is a calmness at the center — a momentary respite from the distractions of the modern world. In climbing, we can reach deep into our subconscious and put our thoughts into a proper order. Or we can sing.

Of all the tips I could possibly give — and Ive heard enough to fill a book — the most important is to sing while you climb. Long, steady climbs require tunes with a slow, sensuous rhythm, such as the theme from Gilligans Island. Short, technical ascents are better conquered with syncopation, while getting up and down rollers and humps is best accompanied by a rousing Sousa march.

The second most important tip is to realize that climbing is as much about balance as it is fitness. You can run sub-three-hour marathons yet not be able to hang on a long climb simply because you dont know how to sit on a bike.

Too much weight on the front and your rear wheel slips. Too much on the back and you wheelie over backward. To get the proper balance, sit in the saddle and lean your chin toward your stem. The steeper the climb, the more you lean.

The last tip is to know when to stand and when to sit. Youre better off sitting as much as possible, because once you stand climbing becomes anaerobic, like weight lifting. Standing can give you an extra push over a technical section or while racing.

It also relieves pressure on Mr. Happy, thereby ensuring the propagation of the species.

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