Watch ProTour climbers in action and you will discover that most climb at about 70 to 85 rpm. Don't stress on a particular cadence, instead, pedal at the rpm that allows you to meter out power as smoothly and efficiently as possible throughout the pedal circle.
Minimize your suffering by remaining seated as long as possible, and when you stand, relax your body and use your weight to turn the cranks so that the out-of-the-saddle interval is actually a resting period for your lungs and heart to catch up with your legs.
Never attack a mountain, instead, let the climb come to you. The key is to add pressure slowly, know that suffering is inevitable, but it is best served in increasing increments. Pile on the pain one tablespoon at a time as the climb progresses. It will be a lot easier to overlook intense suffering when the summit is within sight—and the top of the mountain is where a maximum effort cannot defeat you.
Tip: Remember that you must always climb alone—it is a dance between your will and your body's power threshold. Be prepared to let rival climbers go ahead. Most often, the early leaders are reeled in and crushed well before the summit.
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.
4. 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.
5. 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 façade, 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.