8 Hill Climbing Tips for Beginner Cyclists

Prepare

Before the road rises, take a swig from your bottle, consciously relax your body, and maybe even slow down. When you start out tense, you'll feel worse on the way up. If it's hot, unzip your jersey a bit.

More: 9 Cycling Tips for Better Hill Climbing

Downshift

Get into an easier gear that lets you turn the pedals quickly without pushing hard. Once the chain is under a lot of tension, it becomes more difficult for it to move between cogs.

Conserve Energy

Keep your breathing deep and steady. If it's hard to push down on the pedals, concentrate on pulling up. Resist the urge to gun it early. If you feel good as you approach the top, that's the time to push.

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Play Mind Games

Climbing is as much mental as it is physical. Experiment with distractions. Focus on a tree or a sign up ahead and watch the distance shrink. Sing. Tell a joke. Smile. Try to forget you're climbing.

More: 11 Climbing Tips for Cyclists

Move Around

Alternate sitting and standing to use all your muscle groups. If you run through all your gears and can no longer spin easily, move your hands to the hoods and push against them for leverage as you pedal.

Get Excited

As you near the top, take a minute to breathe, look around at the scenery, and prepare for your reward--the descent. If you're really spent, put your feet down and take a rest. And, hey, why not Instagram the view?

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It's Okay to. . .

1. Go at your own pace. Other riders may be waiting at the top, but that's not your problem.

2. Get off and walk. Everyone has done it. When remounting, make sure your bike is in an easy gear, check for traffic, then angle your bike across the road.

3. Zig-zag. If the hill is really steep, tack across the road as much as is safe. You'll slightly level the hill, though you will add distance.

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The Stance

Start seated. Keep your back straight and shoulders down so your lungs can expand and take in plenty of oxygen. Relax your arms, with your elbows slightly bent, hands resting comfortably on the bar tops several inches away from the stem. Try to avoid wasting energy with a death grip on the bar. To get more power from your glutes, lower your upper body toward the top tube. If you stand, position your butt over the saddle with your weight centered over the bottom bracket.

More: 11 Challenging Rides for Climbers

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