Learning how to climb hills cycling

Cycling Hill Climbing Repeats To Get Stronger

If I want to climb mountains on my bicycle next year, I need to become a strong climber. My winter goal is to be able to do hill repeats on a 12% grade. Join me in setting goals to be a better cyclist, hiker, runner or whatever your interest is. We will get stronger together!

We all start somewhere. And in order to improve in whatever we are passionate about we have to set goals. Cycling can be difficult if you make it that way. Odds are you are not going to be hammering down long rides in a peloton smashing hills. Let’s be real: that may never be your goal.

Let’s talk climbing hills cycling for beginners. It doesn’t take much of an incline to feel it when you are just starting out cycling or getting back into from time away. Cyclists with a bit more experience have completely different goals to make climbing easier. EASIER, that’s a relative term because I don’t think climbing ever ever gets easy but what it can be is manageable. Here are some training tips for beginner cyclists and intermediate riders:

Beginner Cycling Up Hills Tips:

  • Go down to your lowest gear before you reach the hill. This will help you to not wear yourself out half way up the hill. (I hate the term “granny gears” because low gears are meant to be used and even the most experienced cyclists use those gears when a hill gets extremely difficult.)
  • Don’t forget to BREATHE. Try to maintain consistent in and out breathing. When it gets hard and your breath gets fast. Acknowledge it and try to steady the breath. In 1 – 2, Out 1 – 2. Once you can do that then go for In/Out 1 – 2 – 3.
  • Most importantly, Take your mind away from the hill. Maybe that is talking to a riding buddy or taking in the scenery around you. Do not become fixated on the hill. Alone: Sing a song.

Intermediate Cycling Up Hills Tips:

  • Downshift but not to the lowest gear. This will help you build strength over time.
  • Stay in the saddle as long as you can. Standing requires more energy.
  • Above all, don’t let your ego get you injured. There is a difference between that grit grinding it out pain and the body’s warning you may be overexerting and endangering your legs.
  • For steep ascents, use the zigzag method so you can maintain your pedal all the way up.
  • Try to maintain a slow consistent cadence
  • Also take your mind away. Find peace in the grinding climb.

So, let’s see these ideas in action. I’ve recently devoted two YouTube videos on my Denise Looking Out Channel to the subject of climbing. I wanted to share these stories because they can help you with setting goals in climbing and attacking and conquering hard hills. My YouTube channel is dedicated to all things adventure from bikepacking, cycling to hiking and backpacking. Subscribe to Denise Looking Out for more adventures and tips to get out there. Here are the two videos to check out:

Setting Climbing Goals

I’m at a point in my cycling that I want to get stronger and do bigger bike tours and bikepacking adventures but this will require that I get stronger so I can climb mountains. Take a look at a winter goal to be able to do climbing repeats on a steep grade.

Conquering a Big Climb

Watch and get inspired as I take on one of the hardest climbs in the Louisville, Kentucky area. See how I attack such a sustained incline and experience what it feels like to reach the top of Blunk Knob near Lanesville in Southern Indiana.

In conclusion, climbing hills cycling is difficult but if you work on it, you can get a great satisfaction in conquering climbs while cycling in your area.