Tips for a Hilly Bike Ride
Learning tips for riding the hills better is particularly important for triathletes since they need to be as efficient as possible in the bike portion of the race, in order to save energy for the running portion. In this blog, we will give you a couple of tips for a hilly bike ride to get through safely and efficiently during training and on race day.
Equipment for a Riding the Hills
The bike itself is not the main concern here unless the bike course of your race is extremely hilly. In this case, a road bike would be more helpful than a triathlon bike. However, when talking about hills, your cassette and wheels are more important. Generally speaking, a cassette that has more teeth on the largest sprocket, will allow you to spin easier. Additionally, the type of wheels on your bike can be another element that can be helpful. It is better and to have wheels that are lighter and even if they are not the most aerodynamic ones.
Maintain Your Energy
Regardless of how long or steep a hill is, the key to conquer it is maintaining a steady amount of energy. Hammering parts of a hill, and then slowing down significantly, will only result in you spending a lot more energy. Instead of focusing on speed, you should try to maintain the same heart rate (or power, if you train with that) throughout your climb.
Watch Your Pedal Stroke
A simple way to be more efficient while riding the hills is by adjusting your revolutions per minute (rpm). A higher rpm, somewhere between 90 and 100, will help you save more energy. This might seem counterintuitive because you seem to be pedaling more, however, you are not wasting as much energy as you would with a slower and harder pedal stroke.
Focus on Your Form
You should also consider your position on the saddle. Seating further back, rather than forwards, can help you get more power from muscles like your glutes or hamstrings. Additionally, a more upright position can help you expand your lungs, making it easier to breathe. Something else to look out for is your heels. Make sure you are are not pedaling with your toes. Keep your foot flatter and drop your heel even more if you next extra push to get to the top of the hill.
Practice makes perfect, and that is also the case for riding hills. The more you practice these tips for riding the hills during your training, the easier they will be on race day.
It can be helpful for you to incorporate hill-specific intervals into your training plan. Ideally, you should be doing high repetitions for intervals no longer than 2 minutes, rather than fewer repetitions for longer periods of time. Doing this can be beneficial if you’re trying to improve your climbing endurance. Additionally, if you are used to using a trainer, it is a good idea to add some single-leg pedaling drills to gain strength, fix imbalances, and improve your pedal stroke.
You’re Ready to Ride The Hills!
These tips are simple enough, but make a world of difference when hitting the hills for a bike ride. Keep these tips in mind before you get out for your next ride:
- check your cassette
- maintain your energy
- adjust your bike pedal stroke
- be aware of your form
- practice regularly
With the help of these tips, you’ll be ready to conquer the hills on any ride!