Find a Club

MCF member clubs welcome new members of all levels. Here are just a few.
Coulee Region Youth Cycling
Contact:  Larry Martin
Website:  www.teamborah.com
 
Gopher Wheelmen
Contact:  Matthew Sterling
Website:  gopherwheelmen.org
 
Minnesota Cycling Team
Contact:  Kevin Lennon
Website:  www.mncyclingteam.org
 

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Climbing basics

This is the first in a series of articles on climbing.  We can't make you love hills, but we can give you tools to tackle them.

Climbing is a power-to-weight activity. World-class climbers generally have less than 2 pounds of body weight per inch of height. (For example, if you're 70 inches tall (5-foot- 10), you would weigh less than 140 pounds.) Since achieving this weight is difficult for most of us, here are a few tips for hill climbing. If hills intimidate you, or are your weak link, take it easy. Go 5-10% easier than you think you can as you get into the climb. Conserve. You can always pick it up later.

Stay Seated As Much As Possible

Although you develop more power while standing (you are taking advantage of all your upper body weight pushing down on the pedals), you also use 10 to 12% more energy as your pelvis isn't in contact with the saddle which means more work for your core and back muscles as you pull up on the un-weighted pedal. The net effect is more energy used (less efficient) to climb standing versus to climb seated.

On short climbs, the length of a football field or less, it makes little difference. But on longer climbs, stay in the saddle and spin at 80 - 85 RPM. This is particularly important if you are heavier as standing puts just that much more weight on your leg muscles, while sitting uses the seat to help take the extra upper body weight off your legs. Staying in the saddle will:

·     Burn less energy - heart rate is approximately 8% lower for any set speed

·     Use your bigger gluteal (butt) and hip muscles to your advantage

Here is a drill for seated climbing. Find a climb that's moderately steep and takes about 30 seconds to crest. Hit it hard at the bottom in a fairly large gear. Beware of letting your cadence slow by the top. Use a gear that lets you pedal at 90 rpm or more all the way up. Start with two or three reps and increase as your strength improves.



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