“Hills. We love them. We hate them. They make us strong. They make us weak. Today I choose to embrace the hills.”A very wise person
Now you’re suitably inspired, delve into our top tips below to get you ready for Etape Caledonia 2023.
1. Pace Don’t Race
With riders all around you it’s easy to let the adrenaline kick in and start these mountains too hard. At the bottom of the climbs throttle back and take a moment to remind yourself how long it’s going to take, use subjective feelings a heart rate monitor or a power metre to pace yourself. If you do things right you’ll be passing a lot of riders as they fade towards the top.
2. Sit Down
Why? It’s the most efficient way to the top, sitting back in the saddle will recruit your glutes giving the large muscles at the back of your thighs more leverage to pedal. Standing up or riding out of the saddle is more powerful but will use vital glycogen stores faster. That said some riders, think Alberto Contador, are simply more comfortable climbing out of the saddle so if you’re a bit more experienced and you don’t feel like you can get all of your power out in the saddle then do what feels comfortable. When you’re out of the saddle change up to a bigger gear because you’ll want a lower cadence then change back into an easier gear when you sit down.
3. Nutrition and Hydration
Practice this, it’s not easy whilst you’re climbing. The effort is high, your breathing and heart rate soar and the concentration of actually getting up the mountain can make you simply forget to take on calories and fluids so compensate for this on the flat sections.
It’s a waste of energy to grip the bars too tightly. Don’t tense your upper body, relax your shoulders, keep your back straight, shoulders down with your hands resting on the bar tops, this will open up your diaphragm and make more space for your lungs to expand and improve your aerobic efficiency.
P.S. Don’t forget the more you climb the closer the decent is
Feeling inspired? Book your Etape Caledonia ticket now and take on this epic and mighty closed road sportive.