If you enjoy riding a bike, chances are you’re going to encounter a hilly route. Although challenging, some cyclists consider climbing fun. Others, however, dread it. Those long, steep pitches may seem intimidating, especially when you’re just starting out, but there are some steps you can take to boost your mountain bike climbing skills.
Here are 7 tips to improve your mountain bike climbing.
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Table of Contents
Ride more frequently
Mountain bike climbing isn’t easy. It is a combination of long distance bike rides and uphill climbing. Not only is it exhausting, it will also cause plenty of physical discomforts. The longer your ride is, the more your body is bound to hurt later on.
To make the climbs more enjoyable, you need to get comfortable on your bike. The only way to ensure this is ride the bike regularly. Add uphill sprints to your drills and do this once or twice a week. For best results, do this on a hilly route.
The more often you ride, the more comfortable you get on the bike. Also, don’t forget to check the tilt your saddle. You should be centered on your saddle. Otherwise, you’ll have to push or pull more on the handlebars, which will cause additional stress on your shoulders and upper back.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated
This is one of the most important things you should do before riding a bike. Unfortunately, not every cyclist realizes how important this step is. Tire pressure affects how the bike performs and grips the trails. It is important to adjust your tire pressure to the type of terrain you are riding.
Mountain bike climbing can be exhausting. You’ll need to exert a lot of effort in order to reach the top. Underinflated tires will push you to exert more effort in pedalling than usual. As a result, you’ll feel exhausted sooner. Your body can only produce so much before you run out of energy. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated.
Unlike road cyclists, mountain bikers usually have to deal with unpredictable features like mud, tree roots, and rocks. This is especially true when climbing hills. Although you want to be careful when climbing, a lower cadence puts more strain on your muscles and will make you feel tired more quickly. But that doesn’t mean that you should pump the pedal like crazy.
Smooth out that pedal stroke and ride with a proper cadence. When mountain bike climbing, it is best to shift to an easier gear and maintain a cadence of about 90 to 95.
You have probably noticed that most pro cyclists are skinny. This is because they burn a lot of calories. Also, having a slender body makes it easier for them to climb uphill.
In order to climb faster, you need to have a good weight-to-strength ratio. That means you need to be thin and strong. The heavier you are, the more power you need to overcome the additional weight. If you want to climb better and faster, you may want to keep track of your weight. Be as light as you can be. Remember, the lighter you are, the faster you will climb.
Most cyclists would stand up to pedal for a boost of speed. There is no harm in doing so, especially when you do it sparingly. While it does make you faster, it can seriously slow you down. Not only is it waste of energy, it puts extreme stress on your joints as well as your bike.
When you stand up to pedal a bicycle, you are throwing all your weight on the pedal. The added stress can increase the risk of breaking some parts of your bike such as the pedal, handle bar stem, handle bar, chain or crank.
Stay seated while pedalling, especially when climbing. This will help you cycle faster, farther, and more efficiently.
Our body is composed of 60% water. Water is essential to ensure optimum functioning of our vital organs. Fluid loss can negatively affect your ability to ride. Since cyclists sweat profusely during a bike ride, it is important to keep hydrated to perform optimally.
Drink lots of water in the hours leading up to your ride. To ensure optimal hydration, we highly recommend that you take a few sips of water or sports drink every 15 minutes from the start of your ride. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to get your next drink. If you do, then you run the risk of compromising your performance. Remember, thirst is a sign of moderate dehydration.
Pace your breathing
Proper breathing is important during mountain bike climbing since our muscles require energy to keep working properly.
Climbing uphill requires strength and effort. Often, you would notice most cyclist would grit their teeth and clench their fist. Unfortunately, this will only increase your heart rate. The key is to relax your body, focus your energy on your legs, and pace your breathing. Try to keep your breathing at a steady pace, especially when you’re pushing yourself during the climb. You need to eliminate every ounce of unnecessary tension from your body.