5 Quick checks before hilly rides

What you need to consider before setting off on a ride with plenty of climbs

Pick an easier gear as the gradients rise

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If your ride includes plenty of climbing then you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared for what lies ahead so you don’t find yourself high and dry. Here are five simple tips for getting the most out of your hilly routes.

1. Fuel

For a ride in excess of three hours ensure you’ve fuelled with a carbohydrate-rich meal, ideally two hours before. It is hard to keep the intensity down so you’ll be dipping into limited glycogen reserves from the off.

2. Mindset

Visualise your technique and get in the zone, running through how you expect to feel and what you’re trying to achieve.

3. Plan ahead

Split the climb into three sections and aim to ride the first well below your threshold power [your highest possible power sustained over 45-60mins] or heart rate, the second just below threshold and on the third section ride at threshold until you see the top, then open it up and see what you can do!

4. Change gear

If you hit a climb and immediately your power spikes above threshold then you’re probably over-geared. Don’t be concerned about losing face, easier gears are kinder on your legs and allow you to control effort far more effectively.

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5. Wear and tear

On average the temperature will drop one degree for every 100m climbed — so on a 1,000m mountain col that’s a 10-degree difference. Factor in that you will get damp from sweating on the way up so you’ll need extra layers for the descent.