Today I had a good friend come up and ask for my advice.
The question went something like this, “I want to be a better climber! Do I just need to climb more?”
The simple answer is….yes!
Being a better climber has many aspects to it:
- strength to weight ratio, the physical side
- attitude towards hills (believing you ARE a climber)
These are a few things that can make or break your ability to get better, however I feel the top 2 are attitude and visualization.
If you tell yourself this is going to suck, then guess what? It’s going to suck. If you can’t see yourself dancing on those pedals, or if you tell yourself, “I’m not a climber”, then…
We can all work on technique. Counting pedal strokes on one leg, while the other leg hangs out resting is a great one. Many of you have heard me extol the virtues of “sharing the load” alternately pedaling with 80-90% effort on one leg and then the other. Another technique is to pull all the way through and around during the pedal stroke. Spread your toes out in your shoe, relax the shoulders away from your ears. Place your hands lightly on the tops of the bars, chest up, chin up, eyes UP! Enjoy the climb, and SEE yourself floating up the hills.
We will be climbing one of the favorites in the area (Old La Honda) this weekend and next. Between now and then this is my challenge to you….
Practice the visualization part by going to YouTube and pulling up any video from the climbing stages of the Tour De France or Giro d’Italia and really watch the riders climb. Mimic them in your minds eye when you are climbing, how they sit, how they stand, ALL of it. I do this all the time.
Embrace the hill! Climbing hills is not easy, but make it look that way in your mind. Look up the road where you want to be and not down at your feet, or your front wheel, where you already are.
We all need to PRACTICE the things we want to get better at, not just the things we are already good at.
To be a better climber you must climb.
With this said, I look forward to floating up the hills with all of you the next couple of weekends.
Karl with a “K”
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
― Henry David Thoreau