The best way to get better at climbing is to ride up grades, and not upgrades, according to Eddy Merckx. He probably knows a thing or two about bikes. Not all of us live near huge mountain passes though, we live where hills are slightly modest and don’t provide us the opportunity for long endurance miles.
Our climbs might be short and repetitive, but they are not enough for us to be able to unleash our inner climber. We would ideally need to be a sprinter that doesn’t fear pain to get over these climbs. We refer to these climbs as power climbs. You don’t need to be a mountain goat with a super lean physique, and you just need a lot of explosive power.
One of the most important aspects of power climbing doesn’t have to do with your climbing ability during a race. It has to do with you making sure you can position yourself well in a bunch. On a long Alpine climb, you can work your way slowly through people and groups on a climb.
With a power climb, it will all be over before you realized that it has happened. So you need to be able to read the race and work out where to best position yourself out of the wind but still be able to sail away unhindered up the climb.
If you pick the wrong wheel to follow your day will be over before it has even begun, learn to read how other riders are performing.
Get out of the saddle
You won't need to use your seated usual style of climbing position for power climbing. You’ll want to be getting up out of the saddle and effectively sprinting for the summit. You’ll be using your whole body to propel your bike uphill.
Your upper body and core will be getting a good workout. That is why you need to more than just ride your bike for fitness. With a lack of strength in your core, your legs will have nothing to work against to help them push you up the slope.
Cadence and pedal rhythm
You’ll need to practice riding short and sharp climbs if you want to find a good cadence and rhythm to make climbing easier. Without a good rhythm, you’ll end up pedaling squares during out of saddle efforts, and you’ll have wasted your power by going nowhere.
Don’t waste your effort, practice, and learn how best to control your effort. Find what cadence works for you best, and you’ll find you have a good rhythm. There is a good key to unlock this skill.
Pick your gearing
As you’ll be sure by now, you need to train on these climbs. As you train to try and find gearing that works for certain slopes and conditions. From here, you’ll have a good baseline from which to work with to improve your performance. Once you’ve narrowed your gear choices down you’ll find races less stressful as you’ll know what gear you need to be in at the start of every climb, you won't end up spinning out or grinding slowly up.