As a cyclist, I’m a strong hill rider. Shouldn’t I use that to my advantage and try to beat everyone up the hills?


We’ve all seen that guy or gal muscle up a roller with lightening speed only to watch them reach the crest and soft-pedal, or worse, coast to the bottom.

Unless the goal of the session is a hill repeat and the point is to coast back to the bottom, this is the worst way to spend your effort, especially during a race. Repeatedly applying effort in this way will not only slow you down overall, but it will cause you to ‘burn’ your matches and tire before the end of the race.


Roll the Hills


There are two parts to rolling a hill, the technique piece and the actual application of effort.


Technique Don’ts


Hammer from the bottom of the hill in the hardest gear possible

Avoid using the small ring and muscle up every climb

Shift under heavy pressure

Get out of the aero position on every hill no matter the grade


Technique Do


Anticipate gearing changes needed in advance and prepare accordingly. Shifting under too much pressure is a reason for dropped chains.

As you begin to crest the climb shift into an easier gear and increase your cadence

As you roll down the other side shift into harder gears and maintain pressure on the pedals

Whether to stay in aero, sit, or stand on a climb depends on a variety of factors, but in general terms, 12 mph is about the breaking point


Effort Don’t

Go as hard as you can at the base of the hill

Try to keep pace with other rider’s hill climbing speed. Remember their strengths and execution strategy could be different


Effort Do

Depending on factors like your event length, type, and pacing strategy,  plan heart rate and power limits so you will know how to best pace the hills in terms of effort

Save something for the crest of the hill and the downhill. Both are great places to make up speed!