For Instructors

Honestly, Hill work means work

You might get real fit. This is the outcome of riding hills the right way. Even if you are an instructor, the reality of a climb is that it sucks real good if done right. Strength or not, hill work is all about generating power, learning (key word is learning) to handle load while sustaining an effort that is challenging. Lots of riders (and instructors) are confused about proper hill work. For those of you who know me, you know my specialty on the road is time trialing and climbing. I am not super light for a climber (145 lbs) but I know how to technique and gear my way to the top at a quick clip. Seated v. Standing. What's more efficient? WTF? Depends on the individuals conditioning level, experience, body weight, rpm efficiency and length of hill. I always hear instructors say that seated is more efficient than standing. Uh, not always true. Sometimes if you are a grinder, you may go lower rpm and stay seated more. If you are a little whispy rider with ability to handle 80rpm for a bit, then f'n stand up! You need to stand if it gets real steep (road equivalent of maybe 12%+). RPM. 60-80 is recommended but not always ideal. Again, rider specific and terrain specific. It also depends on the length of the hill and what you are trying to accomplish. Are you attacking, surging, jumping on the hill, sprinting to finish the hill, etc.? I have seen my highest power outputs at around 80 rpm. Lance goes 90 rpm. Our current State Champion grinds along at about 74 rpm. Its all about power and efficiency. You need to practice hills. If you teach, give your students the freedom to climb seated or standing sometimes. Observe, make coaching comments and help them understand the beauty of hill work. I've often said if you have little time to train, hills are the answer. You can't hide, you have to get up and work against gravity. The faster you go up, the better for your body and performance. Gotta go now...my mountain bike and I have a date with a climb.
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