Spin® Life Blog

Jumps on a Hill

Jumps on a Hill

Posted by Spinning® on Apr 18th 2018

Michelle Colvin, International Spinning® Master Instructor (UK) Jumps on a Hill mimics three “real road” riding techniques:
  • To work your way around a hairpin or switchback curve up a mountain road.
  • To burst or breakaway up a short, steep hill.
  • To push yourself over the crest of a hill.
For long climbs, it’s usually best to stay seated to conserve energy. When you pedal out of the saddle, you use up to 10-12% more energy than when seated. There will be times when you want or need to stand, however, is it important that you always return to the saddle quickly to conserve energy.Typical examples are:
  • To stretch your back
  • To give your sitz bones a break
  • To increase your cadence on a long climb
  • To burst up a short, steep hill
  • To work your way around a hairpin or switchback curve up a mountain road
  • To push yourself over the crest of a hill
Climbing in the saddle requires less energy, less oxygen and is done at lower heart rate intensities.Jumps on a HillThere will be times, however, when you need to stand:
  • When the grade of the hill increases
  • When certain muscles fatigue from climbing in the saddle
  • If the climb is short
  • If an increase in power is needed to crest the hill or drop a fellow rider
Here is the proper technique when coming out of the saddle:Stand on the down stroke to minimize the loss of momentum and shift to a larger gear prior to standing.
  • Keep your body weight over the cranks to maximize power through the pedal stroke.
  • Keep the shoulders and the torso open to allow for maximum breathing capacity.
  • Bouncing on the pedals is not advisable but there will be shifting from side to side as each leg powers the pedals during the down stroke.
When seated or standing while climbing uphill:
  • Breathing depth and rate will increase.
  • Work on maintaining a rhythm with the focus on forced expiration and relax on the inspiration.
There’s three phases to every hill:Entrance to the hill: Feel the pressure on the soles of your feet and shift down through the gears as this pressure increases in an effort to maintain a steady, constant pressure to the pedals.Why? You’re maintaining a constant cadence at the start of the climb and you’re now pushing harder on the pedals, so you’ll feel this increased pressure on the soles of your feet. More importantly, you have begun to increase your power output.The initial power spike is 98%, which is far higher than you should be riding. Therefore, it is important that you pay attention to your feet and shift down through the gears as you feel this pressure (“power spike”) increase.Your goal is keep a constant pressure on the soles of your feet by shifting through the gears as you transition from the flat to the entrance of the hill.Body of the hill: Settle in and expect your heart rate to rise to your target heart rate.If you have avoided the spike at the entrance, you should stay at or below your target heart rate.Crest of the hill: Listen to your feet. Maintain a constant pressure on the soles of your feet while quickly accelerating through the gears to your top speed to push over the top of the hill.You may also need to stand if the gradient of the climb increases at the top.What is a “Switchback”?
  • A bend in a road with a very acute inner angle
  • Built when a road climbs up or down a steep slope
  • Travel can cross the slope with moderate steepness
  • Zigzag pattern
  • Repeating hairpin turns allow for easier, safer ascents and descents
  • In bicycle racing, climbs up mountain roads with many switchbacks are considered the most difficult, and are often featured in the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Tour de Suisse and the Vuelta a España
  • Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps is famous for its 21 hairpin bends
  • Italy’s Stelvio Pass with its 48 Spitzkehren is one of the most famous Eastern Alpine Mountain passes
What is a “Breakaway”?Front rider(s) attacks and changes position when initiating a breakaway.If a team member is currently in a breakaway in front of the peloton (i.e. group of cyclists), it is advantageous for the remaining members to slow the peloton as much as possible in an attempt to avoid catching the breakaway rider(s). This can be particularly effective in tight turns or narrow roads, where a single team can block the progress of the pack if they’re in a favourable position.A similar situation occurs at the end of the race when teams will cluster in front of their sprinter, blocking the wind as long as possible while still leaving an open path in front for the sprinter to “break out” towards the finish line.What is “Powering up over the crest of a climb”?One thing you can do when climbing uphill is to accelerate over the crest of the hill.Inexperienced riders start to slow down when they cross the top of this hill, this is a mistake and they lose significant amounts of time by doing this.How do you accelerate when cresting a hill?Hold the position until after you crest over the hill and you will get back all the energy you used on the down slope for free, as you start down the other side.This way you haven’t wasted any energy but you’ve used energy wisely. As you ride up the hill, you work very hard, and as soon as you crest the hill and begin riding down, riding will become much easier.On a Spinner®bike, after you crest the hill, the resistance will become easier, but the resistance level will still be high until you reach closer to the bottom of the hill. This can be performed as finishing a hill or taking you to the next hill.“Jumps on a Hill” form reminders:
  • Smooth transitions between seated and standing movements
  • Head aligned with the spine
  • Shoulders down and relaxed
  • Flexion in the elbows
  • Secure hold on the handlebars, safely alternating between handpositions 2, 2.5 and 3, while leaving and returning to the saddle
  • Pelvis over the center of the bike when out of the saddle
  • Stable hips
  • Sitting bones on the widest part of the saddle when in the saddle.
  • Degree in bend of hips varies according to position (decreasedflexion out of the saddle and increased flexion while in the saddle)
  • Knees symmetrically tracking with the cranks and flywheel
  • Ball of the foot over the pedal spindle
  • Heels aligned and tracking symmetrically
  • Cadence 60-80 RPM