Master Monster Climbs
Tackling lengthy Alpine-like climbs is one of cycling’s great tests of both mental and physical endurance, a test that can make or break you and your morale. How do you go from romping over the shorter ramps at home to conquering these giants of the road?
Learn how to tackle one of cycling’s great mental and physical challenges, the long mountain pass.
There’s an all too often indefinable line of threshold pain and suffering that lies between cracking a long climb and it cracking you, be that mentally, physically, or both. There is also no definitive line between a climb being considered a power climb or an endurance climb, even if many have a stab at the stat chart. Basically anything over a minute in length enters the no-mans land of power balanced with endurance. Rack that up some, though, and then add some more and you start to reach climbs of 30 minutes upwards, which are the kind of separation steps that we see in the Grand Tours. These are what we usually consider as endurance climbs – yet many of these climbs are 2-3 hours long for regular riders, taking them to a whole new level of endurance. There’s a huge difference in the demands and qualifications it takes to master these great climbs when compared to shorter power climbs, and those that wander the slopes in between the categories. These epic challenges are often seen as the realm of those skinny, pint-sized climbers, and of course these riders do have a huge potential power-to-weight advantage over many. Yet alongside (or not too far behind them at least) you often see riders of a more rounded and substantial stature managing perfectly well. After all, we have to use what we’ve been given in basic physical terms, and then improve our bodies, minds, equipment and approaches to make the best of them. Adopt that attitude and there’s a huge amount of room for any rider to improve their endurance climbing. So, if you’re determined to up your longhaul climbing game here’s some essential advice that will literally help you to rise above…
With the right approach, tackling mountain passes might even be enjoyable