MIND OVER MOUNTAIN
Climbing is almost as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. If you work yourself into a state before you’ve even started and then head into a climb with a sense of fear and loathing, well, then you’re already half beat. You have to learn to like climbing, or at the very least not hate it. Strange as it sounds, there are many riders out there who actually love riding up a hill just as much as they do flying down the other side. And t he only way you’re going to get to that point is by riding in the hills – a lot! Repetition is key. Getting to know them and accepting the fact that they’re going to hurt and then managing that is how you, literally, get over them. So don’t fear them, learn to switch off from the pain, hold back on your efforts and focus everything on keeping a steady and manageable pace, breathing rate, and rhythm. Enter a world of your own and play there at your own level. The more experienced you get, and the fitter you get, the easier this becomes. There is also pleasure to be found in the suffering when you’ve got it under control. Another tip is to use roadside landmarks to aim for in order to break your climb into smaller, more digestible chunks as you grind your way up. Although if you use those roadside kilometre markers in the Alps, don’t read what’s on them – realising what you’re facing and just how far you’ve still got to go can destroy your morale on a tough day!
Ignore what’s on the kilometre markers – it can sap your morale