Matt Clinton’s top tips for hill-climbing success
1 Take what’s not needed off your bike. Bar tape is surprisingly heavy. Saddle packs, bottle cages — ditch them too. Hill-climbs are timed to the 100th of a second, so every gram counts. 2 Recce the climb before the race. Make sure you know what you’re letting yourself in for. Often, the guys who win on technical climbs are the ones who have ridden them lots before. Doing a recce will help you decide on what tyre pressure you need (to maintain traction) and what lines to take. 3 Pacing. The recce will help you with this. Hill-climb efforts are well above your threshold power, but you need to control it and not blast off at 1,000W. You want to be on the limit but without blowing until the end. 4 Tyre pressure and choice. Hillclimbs take place in autumn, when the combination of steep gradients and wet leaves can cause wheels to spin, so 19mm tyres, although lighter, aren’t a good idea. In my experience, it’s best to use a heavier, wider tyre. 5 Warm up well. Hill-climb efforts are extremely intense, so a good warmup of around 20 minutes is essential to get your best performance. It loosens you up for the race, gets your muscles nice and warm and gets you in the zone. Aim to finish the warm-up within 10 minutes of the start.