The following post is the fourth in a monthly series from Steve Schulz. Steve serves as course director on Cycle Oregon. He is also the owner of STRADA, a fitness and adventure training center in Portland, Oregon. STRADA offers specialized training rides and programs designed to help riders get the most out of Cycle Oregon.
After working on efficiency in your training last month, you should have a much improved (or maybe just refined) pedal stroke and cadence. Now it’s time to build the rest of the house.
One of the most common challenges you hear from cyclists is climbing. Fortunately there is a great way to get better at this: go climb some hills! I’m not saying you need to go out and find the biggest hill in your area and ride it every day. What I’m saying is that it’s time to include hills and rollers in your training. If you’re riding four days a week, two or three of those days should include some hill climbing. Find a route in your area with some hills and go work on your climbing.
Only have one hill? Do hill repeats. Trust me: The more you work on this, the happier you’ll be at the top of Tollgate Pass on Day 7. And while you’re ascending hills, think about your gearing. Start finding the gears that work for you, keeping in mind that you should be trying for a climbing cadence of at least 60 rpm if possible. Keep your body relaxed, your chest high and open, and your stroke consistent.