Cadence 101: Tips for riding uphill, downhill and on flatland
- by amino VITAL
When it comes to cycling, Team Amino Vital athlete Derek Smith loves to switch it up and tackle any obstacle with reckless abandon! Here’s his feedback on what to keep in mind when you’re riding uphill, downhill and on flatland. Uphill No matter the size of the hill, how you execute gear shifts will make all the difference between getting to the next level and bonking out. It is an elementary task, but simple executions will help get over local hills, mountain passes, and even the Alps. Follow these tasks no matter what the circumstances. Do not take any hill for granted or it can be a humbling experience!
- Stay Calm - Don't overexert yourself during ANY part of the hill.
- Go two shifts below your flatland gear about 200 feet before the start of the hill -Build up your cadence without overexerting yourself.
- Find your cadence - Don't fight the hill, go with the hill---over time and practice, this will become clearer.
- Sync your breathing with your cadence - Your breathing and cadence is a rhythm. Find it and stick with it. You will find yourself getting stronger as you're ascending.
- Shift gears - This is based upon the hill and how you feel but shift gears as your ascending to find a comfortable cadence.
- Hammer on the bike - You should only do this for two reasons -- survival or improvement. Survival is your only option left to conquer the hill. You can always get off the bike and walk it up the hill as well. Improvement means hammering on your bike is the quickest way to enter your lactate threshold, which isn't a bad thing because this what you are trying to build for on race day. Keep chugging away but do it at your own risk!
- Training - Get into your big gear and hammer. That's it; just go for it builds muscle and confidence.
- Race Day - You can follow the training situation but I recommend you save your energy. Let gravity do the work and only pedal if you feel you are losing speed. There are very few moments in where you can recover during a race, and this is one of them. Take full advantage of it!