How To Climb Like A Tour de France Pro | GCN’s Climbing Pro Tips
Dancing on the pedals floating up the climbs as if they weren’t even there. The pros in the Tour de France make it look easy. Personally, when I see a big climb coming up I dread it. I start to cramp up and slow down before I’ve even hit the climb, so how do they do it? Well, I’m going to give you some tips and advice on how to climb like Quintana and munch up those climbs like Froome.
First, let’s head over to the GCN app for a poll. Do you think a good climbing is down to who you are or can you train to be the best climber? Head over to the GCN app and vote. Which brings me on to my first point, you simply might not be built like a climber. These riders are the thoroughbreds of the world of racing. They have worked for months and years to hone their climbing skills. Not only that, they are actually at an unsustainable weight for the duration of the race. They are being managed by professional nutritionists to ensure that they can compete until the end of the race. After that, they will then maintain a healthy diet again. My point being, if you can’t climb Ventoux as fast as Froome, don’t beat yourself up about it. Pace yourself.
This goes without saying really but it’s as important before the climb as it is during the duration of the effort. If the climb is a way off, don’t burn out all your candles on the way towards it. You’ll need to save your efforts for when the climb gets really steep. Once you’re at the bottom of the climb don’t get too excited and set off too fast. You could do the first half of the climb really really fast and then bonk for the rest of the way up which is, well, never nice. If you know your sustainable power output then climbing to numbers is the way to go. If you don’t ride with power then listen to your body and ease off just that tiny bit so you get to the top with a little bit left in the tank.
Eating and being properly hydrated on the ride is super important. If it’s really hot then you’re going to sweat a lot, so you’re going to want to top up your salt levels before the ride. Little and often is the way to go with nutrition on the bike. Don’t have a massive lunch at the base of the climb because it’s not going to be very nice, trust me. Keep it light and during the climb maybe have a cereal bar or a gel on the lesser gradients of the climb. Ultimately to climb faster you need more power. You can do this by adding structured training plans into your day-to-day riding.
Riding to increase your max power will also help your climbing but you also need to work on your aerobic capacity too. The thing about climbing is that you need to keep that power transfer consistent. You don’t want to be sprinting and then slowing down. We’ve got loads of videos on the channel on lots of different types of riding so make sure to check those out. The better you know the climb the faster you’ll be able to ride it. If this is your first time riding the Madone, for example, you’ll turn every corner wondering what’s coming next when there’s a big spike in gradient or a long grind. This can play havoc on your mind and spirits. Do your research, read up on the climb.
The best thing you can do is keep riding it. You’ll soon learn the pits and the troughs and the smooth bits of tarmac and the fastest line around each corner and you’ll be able to pace yourself off previous efforts. Just keep riding. If you’re out riding with mates then be savvy. Save some energy by sheltering behind them on the approach to the climb but they may not like that. There’s a lot less benefit to drafting on the climbs at lower speed. Psychologically there is a massive benefit to climbing with someone especially someone of the same fitness as you or even fitter. You can spur each other on, on the really hard sections of the climb, and sit on their wheel when you need it the most, cycling camaraderie at its finest. Best of all, enjoy the descent.
The pros certainly do. You will need to save a little bit of energy for the descent because you will need to focus and concentrate on the descent. Don’t leave it all at the top of the climb. Unless you left your car at the top of the climb, then that’s okay. Thanks for joining me on this one. I hope you enjoyed my advice on how to climb like a Tour de France Pro. If you did enjoy this video please give it a big thumbs up and if you have any advice on climbing that I’ve missed, please leave them in the Comments section below so we can share them with each other.