BETTER CLIMBING FOR THE ROAD
by Active.com
 
Climbing is an art form that requires more of a mindset from a rider than it does strength and leg power. If superior climbing was simply a power-to-weight ratio, then big men, like Miguel Indurain could not have made their marks on the infamous European ascents of the Grand Tours
 1.Lose the Mountain Bike Mentality
  Rough ground and uncertain traction require a mountain biker to ride much lower gears than a road rider to remain efficient. Mountain bikers need to remain slightly below, not right at, their anaerobic threshold because they must conserve energy and recover from intense maximum-output bursts of power needed to cope with technical sections of the climbs.
   
  The road rider has the benefit of a smooth surface and gradually changing gradients, so it is not necessary (nor wise) to exceed the anaerobic threshold. The road climber combines powerful, rhythmic breathing with an unyielding focus on power output at every degree of the crank revolution, so that pedaling pressure never exceeds (or drops below) the anaerobic threshold.
 
  Tip: The regulation of power is more important than a specific cadence RPM for a road climber.
   
 2.Good Pain/Bad Pain
  The key to climbing is the same one that time-trialists use on the flat-putting the maximum amount of pressure on the pedals, while remaining just below the anaerobic threshold. To simplify this: a burning feeling in your legs means you have exceeded your threshold and are accumulating lactic acid in your muscles This accumulation causes intense pain and acts to short-circuit the nerve impulses that tell your muscles to move-both of which will defeat you before the summit.
 
  Soreness and dull pain are normal effects of high-level efforts and are ignored by top climbers because the sweet spot, the place were a climber knows he or she is pedaling at peak performance, lies at the threshold between dull pain and the lactic-acid burn. Once you discover it, this place will be your new mental home on the bike.
 
 3.Mental and Emotional Preparation
  Arrive at the climb as fresh as you can. Stay relaxed as you begin ascending and work on establishing your breathing and pedaling synchronized into a smooth, relaxed cadence.
 
  Watch ProTour climbers in action and you will discover that most climb at about 70 to 85 rpm. Don't stress on a particular cadence, instead, pedal at the rpm that allows you to meter out power as smoothly and efficiently as possible throughout the pedal circle. 

Minimize your suffering by remaining seated as long as possible, and when you stand, relax your body and use your weight to turn the cranks so that the out-of-the-saddle interval is actually a resting period for your lungs and heart to catch up with your legs. 

Never attack a mountain, instead, let the climb come to you. The key is to add pressure slowly, know that suffering is inevitable, but it is best served in increasing increments. Pile on the pain one tablespoon at a time as the climb progresses. It will be a lot easier to overlook intense suffering when the summit is within sight-and the top of the mountain is where a maximum effort cannot defeat you. 

Tip: Remember that you must always climb alone-it is a dance between your will and your body's power threshold. Be prepared to let rival climbers go ahead. Most often, the early leaders are reeled in and crushed well before the summit. 

And do not doubt yourself if you leave riders with powerful reputations behind. You can only be sure of your own output on a given day, so don't waste precious concentration and energy second-guessing the fitness of others.
 
 4.Your Secret Weapon
  Twice a year; once as you ride in to your fitness in late spring and another time near your peak in mid-summer, climb a mountain or pass that is twice as long and hard as anything you will see throughout the year. One of the reasons that professional road racers can motor over mountain passes in big gears is that they are completely confident that they can top the climb and recover in time for the next ascent-they have all survived worse on many occasions. 

One way to achieve such confidence is to pick a couple of days each year to climb harder and higher-to push yourself so far beyond what you have led yourself to believe is your limit. The end result after your massive effort is that all lesser climbs will seem well within the realm of possibility, regardless of your perceived fitness or pain threshold on a given day. Absolutelyknowing that you can bust out a big climb is far more empowering than most cyclists would believe.
 
 5.Serve It Up
  Last but not least; if there is going to be suffering involved, it is always better to give than to receive. Keep the pressure on when you are climbing with a group and, often, superior athletes will crack. 

Always keep in mind that, regardless of the façade, everyone suffers on a climb-so find that place within yourself where you can block out everything and everyone around you, keep your effort steady and balance your power output on the edge of your pain threshold. 

Resist the urge to back off the pressure when your rivals relax and sit up. Why prolong the effort by taking a break? The sooner you can reach the summit, the less you will hurt.