Sycling Snippets

by Bobby Nefdt

6. Climbing a Hill ‘Backwards’

Climbing a hill backwards’ is a term I heard many years ago and I remember thinking how appropriate it was. It is a method of climbing a longish, steady gradient hill in a large group slower than everyone else.

What I would generally try to do is to move close to the front of the group (not the very front) before ‘hitting’ the base of the climb. As the climb progresses and the riders get into a steady rhythm you start to ‘slide’ back in the group. Don’t slide to the back too soon, you should slide back gradually until you are close to the back of the group as you get to the top of the hill. Beware of surges over the top of the hill which could cause you to lose contact with the riders in the front of the group. Try not to allow yourself to get boxed in as you slide back by keeping either to the left or to the right of the group yet not allowing yourself to ‘hang out’ in the wind. Always keep yourself protected from the wind. The wind, if there is a wind, will dictate which side of the group you sit. Always look for the ‘wind shadow.’

If you are able to practise and perfect this technique you are actually climbing the hill slower than the other riders in the group and affectively using less energy. Bicycle racing is always about conserving energy, using less than those around you!