Guidelines for Minnesotan Elevation

Below you will find a compendium of all my knowledge regarding ascending. Climbs have always proven to be a challenge for me, being of a larger body varietal – but even if you find yourself in the same situation do not fret. The 10 tips and truths below have brought me from the back of the group to hanging with the front. By no means is this the end all be all, listen and pay attention to the Gentlemen of the pack. They’ll set you in the right direction – Up.

1. Fear of pain is worse than pain itself. Informing yourself that this is going to hurt does nothing for your overall comfort.

2. If it’s short, it’s a sprint. There is no sitting in, there is no recovery.

3. It’s all short. See here.

4. Rules 2 & 3 apply to training situations. Otherwise, keep a little back. Hearing the front derailleur move that chain up into the big ring just before the top is one of more more gut-wrenching sounds to be experienced. Be on the correct end of that exchange.

5. Work smart if you are racing. Get to the front and ride your own pace. Staying with the group doesn’t mean turning the screws on every climb.

6. Start in the drops, move to the tops. (Thanks Joe Christian)

7. Breathe. If the discomfort proves too much, focus on the breath. A few controlled breaths will do a lot.

8. Stay on top of the gear until it proves too much. Shifting down before you need it will lose you precious momentum.

9. “Skinny guys don’t win races – Fast guys win races.” – Hurl.

10. Above all, climbing is a controlled disintegration of the ability to keep your bicycle moving forward. The longer you can stave this off and even accelerate it for your competitors, the better.

1 comment
  1. Henry Stroud said:

    I got into cycling because of the climbs. There is something about going up that, in my mind, cannot be beat. Riding in Minnesota has taught me a lot about riding hard in the flats and sprinting, and I agree, no climbs here are worthy of too much complaint (see 3.). In CA where I grew up, you pretty much get 100 ft of climbing every mile…it’s pretty epic. We only use the flats for recovery!

    For perspective, here is a route we ride a lot:

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