It’s the start of the hill climb season, but, in the past few weeks, my main efforts at climbing have involved walking up two flights of stairs to a New York apartment. I’ve had a bad hip for several weeks. It’s one of those mild injuries you think must sort itself out in the morning, but has proved stubbornly persistent. In New York, I saw someone who massaged and gently stretched legs. It created a few reassuring clicks – the physical therapist thought some hip joint was slightly out of alignment. We will shall see if it is the solution.
Time is running out to get back on the bike. I was looking forward to the hill climb season – but without any training, I’m looking forward to the prospect a lot less. I suppose, you can do hill climbs on no training, but it is hard to have the same enthusiasm. On the positive side, I’ve been relatively injury free since 2010 – I’ve had a good run for the past six years riding in 76 opens since the start of 2010. If I had to be injured – there are worse years than 2016.
At this time of the year, I get the odd email from hill climbers asking for advice. A few articles cover most things:
Hill climb articles
- Hill climb intervals
- How to enter hill climbs
- Chris Boardman on hill climbs
- Cycling uphill techniques
- Hill climb warmup
- Pacing hill climbs
- Marginal gains hill climb bike
- Secrets of hill climbs
- Even more on hill climbs
- UK national hill climb championships
Question on multiple events
Question: This year I’m entering as many hill climbs as I can, which means on one weekend I’ve got a race on Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. I’ve raced Bec and Catford on the same day for the last couple of years, as well as some local events. These are a bit longer though, around 4 mins each. Do you think that hill climbers are able to put out the same wattage and performance multiple times over a couple of days?
In my own experience, you do start to see a decline in wattage – even for 2 minute events. It depends how much recovery time you get. If I did a 100% effort in training and then repeated 10 minutes later – I might see a 20% fall in power. If there was a recovery of 2-3 hours, it might be more like 2-5%. But, that is a guess. I often do two events in a day and have done 3-4 events in a weekend. It is definitely possible.
It was interesting watching the Olympics and how the team pursuiters could knock out faster times in the final than in the semi-final a few hours earlier. They don’t just train to be fast once a day, but also to be able to repeat the effort a few hours later.
Do you have any tips on how to keep the legs ticking over or specific recovery steps to take between or right after events?
Not really. Some spinning on rollers after event to help warm down. Protein recovery. Stay warm and avoid standing up. Maintain energy levels, but don’t eat too much solid food (one bad experience at an event where I thought gap was three hours, but it turned out to be two hours!)