Climbing Can By Easy (and fun!)

By Shelley Marenka | 08/02/11


Shelley Marenka owns Get On Your MARK Cycling Adventures in Murphys, CA Her Website is: Get On Your She specializes in training beginner and intermediate cyclists and offers coaching, CycleFit Training Camps, and On Line Training programs. She is also available for safety skills and group riding techniques for cycling clubs. She can be reached at (209) 890-6244, (530) 864-7891 or Email: To read more articles and training tips go to

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Climbing Can Be Easy (and fun!)

Hill climbing is perhaps the most challenging overall skill to master for cyclists. Why? In my opinion it's because most cyclists simply avoid the hills like the plague instead of learning to tackle them. Many of my friends and clients tell me that they really don't like climbing hills and mountains because they are too slow or afraid they'll keep everyone else waiting for them, or it hurts their knees or, or, or…

There was a time when I had my own set of excuses not to like climbing, but what I found was, IF I kept working on my climbing and descending skills, AND continued to ride up those hills that I would soon improve, and increase my speed and power to climb easier. You too can improve your confidence and skills and actually begin to enjoy riding those long, intimidating climbs. Here are a few tips to help you tackle that next challenge with a bit more ease.... Give them a try and see for yourself if you aren't just a little bit better than Joe, next time.... Good luck and happy climbing!

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. This is certainly an appropriate mantra when you are practicing hill repeats or working on getting to the top of that long mountain climb. So, here are a few things you can do to improve your climbing skills.

Begin by incorporating Climbing Repeats into your weekly workouts twice per week. These exercises will work on improving your sustained climbing power. Find a climb that's about 10 minutes long.

  • Beginners should do two 6-8 minute intervals with an intensity of 7-8 on a scale of 10. Conversation will be limited at best when doing these intervals.
  • Intermediate riders can try three 8-10 minute intervals and advanced riders can do three 12-15 minute intervals.
  • RBI (rest between intervals) can be 10-15 minutes of easy spinning before you begin again.
  • Cadence should be high- i.e. a hill 10% grade or less, keep cadence between 75-85 rpms's; anything over 10% will be more in the range of 50-60 rpms's

You will also want to consider fine tuning your shifting, gearing, cadence, pedal stroke, and body position for most efficient climbing technique. A little coaching goes a long way when it comes to climbing efficiently and having some fun on those mountains!

Ride On, Ride Safe, Ride Strong and let me know how it goes!

Carpe Diem,
Coach Shelley



Shelley Marenka owns Get On Your Mark CycleFit Biking Adventures
Coaching, Cycling Camps & Tours, Group Clinics, and 
Wine Bike Tours 
(209) 890-6244 or (530) 864-7891

To find out more about her services visit:
For current articles and training tips visit her blog at:

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