Hi everyone My name is Patrick and I am rather new to this website and blogging in general, however, I am not new to cycling. Having raced xc mountain bikes in Canada and hill climbs at the elite division for over ten years, I have gathered a lot of valuable information that I hope will come in handy to any interested. I work for a fitness company as their technical cycling consultant and attend training camps all across North America. I specialize in fitting and the pedal stroke in relation to weight distribution. (not necessarily in that order, haha) I read Newton's article on improving your hill climbing and what he wrote is well researched and pretty much spot on. (good work Newton!) However, this is the basics of hill climbing and much more can be said about the topic as we will see below. here is the first in a series of articles on advanced hill climbing. (NOTE: many of the tips are designed for advanced cyclists and should not be attempted by novice riders. All tips are used at your own risk.) Bike set-up Effective hill climbing uses the arms as much as the legs. It is said that a good hill climb training session should leave your arms as tired as your legs! This means you should constantly be pulling on your bars. Not tugging on the bar but maintaining a constant pull on the bar. You will see this creates a better, smother pedal stroke as well. People who "tug" either have poor technique or suffer from fatigue. Usually when i see this in a competitor, i think "attack!" because his pedal stroke has begun to break down. It is no longer circular and he is either using only hamstrings (rarely the case) or only quads (almost always the case). You may notice in between "tugs" the bike slows down a bit. This is reducing momentum, a BIG no-no in cycling and especially hill climbing. The most optimal position to pull is to ride the "T-Bar". this is the part of the bar before it bends. placing your hand on either side of the stem before the bar makes its first bend. Unfortunately for hill climbers, road bikes are set-up to be ridden in the hoods (hands on the top of the levers) so I recommend extending your stem by 10 to 20 millimeters, depending on the reach of your bar. What this does is stretch you out a bit on your bike and allow you to produce more power from your arms, glutes and core which translates to more power (watts) generated by your legs. The second trick i like to do is go one size up on my bar. If i normally ride a 42cm bar, i use a 44cm. The reasoning is simple, it opens my lungs and also increases my leverage when out of the saddle. Depending on grade of the hill, many of you might want to run a compact geared crank on a 12-25 or 11-27 cassette cluster. Only pros use 11-23 on a standard cranks and even that is for single day races. The seat should be level but I do know some pros who have a tendency to move forward on the seat so they tilt it back a few degrees to compensate. I would suggest getting proper technique down instead of tilting the seat back. Those looking to build a light bike should opt for a smaller size sloping frame and use a longer stem and layback seatpost. the bike will be marginally lighter but definitely stiffer out of the saddle. Because of extreme power generated climbing, some pros open the rear brake before climbing and then close it at the summit before going downhill. They use the cam lever normally used to open the brake when removing a wheel. (this is a lever on the brake on shimano and a pin on the brake lever on campy) This allows the wheel to flex within the rear triangle without having the rim rub against the brake pad. A minor detail but if you are racing up Mt. Fuji for over an hour, every bit helps. Making the bike lighter for hill climb races: there are a lot of tricks but here are a few to get you started without spending crazy money. A. eliminate the rear brake. Most breaking control and power comes from the front brake and the reduced speeds of an uphill do not warrant a rear brake (IMPORTANT: check with race organizers for brake requirements) B. use 18 x 700 tires (triathlon) instead of 23 x 700. smaller casing so lighter but less comfort. You can afford to lose comfort because of reduced speeds and time. (make sure to find 18 x 700c tubes. preferably the lightest ones available with the shortest valve that fits on your wheels) C. find an old seat and remove all the padding. Ride the bare plastic. (this only works well with riders under 65 kilos due to comfort issues) D. get rid of bottle cages and water bottles for races under 1 hour. Most coaches agree drinking has little effect in hard efforts sustained under 1 hour. You should already be well hydrated coming into the race and plan to re-hydrate directly after the race. This should be enough to get you started. Stay tuned for my next blog where we will discuss advanced pedaling technique for climbing. Isolating the upper body.