I have an awesome bike. I absolutely love it. My husband has put much time, effort, and MONEY into making it beautiful, aerodynamic, and efficient. I am very thankful for him, and it. It is a very fast bike and I have no complaints.However, we realized a couple weeks ago after I had to shift all the way to my easiest gear and stand up in a race with 5% grade hills that we needed to do something before Syracuse 70.3! I believe the Syracuse course has a few 18% grade hills. Yikes! My bike is not necessarily designed to climb. It’s designed to be fast. SO, we are now making efforts to turn my bike into a climbing machine! Here’s what we’re doing…
1) Eliminate all unnecessary weight.
Now, the bike is already pretty light, and I carry very little on it, but we realized there were a few things we could still do. The hardest section of the Syracuse bike course is the first 15 miles. After that, it’s a lot of flats, downhills, and a few short uphills. So, I’m only bringing enough water with me to get me through the first 15 miles. After I crest that last hill, I’ll grab water from the aid stations, and re-fill my “reservoir” bottle. This will help keep me lighter when I’m climbing the most.
Next, we are taking off all unnecessary components of the bike as well. My trusty tennis ball-turned tool holder is being replaced for a tiny bag that fits underneath my seat. It’s a tad lighter, and hopefully more aerodynamic.
I have a rack of two water-bottle holders on the back of my seat as well. I won’t be needing those for the race, so we are taking them off. They are carbon and weigh very little, but still….extra unnecessary ounces.
2) Upgrade my crank to a “compact” crank.
Sadly, this means I’m going to live without my power meter crank for the race, but the compact crank has smaller teeth, thus making it easier to pedal, specifically when climbing up hills. Hopefully, this will help save my legs so that I can push hard on the flats and downhills.
3) Upgrade my cassette to a larger ring.
I’ve also purchased a new cassette. It hasn’t come yet, but should be here Monday. It’s a larger cassette, so it has more gears. This should allow me to shift into easier gears for the uphills, but still have a couple stronger gears for powering through the downhills and flats.
What do you think? Good plan? Unfortunately, since I live in Ohio, I don’t have much experience riding on hilly courses, so I’m trying to do everything I can to keep my legs from getting destroyed in the first 15 miles!!
Do you ride on hills for your training?
Is your bike more conducive for riding on hills, or flats?