Years ago, on our 2nd trip to France, we were introduced to the LONG and STEEP … 10 miles, 8% grades … climbs of the Pyrenees. The Pyrenees form the mountainous border of France and Spain and encompass the land of the Basque, famous for the skilled cycling climbers and Euskatel-Euskadi.

Long an advocate of rising early and riding fast to beat the “Colorado mountain weather”, I’d mellowed after several weeks of touring in a country with 2 hour lunches. On that particular tour, we slowed to laissez-faire days, lived the Tour de France for two days and learned how to get re-started on a 17% grade. And we received an invaluable coaching tid-bit.

This vital principle was shared by Chris Georgas (Le Monastere, Limoux). Chris has coached British Juniors, the 2004 New Zealand Women’s Olympic cyclists and a squad of local racers. The secret put it in your easiest gear and ride as SLOW as you can” serves us well. We’ve shared it with friends and It has helped their climbing confidence.

NO, you will not win a race with this tip. And you may not even be the first to the top in your group.  But after adopting this technique, you probably won’t be the last to the top either.

  • You may learn you can ride more severe inclines that you thought you could. 
  • You may develop a better sense of exactly what you can handle in terms of gradient and distance on those long tough climbs. 
  • You may be able to “save some in the tank” and pour it on at the end of a climb.
  • You may be able to climb in a reasonable heart-rate zone without entering the red zone.
  • You may develop track-stand skills.
  • You may eliminate any fears of being able to climb steep gradients.

And, you will increase your confidence. That just may lead to being the meilleur grimpeur and the polka-dot jersey holder after all.

Tail winds and thanks for reading!  
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