I live in Florida, so maybe I should say Incline Tactics. Four(ish) months ago I picked up cycling again after a 20 plus year absence. I am fat, and "round" is not the kind of shape I should be in. There are 2 routes I ride around my house, 12 mile round trip with 91 feet of climbing, and 5 miles with 81 feet of climbing; not staggering heights, but a good workout for most out of shape people. I want to ride farther, faster, higher cadence, and for a longer time and those 4 goals can not be accomplished at the same time. I finally realized that riding the hills would be a better workout to eventually accomplish all my goals. At first, 1 trip around was more than I wanted and had me huffing and puffing. Now it's the third trip around that makes me want to walk home. I'm pretty sure if I could make 50 miles in these hills, I could ride anywhere in Florida without worry.
There are 4 uphill stretches in the route, 1 so short it hardly counts, 2 about 1/4 mile long, and 1 about a mile long. I have the 1/4 mile long ones figured out, keep an eye on the cadence, downshift as needed to stay above 60 rpm and sprint them out (I am a masher, but trying to reform). The long hills are killing me, though, it's 3/4 mile slight incline, then 1/4 mile at twice the grade. I run out of gears, or cadence, or oomph before I run out of hill. What is your preferred hill tactic? Is it just a matter of building stamina until I can sprint the whole way, or is there magic involved?