We have had a few threads on "the right bike", "the right gears" and "the right technique" for good climbing, I'd like to change the subject to "the right mindset" which IMHO is the real secret.
I do a lot of climbing, on average about 4000'/week when in the peak of training season. Some weeks over 10K.
What I have noticed is that after you have the basic bike,gears,fitness, and technique to make it up a long climb it just still isn't a good climb unless you have the right thoughts in your head. I have not found that right mental attitude consistently. It seems to help when I am riding with other riders and holding my own or passing but the moment I drop down into that lowest of gears and falling back my mind will go into survival mode - just get over the top and forget about all else.
Early in the season, when building I use that mental game of - "if I can make to that mail box up there", then the next one and the next one until I am over the top. That's just grinding and grunting to the top but it does help you get started. Later in the season it's more about how much momentum I can sustain and I haven't found a good mental game for that. In a race there is that personal race plan, speeds and cadence at certain points in the race, but races are situational and sometimes you need to catch that other rider. Catching someone on a long climb takes the same mental concentration as a down wind sail boat race in light wind, focusing on every move and every incremental gain or loss.
What mental techniques do people use to gain the upper hand on a long climb (notice I did not say - just get over the sucker)? .