I'm still wondering what the best technique for climbing is. I would consider myself a fairly strong climber, but I still have no idea what the optimum technique is for getting up the hills. I suspect that the technique varies quite a bit depending on the terrain, but I would love to hear from what works best as well as what is allegedly best for climbing.
Here's what I do in my experience:
FIREROADS - I actually climb best on these by getting out of saddle and riding the high gear - it's not uncommon for me to ride in my middle ring, middle gear on a 3000' climb, out of the saddle the entire way. I can definitely get much more power by having my body weight down on the pedal as well as handlebar pulldown with the arms that I could get seated. It's true, it's more tiring, but I think that if you can hold it, this will be the fastest. On fireroads, where there's no real technical stuff to slow me down, I generally ride out of saddle. On the other hand, I'm not sure if riding out of saddle really improves my biking form much. I feel that the quad burn is greater when seated, and I'm contemplating staying seated at the cost of going slower to strengthen my quads.
TECHNICAL UPHILLS, STEEP - These are singletracks steep enough mandate use of your littlegest gear regardless of power, and may have narrow sections to navigate through. The sheer brute force of out of saddle climbing doesn't seem to work here, and often times, the hills are so steep that I can't get enough rear traction while out of saddle. I adopt a "turtle" approach in which I put my chest as low as possible to the bike, and pull with my hands. I haven't seem too many other folks doing this thing, but it seems to work for me. I also tend to do the "chicken bob" as well for more power, even when I'm not tired.
When I see most other riders around me, I notice that most of them keep a level position, with no bob, and no turtling. It looks like a nice position to adopt, however, I haven't seen enough strong riders to judge whether such a "pretty" position actually works for power climbs. Should I try and adopt this "clean" technique at the cost of speed , for a overall long run improvement in technique?
Anybody with any tips/advice/comments?