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Climbing out of the saddle

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Climbing out of the saddle

Old 04-27-11, 07:19 PM
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FujiKid
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Climbing out of the saddle

Ok, so today I started climbing out of the saddle as opposed to climbing in the saddle and holding onto the hoods..

I've never felt better while doing my climbs this way..
I get so much more power, my heartrate increases WAY more and I can get up the hills much quicker..

The thing is I don't know if I'm shifting right..

When I'm approaching a hill, I shift down and my cadence increases and then I get out of the saddle and pedal as hard as I can for a few seconds, then shift up again, and again.. until I get to the top of the hill.. and then I shift back down again once at the top and then I sit down if it's a flat.

So, am I doing it right? Is there anything else I should know about proper technique when climbing out of the saddle?


Thanks!
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Old 04-27-11, 07:23 PM
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Sounds fine to me. I usually just go up the hill in the gear I'm in until my cadence slows, then shift up one or two and out of saddle the rest of the way. Play around a bit, shifting up 1, 2, 3, not at all. Whatever works best for you is right for you.

I would suggest not climbing out of saddle on a very hilly ride though, it can tire your legs out pretty quickly. Shifting down and spinning saves a lot of energy.
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Old 04-27-11, 08:18 PM
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I climb out of the saddle a fair amount but I'm usually going up climbs at least 5 miles long. I'll drop 2 gears before I stand and then go at it. Today my HR was actually dropping when I stood which is not the norm. Did 30 miles with a 9 mile climb in the middle and was able to stand and pedal further than normal for some reason. Freezing cold though and I was under-dressed.
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Old 04-27-11, 09:44 PM
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When climbing, I shift up (into a harder gear) when I stand. I'll shift up one gear, sometimes two, on extended climbs, then shift back down when sitting again.
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Old 04-27-11, 09:53 PM
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I usually stay in the gear I'm in as well and stay IN the saddle until my momentum slows going up the hill, and THEN i come out of the saddle and I'm usually able to maintain my momentum, and I will shift up a gear or two when i'm out of the saddle.
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Old 04-27-11, 11:00 PM
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Sounds reasonable. I tend to shift into a harder gear or two when I stand (and move up the cassette a rung or two should I then sit while climbing).
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Old 04-27-11, 11:52 PM
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I don't know what the terminology is. "Shifting up" or "Upshifting" means going to a harder gear. i.e. less pedal RPMs for a given wheel speed. "Shifting down" or "Down shifting" means the opposite.

Shifting to turn the crank slower is going to a smaller cog on the rear, or going to a larger ring on the front. That is "upshifting" or "shifting up". Going to a faster, less resistant gear, smaller ring up front or larger cog in the rear is "downshifting", or "shifting down."

Think of driving a car, going to higher or lower engine RPMs.
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Old 04-28-11, 12:52 AM
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Do what every cyclist does already, act like a pro as much as possible. Pros climb out of the saddle. So will you.

But seriously, practice it a lot, hopefully on really steep hills where seated pedaling is impossible. Eventually you will be able to climb all day out of the saddle if required.
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Old 04-28-11, 08:20 AM
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If it's a short climb or I need a break from sitting I'll climb out of the saddle. On a long climb I usually sit most of the time. If I was 110 lbs. I would probably approach this differently, but I'm not.

From one recreational rider to another, don't worry what the pro's do, do what feels best for the situation you're in. If you feel like standing, stand. If you feel like sitting, sit. It's easy as that.
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Old 04-28-11, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jbholcom View Post
If it's a short climb or I need a break from sitting I'll climb out of the saddle. On a long climb I usually sit most of the time. If I was 110 lbs. I would probably approach this differently, but I'm not.

From one recreational rider to another, don't worry what the pro's do, do what feels best for the situation you're in. If you feel like standing, stand. If you feel like sitting, sit. It's easy as that.
I was thinking as a read these posts about being "out of the saddle for 4 or 5 miles" or "not shifting before I get out of the saddle" I'll bet these guys aren't riding with the 250lbs I'm pulling out of the saddle. When I stand I shift up two or three gears and I move up pretty quickly which is a good thing because I can't hold my oversized butt up that long
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Old 04-28-11, 08:53 AM
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I usually stay in the saddle and crank it out until I absolutely can't, then I hop out. If I stay out the whole time I feel like im working harder
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Old 04-28-11, 08:56 AM
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I have no intention of every being the cyclist who is looking to be the first one in on a ride nor break any speed records. I just love riding and really enjoy the longer rides. I'm kinda happy in the back of the room.

However, I was told that climbing out of your saddle is something you rarely to never do unless you are a competitive cyclist. BUT I am planning for a century in September and there is a good four mile climb. Am I reading correctly that for those really long climbs this is a technique you would employ to help get through them?
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Old 04-28-11, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ladyraestewart View Post
I have no intention of every being the cyclist who is looking to be the first one in on a ride nor break any speed records. I just love riding and really enjoy the longer rides. I'm kinda happy in the back of the room.

However, I was told that climbing out of your saddle is something you rarely to never do unless you are a competitive cyclist. BUT I am planning for a century in September and there is a good four mile climb. Am I reading correctly that for those really long climbs this is a technique you would employ to help get through them?
Climbing out of the saddle is energy efficient and you will fatigue quickly.

Stay in the saddle, hands relaxed on the bars, relax the upper body, bend the elbows, try to maintain normal high-ish cadence.
If it gets steep, I may hold further out at the hoods for leverage.
Really steep momentary sections, the steep inner corner of hairpins, I'll come out of the saddle, but minimize this time.
Once the summit is in sight, few hundred feet off, come out of the saddle and burn all you got left! unless you have more mountains and like 80 more miles in your century to ride, then continue to pace yourself ;-)
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Old 04-28-11, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ladyraestewart View Post
I was told that climbing out of your saddle is something you rarely to never do unless you are a competitive cyclist.
Who told you that?
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Old 04-28-11, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by icyclist View Post
Who told you that?

Was just about to ask the same thing.. heh.
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Old 04-28-11, 02:00 PM
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It's depends how you climb out of the saddle. You can climb out of the saddle in an anaerobic effort making an acceleration, but you can also climb out of the saddle to rest. On a long steep climb, I often get out of the saddle to rest. I don't concentrate on mashing the pedals hard, I relax my upper body and let my weight do all the work. Doing in that way is a great way to stretch and will save you energy in a lot of cases.
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Old 04-28-11, 02:06 PM
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I rarely stand for more than a minute or so. For a four mile climb, I'd probably be seated for 3.8 of them, standing on switchbacks or to stretch my back if needed.
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Old 04-28-11, 06:27 PM
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Isn't their some type of app available that'll tell me when to stand [or wipe my a$$]? It seems foolish to have to figure it out myself.
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Old 04-29-11, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Agave View Post
Isn't their some type of app available that'll tell me when to stand [or wipe my a$$]?
There is an app for that but it makes your phone stink.
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Old 04-29-11, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Agave View Post
.... [or wipe my a$$]?....
You can say "ass".
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Old 04-29-11, 11:12 AM
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Being someone who has been riding SS MTB for a while it's the only way I can really climb and feel comfortable. Sitting and climbing is very unnatural for me as I am sure it is for other, it also stops you from changing gears so damn much.
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Old 04-29-11, 01:44 PM
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Your body type has a lot to do with the 'efficiency' of climbing out of the saddle. As a rule of thumb, sitting and spinning in a lower gear with your hands on the tops/hoods is more efficient for gradual/long uphills. If you want to pass/stretch/use a different set of muscles/very steep section or are on the lighter side, coming OTS can actually be more efficient.

Personally, I sit and spin until it gets too steep or my pace slows significantly, shift up one or two gears and come OTS for as long as I can before I sit back down. I'm ~150lbs though so ymmv.
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