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Sudden change in riding style on climbs.

MartAsturMartAstur Posts: 122
edited October 2013 in Road beginners
Since taking up cycling about this time last year I have always climbed with my hands on the hoods and my weight shifted back slightly in the saddle. Now correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that is the text book way to do it, so that's why I did it. However, 2 months ago I suddenly found myself going down on the drops whenever I was going up climbs at a fair pace. My question is; should I try and go back to the hoods because there are good reasons for doing so or should I just stick with what's comfortable for me? To be honest I find it is much more comfortable on my back when down on the drops and I'm climbing a lot quicker (not sure whether that's because of my position or simply because I'm actually what you would almost call fit now).
Any thoughts would be appreciated.

M

Posts

  • pantani-attack1.jpg

    Crazy plan ;)
  • MartAsturMartAstur Posts: 122
    Haha, Love it. Words could not have said half as much.
    I must admit I probably look a little less like a cycling God as the great man himself when he did it.
  • diamonddogdiamonddog Posts: 3,368
    If it feels right do it. :)
  • thegibdogthegibdog Posts: 2,106
    Probably an increase in core strength has enabled you to be comfortable in a lower position. Given that you say you're climbing quicker then it doesn't sound like you're restricting your breathing so no reason to change what you're doing.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Climbing on the drops is the most powerful riding position as it engages more muscles, particularly the core - however it is harder to maintain for long period but will improve with training adaptation. It's worthwhile learning to develop all styles of climbing then being able to switch depending on the terrain and conditions and how quickly you want to get to the top. FWIW Pantani's bike frame geometry was adapted to suit his preferred style of riding - the headtube was a bit longer than the regular size model.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • BobScarleBobScarle Posts: 282
    As with a lot of things in cycling, there is no right or wrong way. Climbing on the drops, hoods or tops is a personal thing. I tend to use the hoods as I find I can breath easier, but that's just me. Sitting up opens the chest and means that I can gulp down lots of air.

    Use whichever method you feel is most comfortable.
  • Personally I've tended to use the tops, as that lets me sit more upright, but I've noticed a lot of other riders stay on the hoods.
  • Personally I've tended to use the tops, as that lets me sit more upright, but I've noticed a lot of other riders stay on the hoods.

    Same for me, I tend to stay sat with hands on tops
  • MartAsturMartAstur Posts: 122
    Thanks for the input. I feel much less conscious about it now.
    I climbed an HC climb today and probably spent about 3/4 of the time on the drops. I have no problem breathing when on the drops but usually sit up once in a while just to stretch the back a little as I don't think it's a great idea to stay fixed in one position for too long. I took it easy today as I was tired but next time I push hard up a climb it will be interesting to see if my breathing is any easier sitting up. Here's a link to todays ride: http://app.strava.com/activities/90836334
    Thanks again

    M
  • ianspeareianspeare Posts: 110
    The pirate is probably fully engaged in battle in that pic. I tend to stay on the tops or hoods depending on the length/gradient. Sometimes to an extreme whet I'm in sit up & beg mode. That works for me, so do whatever works for you
  • racingcondorracingcondor Posts: 1,434
    Depends a lot on the climb (and how your bike is set up). 3-4% I'm probably on the drops, 20% I'm definiely on the hoods.

    Between those two it will depend but as the gradient gets steeper I'll tend to get on the hoods more but there are times when I attack a climb hard and stay on the drops even on steep climbs.
  • MartAstur wrote:
    Thanks for the input. I feel much less conscious about it now.
    I climbed an HC climb today and probably spent about 3/4 of the time on the drops. I have no problem breathing when on the drops but usually sit up once in a while just to stretch the back a little as I don't think it's a great idea to stay fixed in one position for too long. I took it easy today as I was tired but next time I push hard up a climb it will be interesting to see if my breathing is any easier sitting up. Here's a link to todays ride: http://app.strava.com/activities/90836334
    Thanks again

    M

    If you're doing HC climbs then I don't think you need this forums advice ;)
  • MartAsturMartAstur Posts: 122
    If you're doing HC climbs then I don't think you need this forums advice ;)

    Haha, well I see your point but I really do see myself as a beginner still as I've only been riding for a year. Where I live is so hilly it's difficult to do a ride with less than 400m of climbing and that's just going round the block. I've ridden over 100000m of climbs this year and 3 HC climbs but I still feel I have a lot to learn. HC climbs really aren't that big a deal (well those that don't go over 10%), although they probably seem like it if you live somewhere flat. I'm dead slow but I just plod up them and I'm sure I could improve my technique. The fact that I prefer the drops was worrying me a bit as I never see anyone else doing it (look at all the riders behind Pantani in the photo). The advice I have received on the forum has stopped me worrying about it so I'm glad I posted it :)
    M
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