After logging on to Strava, and seeing a mate, Mark Zanker, had just uploaded a HUGE ride, I asked him what he did the ride for. ‘Just because’ was his answer! What a perfect response. Mark and his brother Brian rode 335 kilometres from Port Augusta to Adelaide together on one massive day, and this is Mark’s story from the day.
Words and images by Mark Zanker
Riding hard and long (ha, phrasing…) requires a lot of fitness, and mental toughness. It’s not really a surprise to say this, and having a deficit in either category will leave you short of your goal. Yes there are definitely other factors that play a part in determining the success or failure of a rider achieving their lofty goals, but of all points, these are the 2 most important.
So it begs the question, which is more important? I’ve been chatting a lot with my mate James Raison a lot about this lately, and we have some different conclusions, which ultimately are born from our different abilities and situations in life. But this is my website, so sucked in James, I get to write the article…
Words and images by Dave Edwards.
There is a certain magic to climbing a hill on a bike. When you reach the peak of a hard climb, despite your legs screaming in pain, your lungs bursting, and the struggle of what you went through to get to the top, all that is remembered is the satisfaction of making it. Let’s face it, climbing can be bloody hard, but there are things you can do to make climbing easier. Here are some tips that we’ve discovered along the way to help make you a better climber.
Words and images by Brendan Edwards So Brendan is damn fast on a hill, click to read on about what he has to say on the topic
“It doesn’t matter if you’re sprinting for an Olympic gold medal, a town sign, a trailhead, or the rest stop with the homemade brownies. If you never confront pain, you’re missing the essence of the sport” – Scott Martin
Suffering is bandied about a lot in cycling. It is a badge of honour that riders will wear when they are seen to be able to accommodate higher loads of it. Some people seem to be able to take pain like they are eating an apple in a deck chair, whilst others put their hand up and say ‘enough’ at the slightest difficulty.
Hill choice is usually analysed in infinite detail when it comes to planning an Everesting. What is the perfect gradient? What about those of us that choose a really steep hill to roll on? Today James is exploring this option…
Everesting is a great equaliser of climbs. Pick a hill with a low gradient, and you’re in for a long day. Pick a steep hill, and your day will be shorter. It will also be substantially more painful. I’ve Everested a high gradient hill and been a sherpa for multiple others. If you’re thinking of tackling the madness of a high-gradient Everesting, you need to be prepared for the challenges.
Riding with a fixed gear on the road gives you a feeling like no other. You feel intimately connected with the terrain you are riding on. Without the use of gears or a freewheel, you must adapt yourself to the terrain, so steep means grinding, descending is spinning, and flats are about rolling through everything.
I love riding fixed on the road, I feel it makes me a better rider. Each ride involves something different, it is always challenging, physically and mentally, and the intimate connection with the terrain needs to be felt to be understood.
I ride 60-120 kilometres weekly on my fixie, and try to ride on hilly terrain as much as I can. Riding a fixed gear bike is something you get way more credit for than you deserve – people think its harder than it is. It really takes no time to pick it up, you just have to remember to pedal. All of the time. Never stop pedaling. Ever. Naturally at some point you do forget, and you get a VERY sharp reminder of your mistake, as the crank tries to drive your leg up into your hip.
For track cyclists, gearing choice can make the difference between winning and losing. For rolling on hilly roads no matter what gear you have, it’ll be the wrong one. Get the right gear for a climb, and riding down the other side will suck-diggety-suck-suck as you need to spin like a sewing machine to keep up. The same if you choose the right gear for descending, you’ll be popping veins in your neck with the strain to climb.
I ride with a 42×18 gearing – fairly standard. It’s a good choice for rolling around on flats. But take that into the hills, and everything changes. Ride up a moderate hill of 5-8% average, and you will spend most of your time standing up, dancing on the pedals with a low cadence. You get used to that pretty quickly, even a climb of 5 kilometers isn’t too difficult if the gradient is fairly consistent.
To read the rest of the article, published on La Velocita, click here.
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