If you’re training for a sportive then there’s a very good chance that you’ll encounter a few killer climbs along the way, such is the good nature of event organisers to want to really test the mental and physical reserve of those that sign on the dotted line.
With good preparation, hills should not be something to be feared but respected and embraced. Knowing the difference between what an eight or 15 per cent gradient feels like will prepare you in advance and give you the confidence to know you’re capable of conquering it.
Despite the length and frequency of the hills on your route – they may be short power climbs that you can practice punching your way over out of the saddle, or longer ascents that are good for refining your technique and efficiency in the saddle – it’s important to find a pace that you can sustain to the top.
It’s easy to start out by thrashing your way up the first one only to feel like gravity has doubled by half way. Consistency and sensible pacing in the hills is what counts as does suitable gearing to ensure you can keep the legs turning in circles no matter what the gradient.
Be prepared to average a lower speed and reduce the overall distance of your route accordingly to take this into account. And remember, what goes up must (eventually) come down so use this time to relax, recover and prepare for your next ascent.