How to climb a mountain route
The mountains of Bogotá and its surroundings, besides being beautiful and attractive, are the best ports for amateur and professional cyclists. Many of us enjoy the weekend climbing the well-known routes through La Calera 'Patios'; by Márquez del Once way, on the way to Choachí passing through Guadalupe Hill; to the “Alto del Vino” (El Vino peak), on the way to La Vega and “Alto de Mondoñedo” (Mondoñedo peak), on the way to La Mesa. These are, among many others, the most recommended for you to enjoy cycling, a true passion.
Therefore, today we want to share with you some tips so you can face these routes more easily. First, check the route which will inform you about the most demanding points and the most difficult slopes, allowing you to design a strategy and prepare yourself psychologically to tour it.
After setting your mindset, get your gear ready and check your bike. Those of us who have climbed a mountain on a bike are aware that the body will endure pain and that the physical demand is very high. Those who climb for the first time should know that the mind is the best ally during the route.
You should also be aware that this effort you are going to make is painful, slow and demanding, and that your best strategy is to breathe deeply and find your own rhythm.
Even if you see the cyclist Nairo Quintana climbing the great mountain peaks of the world, standing on the pedals and moving the bike to the rhythm of his cadence, the, you have to realize that you are not close to the condition of a world-class cyclist. Your physical, technical and gear conditions are lesser. But, don’t be discouraged! you can reach that mountain peak and feel that wonderful satisfaction when you look to the horizon from the top, and realize you got there on two wheels.
After getting everything ready, now we go on to the route. As you are mentally prepared for this effort and don’t have the idea of climbing at full speed, then start doing it at a calm pace, while your body is conditioning. Sit on the bike keeping the weight back, griping the handlebar on top, opening the chest and throwing the shoulders back, allowing you to breathe more easily. As the climb gets hareder, the body leans forward, keeping the back and elbows down.
As you climb the mountain adjust your gear ratio, maintaining a low effort and a good cadence, to accomplish this there is no exact manual, it depends on the mountain slope, the bicycle and your physical condition, that's why the base principle on which you must change gear ratio, is maintaining a good rhythm of pedaling without feeling that you are making and exaggerated effort. Very likely you would have to resort to your lowest ratio, small dish-large pinion gear.
Take the curves from the outside, the trajectory is longer and you will have to pedal more, but you will avoid the greatest unevenness of the route. In the most inclined parts you can use the technique of standing on the pedals, using all your body weight to take the next pedaling. Rest your hands on the brakes, move your body rhythmically with the pedaling, keep your back straight and your chest open to allow a good breath. You must realize that it will be the moment where you will make a greater physical effort, so it is advisable to use this technique, without abusing, in the final stages of the climb.
It is essential to keep hydrated throughout the journey, eat what is necessary to replenish the energy you are consuming and, above all, keep calm, you are not in a competition, learn to enjoy the route with the capabilities you have. Remember that with good training and perseverance you will be able to climb faster and better. Now, go enjoy your journey and don’t forget when you are on the top to look towards the horizon and feel that enormous satisfaction of having conquered the mountain.