Lastly, dig deep.

Training Talk: David Heatley On Riding Faster Up The Climbs

David Heatley of Cycling-Inform has penned this informative article on ways to improve your hill climbing. 

Make light work of steeper gradients with the wise advice offered here. Image: Nat Bromhead

This is obviously a critical aspect of the sport and an important skill to master given the undulating nature of the Bowral Classic course – particularly those challenging ‘bergs’ along the way. 


We are often asked the question, how can I ride faster up climbs?

Some may remember me talking about about preparing yourself for you to ride faster up climbs? Remembering there is not one Holy Grail thing that will make you a better climber. A lot of people think this – “That if I do this one thing, it’s going to make a big huge difference and I’ll be climbing hills faster”.

It’s not about that; it’s about integrating a whole lot of training techniques together to get your hill climbing happening for you so you can climb hills faster.

Setting your goals

Remember the steps that I talked about, you want to set yourself a goal – “I want to climb this hill faster on this climb, by this day and by this much faster”.

For example, a hill in Melbourne that is very popular; the 1 in 20.

Say you want to do the 1 in 20 in 17 minutes. Or you want to do it in 20 minutes, or you want to do it in 25 minutes. And – You want to do it in 5 weeks time.

The first thing you want to do is go out and do that climb. You want to figure out what are you doing it at the moment? Say you are doing it at 22 minutes. Then you set a new realistic target based on that time, with a time frame that you want to achieve it by.

Do you think you can take 2 minutes off it in 6 weeks? If you do then set the goal.

Lastly, dig deep.
Setting and re-assessing goals is an important aspect of improving hill climbing ability.

The important thing is to understand where you are at the moment and where you want to be in a certain time. The “where you want to be” is your goal.

You may find that your goal could be a little bit too aggressive for you. You may have a goal that is going to take 12 months to achieve. Like “I want to take 5 minutes off my climb for the 1 in 20”. So if this is the case you can still set another goal, say in 4 weeks times where you are climbing the hill a minute faster. Now that’s fairly achievable.

Build a program based on building aerobic base, strength then speed

A quick stop up the legendary Girona climb of Rocacorba. Image: Nat Bromhead

Then you want to put together a program based around building strength and working on an awesome base. Then you build speed on top of that so that at the end of the time frame you have you are climbing hills faster.

To do this, do some on the bike strength training, some low cadence work to build strength on the bike and some strength training off the bike. Then you want to rest and recover and get your body to adapt, and usually by week 5 you’ll be climbing hills faster.

For further details on high performance cycling training visit


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