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Climbing like Kamna (or so I hope one day!)

Today, watching the Tour de France, I felt extremely inspired by the effort of BOTH Ricard Carapaz and Lennard Kamna who ultimately won the days stage (this was after his heart-breaking attempt on Stage 13).

Kamna - going beast mode. Dude is definitely my hero 🦸‍♂️ .

picture c/o

Their strength while climbing (this is AFTER 2 weeks of brutal racing already!) is amazing and while I doubt to ever get close to producing their watts/kg - or anything remotely near it - it doesn’t mean I can’t try. Which brings me to the point of this blog which is:

“How can you transform yourself to be the best climber possible for your level?”

As I understand it, climbing goes down to a few key things, namely:

  • Watts/kg

  • Influenced by weight which is a factor of eating

  • Influenced by training which balances both training and recovery

  • Influenced somewhat in part by genetics given V02 max capacity (your boy hit 75 this time last year…before the whole world turned upside down due to Covid + wildfires so now its 70).

  • Influenced by clothing + bike weight. This is last and for good reason. Most people think its the shoes / jersey / bike, etc. And while those things make a difference (coin the phrase ‘marginal gains’), they are not as strong as the reasons above in my opinion.

  • Psychology

  • Often not as sexy as training but just as important, you need to be able to push through pain thresholds and ask more of yourself despite every sinew of your body screaming in pain. Sound fun? ;-)

  • How can you train yourself to move past this? I once heard a rumor that Jens Voigt used to train in front of a brick wall so that in his head he felt he could pedal through it (and any other obstacle thereafter!).

  • Form

  • Again, not as sexy but for me, I climb best when I’m seated rather than standing and when my cadence is between 80-90rpms.

  • I also climb better on the hoods as opposed to on the tops (I can't even fathom riding like Pantani!)

WTFFFFFFFF! Climbing in THE SNOW, down in THE DROPS. In the immortal words of Coach Mark Jackson:

"Mama, there goes that man again!"

  • Breathing

  • We are going to cover this in a later post but I’m not a big ‘air gulper’ but rather try to achieve a ‘fat belly’ while breathing in a relaxed way. Short, shallow breaths cause a ‘fight or flight’ response which makes the effort that much harder. Again, we are going to cover breathing - especially nasal breathing - in a later post.

"When your legs scream stop and your lungs are bursting, that's when it starts. That's the hurt locker. Winners LOVE IT there." - Chris McCormack

Any other tips you all know about?


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