Cycling: 8 Ways to Become a Better Climber

Climbing. Some love it, some hate it. More often than not a rider’s attitude towards climbing correlates with their bodyweight. The bottom line is that climbing is generally dictated by watts per kilo. Simply put: to climb faster, you need to put out more power, or weigh less. Or both.

There are a myriad of strategies that can be enacted with coaches, physiologists and nutritionists until you’re light and strong enough to leave all your mates behind. But bike races are not raced in a lab.

It’s a curious observation that those who test well in the lab often get smashed by their less-impressive counterparts in real-life racing. Sometimes it’s attitude, sometimes its technique, sometimes it’s pacing. But whatever is letting you down, here are a few tips to help you improve.

Source: 8 ways to become a better climber

Being at the front is a tip I’ve gotten for group rides too.  The rationale is that stronger climbers will pass you, but hopefully you won’t fall to the very back – so you’ll still crest the hill with the majority of the group.

Being in or out of the saddle, all that matters is that you are comfortable.  I was given a “tip” once that if everyone else is out of the saddle – you should be too.  I disregarded the tip, and have since found the following video:

The science says there’s no difference (same as the article), even if the standing test was done so the guy wasn’t standing the entire time.  What really dictates getting out of the saddle is how steep the climb is – you need to get out of the saddle to keep the weight distribution between the front and rear wheel.  Too much in the back, the front lifts and you could end up on the ground.  Too much in the front, and you loose traction in the rear – spin out.  Spinning out isn’t that much of an issue on pavement/asphalt, but when the terrain is loose (gravel, dirt, mud) – it’s a lot more likely, and a lot more obvious.

Listening to the breathing of the people around you is very much a thing.  In a group ride, it’s a courtesy to the person you’re paired with so you know if you should back off the pace.  But as the article points out – in a competitive setting, use that to your advantage.  Which leads into the next point…

As with any competition, knowing your opponent is key.  Know when your opponent is “riding the rivet” so you can push them beyond the breaking point.  I’ve had the experience where people misread me, because I am an unorthodox cyclist – I push big gears, low cadence.  I get a lot of sneers, and it takes a few rides before that goes away.

Childhood Abuse Victims Don’t Always Grow Up to be Abusers

It’s a widely held belief that people who were abused as children are more likely to grow up to abuse their own children, but a new study in Science suggests a more complex picture. Different kinds of abuse and neglect have different patterns of intergenerational transmission, and there’s reason to think that certain families are scrutinized more than others, leading to biased reporting.

The widespread belief in intergenerational transmission is not completely unfounded. A number of studies have found evidence that abuse victims are more likely to abuse, but the overall picture is mixed: many other studies have found no such link. Understanding what causes child abuse is obviously vital to finding solutions, so it’s an essential question for researchers to resolve.

Source: Childhood abuse victims don’t always grow up to be abusers

Every once in a while, there’s a discussion about what women look for in guys.  One of the criteria is relationship with family – that being active with family can be a value some find attractive.  This thoroughly irritates me.  While I’m glad these people have never had to survive an abusive household, the belief is incredibly naive and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what relationships are or how they work.  The expression/slang I encountered recently – Disney girl – sums things up rather succinctly.  Cultural beliefs reinforced by media…  There are lots of stories about actresses who did not want to play the loving, supporting mother because it wasn’t always true.  And with the recent disclosure of stories that predate the Brothers Grimm, there’s “folklore” about fathers competing with sons.  The recent “tradition” is it’s only step parents…

Culture and media is no help to the abused for situations like this.  From the perspective of the abused, you question what you are doing wrong.  Why you deserve the treatment, and what you can do to change things for the better.  I’ve known a few, and there’s an underlying desire to be accepted by family.  Some attempt to incorporate themselves into the families of others, but not in the sense like cuckoos do.  Sometimes there’s acceptance, sometimes there isn’t.  The fundamental issue is the abused needs to come to terms with if the relationship can improve, and more importantly – accept what needs to be done if old patterns are repeated.

These are the realities the study abstracts about how abused manage not to perpetuate the cycle.  That we sometimes abuse the abused a second time as we dismiss them, or make uninformed judgements and decisions.  Some of the abused are able to make it through by themselves, but most need help and there’s lots of variables around getting legitimate help.  Even with help, there’s bound to be scars.  Some have to accept that parents are such by virtue of biology only.