I can ride on flat at high gears all day without a problem I usually go way faster that most of riders. But once it comes to hills I die... My heart beat rate jump up my stamina go away and I get tired in seconds. Even older folks that barely have any cadence on flat can beat me on hills. I need to get down from my bike , take a break and keep on foot. Because once on bike again my heart rate will go crazy again and I will get tired in seconds.

I am doing something wrong ? I always go to the lower plate and lower cogs on climbs but if it is too steep even the lowest one kills me.

I drive a lower end hybrid bike. It have I belive 14-28 (7 rings) rear cassette and 28/38/48 front gears. How much it matters compared to how fit you are ? I mean 1:1 relation it is should be more that enough to climb.

  • @andy256 I have read it and it is slightly unrelated. I can do short climbs, no problem. But as I said my heart rate will get out the cachart but I can do it. Longer and steeper climbs will absolutely kill me. That is another point I am not sure if it healthy to go for long having heart rate over you theoretical limits. Also I do great of flat but terrible on climb what can be the issue ?
    – kifli
    May 20, 2016 at 8:27
  • If you don't mind, are you a heavy guy? I used to ride with a friend who is a big muscular guy and he could blast along all day on the flats, but in the mountains he would die within a few minutes (I was probably around 80 kgs, he was around 110 - approx same height). Weight really matters when going up. If you look at the pro riders, the successful climbers are mostly flyweight guys.
    – Kenned
    May 20, 2016 at 9:44
  • @Kenned no, I am quite thin. I weight 70 kg and 1.76 cm tall.
    – kifli
    May 20, 2016 at 9:54
  • 2
    I am about your weight and slightly taller. Have had a similar problem long ago, now climbing a lot without issues. The solution is to climb, but climb slowly. Switch to the lowest gear you have and go up steadily, without pushing too hard. If you see guys dropping you at the beginning of the climb, do not try to catch up - you will drop them later, when they are out of power. The key is to avoid wasting energy. The more you climb, the stronger you get. If the heart rate goes into limits even then, see a doctor.
    – Rilakkuma
    May 21, 2016 at 14:06
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    @kifli Perhaps it's a Vo2 max test, which tests your maximum rate of oxygen consumption. If you don't feel discomfort, don't worry about your maximum heart rate. It varies widely between people and doesn't actually mean much. If you investigate you can find how to estimate your Vo2 max cheaply.
    – andy256
    May 23, 2016 at 11:45

1 Answer 1


Too much info for a comment, I've checked the suggested duplicate and this is slightly different. This question is about effort and approach, not climbing technique.

Answer You're going at the hill too hard. Learn to PACE your efforts.

Medical rule of thumb, your maximum heart rate should be 220 minus your age. I'm 40 so my heart rate should not exceed 180. However my HRM in strava shows peaks in the high 170s. So 200 BPM might be a maximum heart rate for a fit 20 year old.

If you're doing decent flat speeds, then don't expect to travel uphill at those same speeds. I think you're trying to keep the same speed and blowing yourself up.

Instead, find a quiet grade of about 8%, and start by riding up like normal. Note how high you get before you have to stop. Then turn around and go down, resting and recovering.

Second time - go up the hill in your bottom gear (that's the small front and the biggest rear cog) Focus on keeping your pedalling cadence at "normal" and avoid pedalling too fast. Also avoid bouncing in the saddle, but stay seated. You will ride slower, but see how high you get before you have to stop. I bet it takes much longer, but you will well exceed the turnpoint of the first attempt. And you'll be less shattered passing that point too.

Climbing is all about PACING your effort.

  • 1
    What's the difference between effort and approach and technique?
    – andy256
    May 20, 2016 at 11:47
  • 1
    220 minus age for determining max heart rate gives a rough ballpark figure at best.
    – Ealhmund
    May 20, 2016 at 11:47
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    As for peak HR, I'm almost 60 and have no trouble cracking 180, with the odd peak of 190. 220 - age is well known to only apply to people who have not maintained fitness. And even then it's very approximate.
    – andy256
    May 20, 2016 at 11:50
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    @andy256 Effort is the work you're putting in. Approach is how you intend on doing it (subconscious plan, if you will). Technique is what you do to apply that effort (execution of plan). So in this one, the original effort was Bull-at-a-Gate and the new effort should be "sustained and steady." The approach is to slow down, and the technique is to pedal same speed in lower gear to produce less forward speed but increase total climb at the expense of speed. Also, your fitness is likely well above OP (quite a lot above mine too!)
    – Criggie
    May 21, 2016 at 2:12
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    Fitness above OP - probably both strength and aerobic, and IMO these are the main things to work on. Everything else will follow. Fitness vs any other of the regular posters here - we can't really know. I get the impression you ride MTB, whereas I ride road (I think I'll stop taking my road bike on dirt and gravel trails). Performance road vs mtb is very different, from what I see.
    – andy256
    May 21, 2016 at 3:54

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