I have a climb by my house that is about 2,000 ft over 5mi (610 metres in 8 km or 7.6% grade).

I ride it a least once a week and I've got a ton faster (at 35min right now). Recently my legs stopped burning on it. I'm pushing it as hard as I can, and I think I'm in the 80-90% max HR when I do it. Anything more and my body quickly forces me to pull back.

My cadence is about 80 on it, and if I shift up, I seem to go slower, and if I shift down, my cadence is too high and again I go slower.

I do a lot of rides around 7-8k ft (2133-2438m) over 50-60mi (80-96 km) so this isn't a hard climb, I'm just trying to do it as fast as I can - You know, beat my coworkers.

Should I be able to pull more from my muscles on this climb? If so, how should I change my training?

  • 3
    Only you and your doctor can decide this. But note that a big part of the question is how you feel later, not just 6 hours later, but 24-48 hours later. If you get delayed muscle pain then you may be doing damage to the muscles. Likewise you need to be alert for any heart/lung symptoms (and I'm not very familiar with that end of things). Aug 5, 2018 at 18:30
  • 1
    You cannot do max effort rides every week without something going wrong. At those outputs you really need input from a professional, at a minimum I expect you have discussed with your doctor doing this amount of max effort exercise.
    – mattnz
    Aug 5, 2018 at 20:10
  • I guess I should have said that while I do the ride at least once a week, I go all out once a month at most. But even after a max effort ride I never feel any fatigue, and I could do a long ride the next day without issue.
    – Adam Meyer
    Aug 5, 2018 at 22:52
  • I'll make sure to talk to my Dr about it
    – Adam Meyer
    Aug 5, 2018 at 22:52
  • 1
    Next dry+cool day when there's a good tailwind, so and smash that segment hard. That way you'll set the best possible PR.
    – Criggie
    Aug 6, 2018 at 3:37

2 Answers 2


This type of effort very much comes down to W/Kg at FTP (Functional Threshold Power). You can get lighter, or you can work to raise FTP.

There is no magic formula to improve FTP, it requires (beyond a basic level of fitness) either a coach, or some well thought out self coaching. A power meter and knowledge of how to use it is an invaluable tool, but where this is not possible, a HRM (Heart Rate Monitor) and RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) can work as an alternative.

A very popular training session is to ride 2x20mins at FTP 1-2x per week.

Self coaching can be tricky, but rewarding. Pay special attention to making sure your easy rides are easy so that your hard rides can be hard.

  • We don't do product recommendations, so didn't include it in the answer, but I highly recommend Joe Friels 'Training Bible' as a starting point for learning about training.
    – Andy P
    Aug 6, 2018 at 9:21

Not sure what you mean by "hurt", but you may want to read about lactate threshold. When you say "my body quickly forces me to pull back", isn't that by "hurt"? When you ride under your lactate threshold, there's no "hurt", it feels difficult but it is sustainable, and that's the only way to climb a long hill like that. You may want to cross your threshold and get a bit of "hurt" at some points during the climb (usually at the end) if you want to do it faster, that would consequently have your body telling you to ease on, but you keep pushing, and that can only be done for a limited period.

Another case is when you have been riding a lot and putting considerable effort into it (distances and speed vary with each one, but your perceived effort must be sort of "I've had a hard week" then you go to that hill and your legs actually feel tired and your heart rate doesn't go up.

Also, while 80 is not a low cadence for a climb, it shouldn't be a problem to ride up a hill at 90.

Anyway, if you want to go faster on that hill, you need to push hard and then recover properly from that effort, with food and sleep. From a basic perspective, it's about hard efforts followed by good recoveries. (You can tune up that, read on structured bicycle training )

  • It's my heart that pulls me back, not the legs. I used to feel some muscle burn when riding at that level. I just don’t get muscle sourness on rides anymore. So I didn't know if I was't training properly
    – Adam Meyer
    Aug 6, 2018 at 14:58

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