Climbing is one of the most difficult components of cycling. It challenges your physical strength as all as your mental toughness.
One thing you can do to help your mind overcome the physical challenges of climbing is proactively place positive mental cues before the typical reactive negative ones set in.
Here are some sample cue words that we have found to be effective that will help you find that optimal state when climbing on the bike (or even when life) gets challenging off the bike.
Be the freaking boss! Your body works for you, you do not work for your body. Practice one way communication DURING your climb. You can have the debrief where you are a good listener when the climb is said and done.
Climbing gives you an opportunity to feel your strength. Going uphill is freaking hard and requires your mental and physical strength. Instead of focusing on the discomfort, pivot your attention to the strength you are using to overcome the climb.
View the climb as if you are driving up it in your car. Read the terrain and use focus to keep your momentum.
Breathe so you can hear it. Then, just like listening to your car engine tell you when to shift, pay attention to your respiration rate and control your effort like you do with your foot on the gas pedal.
Relax and be free. Being tight will just restrict your moment and blood flow. Start with parts of your body that are already pain free, such as your hands. Relax them on your handlebars and then try and relax each muscle group from the hands all the way through your body.
Climbing is humbling, there is no way around that. If struggling up a mountain doesn’t make you feel vulnerable, you are not doing it right. It’s ok to feel like you are “not a climber.” You are doing it right and the sense of humility you feel from it is what you are signing up for each time you start up a climb.
Start the climb conservatively and let your momentum from before the climb carry you up the first part.