Results 1 to 22 of 22
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    725

    Technique question

    I am trying to improve my stand up pedaling for rocky bumpy slick techy short (usually) climbs.

    Mostly I have been trying to climb while seated. But sometimes a bump causes me to (unintentionally) unweight the back tire, which spins out leading to my stalling. Also, often when I transition from seated pedaling to stand up I again unintentionally unweight the back tire, leading to stalling.

    Seems like sometimes I need to begin up the hill with stand up pedaling.

    So two questions - do you think I am headed in the right direction to improve my techy climbing? During stand up pedaling should I be pulling hard with my arms?

    Thanks everyone,
    Terry

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    762
    IMO, you should never be standing over especially undulating terrain, i.e. rocky, rutty, loose, (except while descending). You can not weight the rear enough, while out of the saddle, thus your loss of traction and stalling. To avoid slipping while seated, you must constantly shift your weight (small shifts make a big difference), compromising between weighting the front for steering and the rear for traction over the rough stuff.

    Also, you should not be pulling hard with your arms. Always strive for smooth inputs.

    Hope this makes sense and helps.

    Happy trails.
    Racerick
    "The older I get, the faster I was"

  3. #3
    CB2
    CB2 is offline
    Jam Econo
    Reputation: CB2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    4,212
    I stand all the time climbing since I ride a singlespeed. When things get loose, you want to hover above the saddle so you are weighting your rear wheel while still getting the power from standing. I use my arms and core a great deal as well, syncing pulling on the bars with my pedal stroke.

  4. #4
    General industry guy
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    51
    Ditto on the above post: I stand when climbing quite a lot since I ride SS. However, I'll differ with the first response - I think that standing while climbing is not only an SS thing. If you ride with gears, certainly you can make better use of seated climbing; however, this isn't to say that you can stay seated over anything and everything, especially if you're on a hardtail.

    If you're hitting bumps that are large enough to knock you out of the saddle and unweight the rear tire, you either need to stand or gain better seated technique (hard to say, not knowing what trails you ride or what your skill level is). Assuming you're on really techy stuff, try clicking up a gear or two (harder) just before transitioning to standing. This will (a) keep your speed and momentum up, which is helpful for those short techy sections, and (b) allow you to put more even power down than if you're trying to spin while standing. Spinning while standing often just leads to torque spikes that cause the rear wheel to break traction, so try for a slower cadence where you can apply even power most of the way around the pedal stroke. Beyond that, try out CB2's advice - instead of just going from seated to full-on standing, try and keep some weight over the saddle or at least close to it. You don't want to be standing fully extended, hips near the handlebars - you want to be off the saddle so that bumps don't get you, but hovering over the saddle's nose to keep the necessary weight on the rear. Move around as needed to weight the wheels evenly. Too far forward, you lose traction - too far to the rear, your front wheel lifts.

    Finally, yes, use your arms and upper body. On this techy stuff, you'll probably need to pull the front wheel up and over some stuff - gonna have to use arms and core to do this. Even if not pulling over obstacles, if you're pushing a slightly larger gear you'll have to use your upper body to effectively pedal. Think of a roadie racing on a steep climb - even they use their upper body.

    Hope that helps!
    Alison Dunlap Coaching
    When you're not paid to ride.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    324
    Like the others said, it's all about subtle weight shifts. Hard to think about at first, but after a while they become automatic. I'd like to fancy technical climbing as my strongest skill. My bikes have typically had fairly high front ends, so keeping the front wheel down can be an issue. To compensate for this I use a similar technique to CB2, hovering over the seat but keeping my weight fairly far forward. Then to keep the rear wheel planted, I roll backwards on the bars. You'll be amazed how much of a difference it makes.
    Canuck in the homeland

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    11,333
    Quote Originally Posted by elder_mtber
    I am trying to improve my stand up pedaling for rocky bumpy slick techy short (usually) climbs.

    Mostly I have been trying to climb while seated. But sometimes a bump causes me to (unintentionally) unweight the back tire, which spins out leading to my stalling. Also, often when I transition from seated pedaling to stand up I again unintentionally unweight the back tire, leading to stalling.

    Seems like sometimes I need to begin up the hill with stand up pedaling.

    So two questions - do you think I am headed in the right direction to improve my techy climbing? During stand up pedaling should I be pulling hard with my arms?

    Thanks everyone,
    Terry

    I stand alot when climbing (even though I am not on a SS), it is a very valuable technique to use, you can put alot more power on the ground, it is somewhat more difficult to maintain the wieght on the rear tire though....practice helps, you use a lot more of your core and arms, that is where the power comes from...

    Standing can also be used has a rest from seated climbing, just to get a different set of muscles moving...

    To start I would stand on easier climbs, as you stand click the RD down a couple of gears pedal slower and maintain the same speed, as when you were seated, experiment with smooth power strokes and pushing the bike ahead when the pedals are in the dead spot...

    When you get that technique down really well, you can transition from seated to standing any time to help you over obstacles and very steep pitches...

    Right now I am starting to work on track standing while climbing steep pitches, around here, the mountain trails are steep and long enough that although I could ride any one particular section, I can't maintain the power output to climb the entire pitch, so if I could track stand for even a few seconds I could clean a lot more pitchs.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    991
    Standing is a part of climbing SS or geared. I ride both quite a bit. In addition to all the weight shifting comments remember to 'row' or pull the bars back towards you and a bit up. This puts even more weight on the rear wheel since you're essentially pulling all your weight over the rear tire. Riding a SS seemed to help quite a bit, once you can climb steep pitches on an SS with one gear riding steep pitches with gears becomes quite a bit easier. On a steep climb where you can still get traction keep all the momentum you can, keep moving no matter how slow it is. If a pitch is so steep that you can't realistically keep traction hammer and gain as much momentum as you possibly can beforehand, once you're on the pitch keep your cadence up and keep pedaling past the super steep part.

  8. #8
    Pastor Josh
    Reputation: Joeshwa24's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    209
    Standing or seated the things that gets you through anything techy are line, determination and small weight shifts. You have to keep your head up and look for your line and then you have to keep pedaling through that line shifting your weight to tackle the issues you are having. just my 2 cents
    Character trumps Charisma every time.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    725
    Thanks for the inputs everyone. Looks like I need to concentrate on hovering over the saddle.

    Terry

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: AlliKat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,349
    I think that is an over simplification to simply hover over saddle. Technical climbing requires dynamic weighting. When your rear tire approaches a rock, pedal for momentum and unweight to allow it to roll over.
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
    Best thing about an ultra marathon? I just get to ride my bike for X hours!

  11. #11
    gunslinger
    Reputation: selector's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    516
    Quote Originally Posted by elder_mtber
    So two questions - do you think I am headed in the right direction to improve my techy climbing? During stand up pedaling should I be pulling hard with my arms?
    Terry,

    I too very recently started climbing out of the saddle. I ride w/ a friend that can climb like a goat and he's got great balance & weight distribution skills. Tech or heartbreaker, it doesn't matter - he's good and he stands all the time; at least when he feels he needs to.

    IMO, getting thru a tech climb and "simply" a heartbreaker are different animals, but both can improve the other. Just a couple of weeks ago, I tried climbing up an old road that runs along side a single track we ride. The road (uphill) is a mofo. It starts @ a petty mild grade (between 7 & 10%), then almost exactly halfway thru, those numbers transition to double - dead serious. When I first tried it, I'll admit, I was off the bike and walking the last .4kM. I wasn't to thrilled to say the least. Last week I tried climbing out of the saddle and made all but about 10M (spun out and had to find the right place to restart).

    I did it again tonight and made it with (2) dabs (foot down) but I restarted exactly where I had stopped both times. No way do I consider tonight as having made it all the way, but I still consider tonight a huge improvement over what I thought would be an eternity before I could climb it. And I credit the climb to working out of the saddle.

    My point? Thru the 10-20% section, I would sit then "take a break" out of the saddle then sit again. Now the game is all about conditioning. I know I can pedal the whole way - I did it tonight even in semi-slick condtions.

    Out of the saddle, I'm slower than a walk and more of a slow march; picking my feet up and placing them down w/ what seems like precision, stepping my way up the climb. The only concern I have w/ my hands is that they stay connected and that they don't steer me into things that will jar me and likely cause me to topple (sp?). I would "tie" me to the bike w/ my hands and not much more other than lifting the front wheel when needed, etc. My main focus while standing is weight distribution and trying not to spin out. It's a very subtle skill, but even practicing a bit has quickly returned positive results.

    For fun, I've inlcuded the google earth coords of the section I'm refering too:

    start:
    4027'32.03"N,112 6'27.51"W

    transition from mild to wild:
    4027'45.45"N,112 6'48.86"W

    top (of tuf part, not the overall climb):
    4027'38.92"N,112 7'15.45"W

    So, IMO standing is a huge key to climbing (tech or heartbreaker).

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: AlliKat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,349
    standing is a very useful technique for climbing. Riding single speed is the best way to learn to climb standing. On a geared bike, upshift at least two gears when you are going to stand. Riding standing uses muscles a little differently and is a good rest from seated climbing
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
    Best thing about an ultra marathon? I just get to ride my bike for X hours!

  13. #13
    ups and downs
    Reputation: rockyuphill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    14,049
    Being able to move your weight around out of the saddle needs two things: 1) more core strength as you're relying on the abdominal muscles to hold you in position against the climbing and the steering/body english forces; 2) some enhanced "seat of the pants" feel in your shoes for the modulation and balancing of traction and steering and that comes from lots of practice (perfect practice makes perfect).

    Out of the saddle climbing drops the CG on the bike at least a couple of feet, so the pivot point of your "bogie wheels" drops way down from your seated climbing position. That's a big advantage but it really changes the dynamics of the bike.

    You'll also end up finding a gear combo that works best for you for a particular slope and a particular trail surface. You want a gear that provides an achievable effort and an easily modulated torque application. It can't be too low or you'll spin out on the first break in traction, if it's too high it will be an all or nothing situation where you risk stalling against an uphill obstacle. Finding this optimum will take practice.

    It's actually worth while finding some troublesome climb sections and just spend some time practicing those climbs until you get it nailed. The first time you do the entire climb, your muscle memory will be primed for it and jumping for joy.

    Until then, everything you read will be like learning to throw a knuckle ball by reading instructions.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: veritechy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    604
    Thanks for all the great tips, I'm looking for hints too. How about attacking multiple rocks or a rooty area that throws constant undulation at you? Is it: power and lift for first obstacle and un-weight for rear end? Or, allow front to roll over first obstacle and un-weight rear to go over?
    What if they come close together?

  15. #15
    ups and downs
    Reputation: rockyuphill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    14,049
    The best advice is not focus on the rocks at all, otherwise you'll have selected the thing that will bring you to a halt. What you want to do is look for things that might stop your front wheel cold, avoid those things and then just spot the rocks, and look for the smoothest line over them and then look past them and just react to where your wheels go as you roll over them. A 26" wheel can roll over a surprisingly big thing as long as you aren't thinking of that object as something that will stop your wheel. If you think you can make it, you likely can, if there's a moment you don't think you can do it, you're done.

    I also find screaming like a Viking berserker sometimes helps climbing, especially short sharp uphills with lots of rocks and roots embedded. Hit it with momentum and pretend the rocks are the heads of your enemies. Individual mental images can be adjusted to suit your temperament.

    This is the difference I discovered between my attitude and my friends' attitudes, they can roll over anything, they don't see obstacles, they always see a trail. I see a trail with obstacles stuck in it. It takes a lot of effort for me to not see the obstacles.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,915
    a large part of climbing the steep technical trails is maintaining momentum. momentum is always your friend. attack the section with speed and using the right gears. your upper body should be low, when really steep the tip of the saddle should be on your 'taint.

    i agree with other posts too. standing can help, but introduces different challenges and requires higher overall conditioning (core and cardio), and also makes it even more difficult to have a consistent pedal stroke/force.

    do repeats on a section that gives you trouble. at least three tries each time you go through there. eventually you will conquer it and then move to something harder.

    conditioning is probably the biggest factor. as i have dropped from 240lbs to 160lbs i have seen my technical climbing improve, not due to skill as my bike handling hasn't improved that much, but due to fitness and conditioning (and not carrying a boat anchor in my back pocket!)

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: veritechy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    604
    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill
    I also find screaming like a Viking berserker sometimes helps climbing, especially short sharp uphills with lots of rocks and roots embedded. Hit it with momentum and pretend the rocks are the heads of your enemies. Individual mental images can be adjusted to suit your temperament.
    Awesome advice
    I'll give that a try, but people might think I'm nutz

  18. #18
    Can't feel my legs
    Reputation: JPark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    852
    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill
    I also find screaming like a Viking berserker sometimes helps climbing, especially short sharp uphills with lots of rocks and roots embedded. Hit it with momentum and pretend the rocks are the heads of your enemies. Individual mental images can be adjusted to suit your temperament.

    .
    This technique is also very usefull in passing slower riders on tight singletrack

  19. #19
    ups and downs
    Reputation: rockyuphill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    14,049
    I don't think there's any rule against screaming in racing as long as you aren't swinging a broad axe over your head. It is likely much more effective than yelling "track" to slower riders clogging the trail. Or does that happen anymore? I'm likely dating myself for when I last raced a MTB.

    It's funny, I watched some highlights of the Xterra Euro Championships on TV this week, you can sure tell that most triathletes come from a roadie background, on the moderately technical single track in Austria (really mild compared to the average World Cup race), these guys were descending moderately loose and rooty single track trying to stay on the seat and "in the drops" on flat bars and just flipping through more endos than Cirque de Soleil, and then they'd just lay cross the trail, unable to figure out how to extract themselves from their bike or pickup a mountain bike to clear the track. Out of the saddle skills benefit uphill and downhill riding.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  20. #20
    And I don't mean the band
    Reputation: VanHalen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    189
    There really is no definite answer to this question. Most of it has to do with bike setup, body weight distribution, and positioning on the bike....

    You should be constantly moving around on the seat, sliding forward on climbs, sliding back on descends. When you're climbing and the rear starts spinning, move back more, when you're climbing and the front comes off the ground or gets squirrely, move forward more. Every climb is different, and every second of it you have to find that sweet spot.

    I agree with the standing up using higher gear, and sitting down using lower gear. I find that I can balance way easier when standing up on technical climbs. Trackstanding helps tremendously with finding and re-finding your balance....

    Something I learned that I found really useful is to try and stay centered on the bike by paying attention to the following: belly button over bottom bracket. It should always be a vertical line. This also helps with leaning the bike over when cornering.
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. --Mark Twain

    BLAWG

  21. #21
    gunslinger
    Reputation: selector's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    516
    Quote Originally Posted by selector
    For fun, I've inlcuded the google earth coords of the section I'm refering too:

    start:
    4027'32.03"N,112 6'27.51"W

    transition from mild to wild:
    4027'45.45"N,112 6'48.86"W

    top (of tuf part, not the overall climb):
    4027'38.92"N,112 7'15.45"W
    Just got home. Only (1) dab tonight.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: rob_co2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    563
    I'm not so sure explanations are going to help you much. Climbing is such a broad thing, even with "rocky bumpy slick techy short (usually) climbs" you will hardly find two that are the same. I say go find that climb, go up it again and again until you master it, try something a little different each time, see what works for you. The more you try it, the better you will understand it, and it will come naturally, the eyes should see it and the body should take over. Having to concentrate on a particular technique isn't going to be efficient, especially if you are breathing heavy from climbing.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •