The world's top cyclists will take on a challenging route through The Lake District – including The Struggle – when the Tour of Britain returns to Cumbria in September.
Rory Black, Communication Secretary at Kendal Cycle Club, shares his top tips for tackling one of the county’s hardest hills.
The Struggle is possibly one of the hardest hills to cycle in the UK. It has three distinct steep sections at the start, middle and end which combine to make it a difficult climb. The more hills you climb, the better you will get at them. So practice on hills which aren’t as difficult as The Struggle. This could involve hill reps or hilly rides.
A compact chain-set and a big sprocket on the back (anything from 27 teeth upwards) will make pedalling up The Struggle slightly easier. Having a bigger cassette fitted is the quickest way to gaining an extra gear or two. Even top professional riders use compact chain-sets on mountain stages, so there is certainly no shame in fitting one yourself along with a wide ranging rear cassette.
Ride at your own tempo and know your limits. Remember The Struggle has three distinct steep sections so try and spin and recover between the steep climbs. Leave something in the tank for the climb up to the Kirkstone Pass Inn.
Make sure you hit The Struggle properly fuelled so you’re hydrated and have eaten prior to the climb. The most important thing is to eat and drink little and often to make sure you don’t run low.
Correct technique, including optimal use of your gears, is important for efficient climbing. Try and stay in the saddle and keep your legs spinning. Stand up on the particularly steep sections and really push the pedals. Having a good position on the bike definitely helps to be more efficient. Make sure you’re not moving too much in the saddle, open your chest and concentrate on your breathing.
Get to the top and enjoy the view!
Kendal Cycle Club was established as a cycling club in 2015 and is affiliated to British Cycling. The club is involved in all types of competitive and non-competitive cycling – including road, track, triathlon, mountain biking, time trials and cyclo cross – and welcomes cyclists of all ages and abilities.
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