Climb like… Frankie Andreu

Frankie Andreu needs no introduction. During his pro racing career, spanning the 90s and the LeMond to the Armstrong eras, he rode most every race and probably just about every mountain in Europe.

Never rating himself as a pure climber, Andreu had to work hard in the mountains. He knew how to bury himself and how to ride smart as well.

You can read more about his latest exploits and hear some great racing stories here on PEZ.

Le grimpeur contacted Andreu some time ago to get some of his tips on climbing, but they never quite made it onto the publishing schedule. Andreu has some great advice, well worth heeding, so here are his top four.

1. Pace yourself. If you’re with a group, don’t go with the initial surge at the start of climb. Everyone is excited and it’s important to go at your own pace where you are comfortable. At the end you will have climbed faster and smoother then by going hard and then trying to rest because you blew yourself up.

2. Small gears save the legs. Have the appropriate gearing and on long climbs try to sit and spin up the climb. Every once in a while it’s fine to stretch the legs by getting out of the saddle, but overall 95% should be done in the saddle.

3. Sit up on the bike. Don’t hunker down and get low grovelling over the stem. Grasp firmly on the top of the bars and use the handlebars to pull lightly while pedaling. You will get into a rhythm and this will help tick off the kilometres.

4. Take one kilometre at a time. Don’t stress about how long the climb is and don’t look down at the road as you are pedaling. Look up the road a bit and see where you are heading and without knowing it you will pass the kilometres quickly. Of course, try and look around to enjoy the scenery.