Climb Like a Champion

All five routes on Storming of Thunder Ridge involve the dreaded “c” word: climbing.

No worries… We asked Phillip Robb, founder of Cutaway Clothing, a cycling-inspired casual clothing company and 2008 Virginia State Hill Climb Overall Champion for advice. Although not everyone is a natural climber, the good news is that anyone can do it.

Stay Relaxed and Focused
I have found that staying relaxed and focused is the best approach to tackling long and challenging climbs. Only you know your own limits. Thunder Ridge (featured on the 47(TMO), 75 & 100 mile routes) is a very long climb and you will be riding with a number of cyclists of different skill levels.

Rest your arms and shoulders to keep your heart rate down and ride at your own pace. Don’t let others in the group force you to work beyond your comfort level too early in the climb. You don’t want to blow up. Remember, it’s over 13 miles to the top.

Find your Rhythm
Everyone has a different climbing style. Some like to spin and others like to churn in the big ring. Some like to remain seated and others dance on the pedals. My advice is to find your own rhythm and optimal cadence and try and stay on top of your gear.

Fuel Up
Bring plenty of fuel for the climb. This climb will most likely take over an hour (likely 1.5 hours). Have a bar or a gel of your choice at the beginning of the climb, halfway through if needed (there’s a rest stop at Petite’s Gap) and definitely at the top (there’s another rest stop at the summit).

Plan to stop and recover at the top but don’t stay too long and get cold. The weather at the top of the mountain can be 20 degrees cooler and getting cold on the descent can use up valuable calories that are needed to finish out the ride.

Have Fun
Remember to look around at the beautiful scenery. Smile and enjoy your day on the bike!