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Mountainbiking, Women & Lifestyle

The Uphill Struggle

This weekend I went on a lovely women’s ride organised by Amelia Taylor (check out Amelia’s awesome blog here) and sponsored by She Shreds Co and Start Cycles. The meet-up took place at Hamsterley Forest and 23 women took part. It was so nice to see so many other women biking and make some new friends in a warm and encouraging environment.

Amelia took the group (there is probably another term for that many female trail riders!) around some of my favourite spots at Hamsterley; Pikes Teeth being my absolute favourite. It was great to see many different riders, to see different styles of riding and check out all the different shiny bikes.


mountain biking uphill struggle she shreds co hamsterley climbing

Lovely ladies I biked with this weekend…

However, there was one thing that kept bugging me on the climb up to Pikes Teeth. I am not that great at the uphills. I know that everyone says this but on every climb I was struggling, I was huffing and puffing and most of all it was really getting me down that I wasn’t able to keep up with everyone.

I can’t blame it on the Purple One as my Commencal Meta is an amazing piece of light kit. I am not a couch potato though, I go to the gym regularly and I can easily run a 5k in my slow pace. However, when I start cranking up the hill my legs are letting me down, I feel my legs starting to burn with the first granny crank. I feel like the lack of strength in my legs leaves me out of breath pretty quick, and as soon as the climb turns technical I falter on the first obstacle.


My nightmare...

My nightmare…

It is quite disheartening especially when you are surrounded by those lovely bike creatures, climbing like gracious gazelles, and supporting me all the way to the top (tough life huh?). I believe that half the battle for me is in my mind, Mr Betty always tells me to keep my head down and avoid looking at how far up we have to go, which usually results in me immediately looking up at climb stretching ahead of us and promptly giving up.

I know that this can’t continue, and I’m sure that over time it will improve but I am impatient to improve my climbing now. Is there a solution to my problems? I’m going to be doing more weight work in the gym during the week with Mr Betty in order to strengthen my calves and quads. I’ll also keep running in order to improve my breathing. I also want to work on my climbing technique; this article from Singletracks and this video from GMBN both brought me hope that my climbing can improve.

If you feel like you are struggling to get to grips with climbing, or you want to tell me what the secret is, please do get in touch!

Cranky Betty