Best strategy to improve climb time

Looking for some advice on how to train and apply the right strategy on the day to improve my time on a specific climb. Motivation is just to beat my previous best, I don’t have a specific target time in mind.

The climb is Sa Calobra in Mallorca

It’s 9.5km @7%. I’ll have a power meter for pacing.

My best time is a smidge over 40 minutes. The climb will be solo - no drafting etc and no race tactics.

My questions are:

  • What’s the best training approach to peak for the climb? Is it all about having the highest possible power for 40 mins? Should I look to build some type of threshold progression plan?
  • Is it better to try and prepare a 1x40 min effort or say 2x20 or even 4x10?
  • Maybe connected, should I try on the day to hold a steady x watts that I think I can do 40mins? Or is it better to target slightly higher watts with say a 30sec break after every 2 or 3 km?
  • How does the climb profile impact the best strategy on the day? I mean is it better to push harder on steeper sections (which feels more natural) and back off on flatter parts to recover? Or hold back at the start to save some energy for later? Or just consistent power all the way?

Apologies in advance for all the basic questions but I’m trying to understand these things generally and using this climb as a specific learning opportunity.

I’d target some lower bound power to not drop below and then surge on the pitches. Train so you can handle that.

maybe some 1) over unders, 2) steady stuff at your lower bound, and then 3) repetitive surges as three different workout types. You can build 2 and 3 into your 1 once you get fit enough

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Will be going there next week again and try to set pr - did the climb 3 times. Couple of years ago I have been on Mallorca but can let you know my experience of the climb after next week.

Any event dont start to quick after a bus of car going up. There is not a lot of traffic but with bad luck you need to slowdown because need to wait for bus or car that is manoeuvring the corners and traffic from other side.

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When it comes to the question of 1x40, 2x20, 4x10… I would do most of the work as 4x10 efforts with short breaks in between. It’s easier to build power in shorter focused efforts. Then work on your ability to maintain that power with a block of 2x20 efforts. Eventually putting together longer efforts with minimal or no breaks up to the 1x40.

Also agree with the idea that overunders would be a very helpful structure to work with.

That’s my 2¢


Thanks. So it sounds like 1x10s progressing to 1x40 and some over unders.

I like the idea of setting a minimum on the day and using the ‘overs’ for surges.

Don’t climb like me, Lol. I climb good but I always save too much instead of going right to my threshold (or over it on a sub 1h climb).

Last time I did it I didn’t have a power meter so just did max HR-20 for first third, max HR-10 for second third and all out for last. I’m not sure that was best strategy either!

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Sustained Power Build> 40k TT is probably the best plan for this.

You may want to ensure you are working the climbing muscles, either by doing some of your training outdoors on real climbs, or a riser block (or a couple of books) under the front wheel when on the trainer indoors.

If it were me, I would do the sustained climbing plan on Trainer Road in plan builder, I would use to strategize pacing, and ALSO to simulate the exact climb/power targets you will need to hit on the climb. You can download the file from BBS and import it into workout creator on TR and practice the power targets as Intervals.

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Thanks - some great advice there with bestbikesplits and using climbing muscles.


Bring proper gearing!

A couple of years ago I switched my cassette from a 11-29 to an 11-32. I had no trouble with the 29 but had wanted to try the 32.

I immediately set new PRs on every climb in town because I could spin more up the stepper sections without building muscular fatigue.

If I ever switch to 12 speed, I might go straight for the 34 toothed cog.

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I’m no pro, far from it, but my experiences climbing has been finding your groove. I hit climbs (on Zwift) early on that I hit far too aggressive and burned myself out. Finding the right ‘feel’, the right gear/position/seated-standing mix, has been surprisingly difficult, but I’ve gotten better at handling the stress better.

Cassette size is important, as you point out. I used to ride a straight cassette because it’s so damn flat here, and forgot to change it before going upstate, and suffered quite a bit. I have a rather easier cassette now, and really enjoy riding upstate where the hills are numerous, but not killers.