Hill Climb TT - What plan?

What plan or workouts would you guys use for a short(ish) hill climb TT? I’ve done the climb before and my PR is 8:30. Strava KOM is 6:48. Event isn’t until spring 2024.

KOM stats:
1.32 mi
623ft elevation gain
8.9% average
16.9% max gradient (Veloviewer)
Hits very steep at the start, then fairly consistent. Can get nasty headwind at the top.

My goal is to at least break into the top 10 on Strava, which right now is 8:12. But that may change with more people doing the climb. So maybe 7:30-7:45 would be an ambitious goal to shoot for. But realistically, anything under 8 minutes I’d be ecstatic.

Me: 6’3”, 186lbs, current FTP ~330W so around 3.88W/kg. Not the greatest but I do have decent short duration power. My 8:30 PR I averaged 390W and at the time my FTP was around 300W. So I’m looking to hit at least 400-410W to improve my time.

If you are going all in on this you should work on high end VO2, anaerobic work and lots and lots of hills.

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Maybe the CX or gravity plans would work — lots of VO2 and hard starts. This would be a good question to call/email TR Support about, too.

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My first thought would be some mix of VO2 and Threshold to build up your 5-10 minute power. Perhaps a block of Sustained Power Build followed by Short Power Build and some point (or since you have 10-ish months…maybe a couple times).

Your best effort was at 130% of your FTP which seems pretty good/high for an 8.5 min power vs ftp. Per the popular FTP chart thing that floats around the internet; the typical cyclist might have a 5 min power which is 120% of their FTP. Anyway, I guess what I am trying to get at is that as you get closer to your even I imagine long-ish intervals at ~110-130% will probably be a good idea. If you were looking for TR specialty plan…

  • Climbing Road Race has a some long interval VO2 built in. Though I’m wondering if one of the off-road plans might be even better.
  • Short Track Cross-Country is all VO2.
  • Cyclocross is a mix of VO2 and Anaerobic (might be focued too much on short of power compared to what you will need).
  • Cross Country Olympic has a mix of VO2 max (and lots of it at longer intervals it appears) as well as sweet spot.

You might already have this on your mind, but setting up your trainer to simulate the grade would likely be beneficial so you can get used to pedaling at those efforts while in the climbing position


So what you’re saying is, I need to tell my wife I have to buy the Kickr Climb right?

The plan suggestions sound good. In the past I’ve gotten good results with long SweetSpot and threshold intervals to build ftp, but not sure if that’s helped my VO2/Anaerobic power. Short/shorts have always come easy to me, but maybe I just need to up the power of the highs. I don’t have any more planned races apart from CX in the fall. I’ve done the CX plan in the past but actually felt like I needed longer intervals to build fitness than what is normally offered. I think the Supra threshold efforts like you mentioned may be helpful.

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Agree on the trainer suggestion from @mhandwerk. Propping up your front wheel is something I’ve seen suggested, though I’ve never tried it. I believe when your bike is tilted at a 10% grade, you use some different muscle groups.

Make sure that your gearing is dialed in, so that you can maintain the proper cadence and can climb seated if that is your preference.

I have done a hill climb TT a couple of times (a longer climb – like 40 minutes), and I looked at the pacing plan on Bestbikesplit. There wasn’t a lot of variability, but some. So for example with your plan, if you want to hit 400w normalized, you might aim for 420-425 watts on the 16% sections or those with a headwind (since your speed is slower, less aerodynamic drag, so you get more bang for your buck) and 375-380 watts on the 5% sections or those with a tailwind.

Try and get some practice climbing on switchbacks if you don’t do that regularly, so you get a feel for when it is best to cut the corner (not crossing the center line), which is the shortest route but typically also the steepest.

And most importantly, recruit a friend or family member with a cowbell to cheer you on at the steepest part!

[I just re-read your original post after I shared the above suggestions, and I realized that your questions were only centered on the training plan; my apologies for thinking that you also wanted advice on executing the climb itself. Feel free to ignore; you are probably climbing more frequently than I am!]


No, I like the advice. I was mainly thinking about training but will happily try to improve every part. I was thinking about running my gravel crankset with 48/31t solely to get more options with cadence. I’m a spinner so I’d prefer to spin a higher cadence rather than grind it out. I’m also wondering when it would be faster to be seated vs standing. I figure at slower speeds on the steeper section I wouldn’t lose much in aero by standing compared to the top where it’s windier and flatter. It’s a pretty short effort relatively if I’m targeting 8 minutes, though pacing will still be a factor. I don’t want to blow up on the first part that’s the steepest section.

And I didn’t even think about propping my wheel up to get a similar training effect. So thanks to @mhandwerk for that suggestion.