How can I retain my 100+ cadence on hills without burning a match?

I’m having issues properly pacing most hills, and I’m wondering where I’m going wrong. While I can climb up them without much issue; I find myself averaging approximately 250-300 watts on most hills I tackle. Obviously, I tend to pay for it later in the ride; especially when creeping into the 3-4 hour territory. Most of the hills I’m climb range anywhere from 1% to 4% gradient. Nothing crazy, I don’t think.

Little bit of cycling background on me; I’m fairly fit with a 4 watts/kg FTP. I’m also 5’7" (170cm) and weigh 130 lbs. I’m also running an 11/28 cassette. Lastly, I can easily average 100 cadence on a ride (indoors or outside).

Specifically, I’m wondering how I can keep my cadence high as well as stick to more sustainable wattage, like 200 watts for a climb.

Does my cassette simply not have enough gears?

Thanks in advance for any tips and tricks.

You need lower gears.

If you want to spin up the hills, get a bigger cassette (and maybe smaller chainrings).



11/34 FTW.

And ignore the scoffers. Ride how you want to best suit your needs.


11-40 FTW. Fits on most 11 speed road deraillers without mod. Sram makes a good 11-36 as well i you dont’ want to go extreme. I can spin up 10% hills in Z2(at like 4mph)


As the others said, to do what you asked you need lower gears. An 11-28 is simply too compact to spin real fast up hills. However, I question if this is the only thing to focus on.

So your FTP is around 235W based on your given info. But you don’t want to go above 200W on the hills? 250-300W is too hard? Maybe you have an under developed anaerobic engine or you’re riding too hard during the bulk of the ride. You should be able to do 250W without burning a match, unless it’s a really sustained hill.

Also, being able to tolerate your cadence dropping by 10-15 rpm on the hills is something worth developing. It makes a significant difference in your gearing needs. It also probably means engaging different muscles on the climbs, which can help with fatigue in the muscles you’re using on the flats.

Basically, it’s probably beneficial to address your weaknesses here instead of just swapping gears.