How to pace a climb that goes from sea level to over 10,000 ft in elevation?

Hello everyone, I’m training for a big mountainous climb that continuously goes up hill for 100 KM, from sea level to over 10,000ft at the top with minimal downhill sections. I tried this a couple of times before but despite improvements on W/KG over the last two years and this climb always becomes a grinding fest at the last 10km which average over 10% in gradient.

Specifically I’m curious to know how much of the gradual fading in power is related to fatigue and how much of is related to altitude effects? I have successfully completed 4-5 hrs ride on trainer holding a sustainable power using erg mode with no coasting. But this strategy doesn’t work because of the altitude effects. How much should I really save in the tank considering altitude is going to kick in no matter what I do? Should I try 0.7 intensity factor consistenty through out the climb or is it better to do 0.8 IF for the first 2/3 and let altitude kicks in the last 1/3 and still average 0.7 overall.

I’m a big fan of trainerroad. Love to know what you guys think.

Hi. This isn’t the Taiwan KOM which I am racing later this week!? As its my first time I can’t give you much specific advice, but general observations would be;

  1. DON’T GO OUT TOO HARD… surely better to keep something in the tank…
  2. Fuel. I’m 60kg and based on previous long rides at high endurance/low tempo this is going to use 3600+ Kcal. with about 2000Kcal in the body that is a deficit of 1600Kcal over 5 hours so 320Kcal an hour…
  3. Gearing. At the high altitude when the oxygen level is lower, I doubt you should be mashing a big gear with the associated pump in HR and O2 consumption…

The studies I’ve seen suggest between a 15-20% reduction in available aerobic power at 10,000 feet so be realistic!

Whatever the race is, good luck!

Yes, this is Taiwan KOM Challenge I am referring to. I did this climb 4 times and couldn’t figure out how to pace it still. Definitely bring whatever smallest gear you have and start the climb conservatively. I am searching for clues on whether it makes sense to have two FTP, one at sea level and one at high altitude, and pace the entire climb in the tempo zone with respect to the two value. Sorry if this sounds too geeky. I like numbers :smile:

Anyway thanks for sharing and enjoy the event. Cheer!

I saw a video on GCN from last year’s event. They say to save something for the last 10 km because the gradient really pitches up. Best of luck!

Podcast 124 is worth a listen:


Thanks for the pointer. This is super informative. I acutally listened to this episode before but I didn’t realize it contains the answer I’ve been looking for. I’m going to experiment :love_you_gesture: