Which plan for better ‘short climb’ legs?

Hi all,
I try to do 2 indoor rides a week and one outdoor long ride. Indoor has been a lot of Sweet spot over the last year. My Sunday group ride is normally 80 to 100km and average pace 29 to 30 km/hr. and climbing is normally around 500 to 700mt so nothing savage but just a few .5km to 1.5km climbs of 5 to 8% average (roughly). So my question is,
I am fine on long fast sections with high pace rolling in a group, I can hold my own. But I find on the climbs I get dropped and the group has to wait say 30 to 60 seconds for me at the top. So what training plan will give me better climbing legs for these shorter climbs and still decent flat road pace to keep up with the group? I am thinking the rolling road race plan but do you agree?
Anything else I should be doing or incorporating into my training?
Bear in mind I am a 47yr / 73kg social / hobby cyclist and don’t intend racing etc. Just keeping up with the group throughout the day is my main weekly goal.

I think the general base/build plans will be fine for you since you’re not going for intense repeats (races) or long duration events. Just get stronger!


I’m in the same situation and a 54 year old cyclists and I race road and crits. I’ve decided to do the Criterium plan as it gives me 5min aerobic efforts and 30sec to 90sec anaerobic efforts to boost my climbing ability. I think it’ll help me stay with the group on the “pinchy” climbs and a bit longer climbs.

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This is my life for our local groups and terrain. Lots of rolling hills, some false flats, and lots of painfully pitchy climbs (rarely over 5-6 minutes, mostly 1-4 minutes). An 8 minute climb around here feels like Sa Calabra.

Sweet spot base gives you the foundation you need. I’ve tried both short power and general build over past seasons as well as rolling road race and criterium specialty plans. I think the key is mixing and matching to keep you sharp and well rounded. For example, general build + criterium specialty or short power build + rolling road race specialty (the latter being my preference after doing both—had slightly less FTP gains but more top end punch over the pitchy stuff with higher repeatability and quicker recovery that I lacked when I did the general build).

Going forward I think I’ll be doing sweet spot low volume for base, for build I’ll do weekdays from the short power low volume plan combined with longer weekend rides to maintain some muscular endurance, and then the rolling road race specialty plan to stay sharp and well rounded.

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If you’re not racing I’m not sure I’d do the Specialty plan. Would have thought that General Build would help, there’s a good mix of threshold, VO2 and anaerobic work in there that should all improve your climbing on shortish hills.

Also worth looking at other things such as pacing and positioning. If you know the hills are going to be a struggle then ideally position yourself near the front of the group as you approach them, but also avoid doing any hard efforts in that approach (relies somewhat on the group being happy for you to do that, but the pay off for them is no or less time waiting at the top of the hill!). Also pace evenly rather than burying yourself early and then cracking. If you start near the front, pace evenly and gradually drift to the back you can just about stay in touch with a lot less W/kg than (for example) starting at the back, burying yourself to stay on as long as you can, and then cracking and losing a minute. Pacing through the rest of the ride on the flats can also help - sounds like a no drop ride in which case people generally don’t mind weaker riders not doing much work on the front rather than doing too many pulls and then causing the group to have to slow down or wait.

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