Henrietta Colborne: How to Climb Stronger - and Quicker

Henrietta completed Struggle Dales as part of her training for the Tour de Yorkshire pro women’s race. Now racing professionally on the continent, Henrietta explains how you can improve your climbing in the lead up to our hilly Yorkshire sportives. 

Henrietta Colborne

1. Set Tough Goals

“The majority of my racing in 2017 was in Holland and Belgium - a few lumps here and there but no 20 km climbs! At the end of 2017 I raced Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche; a 5-day stage race in the South of France. It included 30 km+ climbs in 30 degree heat. To be active at the end of the race I had to be able to climb or I was out of the race! Looking into 2018 the importance of being able to climb is essential with races in Spain, France and Italy with Bizikia Durango Euskadi Murias.”  

2. Improve Your Technique

“The best way to improve bike skills is Cyclo Cross; it teaches you not to panic when the bike moves underneath you. You can also improve your hill climbing technique by practising the transition in and out of the saddle. Coming out of the saddle and keeping pressure applied to the pedals means the bike does not shoot back. 

3. Climb With Others 

“Training with people who are technically better than you helps you improve. Improving your climbing technique is all about being efficient on the bike by keeping cadence up. If you have a power meter and cadence sensor then watch the numbers on the bars to ensure you are pacing evenly.”


Henrietta Colborne

4. Ride More Hills!

“I mix hills into my endurance training as well as doing specific hill climbing sessions. Either session is ideally done with a willing cycling partner who is slightly better than you on the hills. This means you push yourself to your maximum and therefore improve.”

5. Plan Your Food

“Keeping a healthy diet is key to being able to climb; riders tend to drop a few KG if they have a mountainous race coming up. In the end its power to weight ratio that determines the day.”

“I am personally lucky to have the advice on hand from Alan Murchison who is great with top tips on diet and performance. In general it is about keeping the level of protein high and thinking about when you take on carbohydrate e.g. before an intense training session.”

6. Increase Volume

"The volume of my riding has increased now I’m training for longer, hillier rides; 5 hour endurance rides in the winter. When I was Junior Time Trial National Record Holder racing 10 mile and 25 mile TTs my training was not about length but about intensity. Nowadays I still need the same intensity for road racing but have to train my body to still be able to react to intensity after 3 hours of hilly racing.” 


Track Henrietta’s progress as she steps up to UCI level with team Bizikia Durango Euskadi Murias.

 “This year I am hoping to achieve a top 10 at UCI level, having previous had a number of top 20 places. I want to win some bike races this year, I mean who doesn’t! I also want to play a team role in some races. The team has great support with BH Bikes, Kalas clothing and a great race programme so 2018 is going to be an exciting season.”

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