Think Light. Ride Quiet
Apply what climbing specialist Andy Applegate calls Qigong climbing, a technique that blends positive thinking with relaxed technique. As you approach the climb, think “light” thoughts—clouds, birds, angels, whatever lightens up your mental space. Then, start with your face and progressively relax your body down to your feet, being sure to release any unnecessary tension, particularly in your shoulders, which should be down and relaxed, and your hands, which should be loosely gripping the bars (not white-knuckling them). “You want your upper body so quiet that if someone were to film you from the waist up, they wouldn’t be able to tell if you were climbing or just riding along,” Applegate says.
Apply the same quiet posture approach when you stand. Keep your shoulders squared and facing forward, as if you were balancing beer glasses on them. Avoid dropping them from side-to-side, which will waste energy and send you weaving up the slope like a drunken paperboy.