Intervals on hills

I’m on the 6 weeks to CX plan. Tomorrow I have 2 min intervals at 100% (yay!). Is there any disadvantage to doing these on a steep hill? I could do them on flat ground, go to the highest gear and go max speed.

The alternative is that I do them on a fairly steep ( mostly 6% with a 9% stretch) hill. I’d be in a low gear, but i would also be at a slower cadence.

Maybe the core question is whether or not there is an ideal cadence for these intervals.

There’s definitely not anything wrong with doing these intervals on a tough climb, in fact most people would argue that it helps their power output. Keep in mind, however, that you want to achieve consistent power output throughout each interval. For an interval as short as 2 minutes, major fluctuations in cadence as a result of grade variability are going to make it tough to keep the power output consistent. I would suggest choosing a climb with a very consistent grade, so you’re not changing your cadence dramatically or shifting excessively. Those little jumps in gears and cadence mid-interval can definitely throw you off!


Yeah you can do these on a hill. There are benefits like Ryan said as to being able to out more power. Most riders can.

One thing I would suggest is looking at what you are training for. If you are training for cross races focus on putting out power in a spot similar to what you will come race day. Sure there are some hills while cross racing, but also some flat grassy sections. I would however recommend a place where you can keep the power consistent. You want the full 2 minutes without interruptions.

Another tick I share with cross athletes is starting the first interval of each set at a stop or with even a foot down,. Just a good way to sneak in a little practice start or tough acceleration. Something that happens often in a cross race.

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Joel, I agree with the responses here and will cast my vote for using a road that allows for a higher cadence (cyclocross racing cadence). Good luck!