Learning to love hills…

My local tri club’s weekly group ride starts next week and I’m pretty sure the group is going 60-miles. And of course that means that I’m going to try like hell to not get dropped. To prep (as much as one can prep when they haven’t made it off the trainer and on to the pavement in quite some time), I decided to preview the route and knock out a 30- or 40-miler. The first hill hit me. Hard. Huffing and puffing, I thought there was no WAY I was going to make it the full 60 miles next week, let alone the measly 30 I had planned for the day. I made it to the top, and coasted down, enjoying the quick break. Just when I had gotten comfy in my aerobars and settled into a comfortable pace, there was another one. And then another. Man, this route was hilly. These guys really knew how to pick the routes, didn’t they?

There I was, trying to power my way up seemingly never-ending hills. It wasn’t pretty, but I made it up each and every one… huffing and puffing the entire time. Let me be honest: I was not a happy camper.

But then somewhere around mile 10 or 15 — around the time I was wavering on whether or not I should just even my ride out at 30 — my body finally “got” it. Something just clicked – maybe it was a lower gear than before, or maybe more practice, or simply me shutting up the negative voices in my head — whatever the combo, I started zooming up the hills and then continuing my attack on the way down. And that’s when I decided that I LOVE hills (Side note: remind me to re-read this next time I decide to get all dramatic on a particularly hard climb). 

The best part? When you finally make it to the top of a very steep climb and shift back into the big ring: the cruising slope of the downhill paired with the forward pedal momentum is like none other.

Oh yeah, in the end I ended up riding 45-miles... forty-five miles of sheer sunny bliss (once I embraced the hills, that is).