We hate them. We love them. They test us. They make us better. And, the more we climb, the more we want to climb.
When I first began road cycling, I lived in a flat part of the country. There were few hills of consequence, and certainly no mountains. Then I moved to the Pacific Northwest. A region of the country where there is very little flat ground. Hills and mountains are everywhere. At first, I was intimidated. How was I going to continue cycling?
Ironically, I live atop a mountain. A little mountain. A hill really. A big hill. Each direction I turn is down hill. Every trip out is a descent; every trip back, a climb. This little mountain has been my salvation. This little mountain tests my resolve each and every day, and each day I get a little stronger. So much so, that the climb home has become easy. I never thought I would say that. Never thought I would be sprinting home. Never thought I would enjoy the climb home.
It’s not supposed to happen this way. As I age, this climb is supposed to get harder. But it’s not. I won’t let it. Sure. I have a lighter, carbon bike, a compact crankset, and a 11-28 cassette. A better bike fit. This all helps. And, I lift heavy. Leg presses to my limit.
A decade ago, I had none of this. I cycled but I didn’t train. I didn’t work on power or technique. I cycled. I got up the hills but I didn’t really enjoy them. In fact, I selected routes around them whenever possible. Not now. In fact, I take the steepest, most difficult climb back. You see, I have learned to love the hills. Now I understand that hills make me a better cyclist. A stronger cyclists. More technically proficient.
You see, a hill tests you. It tests your power. Your pedalling proficiency. Your resolve. They hurt. And you need to suffer. If you don’t, you won’t grow.
One day, my age will make a difference. Slow me down.
But not today.
Today, hills are my friend 😎