The Hills Are Alive

…with the Sound of Lactic Acid Production… (La da da daaaaaa. – If this doesn’t make sense to you, review your high school biology. Anaerobic respiration!!)

One of my co-riders for the Canada Bike Ride 2018 trip and I went for a ride in the Florida hills.

I didn’t think they existed either. Not really.

Elevation changes for the first 25 miles of the trip.

Oh, they do. Trust me. They do.

We’ve been online chatting for a while about hill training, but the true meaning of this was not understood until it was physically realized.

My friend and I met at a sports complex in San Antonio, FL. We got our bikes ready: me my trusty steel steed, him his aluminum rental. We started out with clear skies and 60 degree (15 C) weather. The weather couldn’t be more perfect. We rolled out of the parking lot in high spirits with a 43-mile ride in front of us.

Scenic overlook

We stopped 7 miles in. At my request. My need to stop was not so bad at 7 miles, but there was also a pretty view that made a good excuse. We ate granola bars, drank water, and chatted for a few minutes before continuing.

At one point I made the comment that I liked the steeper hills more, because you can see the end (i.e. the top).

I take it all back. On a few of those steep hills, I hopped off my bike and walked it to the top. I felt embarrassed, but I really felt like I couldn’t make it if I didn’t walk it. On one of those hills, walking wasn’t much better because I was still huffing and puffing as I pushed my bike. The hill was that steep.

During one of our breaks, I checked my tire pressure and it was low. Reinflating definitely helped. But some of those hills were damn steep. It wasn’t just the tire pressure holding me back.

I’m gonna need a lower gear…

I’m definitely going to put lower gears on my bike… I was questioning whether I should before. The question has been answered.  Yes, I’ll be more physically fit in June, but just in case…

I feel incredibly grateful my pedaling partner was patient. When I had to walk my bike, he reassured me he’s had to make the decision between pushing through the burning and potential cramping and walking his bike too. He never complained about the pace and was completely encouraging about the upcoming trip in June. 

And when he asked if it was cool if we shaved some miles off of our initial goal, my heart burst with joy. We aimed for 43 miles. We settled for 35. Close enough.

I definitely crossed some mental hurdles today. I once told myself I’d never walk my bike up a hill. “That’s stupid. You just have to keep pedaling!” I told myself. It didn’t feel stupid today. It felt like a solution to a problem.

There were hills I thought I couldn’t make it up that I did, and ones I thought I’d make it up and I had to walk instead. I surprised myself by enjoying today. A lot of it was hard. Physically and mentally. But I did it. I rode 35 miles and went through 2,500 feet of elevation. And I felt good at the end, though tired.

The first 2/3 of the trip. (I forgot to restart the app after we took a break.)

At the end of today I have a little more data to inform me about what I need to do so I’m not in misery in June.

I’ll start doing my weekly long rides, and I’ll do at least one hill ride a month. I know it will get easier.

(I hope it gets easier!!)


Filed under Adventure, Challenge, Fitness, Humor

2 Responses to The Hills Are Alive

  1. Jim Shirk

    I’ve never seen a hill I couldn’t walk up! seriously walked up some steep hills in Italy, but looking at an e-bike for the Gaspe ride.

    • Christy

      I walked it, but after already being tired I still had to exert myself! I’m just out of shape. I haven’t done any longer rides since Thanksgiving. This being the first probably wasn’t the best way to go. In June I’ll be in better shape, and I’ll have some better lower gears just in case… 🙂

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