Hills…and why we should love them
You’re on a BN ride, you look ahead, your heart sinks and you mutter between gritted teeth (“Not another bloody hill”)
But, it doesn’t have to be like that….
Sure, there are some gifted hill climbing gods out there but they weigh next to nothing wringing wet and generally stand no taller than a teacup. (God! How we hate them!)
But, there is hope for us mere mortals…..it’s all in our attitude
Not all hills are created equal (although some are more equal than others! Apologies George Orwell)
Some hills are short and sharp, some are long drawn out affairs and some are undulating (the best!)
On the long drawn out (boring) hills, they tell you to visualize riding like a carpet unrolling. Start a long climb at a conservative pace so you have enough for that steep section and something in reserve for the last few km’s. In reality you’re not likely to actually speed up toward the top; you’ll just slow down less. Now is the time for that ‘out of body’ experience, immerse yourself in the scenery, sort out what you’re going to have for dinner, go over the home truths you’re going to give it to the boss on Monday morning……that sort of thing.
Undulations encapsulate all the fun we get out of cycling, you descend as fast as you feel comfortable with then use that momentum get as far up the next hill as you can without pedalling then do it all again. Wyong Loop has a lovely undulating section as does Bondi Loop.
Momentum is a wondrous thing, the cyclist’s friend, without it, pedalling would be just too hard, Momentum is Mass x Velocity, Mass? That’s weight isn’t it? The heavier you are, the faster you go? Well, yes, that’s science. “Hmm, I think I will have that extra slice of cake”. Wait a minute! This only works on descents because gravity (Mass x m/s^2) trumps all when it comes to climbing, that’s science too, “OK, better leave that slice of cake on the plate” (reluctantly)
Remember, it’s speed just before the next ascent that counts, not at the top of the preceding descent, so, build up speed gradually until you’re flat out at the bottom.
Short sharp hills are fun! They’re just waiting there to be punished. Drop a gear, get up in your pedals and really give it to them. Bash them! Show them no mercy!
Above all, enjoy hills, accept the challenge with confidence, ride them with a purpose. Exhilarate in the effort. The god of hills will appreciate that. He will smile benignly down on you and gradually make hill climbing easier for you.
Regard hills as your friends, they give you more ‘bang for your buck’ in the fitness stakes, take inches off your thighs and tummy and add years to your life. All whilst having fun!
So happy riding (and climbing)