A few weeks before Christmas Anne asked me what I would be doing during 2013 now that I had achieved my years mileage target... I thought about it for a few seconds and came straight back with the answer...HILLS!........ I want to improve on hills!
Now I have always really enjoyed riding up hills... but don't misunderstand me I can feel the pain of riding up a hill just the same as anyone else, but I have always looked on it as a bit of a challenge and funnily enough I like a bit of a challenge..
I have always believed that the only way to get better at something is to keep on practising at it...
Anyway low and behold what should I find with the various gifts that Santa left me when he slid down our chimney, but some books regarding cycling up hills.....
There were the two books on 'Road Cycling up Britain's Hills' by Simon Warren that I have been on about getting for some time- '100 Greatest Cycling Climbs' and 'Another 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs' and a book that was actually from my son-in-law's mother, 'Mountain High' a book about Europe's Greatest Cycle Climbs..Thanks Val....
I have always been fascinated by the way a lot of cyclists actually go out of their way to avoid climbing a hill.... As I said I feel the pain the same as anyone else but I have always been prepared to have a go and lucky for me most of the other guys that I ride with are of the same mind... In fact in the years that JD and I have been riding long distance routes together I can only recall a couple of times where we have been forced to dismount, that was only after we had already put in about a hundred miles of horrendous ascents and descents. We were also cycling with temperatures way higher than what would be required to fry an egg, let alone two blokes on bikes...
No matter how fit I have ever been I have found that climbing hills doesn't really get any easier...but with practise you can go up them a bit quicker. That having been said, the pain of it all still stays with you...it is always hard...you will always experience pain. Hill climbing practise will help you to control the pain....once you take on board the fact that it will hurt, you can then work on your technique for getting up them.
In the two books by Simon Warren he actually gives a rating for each climb based on Height...Length...Steepness..etc and at the back of each book is a section where you can tick off the date that you ride each hill and how long that it took you to complete the ascent...similar to the way that a hill climber/mountaineer might tick off Munros in a book as he completes them.
Now let me say right now I have no intention of driving all over Britain with my bike on board to search out all the hills in these books....but...I will be doing some of those that are a bit closer to home.
When I was a youngster about fourteen years of age I would often cycle from where we lived at that time near Heathrow airport, down to Box Hill in Surrey and do the ascent of the hill three or four times, stopping for a piece of cake and a soft drink at a cafe before heading back home....Although the hill was a bit of a challenge, it never proved a problem for us fit lads and it was good to see it used in the Olympic road race last year. It is one of the hills featured in Simon Warren's first book and he gives it a 3/10 rating....
He also lists Zig Zag Hill near Shaftesbury here in Dorset in his second book and lists that as a 4/10.
When I last did Zig Zag Hill back in October I must admit that I went up it pretty easily...but hey...rating sytems always tend to be a bit subjective.
Over the 20+ weeks we have left to go before setting off on our 10in10 ride you can lay money on me ticking off a few more of the hills in these books.....
Hills: hate em but need em.
Wish I like climbing hills. You're right it does hurt. Good for you though, hope you get lots of training in.
Brenda in the Boto
I'm up and down about hills. ;-)
I manage small elevations around my neighborhood and try not to curse. Can't say am a fan of hills.
Good Luck with your tour plans for 2013, Trevor!
I know that you love them really....
*Brenda in the Boro*
Training started this week Brenda.
What you are saying then Steve, is that you are down about them on the way up and up about them on the way down.....
I have to be a hill fan living so close to the hilly Jurassic coast...
Strangely i like hills too but i got into the habit of avoiding ones I'd had bad experiences on in the past. Thinking of this I've begun to deliberately go a longer route to add these "mental block" hills into my rides and you know what? They are never as bad as my memory would lead me to believe!
Bring on the gradients, I have demons to put to bed
Great comment....I knew that I would find someone else that love them too..
It is true isn't it..when we face our demons they are demons no more...As you say 'bring on the gradients'.
I got 'Mountain High' as a birthday present last year, it really is a fantastic book. Feature in one of my Christmas gift ideas blogs as well.
My aim to tick off the whole book in my lifetime. Think I've done three of the climbs so far... ;-)
With a lifetime to do them I reckon that's one objective that you should achieve....I have done five of the climbs that are in the book, but as I have less lifetime to do the rest I think that you are certainly going to beat me on this one :)
Daniel Friebe has just tweeted to me telling me there are another 50 coming soon...now that presents a bit more of a challenge ;-)
Ha Ha...I've just been sat here trying to work out if I could tick off a few more when I finish my 10in10 ride...Nothing like the challenge becoming more difficult :)
For me, hills trump miles in the challenge game. Both require tenacity and a high discomfort tolerance. But climbing has two winning advantages. First, when you get to the top, the feeling of accomplishment is absolutely the best. Second, you get to go crazy fast downhill after the climb!
It would be impossible for me to choose between them Marsha...
What I would say, is that my perfect ride would be a long distance multi-day linear ride, incorporating lots of hills and mountain passes.
I have to agree with you though about the the thrill of an ultra fast descent...not much can beat that for an adrenalin rush....
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