Sunday, May 9, 2010

Why Are There Always Hills?

Okay ... here's a secret that only anyone who knows me or has ever ridden with me knows:  I'm not in love with hills.  Actually, I really don't like them at all.  Truth be told, I often HATE hills.  Maybe you've surmised that I'm not a good climber.  It's true, although I'm sure it's more mental than physical.  In the pursuit of higher consciousness, I have tried to see them as challenges, rather than enemies.  I have tried to see them as good ... good in the way that studying a subject you have no interest in whatsoever is good ... because you're supposed to learn something valuable from them and become a better person in the process.  Climbing hills makes one stronger, yes?  Climbing hills brings one a sense of confidence, yes?  Conquering hills brings one the experience of overcoming ones weaknesses, yes?

Yes, all of those things are true ... and yes, I've learned and grew stronger and became more confident and overcame weaknesses.  Is that all grammatically correct?  But still ... I don't like hills.  And here's the real issue I have:  there are ALWAYS hills.  I live in a place where I have a choice.  Either start the ride up a biggish hill and return coasting back down ... or start out descending and finish with a big hill near the ride's end.  Easy right?  Take the hill first and finish easy.  Not so fast ...

If I start out descending, I'm heading toward the beach, where the scenery is beautiful ... lots of nice smooth bike lanes along the coast ... breathtaking views of the ocean ... the perfect environment for riding ... but I always know I have a very long climb back home, and need to reserve some energy for it.  If I start out climbing, I'm heading inland ... away from the beach ... away from the beautiful scenery ... but an easy finish to my ride.  It's always a struggle to decide.

So ... what would YOU do?

I've often dreamed of living in a place where the earth is flat and only has wind and rain when I'm not riding. It would be perfect, right?  Then again, where I live is a truly beautiful place, and I am constantly amazed that I'm just looking out my window or down the road at what I see, and not in a photograph or piece of museum artwork.  If the terrain were flat, it just wouldn't be the same.  It would be rather ... well, flat.  I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

So, rather than continue to complain, which I'm certain I'll return to at some point in the not-too-distant future, I'm trying a new approach this month.  If I ride to the beach, I'll force myself to forget the hill on the ride back, and essentially consider the ride to be complete when I've toured the coastline of my community.  The ride back, including the hills, is merely my commute home ... not really part of the actual ride itself.  I can pause before leaving the beach and say "Ahhhhh ... that was a great ride ... now it's time to go home."  And if I ride inland, I'll make the ride about finding something new and different in the surrounding area.  A pair of crazy squirrels, perhaps, who are, in reality, terrorists planted among us to leap out at the exact split second we ride by, thus causing us to crash and reconsider our capitalist way of life.  Or maybe there's a new Starbucks or Peet's somewhere along the way ... yeah, coffee is always good!  Then, when I'm coasting downhill on my crashed bike with a stomach full of coffee, I'll have new things to think about and not wish I'd ridden to the beach instead.

Think it will help?  In the mean time ... if you enjoy humorous looks at people and bicycles, I understand there's a new book from none other than the Bike Snob, of BikeSnobNYC blog fame.  I haven't read it, but I can imagine it's worth a look.  He always has an interesting take on "normal" life.

 Hope you're all having a great Bike Month!!

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