When I first started training for my European cycle adventure (just over a week ago) hills were my true nemesis.* I could poodle along nicely on flat roads but as soon I encountered even a low incline my heart would drop. I just didn’t have the fitness to make it all the way to the top of even the smallest incline.
Half way up these hills, as I climbed off the saddle in agony like a jockey with a hernia, all I could think about was how much I regretted my decision to cycle across Europe. I mean, if I couldn’t cycle up a hill WITHOUT all my equipment (and not a particularly steep hill at that) how could I do it for real with all my possessions strapped to the bike?
Well, it’s a week on from my first cycling trip and I have to say that things are looking up. Today I climbed a hill without getting off the bike – and I didn’t have to dig particularly deep to do so. This milestone isn’t down to increased fitness; I’ve changed the saddle position, which has worked wonders. I’ve also learned which gears are best for certain gradients and I’ve learned a bit more about cadence and rhythm. (Oh yes, my technical know-how is increasing).
I’m not getting ahead of myself. I understand that life, like a hill, has its ups and downs. I’m feeling positive now but I know on another ride soon I could find myself in the pouring rain, with a flat tire and two legs full to the brim with lactic acid. I should just relish these moments as they come along and feed off the positivity while it lasts.
Less than a month to go before I leave England. There are many more trips planned before then and a lot more hills to be conquered!
*Hills are still my nemesis. They’ve just been slightly downgraded in nemenisity.