Monday, June 29, 2009

Hill Therapy

It's late June in Southern California and that means the heat is starting to come on.

Yesterday temps reached 102 here in town. Granted that's a dry heat, but it's still scorching.

Now is the time of year where it's really important to get out on the road early, preferably before 7am. Riding early also helps you avoid the turbulent high desert winds that plague this area in the afternoon.

Of course getting out on the road at 6:30 am on a weekend is easier said than done. As Dave Moulton discusses in a great blog post:

I love to ride my bike, but for some reason hate getting ready to ride my bike. It seems to take me on average about 45 minutes, half an hour if I rush; from the time I decide to go for a ride, to actually walking out the door with my bike.

If I procrastinate over getting out for a ride, it is never over actually riding, but because of this chore of getting ready. How long does it take to throw on a jersey and a pair of shorts, you may ask?

For me it takes about an hour to get ready, mostly because I, ummmm, try to cleanse myself out first, if you know what I mean. No one wants to have to go number 2 in the middle of a 60 mile ride, so I try to take care of that before I leave.

Anyway back on topic: I finally left at about 8:30 am yesterday morning and by then it must have been 85 degrees outside with little to no wind. I decided to ride about 20 miles and focus on climbing:

It's been said that cyclists hate two things: hills and headwinds, but in the year I've been cycling, I've come to really enjoy hills. Not while I'm riding up them, mind you. In the middle of a climb I hate the sport of cycling, I hate that I'm suffering while pedaling up the hill, and everything in me says to turn around and take the easy way back.

But I don't.

Because I love hills. It's therapeutic for me. Everything melts away: money problems, jerks at work, the latest fight with my wife, worry and concern about the future. All those problems and worries just sink into the background of my mind, and my sole reason for existing at that moment is to climb the hill. One more turn of the cranks, one more push all the way up the mountain.

It's odd because once I summit the mountain and go downhill or when I'm riding fast on the flats, my mind wanders back to those problems, those nagging issues that I can't seem to escape from.

But on the mountain it's a different story.

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