Tag Archives: hills

Together Again

This week I am in Nashville, vacationing at the Trisha Resort and Spa. Highly recommended, as it includes a pool, cats, bikes, alcohol and delicious home-cooked meals. Except for the ride from the airport on Tuesday, I’ve yet to get in a car. Here we are last night setting out for a Yazoo party in celebration of its new beer, Sue, a high-alc, cherry-wood smoked porter. Yumm.

To the beer party!

To the beer party! Special thanks to photographer C

I must say a bit about the hills. And the humidity. Ugh. Very articulate, I know, but that pretty much sums it up. Trisha is a Southern warrior, I tell you!

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That Uphill Battle

Though we’ve had a brief respite from the usual July heat these past few days, summer is the season when the hilly terrain of Nashville really gets to me.

Caruthers Ave., courtesy of Google Maps

Caruthers Ave., courtesy of Google Maps--a gradual, 2-block incline

Lately I’ve been trying to look at it philosophically—the sense of accomplishment, building strength and endurance, etc.—but that can be hard when you’re dripping in sweat. I guess I’m not the only one who has trouble with this. Yesterday the Guardian‘s Rick Williams shared some strategies for climbing efficiently on their bike blog. A few were surprising, others were useful reminders of proper technique. Among them: standing up does help, but makes you tire more quickly; your heels should remain level with your toes for maximum force.

And today, my friend Jason shared a blog post from Seth Godin (who rides a recumbent) that gave another perspective, and a nice reminder that lessons learned on a bike apply elsewhere in life.

I look forward to the uphill parts, because that’s where the work is, the fun is, the improvement is. On the uphills, I have a reasonable shot at a gain over last time. The downhills are already maxed out by the laws of physics and safety.

So true! Unfortunately for my athletic career (ha), I’ve never been good at taking the long-term view when it comes to physical suffering. I have seen some improvement in my hill performance over the past year, but I still can’t learn to like them. Any hill-climbing pros, please feel free to share your secrets to success in the comments.

ETA: my route elevation map, which might show the ups and downs better than Google streetview. Thanks to commenter Catherine for the site! How does your route compare?

Picture 2

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Bike Friendly Road? You Decide

Over the past few days, I’ve been mulling over that whole idea of bike friendliness in Nashville. The commute route I have chosen (my secret back ways, as Dottie said) is quite bike-friendly, so I do my best to stick to those roads and not get on a street where I feel at risk. In my neighborhood, I can do that—crossing town, during peak traffic periods, it’s a little more difficult, which was why I was in my car yesterday afternoon.

While looking at the beautiful blue sky and wishing I’d been able to bike (an evening drive in traffic is just horrible when you’re used to biking, but being in a convertible does help) I spotted two cyclists on a road I usually avoid when on my bike. Though Wedgewood is a more direct route to my office, I won’t ride on it between 8th and 21st. The massive amounts of traffic (by Nashville standards, anyway), the hills that slow you down and create blind spots for drivers, and the fact that two people I know have been hit by cars while biking here keep me away.

That did not dissuade these two guys. Would you bike this road?

Brave or foolhardy?

Brave or foolhardy?

Continue reading

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Bike Friendly Road? You Decide

Over the past few days, I’ve been mulling over that whole idea of bike friendliness in Nashville. The commute route I have chosen (my secret back ways, as Dottie said) is quite bike-friendly, so I do my best to stick to those roads and not get on a street where I feel at risk. In my neighborhood, I can do that—crossing town, during peak traffic periods, it’s a little more difficult, which was why I was in my car yesterday afternoon.

While looking at the beautiful blue sky and wishing I’d been able to bike (an evening drive in traffic is just horrible when you’re used to biking, but being in a convertible does help) I spotted two cyclists on a road I usually avoid when on my bike. Though Wedgewood is a more direct route to my office, I won’t ride on it between 8th and 21st. The massive amounts of traffic (by Nashville standards, anyway), the hills that slow you down and create blind spots for drivers, and the fact that two people I know have been hit by cars while biking here keep me away.

That did not dissuade these two guys. Would you bike this road?

Brave or foolhardy?

Brave or foolhardy?

Continue reading

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