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--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?