#14: You have to learn to love hills!

Do Them
I look back now after 6 months hard riding and realise that hills don’t scare me like they used too.  I have put in the work, got over the hills, the worst is behind me and the future is now not that far ahead.

When I began riding and started to go distances greater than 50kms (30 miles) I discovered that whichever direction I rode from home, I was going to face hills. So I hit the forums looking for suggestions to avoid some of the bigger hills and basically was told…


“If you want to ride anywhere, you have to learn to love hills.”
and that has been my mantra every since.

After recent ventures out on a couple of my solo rides and some organized spring rides, distances of 100kms with many hills now don’t seem to be a problem. Sure, they hurt a bit and I puff and pant a lot but after completing one, I am soon thinking about the next one.

But there are a couple of hills that are my mountains and one is close to home. It’s only 400m but climbs at an average of 14%. You may have seen it as the venue for the Balmoral Burn. Even now I think of the first (and only) time I tried it, how I almost fainted and how as I recovered in a mess in the gutter, a passer by offered me CPR.  I’m sure it won’t be long before I go and get this demon.

Heat Map Nov 13Now with that target in mind, I work my way up, longer climbs, steeper hills, quick blasts, in the saddle, out of the saddle – it’s all good.

The real benefit is you get to travel further than you would imagine, and that is what I am loving about cycling.

As you can see in the heat map, I have started exploring Sydney and have been to places 5kms from my home I have never seen before.  I have ridden some paths that follow the rivers to other places I would normally just drive straight by, unaware of their beauty.

To finish, I share with you some thoughts on my learnings about love for hills:

  • There is always a road that goes where you want, it just depends if you ride it.
  • If you go up, you get to go down. Or if you go down, remember, you have to go up.
  • Train on hills seated to learn how to deal with longer distance climbs
  • Repetition on hills is good when there is no mountain near by
  • Warm up before tackling the big ones
  • Watch your heart rate

Enjoy the ability to go anywhere because the road, it leads you places.


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