Monday, 22 January 2007

Return to the hill

After a few very busy weekends I decide this weekend that I was ready to return to the hill. My wife took the children to a birthday party on Sunday so I decide to take the bike back to my least favourite slope. The journey to the hill did not bode well. The start of the hill proper is a half hour ride from my home over rolling hills that have a general upward trend. Going into a headwind, that I guess was the tail end of the storms from earlier in the week, didn’t make it any easier. But I got to the bottom of the hill ready to go.

As I started up the hill I resisted the urge to get up out of the saddle and just dropped down through the gears. I kept the pedals turning at the best rate I could and just sat there. Knowing what to expect made things easier mentally. As I turned the first few corners I knew the road would get steeper and I knew it would hurt more. So I sat there and kept pedalling. I was in my granny gear and the bike barely seemed to move forward every time I turned the pedals over but it was going forward. And up.

And up.

And up. The steepest part of the hill is about halfway up and getting past it was a killer. Even in my lowest gear going at a sensible cadence my heart felt like it was going to explode and I was sure I was going to exhale a lung. But knowing you have done something once makes it much easier. If I could do it hung over and dehydrated I could certainly do it today when I was properly prepared.

Once past the halfway point the hill flattens out until it is only very steep. But by this point I couldn’t do much but sit there and keep the pedals turning at the same rate. Slowly I could feel my heart rate dropping down and I managed to move up a gear. Then it was just a slog to the junction at the top. I tried to take in the view as I was going. It is a lovely view as I picture it in my mind but at the time I wasn’t moved to write poetry about it.

At the top of the hill I turned left and found a road that does deserve poetry. Last time I came up this hill I got to the top then turned around and went back. Today I had more time so I went for a longer ride. The road at the top of the hill follows the ridge that I had just climbed, gradually sloping downwards giving a wonderful, fast, easy ride with lovely views over the Dorset countryside. It almost made climbing the hill worthwhile.

As a bonus I went wrong on the way home (got carried away on the lovely fast road) and found some new hills to climb.

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