Surviving Hills / by Lisa

Although we’re only two weeks in, I (Lisa) have already banked up a wealth of advice on how to survive long climbs. Riding around Chicago and doing a few spin classes a week didn’t really prepare me for the mental/physical challenge of getting up some of the hills we’ve seen so far. Here are a few of my tactics for getting to the top of a hill:

  1. Sing a song to yourself.  For some reason, right now the only two songs I can remember all the words to are Angel From Montgomery and Kiss From a Rose. I’ve sung each one I’d guess about 100 times at this point, so they’re burned in my brain forever.
  2. Guess how many minutes it’ll take to get to the top and then count the seconds to see if you’re right.
  3. Guess how many pedal strokes it’ll take to get to the top and then count the pedal strokes. 
  4. Stare at the ground and only look up every minute or so. There is nothing more depressing than staring up a hill that’ll take 15 minutes to get up—it feels like you’re barely moving. 
  5. Chant mantras. My most effective ones have been:  “I am strong,” “My legs are a machine,” “Shut up legs” (thanks, Ben), and Jacob’s favorite, “I AM A WOMAN.” There are also a few in there that involve cursing the hill, but you’ll have to ride one with me to hear those.

It’s crazy what a difference two weeks has made. Hills that would’ve killed me in those first days are a breeze now. And there is nothing like pounding up a hill for a mile, then getting to an ocean view vista at the top and a 30mph descent down the other side.