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:
- 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.
- Guess how many minutes it’ll take to get to the top and then count the seconds to see if you’re right.
- Guess how many pedal strokes it’ll take to get to the top and then count the pedal strokes.
- 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.
- 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.