Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The hills are alive with the sound of CRYING

By Luxo-D

Hills. Fear. Agony. Glory. Life.

Cycling...in my opinion, is defined by...the HILL. The hill brings hubris, fear, strength, doubt, and clarity to bicycling. Clearly, riding up a hill is a challenge. The difficultly is always sobering. Indeed, there is a profound satisfaction at the completion. Anticipation of finally getting over top offers a perverted relief, pure and simple. Obviously, riding up multiple hills is daunting. Riding up steep hills is truly awful. Riding up multiple, steep hills is...EPIC.

EPIC...Memorial Park Hill (Red Wing, Minnesota)
Making a run on the hills of Red Wing had been a TS goal all summer. The gauntlet had been thrown down and the Fait Accompli was set. Nestled in the bluffs of the Mississippi River overlooking this mid-western city, I scouted a course worthy of the challenge. As I set out on the grueling, multi steep hill challenge, I realized only too late, that it was much more difficult than I had imagined. After many already steep hills, one last hill in particular, tormented me to the brink. This was by far the most difficult hill I have climbed to date – Memorial Park Hill. This is the kind of hill that CRACKS a cyclist, with its steep, unending, winding approach to the top. Basically...KILLER HILL. It is not for flat lovers. Fortunately, a beautiful scenic overlook of the City of Red Wing and the Mississippi River awaits the rider at the top. If I didn't know better, I could have sworn I saw a skeleton of previous cyclist in a crevasse up the side of the hill.

The hill is the EQUALIZER
Doing hills often, and many, seems to be the key to success. Mentally and physically, it awakens the rider. Indeed, I relish these opportunities every time I set out on a ride. In a way, there seems to be a mythic adventure riding hills. Although riding the flats has its own rewards I guess...I for one live for the hills. Believe it or not, in our own back yard, The Giro Mendota offers tons of incredibly difficult hills to conquer. I have counted at least ten significant hills, three of which are very difficult, and one being extremely nasty.

There is no doubt that memories are made in the agony of steep hills, and just like the challenge goes in The Sound of Music, "Climb Every Mountain" is truer than you think.

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