Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Fool on The Hill - 1 out of 10


...which is weird because all of my cycling friends are fine with hills.  Oh, but they all weigh about 165 pounds.  Even their bike tires are skinny.  But do you know how some of them got to that weight?  By riding their bikes, even uphill.

I live in a valley, literally.  My "river loop" route that I normally ride is 6.5 miles of mostly flat bike path, along a river-bed.  Given that I live in the desert, I have only seen water in that river about 3-4 times over the past 6 years, but they still call it a river-bed.

So, if you live in a valley and don't want to just ride around a bunch of sand, you have to "ride hills" to get more scenery and distance, to alleviate the monotony of the same route.

The hills around me are tough (for a man of my stature), but not impossible.  I have climbed La Canada about 15 times now.  But as time passes between those climbs, it becomes more intimidating.   It's like it gets steeper somehow.  Makes a wimpy guy like me want to keep that bike in the garage and move to a flat terrain somewhere.

I was talking with new friend, Mike, recently.  He is an experienced cyclist.  We were talking about how some people are just really good at hills.  They have larger thigh muscles and can stomp up hills like mountain goats.  Mike is a mountain goat.  Neighbor Ted and my friend Weegie are mountain goats.  Good for them.

I asked Mike "So, how do you get good at riding hills?"  He laughingly responded "you ride hills".  You might have seen that one coming.  I think I did too. 

So, I will commit to a new mini-challenge for myself.  This fool will "ride hills" 10 times before Father's Day.   This also means that 'll be cycling more, which is needed for Mrs. Clyde's iTouchallenge.  I'll post the count in the title as I get this done.  Yesterday I climbed what I will call "Short Hill loop".  It is 9.3 miles and the loop took me 43 minutes of  hard work to complete.  

Details:  From my driveway to the hill-top was 21 minutes...that was the hard part.  The rest of it was just a sprint on a more flat terrain and the quick downhill descent.  I'm including the detail here so that I can benchmark and see how I do as I progress. I'll vary the distance, but the initial hill-top climb will be the constant.  1 down, 9 to go.

(By the way, I love these old cycling posters from France.  I have been following some new sites that are really into "bicycle art" and I want to use some cool cycling images.  If any of you French-Canadians out there want to translate these posters, that could be pretty cool for the rest of us.)

Keep riding everyone!

Big Clyde

P.S.  Thanks to ALL for the encouragement after my weigh-in post.  I especially want to thank RockStar Tri who encouraged me by simply saying "less writing, more riding" and Massive Marcus and ZeusMeatball for the straight talk.  It is easier to blog, than to do the work.  Good reminders for me.  Much appreciated.

Also, RockStar:  On my ride today, I wore those bib shorts that you sent, along with my original jersey.  I love those bib shorts!  Thanks so much for the gear.  My jersey fits great now, even a little loose.  Soon, I'll offer it to an newbie Clydesdale to pay it forward.


Al (losingharry) said...

You bash the Canadians and then ask for help? That's ballsy Clyde. i like it.

The best part about riding up hill is that you get to ride back down which is a heck of a lot easier. I think that can be applied to weight loss as well. The harder you push up hill, the easier the weight will come off down hill.

Big Clyde said...

Al: officially, it was my stupid cousin "Duke" who bashed our wonderful Canadian friends. He is dead to me now (at least for awhile). All in good fun, I hope.

Yeah, I need to conquer my thoughts that these hills are "so hard"...they're tough, but only for 21 minutes. So, I'll just attack the hills and show them who's in charge.

CinciMom11 said...

I took a few years of French in high school, and the translation I came up with in my head is hilarious! There are a few words on the poster that I don't know, so I made up my own translations. I can't wait to see the real translation!!

I like your new challenge idea! Continuously challenging yourself is the best way to live life. It's the best way to find your best self. Good for you!

If you wouldn't feel like a total dork biking with a camera, you should snap some shots of the scenery along your riverbed trail! That sounds beautiful.

midlife_swimmer said...

I have a friend who just got cramp on shoes or whatever they are called and he told me that the hills are easier being clipped in to his pedals.

JoAnn said...

Clyde, I live in VERMONT. Talk about hills! I can't ride anywhere flat near my house. I guess if I drive to a bike path it would be flatish.

Your thigh muscles will strengthen up fast, you'll be amazed. They may still burn, but that's good, right?

RockStarTri said...

I'd rather ride my bike up the hill rather than walk up that same hill. :)

You might want to try different ways to be more efficient climbing (ie pedal faster in a lower gear vs. slower in a harder gear, focus a few feet ahead of the front tire when things get hard). Once of the best mindsets is to think you are dancing up the hill. I advise my athletes to get a crappy disco tune in their head (like Funkeytown) and boogie up the incline. Try it. Corny, but it works.

Great that you are using the kit!

Jennifer said...

Ugh! Hills - I am with you Clyde - they are tough. I haven't really figured out any great ways to conquer hills but I do often repeat this phrase; "power up" - like the Wonder Twins or some computer thing - I don't really know but it seems to help. Keep going man - you rock!

Mongo Dude said...

Riding up hills on my bike is so easy, I have a hard time understanding the problem. My bike has 87 HP and will do the 1/4 mile in 10.8 seconds. I can hit 70 mph in second gear, so am not sure what to do with the other four gears. Going up even a big steep hill is a breeze. But, since I wrecked this bike (and my body) in a collision with a deer on May 8th, I'm going back to riding my jet-ski. My favorite ride is fairly flat, no hills, no mud, no gravel, but once in a while, there is a little chop on the water.

Anonymous said...


The hills are much easier if you attach a rope to the back of the minivan and have the wife tug you up.

Neighbor Ted

Michael said...

What comes up, must come down!