no one line

A New Hill
October 14, 2009, 6:02 pm
Filed under: climbing

This morning, I spent some time staring at maps of Northampton, Massachusetts to figure out some potentially excellent bike routes that I could frequent after I relocate. In particular, I was trying to identify the hills that I had seen while I was up there, and find out if there are routes up them.

One in particular – the big hill closest to my new house – does indeed have a road going up it, and it offers a fairly challenging 800 feet of elevation gain in a little over a mile and a half. For reference, I thought of the Alpine hill on River Road. In New York it’s our bread and butter. About eight miles from the George Washington Bridge, it’s 500 feet of elevation gain in a mile and a half. It’s not so much that it’s a terribly challenging climb. Instead, it’s just there, as the most accessible challenge that you do over and over throughout a season, that you get familiar with it, that becomes a way for you to get familiar with yourself.

Remember those first times when you struggled up it? Remember when you started realizing that you were doing it a lot faster than you used to? Do you know that feeling when you hit the top and you’re tired because you went hard at the bottom, and the crappy pavement becomes demoralizing? Remember that time you felt worse than you felt any time prior, but when you got to the top, you realized that you went up it much faster than ever before?

I’m looking forward to developing a new relationship with this new hill. Climbing it more often. Getting faster. My first two ascents rewarded me with stunning views south through the river valley, heaving lungs, and a desire to return. I think it will become a much-beloved nemesis.

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