The Hill

Hill Climbs for Road Bikers Near Denver | Westword
All hills in Illinois look like this.

In regards to any outdoor activity, my biggest adversary is two blocks away from my house and it’s only a nemesis on the return home from any route. My adversary is a small hill and it slays me every time.

The USGS tells me it’s only a 30 foot gain over .2 miles. That doesn’t sound bad, but this graph is more compelling. 

It sucks. Every. Time. 

On a bike and it’s 91 in the summer? Sucks. On a bike and it’s an idyllic spring evening? Sucks. Fall? You guessed it: sucks. Winter? It probably sucks. 

Every time I round the corner into the literal homestretch, I know this beast awaits me. Sure I could try to find a different route, but when I’m on a bike I can’t. Suffering through The Hill allows me to avoid a major four lane road. On foot, changing the route would be easier, but slightly complicates measuring out and back routes. 

You could say that The Hill and how much I dread it means that every time I push through it builds character. You could also say ‘no pain, no gain.’ Or I should push until I stop.

I don’t want any of those slogans to be true. The warranty on my body expired when I turned 30. I don’t want pain. I already have enough character, thank you very much. Pushing until you stop sounds sadistic. 

The Hill lies and waits for me like a spider waiting for flies*. Unless Illinois’ tectonic plates move, I don’t think The Hill will be going anywhere soon. And to the fine people who live along this cursed stretch of land, my deepest apologies for years of profanity being uttered by me as I drag my bag of bones along. 

* apologies to coping that line from a Simpsons episode