Monday, July 11, 2011

Hell on Wheels. Literally.

I biked the mother of all hills this past weekend. I also almost died. You’re lucky I didn’t, otherwise I wouldn’t be here to warn you about it. Also, thank the lord I had my bike shorts. I find that going uphill hurts the lady parts more than flat or downhill. But that’s not what you want to hear about right now, I’m sure.  A few weeks ago, I biked the triathlon bike route in Hopkinton in preparation for my triathlon in September. After completing it in 1:12, I figured I needed more hill training, since it is pretty hilly. I can now say that I’d rather bike that route in Hopkinton 50 times in a row than to ever do what I did on Sunday ever again. In addition to almost dying, I almost puked. In fact, the entire way up the hills, I was trying to decide whether I had to puke, or if I was going to die. And if you think I’m kidding or exaggerating, you are sorely mistaken. It’s all true.

I planned to bike 6 miles from my house to a beach-y area with a grocery store across the street called 19 Mile Bay. I drove the route over the July 4th weekend and saw just how hilly it was and was even commenting at the time that I probably wouldn’t do it because the hills seemed extreme. It was all downhill (minus one big uphill) on the way to 19 Mile Bay and all uphill (minus that one down) on the way back.

For some reason, this weekend I decided to “Git R Done”. Only because I like Larry the Cable Guy.

Upon leaving my driveway, I had the option to go downhill then turn left for a very short flat area, then turn right and meet an uphill; Or, I could go uphill for a short period, then turn right downhill, then another right and go downhill until I met the uphill. I figured I’d get more momentum into the uphill if I started out doing the latter. So I turned left and went uphill to start. Do you know how hard it is to start out on a steep incline? Your heart rate shoots up and your legs cramp up with no appropriate warm up. A.) Not smart. B.) Legs hurt. C.) Lungs burn. D.) Never doing that again.

Once I hit the first uphill, I realized that I had made a huge mistake, but I was only 5 minutes in and I knew I couldn’t just quit. I’m not a quitter and I knew I’d do more damage to my own mental state by quitting. So I kept going. I hated myself at that moment, but I kept going.

Then I looked up and saw the view. It was gorgeous. Biking in the mountains has one perk and one perk only. During the downhill parts, you get some crazy nice views.
Okay, so you see more pavement than anything.
But there is a view there, and where the road disappears...
that's a HUGE downhill right there.
The rest of the way out was downhill and my max speed was 30mph. Funny how I wasn’t contemplating death while hurdling myself down a mountain at 30mph on a bike. Trust me, going up was worse. It took me 0:33 to get to 19 Mile Bay. It was close to 6 miles. The return time? Yeah, that was 1:08. That’s how bad it was.

On the way back, the gradual inclines were doable. I could spin in a lower gear and maintain about 8-10 mph. It was the steep hills that were torture. For those I was in the lowest gear possible and during one hill (coming back up that hill in the picture that you can't really see, but it's there!), I had to stop at every telephone pole on the way up. But I Did. Not. Walk. With each pedal I had a mantra going on in my head:  “Walking isn’t an option. Walking isn’t an option.” It worked. After the one downhill on the way back, I hit the hill I had busted out my 30 mph on. I realized then why I was able to hit 30 mph on it. It was almost as steep as my mantra hill. This time, though, I didn’t have anything left in me. I stopped at the bottom of it to text my mom and let her know that I was still alive since I was running behind schedule and didn’t want her to panic. She has a thing for panicking. My text read: Almost home. Still alive. Barely. Might puke.

This is what a near death experience looks like.
I made it 3/4 up the final hill and just didn’t have anything left in me. So I walked. Once back on even ground, I got back on and rode the final few feet of downhill. At this point I wanted to get off the bike so bad, I was cursing the downhill for being so steep that I had to ride my brakes. I didn’t want to ride my brakes because that meant I was slowing down and I wanted to be off the bike FAST.

I was greeted with cheers from the house of “Yay! You did it!”, “You survived it!” and “Congrats!”. It took all I had in me to not reply “Bite me”. But I’m mature. Kinda.

I can now add this to the list of things I’m never doing again.


  1. LOL you are funny. But yay for surviving it!

  2. Yeah... I don't think I'd want to bike that. You are a rockstar! I admire your mental strength to overcome those hills.


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