Queen of the Hill

Wow! It’s always a great feeling when you face down a fear.

In case you hadn’t picked up on it, I have had some fears associated with riding the bike. Background:  I am the child who had training wheels on her bike until about 3rd or 4th grade and had never ridden a bike with gears until I trained for my first Danskin sometime in my 30s.

Lots to work on there.

Getting my new bike, which fits me just right, and having friends to ride with and a great coach to encourage and guide me has helped me over a lot of hurdles. All that brings me to today.

Tackling Hills and Fear on Crystal Falls Parkway

Our workout (actually ONE of our workouts for today; we also had a swim at Barton Springs and strength training) was 1-1.5 hours of bike with 5xhill repeat thrown in, lady’s choice on the hill. My training partner, Malinda, lives further north than I do and had a hill workout she liked, so I decided to head over there instead of hitting my ‘hood again. It’s nice to go against the traffic in the morning, taking the toll road and zipping along.

The route was on Crystal Falls Parkway;  I hadn’t been out there and we drove it first, because Malinda knows I have some issues. Uh, OMG, I began to have palpitations–not over the uphill (ok, just a little concern) but over the DOWNHILL. You know it’s bad when there’s the “steep grade” sign with the truck on the slanty pyramid at the top of the hill. Plus, there was a right-hand turn at the bottom followed by a small uphill and a turn-about to your left before heading down to the uphill portion, the actual meat-and-potatoes of the workout. Aaaccccckkkkkk.

As we rode out the first time, I thought to myself that perhaps riding in the car had made everything seem worse. Not true; that first downhill was as steep as it looked and I was full of fear. I had visions of laying the bike down on the turn. I wasn’t about to look at my computer to see my speed. The uphill on that baby was HARD too. I was out of gears in the first third of the hill.

My buddy makes going uphill look very easy; I tried to imagine she was pulling me up. I made it, and the next uphill wasn’t horrible (just bad), and the final uphill wasn’t really noticeable. We did the route again; the third time, it began to sprinkle as we were coming up the big hill. Oh no–the idea of flying down that steep hill with a slippery surface was really giving me angst. Afterall, I still have flashbacks to rolling my Jeep on a misty day, and a bike is nothing like a car!

At the turnaround I talked to Malinda and Robin, her friend who had joined us, about my fear of the possibly slippery downhill. Both were very sweet; Robin said I shouldn’t do it if I was that afraid, and Malinda encouraged me to go out and make a decision (I could always turn around before the downhill). We headed out; the sprinkling stopped; I wound up going down the hill. Repeat number 4=out of the way.

Back at the turn around, I said I wasn’t sure about the fifth, that I might just turn around at the top of the hill…  my training buddy looked at me and said, “You’ve done four; let’s do the fifth one together; you’re not getting out of this so easy.”

And I did the fifth one!

With me going as slow as possible and feathering my brakes, my max speed was 38 mph. And I had a car behind me on the fifth one. I DID IT! I DID IT!

Whew. It made the rest of the days’ workouts pretty anticlimactic.

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at www.leahruns100.com, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

0 thoughts on “Queen of the Hill

  1. You\’re awesome….and FEARLESS! I knew it was safe and that you would be so proud of yourself. I\’m glad you had fun :)! Thanks for joining me….it was a treat and maybe next time Cathy can join us.

  2. For all that you said you were freaked out by mass starts, you didn\’t show it at Armadillo, and you did a fantastic job. I think everyone has their fears and their hangups, and it\’s all about how you comport yourself when you\’re faced with them. And you\’ve proven that in that situation, you\’re incredibly strong and brave, and that\’s really amazing. Go, Leah!

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