Archive for March, 2009

hoorayI’m soooo elated. Guess what! Remember that terrible time I had with mhoorayy first uphill slog back in in January  Well… I managed to cycle up that same hill today without a problem!   I can’t believe it.  It wasn’t a struggle. I definitely surprised myself! 


Whether its the deep breathing (no more dizzy spells), changing into the right gears or the practise on that goddamn awful 5% gradient on Burbage Road last week, or maybe that one aerobiking class I took,  I didn’t struggle going up this particular hill!  You don’t need aerobiking classes the instructors said.  Waste of time.  Nah!  You don’t need it.  Just keep going uphill!  You need to get up those hills!


Well, looking back, I thought it was a hill but it’s not. It’s just a slope.   I must be getting fitter then.  After last week, I felt depressed, deflated and defeated.  But today I got up that hill   errr….slope.  Imagine what I could do with a few more aerobiking classes under my belt and/or just riding around as one commenter, Kate mentioned.


Today there was no separate skills lessons as such, but practise straight out onto the road all the way, on the mostly flat A206 with cycle paths, to Greenwich Town Centre.  Greenwich is such a historic and tourist area that its gets very crowded both with pedestrians and standstill traffic jams but most people know about Greenwich from the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and that its the Prime Meridian of the World (more about that in other posts).


I was well pleased with myself.  Got compliments from the instructors.  They, too, noticed the difference between today and my first attempt on that  hill slope.  They said that I found my element;  busy traffic whizzing past our ears, road works, multi lane roundabouts with loads of traffic lights!  And Yes!  The smile came back and beamed from my face.  No more contortions!  Yippee. I did enjoy today, up that slope and my first time down the A206!  Thank God for that!

Strapless Sandals in the Spring


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uphill2Today was awful.  We did a circuit that involved a very long and steep hill up Burbage Road!  Protestations did not matter as I was outvoted, I had no choice but it was deflating.


Burbage Road was very steep, about 5% they said which flattened out half way up and then became even steeper for the other half.   C‘mon, c’mon, you can do it, don’t stop, it’s all in the mind… was all I heard behind me from the instructor.  Great, but I found it hard to concentrate on traffic skills whilst trying to push and push those pedals round and round. 


It was a ‘B’ road busy with buses, parked cars, traffic and side roads at the junctions.  Wow..trying to signal, look behind, watch the traffic whilst my pedalling got slower and slower and slower up the hill was a nightmare.  Cycling uphill is sooooo depressing. 


It was not my intention when I started this journey, to cycle around with a face in contorted agony!


Look, we’re nearly there…  Keep going. You can do it.  Don’t stop!  You can’t stop now!  We’re near the top.  Yes I can and I don’t care how near the top is, I’m stopping and I did!! You’ll feel better afterwards, he encouraged, keep going.   How can I feel better afterwards?   How does knowing that its so damn hard now, make me feel any better afterwards??


Well, I stopped three or four times.  Although I got in the right gears, I was left behind as the others seemingly glided up the hill without much effort.  I tried to walk  for a bit to catch up with the others but the instructor blocked me with his bike, so I determindly pushed my bike on the pavement instead!


Then more pushing and thigh agony ensued.  Breath through your nose and out your mouth shouted the instructor – the opposite of what I was doing, catching gasps of air through my open mouth.  As soon as I took his advice, I felt dizzy!  Had to stop and then received a comprehensive account of why I should breath in through my nose……


Eventually got to the top, turned left onto another main road full of different sized hills and downs but none as much as that 5%  Burbage Road.  I would never have thought that South London was so damn hilly!  Certainly the area I came from originally wasn’t.


The descents were very scary. I held onto the brakes gently so that I didn’t fly through the air over the handlebars if the bike had to stop suddenly. Up another slope, not as steep thank God, which amazingly I didn’t struggle too much with that one and back to base via the High Street.


The High Street, by this time, was jam packed but as a group we couldn’t weave in and out of traffic as the instructors could.  Riding on the inside of traffic was OK except when the buses stopped and blocked our way!  Therefore we rode behind the cars in the middle of the lanes, blocking traffic from overtaking or undertaking but I really felt deflated and defeated. 


I was fed up.  Problems with hills weren’t in my concept base or topics of conversations or even occurred to me in any shape or form in my life until I started this journey.  But then, I suppose every journey has its downs as well as ups.  However, judging myself against the other learners I seem to be much more unfit than I originally thought I was. 


You’ll feel better afterwards, they encouraged Yeah!  Right!  Surely I can’t be the only one who dreads going uphill!

The Saga of Cycling Uphill 


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