Hills are good for you. Cyclists sometimes go to great lengths to avoid hills. They take longer routes, dive into busy traffic grids or avoid places they would like to go but don’t because a hill is in the way. If you start small and build up your tolerances towards them they will not seem as bad. I have found that a hill that used to be challenging now fun. It helps to have a problem to solve to distract your brain as you climb. Thinking about every pedal stroke can make a hill seem far longer than if you can get into something that is bothering you and work out the solution as you climb the beast. Riding with someone is also a great distraction.
The anaerobic aspect of hill climbing is very important to building a strong vascular system from toes to brain. Being able to push up a hill for twenty minutes with only a quick break for water is a great way to exercise your heart and lungs. You may sweat, you may sweat a lot and you may experience some pain as your muscles work towards exhaustion but this is good. You will push all that nasty rancid oil out of your pours that has been building up since you last had a good sweat and you will improve your muscle tone inside and out if you incorporate a hill into your regular ride. Sweat only stinks when you do it occasionally and your rancid oil is pushed out, if you push it regularly hard enough to sweat the stink is dealt with and when you perspire you will smell like you. Down with artificial perfumes and deodorants, they don’t really mask your stink. The best way to deal with body odor is to sweat regularly.
My favorite hill is the climb from New Westminster’s Board Walk, where my bike shop, Fraser River Bike Tours is located, up the BC Parkway bike route through New West into Burnaby right into Central Park. There and back, a fun descent, is 25 km and Central Park is a great place to take a break, dry out, hydrate, eat a power bar before heading back. Bring some snacks for the squirrels, chipmunks and ducks and you will have some entertainment when you pause. The descent is a lot of fun and safe if you use you brain when crossing some of the intersections. They are well marked and most have lights. Yesterday I watched some adrenalin fueled nutbar blow right through a red light and almost get creamed by a truck. He was flying and having a ball but the truck driver almost had a heart attack. It’s just a matter of time before that cyclist becomes another statistic, Darwinian Fitness you might say.
So go find your self a hill and incorporate it into your ride. The first time up it you will be cursing me, the second time it will not seem so bad and the third time and thereafter you will understand that hills do build character.