The Hill

Published 2008-07-31

Every day I ride my bike over the Hill. Well, almost every day. About one day in ten I don’t ride the bike at all — I ride the bus.

About one day a week I’m too tired to ride over the Hill, so I ride “around” it.

In good weather I might ride over the Hill as many as three times (once at lunch).

The Hill is about 1100 feet above sea level at Council Crest. I don’t always ride all the way to Council Crest, some days I coast around the summit on Fairmount Drive, between 900 and 1000 feet. If I don’t ride over the hill, I have to ride “around” it which is actually more direct than going over it, but still requires that I climb to about 500 feet above sea level.

Our house is at about 400 foot elevation, and my office downtown is around 100 feet above sea level. Whether I conquer the hill going to work or from work matters.

The great thing about riding my bike over the Hill, other than being on a bike and making it go up a hill which are a priori pleasant sensations to me, is that I have a sense of accomplishment. I forgot to do the dishes, the redesign at work remains unfinished, I fucked up my breakfast sudoku, haven’t mowed the lawn in three weeks, keep putting off my freelance project, haven’t been to yoga since June 9 ... plenty of stuff in my life is unfinished, hell the state of life is that it’s unfinished. When it’s finished, you’re dead.

But nuts to all that, I just rode my bike up a big hill. So none of that other stuff is finished but I just accomplished something and it was a little bit difficult.

The art of ascending is deeply mental. You think a little about suffering, which is good for the soul. Really monster climbers, polka-dot-jersey climbers: I think they’re oblivious to suffering. They become hill-climbing bicycle engines and their minds go OFF. I feel that suffering, but kind of don’t hate it. At the least, I know that every hill has a summit, sooner or later I’ll reach it.