I can finally say I no longer fear biking true hills! I live in the Midwest and what we call a hill around here would be laughable to anyone that actually has hills in their area. When we ride “hills” it mean we go to a slightly lower gear and lower our speed to 17-18 mph. Well, the good news is I also live only 2.5 hours where Greg Lemond used to train for the Tour de France. The area of Wisconsin west of Madison was formed by glaciers and has sustained climbs with grades difficult to find almost anywhere. This is where an event called the Horrible Hilly Hundreds is held each year. It is considered the toughest one day bike ride in the Midwest. It is a ride between 70-120 miles and between 6,700-10,500 feet of climbing. I completed it last week.
Needless to say it was a fun challenge for me. I swapped out my cassette for an 11-28 and promptly did not ride ONE hill before this event. I have done a similar ride so I basically knew what I was getting myself into. We had perfect weather for the first few hours and for the first 50 miles, I was slow, but very steady. I actually started to enjoy the rhythm of working my way up the hill and then being rewarded with a very fast downhill. It is a very different type of riding that I was used to. There is no drafting and certainly no coasting on the uphill climbs. Many climbs had grades of 10% and greater! I found that the mental aspect of the ride was perhaps as difficult of the physical. There was no one to tuck behind to pull you along. You had to earn every inch of this ride. There was great camaraderie among all the riders. Had a great time…. perhaps I should now consider the Triple Bypass Ride!
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As a bicycle accident lawyer, I must mention, that it is very important, as always, to be very careful on rides with such steep downhill rides. In fact, unfortunately one of the registered riders on our ride crashed and was life flighted to the ER. Always use common sense and stay at 80% of your abilities, this way you have some room for any unexpected twists and turns!
Ride. Be safe. Have Fun.
Bicycle Injury Lawyer/ Enthusiast
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