Trail Ramblings: Give Hills A Chance.

I hope you all got out to enjoy the magnificent day we had yesterday, after the rainy chill of Saturday. I decided to take a spin through Pioneers Park, as I hadn’t been out there in a while. I do like to reacquaint myself every so often with the hills out there and enjoy the beauty of the park and it’s animals while I’m at it. The trails are much improved if you haven’t been out there in a few years.

There are beautiful trails now in Pioneers Park.

I do feel ever so slightly guilty riding them on my light weight bike rather than the heavy old bike I used to have. With that bike I really felt I’d climbed a hill. Yes, I climb considerably faster on the light bike, but there is something to be said for riding a beast like I had. It makes you stronger. I didn’t used to like the hills on my commuting routes. I used to ride often from near downtown where I live out to a frequent job site in east Lincoln via street surface bike routes. On that route I got to tackle the hill on L street from 49th to 48th on the way home. I didn’t always appreciate it, but it was good training. When I realized I could just take the Mopac, though it added distance, and get to my destination in the same amount of time without having to wait for traffic, I was hooked. I do prefer to take trails when I can for that reason, but I do kind of miss my old frenemies, the hills. I still have Sumner from Cotner to 48th St. when I need to go that way. There are a few others too, such as the Williamsburg trail spur from where it splits north of the lake on Pine Lake and climbs up to 38th street. That’s a good one. In icy conditions like we had it’s a no-go sheet of ice.

Williamsburg trail spur from 38th St.

If I have a headwind, and I’m if my time is running short to arrive at a work appointment, hills are not my friends at all. Rather than standing up and wailing on the pedals as I would do I have to hunker down for the long slog. If I were hauling a heavy trailer I would be looking for the flat routes as they do in hilly locales where they’ll choose a route four times longer just to avoid the climb. With our trail system and Lincoln’s fairly flat location, that’s seldom a problem here. We have wind instead.

A hill from last year’s Gravel Worlds. Yes, it was windy, too. Pirate Cycling League

Otherwise, I really don’t mind hills anymore most times, even on my somewhat heavier commuter bike and often with a load. It gets your blood pumping and heats you up nicely on a cold day. So embrace the climb, or at least don’t be afraid of it. It does get easier (and a lighter weight bike can certainly help).