As a cyclist the thing I hate the most is a gradual incline. Give me a vast expanse of flat land and I am one happy camper. I'm a prairie girl, the love of flat is in my DNA. My second choice would be hills because at least you see the end point, plus you get to go down the other side. Gradual inclines though, those are torture.
I went on my first "long" ride this week down the highway from the cottage. I say "long" because it was only 20km but I didn't want to push myself too hard. I just wanted to have a nice ride to start off my serious training. Guys, that 20km kicked my ass. It wasn't the overall distance, but about 3.5km of straight incline that almost killed me.
My mental breakdown went something like this:
km .5 - Oh, an incline, that's okay, it will be over soon.
km 1 - *looks ahead* awww shit.
km 2 - I just really want to stop, this is not awesome.
km 2.5 - Yup, I'm just going to quit, I can be fat for the rest of my life....
km 2.55 - Just keep pedaling
And keep pedaling I did, I promised myself I could quit, that I could just turn around and go back to the cottage, but for some reason I never did. My mantra became "you can do this" and it got me though to the end. I knew that if I kept going I would get to turn around and go back down that same stretch, and I would get to go fast. That was the carrot I dangled in front of me, and I fell for it. The way back was worth it though, I did not lead myself astray. I even managed to find my max speed and grinned like a lunatic all the way home.
Hard rides are inevitable, but I know that if I just keep pedaling I will make it though, hopefully with the wind in my hair and a grin on my face. If not, any km I can get in the saddle will only help in the long run.