It Takes Longer to Walk It

Helen Bailey

Helen Bailey

I hate hills. I really don’t like starting a story with such a belligerent statement. But, the truth is that I hate hills. Unless you’re riding somewhere in the Midwest, you will encounter them. I only know a few people that like hills. Actually, just one person and I hate him too. Well, no I don’t actually hate him, but I do envy him.

Hills used to bring out my ugly side. There would be cursing, crying, promises to never ride again, ugly snot dripping crying, prayers to God, hardcore cursing; followed by a flood of shame, anger, self-doubt, and exhaustion.

When I first started riding, I would get off my bike and walk my bike up hills…like it was a puppy. “Come on Tallulah, let’s walk up this hill.” Over time, I built up my confidence and looked at hills from a different perspective. I love a challenge, and nothing is more challenging than a freakin’ hill.

When I lived in Troutman, I remember a particular hill that would kick my butt on every ride. There was no way around this stupid hill. I had to take this hill in order to get home. “Ugh, come on Tallulah.” After several attempts, I got tired of defeat and accepted the challenge.

At first, I would set a goal. Okay, make it to the tree and then take a break. Make it to the next driveway and then take a break. Pray to God it will be over soon, and then take a break. Soon, I was able to keep moving without taking a break. I remember the day I kicked that hill’s ass. This time the tears were from sheer delight.

A month later I rode in a twenty-mile charity ride like a champ. The only stop I made was at a rest stop to top off my water. The first hill, I passed a dude. A few miles later I passed a couple people on a steep incline. Oh, and that couple riding a tandem; which I think is cheating. Two people, one bike…okay? I passed them three times. The last time I was tired of dealing with their combined energy so I gave them a, “See ya!” and I took off. I wasn’t the fastest rider, but I kept a consistent pace. I didn’t stop and walk up the hills either. I was so proud of myself when I crossed the finish line.

Unfortunately a move, work, and life got in the way of me riding on a regular basis. So guess what! I’m back to hating hills. Except now, I just remind myself that it takes longer to walk it.