The Hill


fort snelling.png

Near Fort Snelling there is a very steep hill (bad picture above) that connects a bike trail to the Mendota Bridge. The hill has a good 30+ degree slant and is long. For us flatlanders in the Midwest, it’s a pretty nasty hill for bike riders, the steepest I know of along the river. Early this summer I tried to ride up the hill but had to get off about mid-way and walk. I vowed that by the end of the summer I would be able to ride my bike all the way up that hill.

If life was a Hollywood movie, what would be seen next is a montage (with a kick-ass rock song on the sound track) of me exercising, training on other hills, working that hill and getting closer and closer to the top before I had to get off. But life isn’t a Hollywood movie with rockin’ montages. I did remember my vow and when I was riding my bike this summer I would attack any hill I came across a little harder. I hadn’t, however, been back to the Fort Snelling trail.

This being Minnesota, the bike riding season is fast coming to an end and my vow was weighing on me. Thankfully Saturday was a beautiful day and I had some time. I was going to see if I could make it up that hill. It might be my last time I had this season.

Coming up to the hill I was pretty confident, I noticed that other hills that had given me trouble earlier in the year were easily ascented but as ?The Hill? drew nearer, my mind was clouded with doubts. First among them is that the hill trail is perpendicular to the river trail, meaning I wouldn’t have a running start. But more worrisome was what if I failed? What would that do to my confidence? Would that mean the hundreds of miles I put on my bike this summer would be for naught? I approached the hill with trepidation and had further worries when I came to the hill and, due to the nice weather, found it full of other walkers and bikers – I would have to weave my way around them.

Life throws hills at us all the time. Relationships, work, finances, old houses and cars, etc., seem to constantly present some sort of obstacle that we need to overcome. Just dealing with those day-to-day obstacles can be physically and mentally tough, sometimes overwhelmingly so. But I think it’s also important challenge ourselves with hills of our own making. It doesn’t matter what it is, it can be improvements in your personal relationships, it can be that you’re finally going to learn how to play guitar, it can be stop smoking or lose weight. The important thing is to set a realistic goal and accomplish it. Just by doing that you can gain more confidence to address all those other problems that life throws at you.

So yes I made it up the hill. In fact about a third of the way up I knew I was going to make it. It was a lung buster and wasn’t easy but I made true my June vow. Even more satisfying than making it up the hill was the fact that I passed two guys probably 20 years younger than me walking their bikes. Will making it up that hill change my life? Probably not, but who knows maybe it will a little bit, and if I can make little changes for the better, maybe they will add up to bigger changes over time. Know what my next goal is? To stay in shape over the winter so that on the first nice weekend in April when I bring my bike out for the first time, I attack that hill and once again make it up without stopping.

How about you, any hills you’re trying to conquer?


Congrats and good for you! I have a hill of my own I am ontemplating ....

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This page contains a single entry by Freealonzo published on October 20, 2008 1:50 PM.

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