Following the disaster that was the 100m to nowhere, I have gone back to the Hack (MTB) for most of my riding since then, although I did toddle off up the hill to Flinders Uni yesterday on the Kennedy and I wanted to say something about my thoughts on this little hill…

It’s amazing the difference that confidence and familiarity (both with the road and the bike) can make to a rider’s confidence in themselves.

I have now lost count of the number of times I have ridden up the hill to the Uni. When I first started doing this little ride I did it on the MTB. There was no way, regardless of the number of gears it has, that I was ever going to get up that hill on that bike… and I haven’t yet. Then, having purchased my Single-Speed, I started riding up the hill on that. First it was with cages and straps for my feet and, following my trip to Canberra in April last year, I attempted the ride clipless. FAIL! I failed so badly one day that I clipstacked within inches of being able to get over the crest and, I suspect (though I have never had it checked) that I cracked my elbow in this fall. It still causes me grief on climbs.

Late last year, having taken up a different route (rather than taking a shortcut through the Accommodation Blocks of the Uni) straight up University Drive and the Ring Road, I was finally able to make it up without having to get off and walk… the greatest of these moments happened when I was wearing a pair of long denim shorts and the hem caught on my bidon, almost pulling it right out of its cage. I took a quick look down and it was sitting at an angle and my foot kept catching it on each pedal stroke. I unclipped my left foot and used it to push the bottle back into the cage. I then clipped back in and resumed pedaling. That section of the road is around about 8-9%.

Yesterday’s experience was, in some ways, similar. I have taken to riding up the bike path that runs adjacent to the road that I used to ride. Since my climbing abilities improved I am now able to negotiate the very tricky corner on this little track and can make the short climb relatively easily. This morning I was still in the BigRing when I arrived at the corner and there was a pedestrian on the path (it is dual use) and I was unable to take the easier outside track around the bend.

I was able to shift onto the small ring and change gears on the cassette, negotiate the corner, miss the pedestrian and increase speed up the climb. Confidence and fitness, along with the awareness of how my bike performs in different situations are what has made the difference between my first trips up the hill and now.

I just wish there was a mandatory course for Uni Students on manners and road laws to follow whilst driving. Some of them are Atrocious!!! Bike lane? What bike lane? they say as they cut me off around the corner… familiarity.

The next two days will be interesting. Tomorrow I will be out for part of the day with the family and then we are all coming home to pack for a road trip. We’re borrowing a car and heading East… tackling Canberra. This will mean a VERY early morning ride on Saturday in order for me to complete the 30daysofbiking. I haven’t missed one yet and I don’t plan on falling at the final hurdle.

Blog ya later.

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