Take Your Medicine.

In the compressed world of my elevation graph, Hiland road looks like a seven mile steady climb.
  
The truth is, it's not all climbing. There's false flats, flats, and even a dip or two. Few of these are long enough that you'd notice them going up. What you're focused on is that next stretch of up that may or may not extend past that next corner. It's seven miles of suck.
   
I can't say I've ever had an awesome ride up Hiland. Mainly it's a lot of lactic acid and straining and sweating and going really, really slow. However, like a tetanus booster after you slash your hand on some rusty metal, it probably is good for you in the long run.
  
I picked a beautiful day to climb it. Sun and warm temperatures dominated, so I was melting as I climbed up. The lack of shoulder only was a problem when a car passed me, wheezing in its own way. Nobody was having a great time. No records were in danger of being broken, but I kept my steady pace.
  
At the top, which abruptly ends without warning at a couple houses, I stopped and let my heart rate return back to double my lactic threshold. I wrung a gallon of sweat from my headband and let the slight breeze cool me off. Relief oozed into my legs, as the worst of it was over. For the most part, it was all downhill from there.
  
I usually am cautious on the descent the first time I ride down each year. Gravel and broken pavement always seem to catch me at the worst possible moments, but the new pavement gave me more confidence than my skills really warrant. I tucked into the cockpit, as tight as my flab would let me, and resisted the urge to touch the brakes. Fortunately no police were on hand to witness my blatant disregard for speed limits, and my incredible feat of allowing gravity to do its thing was only witnessed by a handful of rednecks in rusty F350s and a couple hippies in an old Subaru held together with bumper stickers.
  
Once at the bottom and more or less intact, I found that my legs were pretty much useless for turning the pedals anymore. The last few miles were done at a recovery pace, which was fine with me. I got my shot of what was good for me, which I chased with a couple gas station hot dogs for good measure.
  
Life is about balance.

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