Everyone must think I'm crazy. And I think my knees must think I'm crazy too, because I love biking hills.
This part of Pennsylvania is full of the kind of rolling hills that made "rolling hills" a phrase to begin with. The landscape bounces between small historic towns, open airy fields, and cool dark forests, all occasionally crossed by highways, roads, or dirt paths. Colonial farmhouses and barns stand watch over the fields cloaked in crops of corn, soy beans, and wheat that waves in the wind the way you'd expect to see in a movie scene. They're dotted with cows and sheep and strange bikers who like to sit alongside them. I see all this for miles as I crest another hill, pausing at the top to stare, gasp for breath, and smile, occasionally remembering to snap another picture of coco the road goat. Getting to the top of those hills was a grind, and not just on my gears.
But it was worth it.
Each one of those hills was an adrenaline rush. First from the challenge and the physical push to get to the top, finding just the right gear to keep moving at a good pace without your legs wanting to fall off (the goal is always to avoid that of course). Then the moment of celebration at the peak, when the blood rushes back out of your legs, straight to your head, and eventually somewhere to get some oxygen back in you. The best part by far is the downhill, when you drop your hands to the lower handlebars, push up all your gears, and get a pedaling start, picking up speed until you're diving down a clear open Pennsylvania country road faster than you could possibly pedal.
When you put all those mini adrenaline rushes together on rolling hills, it's constant. You're just high on life, struggling in a way, but thriving in a different sort of way. It's wonderful. Eventually you pull your breaks to a halt, and slowly, then all of a suddenly, start to feel all your muscles again. They start to tighten up as you shove your face full of dinner (and dessert, gotta make up for those hills somehow). Then when you inevitably stand up to fast they pull you back down and remind you why everyone thinks you're crazy for loving hills.
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