DO THE THING YOU DREAD

Bicycling (South Africa) - - FIT CHICK -

It makes no sense to me that filling a vir­tual tro­phy case made me the fittest I’ve ever been. I’ve al­ways been a me­diocre (and re­luc­tant) climber. But then I started join­ing Strava’s monthly climb­ing chal­lenges. Be­fore I knew it I was tack­ing lo­cal mon­sters onto rides and choos­ing pointy routes in­stead of flat ones. Once, with just a day left and a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of ver­ti­cal me­tres be­tween me and that month’s badge, I hit the big­gest hills I could find un­til my com­puter ticked over to the magic num­ber. I even crafted a sadis­tic 30-kay ride that had me go­ing up and over a ridge near my house mul­ti­ple times, gain­ing 20m of el­e­va­tion per kay (I called it The Killer). I found my­self do­ing The Killer a few times a month, then do­ing two loops at a time, then three. Who was I? I didn’t think about that for long, though, be­cause I soon felt fit enough to sit in on a speedy lo­cal group ride un­til I was keep­ing up like it was no big deal. I’d love to say I haven’t looked back, but the truth is I’m not climb­ing much these days – fam­ily and work obli­ga­tions have con­spired against it. But I might hit The Killer to­mor­row. My dig­i­tal tro­phy case needs new bling. – Leah Flickinger, Bi­cy­cling US ed­i­tor-in-chief

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