The brochure for the Clarksville (Tennessee) Sunrise Century Bike Race read like a dream come true.  “Forget hills…With a steady carefree effort the ride will slide by like magic”.  The brochure then went on to describe a virtually flat course with fast times and an easy ride. After riding my bike up and down the hills of Middle Tennessee, I’ve got to tell you that a ride with no hills sounded like something I wanted to be a part. So a while back, several of my riding buddies and I rode the 100K (62 mile) course.

Be careful what you pray for! Here’s what I learned:A ride without hills isn’t what it is cracked up to be; without hills you have to constantly pedal.  There is no coasting without hills.  I quickly realized that I actually missed the hills. I wasn’t expecting that, but here’s the deal.  Every time I conquer a hill on a bicycle I get instant gratification in two distinct ways. First, a sense of accomplishment and secondly, the adrenalin rush of speeding down the backside. Both of those elements are pretty cool and were missing on the so called flat ride.  Flat is pretty boring actually.

Just like the idea of the flat bike ride sounds great, the concept of a life without hills and valleys has a certain appeal to most of us.  But would we really want that? I doubt it. Most growth as human beings comes in the slow, arduous pedaling through life’s steepest hills and precipices.  The climb is where character is developed; that is where values are forged. The climb is where many of us first realize our need for God.  More often than not the climb is our opportunity to become whole.

Speeding down the backside of a hill on a bicycle feels good for a little while, but it is in the burning thighs and the pounding heart of the accent where lasting change occurs. So it is with life.  The earth’s hills make us better cyclists; life’s hills makes us better people.  Thank God for both.

 Something to think about

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