Requiem for a killer… hill

5 04 2015

It rises gently from the horizon then curves sharply left into the trees.

In the heat of summer, those trees bring welcome shade after the beating sun of the flat valley floor.

At any time of the year, the canopy hides the true menace of the slope.

Killer Hill doesn't get serious until it sweeps left into the stand of trees that camouflage its 20 per cent gradient.

Killer Hill doesn’t get serious until it sweeps left into the stand of trees that camouflage its 20 per cent gradient.

For years, Lefeuvre Road has been the last hill to conquer on the 52 km ride to the Princess of Pavement’s family homestead in the tiny crossroads of Bradner. It’s a killer, maxing out at 20.6 per cent along its 800 metre ascent. If it had cobbles, it would be the Paterberg.

Too often, climbing that hill, I’ve heard the auto pause engage on the Garmin. I’m just going too slow; the satellites think I’ve died.

In 2009, I climbed Killer Hill en route to my wedding. Talk about a last hurrah to bachelor life.

Sometimes Killer Hill is more murderous than others. Especially early in the season. Never does it spare you.

Saturday, I almost bailed from my first ascent of Killer Hill of the season. I had a multitude of excuses; it was cold, it might rain, I wasn’t feeling the right mojo for a ride. Basically, I feared Killer Hill, wanted nothing to do with it.

But Princess of Pavement convinced me otherwise. Do it, she said. Just suck it up and do it.

Perhaps she knew this might be the last time I get to climb Killer HIll. You see, her parents have sold the family homestead; they’re downsizing into condo life.

Soon there will be no reason to ride Killer Hill. No beautiful wedding to call me to its summit. No roast pig on a spit to fill my belly. No cold beer offered on a hot day. No great family gathering.

It did rain on the way to Killer Hill on Saturday. It also hailed. It was cold at first, then warmed as the sun tried to break through the towering slate clouds.

Killer Hill didn’t end up killing me after all. I’d leave it at that, but I’m sure we’ll meet again.