We have in southwest Louisville/Metro/Jefferson County the Jefferson Memorial Forest. It's lovely there: underdeveloped, with abundant wildlife, trees, and hills. Lots of hills. The hills are the steepest to be found in our immediate area.
There are three in particular that I'm interested: Mitchell Hill -- 0.61 mi 258 ft 8.0% which I can do; Barrelton Hill -- 0.51 mi 246 ft 9.2% which I can't. I make it up two thirds the way and my legs are in so much pain and in such severe oxygen debt that I have to take a breather; and Pendleton Hill -- 0.71 mi 368 ft 9.9% which I've yet to try. It's my own personal Hautacam, my goal to ascend to the summit without stroking out.
I rode out there yesterday and clocked the mileage just to get to the starting point: 23 miles! Prior to our energy awareness I never paid that much attention to the distance. Now I note that it cost me $8 in gas for the round trip.
I suppose we cyclists pride ourselves in being more environmentally conscious than the average American. No doubt most of us take pride in getting near infinite miles to the gallon of gas on our bikes, having tiny little carbon footprints, etc.
So it seemed wrong to burn two gallons of gas just so I could practice hill-climbing and enjoy pretty scenery.
What about hills closer to my house? There's Wibble Hill, a perfectly acceptable practice hill about 6 miles from my house: 0.31 mi 143 ft 8.8%. Sure, I could cycle to the top, turn around, coast to the bottom, and do it all over again.
But the difference for me is extended pain. I need to practice an extended climb with extended pain so I can get use to it and become stronger. And going up and down Wibble Hill over and over again would probably suck the sense of adventure and joy? out of the whole endevor (spell?).
Like most ethical issues, this can become very complex. Suffering up hills allows me to do penance for my BF snark and insensitivity, cleanses my soul, and generate good karma. But it wastes gas. I already have a foreign-built car, thus sending valuable jobs overseas. I could purchase a Toyota Pious, but that would only weaken the dollar and aggrevate the trade deficit. And I can't afford one right now anyway. They're way too expensive.
Just get on my bike and ride out to Jefferson Forest? I cannot do that kind of mileage. Mount my bike on the back of a Vespa? And then head down the Gene Snyder Freeway where most traffic is pulling 70? I owe it to my family to be more responsible than that.
The majority of posters here are independent, anti-authoritarian, and progressive (cf --Red vs Blue polll a few weeks ago). I'm none of those things, so I really need someone here to make up my mind and tell me what to do.