When I first started biking with my friend last summer, she and I would complain about the hills. She has been biking far longer than I, and she would tell me that anytime her husband hears her complain about hills, he tells her "hills are your friend." It didn't help her love them any more.
I have taken that phrase on as my new mantra while road riding. While I am climbing, I repeat to myself over and over "hills are your friend, hills are your friend." Until I get to the top. It has not helped me like them any better, and sometimes you can still here me griping about it under my breath.
While Mike and I were riding this past Friday and Sunday, I began noticing that hills are becoming much easier. I am feeling stronger and faster and I notice that I can go up them much easier, even pass people along the way. Hills really ARE my friend I guess. Not my best friend mind you, more like that one friend whose calls you duck whenever you can, the friend that you have to be careful not to spend too much time with if you can help it for fear of a togetherness overdose- but your friend all the same.
The other thing I have found useful lately is a little drill from our new SWAT friend Martin. I will credit him as the the founding father of "The Dog Shit Drill." Basically, you practice bringing your feet all the way around the pedal stroke one foot at a time, more in a motion like pushing your foot forward on the downstroke, and like scraping dog poop off your shoe on the upstroke. I think the intent is to teach you to use all of your power around the whole pedalstroke, not just the downstroke to hill climb.
Despite all this great advice and practice, if I don't watch it I still find myself mashing it up in the big rings. Not sure why I can't break this habit yet- I am trying though. I'm just not a shifter- its more comfortable to pedal hard and slow than spin it easy and fast. Makes me feel faster I guess.