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Protts Hill Road: A Road I Have Run And Loved Since I Was Little
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We all have one enemy from our youth that we wish we could go back and have just one more go at. My enemy is not a person, but a hill. Protts Hill Road to be exact. You see, I am a runner and Protts Hill Road was and continues to be my nemesis. This is a story of struggle against a foe from my youth.

Protts Hill Road is a road from my hometown in central New York. It is a seasonal road, which means that it can only be driven on from spring to late fall. It is only available to motor traffic during these times because town plows and trucks are not able to navigate them in the event of snow. Protts Hill Road retains this title in the modern age of everything because it is so steep.

It ends like a tributary stream on a state highway, aptly named route 13. Despite its finish here for traffic, this is where many a run has begun. Protts Hill Road has an initial grade of 57 degrees for its first 150 yards. This is denoted by the first and only mail box on the right. It then banks to the right in a heavenly pattern up a low grade of 45 degrees for the next 300 yards. Mercifully, it eases its slope to 40 degrees for the next 200 yards before flattening to 30 degrees to its peak 200 yards beyond that. Officially the hill does not begin a downward slope for another 200 yards just past where the Christian radio station used to have an antenna.

When I was in high school, Mr. Tom Powers, our cross-country coach would lead us mercilessly up that devil of a hill. We were of a different ilk, and loved it. We would do hill sprints to the mail box in sets of 10. We would run intervals to the antenna in sets of three, with descending Russian-like sprints as our recovery. We ran with fear, but we never ran with complaint. There was pride with a finished run.

The year after I left, the school banned running on Protts Hill Road. They labeled as excessively cruel conditioning. (Is that an oxymoron?) I could not imagine a world without a challenge like it. I get home once every year for about a week. I come like a warrior for battle. I no longer am the spry flea of my youth, but I am just as determined. I don my running shoes and run to Protts Hill Road, exactly one mile from my house. I run that hill, and down, back through town, through the covered bridge and up Main Street to my house every day I am home. It is truly the event that denotes my homecoming.

I am sorry to say that I have yet to beat the dastardly hill, but I am joyously able to say that it has yet to beat me. When it does, and it will, I will always love Protts Hill Road, the memories I have of running it, the friends I ran it with, and wonderful experiences it has provided me.

I only hope that you all have such a hill in your lives, whether you run them or live through them. They will add depth and texture to your life.

Thanks for reading.

Street Talk

I know you all have one enemy from your youth that you love today. Tell me about it.

  about 8 years ago
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