Inspirational post, Tri Girl.
Hills are not my forte either and I never come close to the top ten in any local club races with hills. I intend for this to change... one day...

With the breathing - I don't know if this will help, but when climbing I focus on my breathing and make it fit the rhythm of my legs - panting fast just wears me out, and its easy to do if I don't think about my breathing. But steady deep-ish breathing makes it easier (if the words easier and hill-climbing go in one sentence )

So... your post is one that makes me feel things are possible. That is one heck of a hill and one stunning view to reward yourself with.

I love the descents... sometimes I don't do them too fast if the corners are tight, but I do love to rush downhills...

Maybe when you get back from Disneyland we could make a pact - you ride up the hills, and I'll ride down them