Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hotter 'n' Hell Hundred

I like pickles. Really, I do. I like pickles on hamburgers and I like pickles with a club sandwich. I do not, however, like pickle juice. For me, drinking pickle juice is probably very closely associated to the way a vampire feels when drinking movie blood or catsup. Despite the fact that it contains a wealth of potassium and salt, both of which being vital for replenishing lost fluids and minerals in your body during a long ride, pickle juice is not the type of thing I will look forward to in the future. My face turned to roughly the same shade as the juice I was drinking, contorted in a few grimaces I dare not recreate around children or old women and a variety of new words were created for expressing my dismay at the relatively poor flavor.

My goal time for the 2005 edition of the Hotter ‘n’ Hell Hundred was a 4 hours and 45 minutes, and I nearly made it. Depending on how you figure it, I probably made my goal time because the bottle neck for an accident at the 30-35 mile mark was bad enough to drop me about 5-8 minutes off my pace. Walking the bike ran the computer, so with time ticking on the cycle computer I was assured a slower than actual time.


The weekend started off great. I had lunch at IHOP (Garden Omelet) with a woman from Arkansas that I managed to meet randomly at the restaurant. Afterwards I meandered through the mass consumerism show, helped my bike karma by donating to the Texas Bicycle Coalition and took advantage of discount pricing on a new front tire to replace the aging and cracked Continental I had been running.

Friday night there was some question as to where we were staying. Holly (our host in Wichita Falls) called to say that her house’s A/C had gone out and we were welcome to stay at her mother-in-law’s house if we wanted. I accepted the offer and thought everything would be fine, until Martin called and said he had a line on a Ramada Inn that we could split 3 or 4 ways with someone else. After calling Holly and declining the room, we found out that the Ramada was not going to work out and we would still need to stay with Holly… A few phone calls later and we still had a free place to stay, but it was looking for awhile there that we’d end up sleeping in the car!


Saturday morning went nice and smooth. We arrived at the staging area with plenty of time to spare and I got the bike set-up to support my 5 hour endeavor. To do so I mounted Clif Shots and Power Gels to the stem. By taping the packets to the bike I would save valuable jersey pocket space for an extra water bottle and the 6 Clif bars I was stowing for usable energy on the ride. It also allows you to simply reach down and snap the gel off the bike and ingest it quickly without fumbling about to open the packet while in a pace line or pack of riders.

Prior to race start I managed to locate a large group of riders from Greater Dallas Bicyclists, my regular riding buddies from the Tuesday night slaughter-fests we call social group rides. We planned on starting as a pack but with nine thousand starters I knew we’d never keep it together for long. It didn’t take more than a few miles for the bulk of the field to get sorted out and I found myself in a nice pace line of about 12 riders. We were making good time, but fighting with a variety of idiots that refused to cooperate with the concept of one for all. They drift in and out of the line, refuse to take pulls and generally just muck up the pace line.

For most riders taking advantage of the pace line is done quickly, but taking the incentive to pull the line when it is your turn is avoided at all costs. More than once I found myself with only a short recovery before needing to lead the line and push the pace to my liking, and this despite having anywhere from 6 to 15 riders in the line! There were times when we were pushing the pace to 24 and 25 mph for 10 and 15 miles at a stretch, but by and large we kept it sane. Most of the riders that pushed hard and paced ahead of us could be seen on the side of the road at multiple rest stations, or riding obscenely slow paces by the end of the event. I was gunning for a 22mph pace over the full 100 miles and in the end I fell just short of this goal, but I’m quite happy with the overall results.

• Goal Time: 4h 45m 00s
• Weather: Mixed sun w/overcast and rain
• Wind: 5-10 mph
• Total Mileage: 102 mi
• Total Time: 4h 51m 04s
• Average Speed: ~21 mph
• Planned Stops: 1 (80 mile rest station)
• Unplanned Stops: 1 (Bottleneck for accident at 35 mi)
• Water consumed: 230 oz
• Clif Bars: 3
• Clif Shot: 2
• PowerGel: 2
• Apples: 3
• Oranges: 2
• Pickle Juice: 6 eye-crossing oz


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