Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hotter N' Hell Hundred!

The Criterium Races
This past weekend was the Hottern' Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls Texas. My friend, wife, mother-in law and I went up early on Friday and set up camp. We went to the exhibition and watched the criterium races.
    I had the goal to ride a sub five hour century and I ended up with a time of 4:50:38. I am pleased to say that I hung with the lead group (in front of the "Official Pace Group") for 60 miles. I ran out of water and had to stop off at the Burkburnett rest stop to refuel/ tighten my handlebar stem bolts. At that time my average speed was 27mph. I was able to catch on with the second chase group and hang with them for about 20 or so miles. I started feeling some light cramping in my left calf muscle so I peeled off at the next rest stop. After a whole bottle of Pickle Juice and a refill of my bottles I was off but not in a group. I rode solo for about seven or eight miles when I was over taken by and latched on with the "Official Pace Group". It was an interesting experience riding in a group with "full race support" watching them slow for a "feed zone". The race leaders would ferry bottles from the team  motorcycles to the riders that needed refilling/refueling. They used radios to control the pace of the group, keeping everyone in a tight pack. It was neat seeing the organization of all this happening while still moving along between twenty and twenty-five miles per hour.
The Finish
    I had some discomfort on my inner right thigh and reached down to investigate only to find that my seat bag strap had rubbed a hole in my shorts and was now rubbing a hole through my skin. I reluctantly had to leave the pace group at the next aid station to get my leg seen to and to refill/refuel for the final push into the finish. The doctor at the station understood my hurry being pressed on time at 4:37 since the start and only at mile 92. With 23 minutes to go, 8 miles and get my leg dressed, time was very close. I needed to average 20 mph but I was tired and there wasn't a paceline in sight. I was desperate. The head winds were killing my speed, the best I was able to make was 19.5; not quite good enough. Then suddenly from behind a small group of ten or twelve riders started to come around me on my left. "I'M SAVED!" I thought and latched on to the first wheel I could muster and held it until the last turn. I was in a total zone of aggressive male, almost growling as I planned my sprint into the finish. Judging my strength after 100 miles and the length that I can sprint. 100meters after the USCF finish I started my sprint into the finish. I was off like a rocket propelling myself past the finish in a burst of anger and elation. My heart was pounding like a drum even after I stopped. I unclipped and walked my bike towards the finish line village. I picked up my finishers pin and went straight to the fire hose to cool my body down. The water was refreshing but I needed to sit down. I found a shady place and sat on a chair, drinking water till I felt like I would be able to walk back to the campsite and get a shower.
A Finisher!

    My ride, while a major accomplishment for me, doesn't compare to my mother-in-law's ride. This was her first century and she is not quite as youth-full as I am. I am really impressed with her endurance. She looked very strong crossing the finish line. I am proud of her.

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