Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hotter'N Hell Hundred: The rest of the ride

I left off with our riding on a long, lonely road. The trick is to not look up so you won't get discouraged as you look down, down, down the road.

Rest Stop 6 coming up. Only 40 more miles to go.
This guy has it all figured out. He has a wind shield to assist with his aerodynamic posture. But perhaps best of all, he brings his own shade. 
 Edie still being a trooper and leading the way.
 Just like home. Healthy cotton fields dotted the way.
Distance, wind, heat, and humidity start to take their toll. 
 Get in the shade? What shade?
 Green grass will do.
 Surprise, surprise. About mile 63, Edie and I stopped along the road. Up rolled Mark Robinson (Cowboy). Edie had an injured toe that would not stop hurting so she decided to SAG at this point. She was lucky to find a space on the trailer as it was full of riders.
 Any pretense of a shade will do. 
 This shade looked inviting. Somewhere along here I told Mark that I was going to stop and stretch before I had no choice, and that I would see him later. I did, but only at the finish line.
 I think this was mile 70, but who was counting?
 An eon later, I think I approached the mile 80 rest stop.
 I saw Brian under the blue tent. I had teased him that he was to wait for me at the 70, not 80 mile marker. He told me that his heart started racing so he was going to listen to his body and SAG in. I wanted him to continue riding with me as we had only a "short Wednesday ride" to go. He wisely said no, he was going to listen to his body. I should have listened to him and my body--but no. After lying down for a while I hopped back on the bike to finish the ride. 
 For a while, I was lucky enough to draft off this gentleman. We were straight into the 20+ mph wind, and he was a big help. But, when we hit a shady spot along the way, he decided to stop. I thanked him for letting me draft, but I should have stopped with him.
 Approaching Sheppard AFB. I had heard it was less than 10 miles away from the finish line so my spirits rose.
 Sheppard has impressive displays.
Pilots are available to answer questions from riders and visitors.
And then. Soon after taking this picture I came to an intersection leading out of the base. BOTH legs cramped and froze. Luckily, I managed to unclip to avoid falling. But I just stood there unable to get the leg muscles to unfreeze. Eventually the cramps let up enough for me to dismount the bike. I was going to push the bike to shade and stretch my legs.
I couldn't walk without cramping. A SAG vehicle was approaching. I signaled for him to stop--my ride was over.
My Garmin showed 93 miles.
Mike, George, and Cowboy all finished the 100 miles. Wish I could have been with them, but I waited until my body was screaming before I listened to it. Another lesson learned, or will I soon forget the pain and do something foolish like that again?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hotter'n Hell Hundred: 1st 50 Miles

 Wichita Falls, Texas
August 25, 2012
 The welcome mat was out for the huge event.
 This was Friday afternoon, but predictive of the ride day. Overcast, high humidity, winds 20mph, and reported gusts up to 40 mph.
 But high winds and humidity did not stop the happy shoppers. Pictured is Edie McKearney, a friend from Massachusets, and Christine Jones.
 Outside the registration building we found Liz Rappe' from San Angelo with Sherry and Pam who were staying at the same host home as Liz.
 I slipped up on Dorothy Langdon and took a surprise photo. Dorothy, Liz, and Christine were scheduled to ride the 100K together.
 Before the spaghetti dinner available across from the registration and vendor building, we watched a few minutes of the men's criterion.
 Saturday morning came quickly. Edie and I lined up with the 100 mile "Keepers".
 Dawn was just breaking as riders lined up for blocks.
 Mike Blakeman spotted us and rolled up to ride with us.
 Over in another part of the crowd was Brian Backlund wearing this year's HHH jersey.
 Brian was lined up with George, also from San Angelo.
 Mike, Roy, and Edie. It was easy to smile before starting to pedal.
 Hopefully the little four specks can be seen. Sheppard AFB pilots did a fly-over which marks the beginning of the endurance riders.
 There would not be an official "Hell's Gate" this year so Pyro Pete was on the side lines cheering us onward.
Picture of the start taken from the Wichita Falls Times Record News. The paper reported 12,000 riders but we saw at least one helmet with an over 13,000 bib number.  
Brian led out and tried to keep us at a reasonable pace. For the first 20 miles, he kept us down to 17-20 mph. He wanted us to follow the plan and not over-do the first part of the ride.

Which kept smiles on Edie

and Mike for a long distance.

Long line of pump jacks standing at the ready to be put on a well. Don't be fooled by the seemingly flat road. There were enough hills to keep one interested.

Rest Stop 3. Everything was still going as planned.
Right outside of Rest Stop 3 was one of the steepest hills that my Garmin recorded. It was a 6% grade.
 Rest Stop 4. Still overcast but humidity was getting pretty high also. Temperature stayed in the 90's (one of the "coolest" rides in several years).
 Cross winds were starting to take a toll on many riders.
 Rest Stop 5 marked about 50 miles. Halfway there.
Onward we went. This hill peaked at 5%. Still a piece of cake as we only faced 90+ temperature, high humidity, and cross winds which felt into our faces.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cleaning Shorts Follow Up

 Last August I wrote about a problem I was having with my cycling shorts' fading and wearing out after just one year. 
 Then I bought a pair of Boure' shorts and they faded after three months, so I complained to the company and was assisted on the proper care of shorts. It worked!! The first two pictures are of the shorts I was going to replace as they were fading.  
 The Boure' after one year.
 The Boure' of course  were bought in 2011. The shorts I was going to replace (pictured above) were bought in 2010.
 Just for added measure, above is another pair of shorts that were bought in 2011.
 Hopefully, it can be discerned that all three pair are still in good condition. After the article last year, I had some really good recommendations as to the care of my cycling gear. I decided to stick to the Boure' recommendation of using a liquid sport-wash. Using one method, if it worked, could be attributed to the one product. If I tried all of the recommendations, I would still be wondering which one provided the maintenance.
So, for the past year, I have been using Sport-Wash. We have been so pleased with the results that on occasion, we will use it for some of our routine laundry. (And it is cheaper than replacing a pair of shorts each year).
Probably everyone already knew about the proper care of cycling kits, but I am a slow learner.
However, now that I still have three good pair of cycling shorts, I must decide which pair I will take with me to the Wichita Falls "Hotter'n Hell Hundred" this weekend. I hope I take the fastest pair.