Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hotter-N-Hell Hundred Part 3: The 100K Ride

The 100K Ride
By Christine 
Liz Rappe' (left) and I had planned our ride for months; changing strategy right up to the last days. My hip has been bothering me this year so I didn't want to do the 100 mile again, and Liz wanted to test the waters with her longest ride yet--62 miles.
Daylight was just breaking and the excitement-and adrendinline-was building up.
As the sun rose higher, the more crowded it became at the line up area. We were 8 blocks from the front 100 milers start line! To pass the time, we listened to a local radio station broadcasting live from the start line. They would play a song, interview some rider, then have announcements and information about how to stay hydrated and safe. One doctor was telling us not only not to become dehydrated, but also not to drink too much or it makes the brain swell and is just as dangerous as dehydration. As long as all our plumbing is working we know we're taking in enough fluids.

When it was getting close to the official start time, they had an American Idol contestant sing the National Anthem. While our helmets were off, they requested a moment of silence for a rider who had been recently killed while riding her bike. Shepard AFB provided us with a fly over of four jets. The timing was perfect as they flew over just as the National Anthem was finished. Marvelous! A cannon's firing marked the official start of the ride, but we still had about 10 or 15 minutes before the riders in front of us took off and cleared our way.

 Liz and I stopped at the first rest stop in order to enable us to skip the second. Even though it is always cute with a new theme each year it is a chaotic mob scene and better left to those who must use it. After 20 miles those who aren't too well prepared are getting pretty loopy. They don't pay attention to riders trying to go by and do things like stand in the road, stop without signaling, and take off without looking who's behind them. Our third rest stop was at mile 30. Back at about mile 25 the 100 milers turned left, and we 100K folks continued straight. I briefly thought about Roy's turning left, wished him luck, and happily continued pedaling. We had only 37 miles to go--Roy had 78.

 One of our rest stops. They all start looking the same. We usually remember them for the kind of goodies offered to us for which we are extremely grateful. There are thousands of volunteers who make this happen--2000 military folks alone. (I do not take pictures on the move so all my shots are at a total biking stop).


 Wonder if I will ever get into facebooking-text messaging-tweeting at rest stops. Nope! I'm into recovery drinks, pickles, pickle juice, bananas, and cookie power at rest stops. Besides, all my family think I am crazy to bike over 10 miles and couldn't care less if I am at Rest Stop 12 in North Texas.
I really respect the volunteers for all their work and long hours. Note the two trash cans full of powerade and a third at the ready. Yes, I'm sure they were cleaned and the oars used to stir the sport drinks were cleaned, too. 

After a respectable time, Liz and I arrived at Rest Stop 13--or 40 miles into our journey.

I was so impressed. Rolling into mile 40 rest stop was a man on a unicycle. Maybe if one enlarges the photo the one wheel may be seen better. Can you imagine riding 62 miles with one wheel? A man I met who came all the way from Iowa said that unicyclists complete the RAGBRAI (a 5 day ride across Iowa)!!!

If one looks hard enough, the weariness shows on some faces by this time. Hope there weren't any goat heads (grass burrs) in the grass.

Liz enjoying her endorphins after 50 miles. "Just give me a cushioned lawn chair in the shade with a fan and a cookie, please." 
The volunteers stayed cheerful and friendly.

It doesn't get any better that snow cones.
The gentleman serving snow cones stated that he had been volunteering at HHH for thirty years.
After mile 50, the heat started taking its toll. That SAG wagon eventually filled to capacity.
Roy and I knock on each other's heads for luck as we have yet to SAG in from an organized tour. But knowing that there is help if one gets into trouble is very reassuring. Thanks to all SAG vehicles.

Rest stop 15 is almost to the end of the ride but it is one of my favorites. Our first year at HHH we experienced #15. The 100 milers don't go through Sheppard AFB.
 The 50 and 62 mile riders get to go through the Base which sponsors rest stop 15.
Being an Army veteran (WAC), I still get a thrill from our military might.
In my next life I think I will be a jet mechanic instead of the Adjutant General Corps.
Liz and I find a perfect shade.

Liz in a moment of glee. Her birthday is the next day, and she is about to finish her longest ride to date.

God bless these young Air Force "volunteers!" "...nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!"

Still on Sheppard AFB.
They even held our bikes for us while we refreshed ourselves in the shade!!!
If one has to run the gauntlet, this is the one to choose. The airmen cheered us on and made us feel very welcomed. I sure hope they all got comp time for giving up their Saturday.
Soon after Sheppard, we were at the end of our ride. The finish line was in sight.
Liz celebrates completion of her longest ride.
We both celebrate the end of the ride. I'm surprized we could hold our thumbs up. It was long, hot, and grueling but we are already talking about going back to the 100 miles next year. We shall see.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I just found your blog. I am a triathlete/cyclist (LOVE Swimming and Cycling, DESPISE Running) from Massachusetts.
    I have a sister and many cousins living in the Wichita Falls area and I decided that the HHH is going to be my A list event this year.
    Your stories about the race have been great.
    I am comfortable with longer rides and am familiar with the heat of the Texoma area but I'm still in panic mode as I wait for the registration to open.
    Your positive stories and photos have turned much of my nervousness into excitement.
    Keep up the great work!