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.


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