Monday, August 28, 2017

Hotter'n Hell Hundred

Hotter'n Hell Hundred
Wichita Falls
August 26, 2017
The forecast was terrible. Rain, rain, rain. It was the week Hurricane Harvey was plowing into Texas and it appeared we were going to get the "benefit" of it. Undaunted, we went through some heavy patches of rain Friday on our way to Wichita Falls. 
But, a good spaghetti dinner at the HHH coliseum makes Christine forget the inconvenient travel.
Brian seems to agree.
As well as Jerry
and David.
Flag poles in front of MPEC. Once again Jerry allowed me to use some of his pictures as he has a good eye for photos. The forecast changed and NO RAIN.
Good turn out from San Angelo. Group shot by Jerry just shows part of the San Angelo attendees. 
Christine ready to go. 
Dorothy ready to line up, as well as Marlon (left) and Joe (right). 
David appears to be working out his strategy. If so, it worked because he did quite well in his category. 
Jeffri's iconic pose.
And Jodi's signature smile. 
Joy (middle) and others from San Angelo out to support the group.  
Steve and Marlon
And how could I forget Jerry and myself in the line up. (We auditioned for the movie "Twins," but Schwarzenegger and DeVito beat us out).
Picture points out two things; massive line up--and a reduced attendance of 10,000. An impressive number but I am sure that with a better forecast earlier, the crowd would have been close to the usual 12-15,000.
Almost ready to start. First was the national anthem and then the jet fly over from the Sheppard Air Force Base.
And off we go. There is a staggered start. At every block there is a barrier attached to a truck which, upon sufficient clearance from the previous block, pulls the barrier out of the way. The riders lined up in that block take off. Takes a while to start, but it is a lot safer than the old way of a mass start.
 Always safety first. Rider is pointing to a lost water bottle in the middle of the road. Unfortunately, just up the road there was a nasty crash involving three riders.
 As there was little to no wind, and the first part of the ride slightly downhill, almost too soon we pass the first rest stop at Iowa Park. 
 At Iowa Park, the 100K and 50 milers split, and the crowd thins a little.
 Almost all year long we talk about how flat HHH is and then wonder where in the world these hills come from. 
 In fairness, there are also the downhills. Somewhere along this leg I hit my top speed of the day. 
 Once again, a rest stop is available and is appreciated by hoards of riders.
 Brian setting the pace on a long stretch of level road. Speaking of, all but one stretch of road were nice and smooth. 
 Another rest stop. Brian and I stopped at rest stop 3 as the ride was going too fast. We were half way through. David continued.   
 May be hard to tell, but at Burkburnett we turn right to start the ride back to Wichita Falls. If one is riding the 100 mi., Burkburnett marks their "Hell's Gate" and the decision to continue or cut it short and ride back with us.
 My pick of the house of the day. And good job of maintaining your grounds.
 The infamous access road. It is about 10 miles of false flat with a 1-2% grade, and usually the wind is right in your face. 
 On this day, the wind gave us a break. 
 But, it did not stop riders from taking a break at the unofficial rest stop. For some reason, the picnic benches have been removed and a barrier is up to preclude traffic from entering the roadside park.
 Rest stop 4. Sign cannot be read from the photo, but it is warning riders that there are stickers in the grass. Stay on the paved portions of the area. Those who do not heed the warning find that they have a flat between here and Sheppard AFB.
 Brian and Angie enjoying the welcome rest stop. 
 Entering Sheppard AFB is always a treat. 
A variety of aircraft are lined up for their "visitors." 
 Group pictures in front of the planes are popular as well as the helpful and friendly pilots who answer riders' questions. 
 Among the highlights of riding through Sheppard AFB is the cheering section. 
 Airmen line up and cheer the riders as they pass. Really makes one feel welcome. 
 Leaving well maintained Air Base.
 All too soon (as the average temperature of the day was 77 according to my Garmin, no wind, and no rain) we were back in Wichita Falls.
 Shunted into the last of the ride. 
 Finish line is just ahead. Ride is about over.
 But not the good times. David and Brian show off their finish medallions. 
Live band is provided for riders to rest and relax and hash over the ride. Mixed in the crowd is Christine and Brian swigging on their favorite HHH recovery drinks (I had the Carlson's Sweet Tea recovery drink).

Another great HHH. I didn't even mention the wide variety of vendors in the convention center with fabulous prices of related wares. Randy's Bike and Run Shop out of San Angelo was there and we hope everyone stopped by--and that he returns again next year. We will. 

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