Friday, August 22, 2014

Ready or Not, Here Comes the Hotter 'n Hell 100

Not photoshopped-the color really was like this.
I first heard about the HH100 when I was looking for some challenging rides to test myself against a few years back.  The Hotter ’n Hell 100 had everything I wanted, painful heat, distance, and notoriety.  But it was too far away from El Paso, where I lived, and my schedule at the time was not conducive to long weekend trips.

In the spring I moved to Lawton, OK, for a 5 month course, looked online for upcoming rides in the area and realized I was less than an hour away from the Hotter ’n Hell!  How could I say no?

I’ve spent the summer building up my training on the weekends and using some of the local rides to gauge my progress.  The Tour de Meers introduced me to the local riding scene. The Tour of the Wichitas validated my training plan.  The Dehydrator left my dehydrated and confident about finishing a big ride.

Last weekend was my last training opportunity.  I had planned a 70-miler on Saturday followed by a hard and fast 30 miles on Sunday.  Endurance, saddle time, speed, all crammed into one weekend.

Saturday started out uneventful with a beautiful sunrise through the trees.  Then there was the armadillo crossing the road who didn’t seem to notice me or Charla at all.  It was my first live armadillo and looked like an armored tank pig!  Then there was the angry skunk wandering through the grass.  I held my breath as I rolled by just in case.

I stopped at mile 15 to answer the call of nature and saw what looked like something stuck on my front tire.  Upon closer inspection, it was a tumor.  The side wall had split and the inner tube was pushing through.  I gambled that it would hold if I rode carefully and crawled the 16 miles back to my jeep so I could put in my first ever dollar bill shim.  (fold a dollar bill up, place against the tear in the tire, inflate and pray)  

From there it was another 40 miles of climbing and dropping through the rollers of the Wichita mountains.  I rode corner to corner across Fort Sill and was feeling pretty confident about being ready for the Hotter 'n Hell, apart from needing a new tire.

Sunday was a pure speed sufferfest, for me anyways.  Found a beautiful white tail deer to race with.  I lost.

May not have caught the deer, but I did shoot this sweet scene!

So, I poured out what energy I had left and convinced Char to take me out for an omelet.  Jimmy's Egg rules!

Go figure, the local bike shop didn’t have my tire in stock, so I bought a new Gator skin to put on the back tire, and moved the old back tire to the front. Having had no time to really test it out, this weekend should be interesting.

No more training time left, no idea how the new tire will hold up, and I've hydrated just about as much as possible.  If I don't have a heart attack somewhere around mile 85, I should be good to go!

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