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Hotter 'n Hell Report (long)(8 posts)

Hotter 'n Hell Report (long)10th Street
Aug 24, 2002 7:47 PM
What a day! Just did my first century at Hotter 'n Hell. It went better than I could have hoped for. Guess training in the hills west of Austin paid off.

The folks in Wichita Falls were great! From the moment I arrived everything was smooth and organized. After arriving and getting my registration packet I checked out the expo, looked at all the cool bike stuff and generally killed some time before the Spaghetti dinner.

On my last training ride I had developed some pain on my right knee at about mile 75 that had stayed with me all week. I tinkered with my cleat this week but was very nervous that a hundred miles would be too much. Anyway, the knee was bothering me at the expo and I saw that they offered massages. What the heck, I'll give it a shot. Anyway the massage was relaxing but not very theraputic - at least so I thought. But my knee never bothered me after that.

At the dinner (I went by myself) I sat down at a table and two guys who had done the ride a number of times ended up sitting with me. They had lots of good advice about the ride such as: be careful on the first stretch as there are a lot of wrecks until it thins out (there were!), when I get on a paceline, never pull (I ended up pulling plenty), and be sure to stop at the 80 mile rest stop and refill before heading into the head wind for the last 20 miles.

Anyway, on race day, I got up early and biked down to the start about a mile from my motel. I was near the front. I got to talking with two old guys, one of whom had done every ride since the first one. A couple of characters those two - but very inspirational. One of them warned me about the canon. Good thing too, cause as it was, the canon nearly caused me a heart attack anyway.

Boom and off we go. Not 1 minute into the ride I see a guy go down hard about 20 ft in front of me. I don't know what happened, but he hit the pavement hard and slid a ways - it looked very painful. Now I'm extra careful, staying to the outside and always looking ahead. Then, up ahead there's a bit of a crowd and we have to move over. As I pass I see the problem, a pedestrian was laying face down in the road, bleeding from the head (badly) and unconscious. He must have been hit by a cyclist. I hope he was ok, but it didn't look good at all. It made me ill, but I could see the ambulance coming the other way. Just pushed on an tried to put it out of my mind.

Next 20 miles or so things were fine until I'm coming around a corner and - bang! my rear tire blows out. I've had plenty of punctures, but never a blow out like that. Sort of unnerved me. Fixed my flat, went on my way then bang! again. Of all the luck, two blow outs in a row. Had a second tube, fixed it. On my way again. That was it for spares and the tubes weren't patchable.

On my way again, next 60 miles were pleasant and uneventful. I was definitely well hydrated judgeing my the number of rest stops I had to hit. At one point my speed was starting to drop when a large well pace group came by. The core of which were some guys who ride together from Rockdale, and then a whole bunch of strays. I got in with that group and we flew on the north stretch of the route. It almost felt effortless.

I lost those guys at one of the rest stops and rode by myself or with a couple of other people until hitting the 80 mile rest stop. Took an extra rest here, topped off the bottles, stretched out and hit the rode. The heat never scared me about this ride, but I was concerned about having a head wind of 25 miles or so. We turned back towards Wichita Falls and into the wind. Surprisingly, it wasn't so bad, I definitely had worse days in Austin this spring and summer. I was afraid of crawling back at 12 or 13 mph, but that never really happened. I was about to maintain speeds riding solo of 16 to 19 mph and even faster sometimes. After riding 10 miles into the wind I knew I was strong enough to fi
re: Hotter 'n Hell Report (long)astrobiker
Aug 25, 2002 10:37 AM
Just got back myself - great report. A couple of additional tidbits: The rest stops were great! It is kind of strange to just getting used to see cots with people on them getting IVs at each stop! I set my watch-thermometer to go off at 100 degrees - it beeped at 10:15 when I was at mile 62 - temp was reported to be 104 degrees at the finish. A guy at our hotel afterwards had to have the EMTs come get him - he had been sagged at 85 miles after IVs, then went into seizures back in the room. Probably execessively low sodium. Speaking of that - at one rest stop they were giving pickle juice for a sodium boost! I love sweet pickles, but drinking the juice sounds really nasty - anybody do that? I was afraid of my stomach really not liking that and didn't want to experiment at mile 90!
re: Hotter 'n Hell Report (long)10th Street
Aug 25, 2002 12:34 PM
I did see the pickle juice at mile 90 and also opted not to experiment seeing as everything had gone so well. The rest stops were great, but I have one minor critique about them, the first time I saw anything salty were the pretzles (and pickle juice) at mile 90. With the number of people replacing sweat with water out there, I'd hope for more salty snacks along the way. May help with folks losing electrolytes.

My post was cut off, but to finish, I managed to complete the course in 5h20m on the bike for an average of 19mph. Far under my hoped for 6h survival at 17mph. I felt better at the finish than I had during many of my longer training rides. Of course, no one ever opened up a fire hydrant for me to soak in after a training ride.

After hanging out for a bit, going back to my hotel, showering, packing, heading back to expo center for one last gander, I sat down and ate a pretzle in the AC before heading back to Austin. I ran into a woman who was waiting on her husband still. This was at 3:30pm. Yikes! I couldn't imagine being out there for that long.
Metaphysical Question - Does "Time" Include Rest Stops?astrobiker
Aug 25, 2002 7:11 PM
Hmmm... this introduces a question I just got to thinking about today regarding my ride. By the computer, I was on the bike 5 hours and 54 minutes (ride time)- by my wrist watch I crossed the finish line 7 hours after I left the start line (which includes rest stops). So - for conversational purposes, did I do the ride in "just under 6" hours or was it really "7" hours??
Metaphysical Question - Does "Time" Include Rest Stops?10th Street
Aug 25, 2002 9:57 PM
I did specify that my time was "on the bike." Meaning, that was my time riding, not including rest stops. I certainly was not trying to misrepresent my total time which was closer to 6:15 after rest stops, and two tire repairs.

I guess I do it that way because my bike computer discounts time that I'm not riding, and hey, lets face it, it sounds better.

If one were to say, "I did the Hotter 'n Hell in five hours," with no qualifier, than that would have to mean he finished 5 hours after starting. At least, that's how I would read it.
re: Hotter 'n Hell Report (long)punkinsdaddy
Aug 25, 2002 1:37 PM
I read in the paper the guy on the ground was in stable condition at the hospital. He evidently walked in front of a group of cyclists and got hit.
PedestrianBirddog
Aug 25, 2002 6:53 PM
The guy that got hit was probably no more than a hundred yards up from me and right in front of one of my friends. He said that he jumped onto the back end of a paceline of 7 or 8 people who were attempting to bridge up to the front group. They were going in excess of 30 mph when this pedestrian started walking accross the street. People were shouting at him but he turned the wrong way and was apparently totally oblivious to the oncoming cyclists. The lead guy in the paceline tried to miss him but they smacked head to head (according to my friend) and made a sound like breaking watermelons. Three riders went down and the pedestrian. The rider's bike was broken and he was injured but apparently not so serious. The last I heard (on the news) was that the man was in critical but stable condition with head and internal injuries. It did look really bad, I feared the that the outcome would be worse than it apparently was.
re: Hotter 'n Hell Report (long)MalandMo
Aug 26, 2002 6:15 AM
It was a great ride. But I quit stopping at the rest stops because everytime I got back on the bike, My legs would begin to cramp up. so I figured that i should just keep them spinning so as not to incur the wrath of the cramp. That was a great plan until I got to the finish line and got off the bike and tried to walk. Both legs cramped up and I almost fell over. Someone from the medical tent saw me and helped me over there. After a couple bags of fluid, i felt great again. BTW, it took me about 7 1\2 hours total time. I realize that makes me a pretty lousy cyclist, but my wife and daughters at the finish would swear to you that I could win the tour.