Fortunately the morning started off fairly cool and the breeze had died down so that was a good beginning. Of course the first 10 miles was spent dodging people and jockeying for position. Lots of near misses with that many people massed up. Oh, that reminds me, there were several people that fell over in the start line while we were lined up. A guy in a group directly behind me went over taking a total of 3 bikes with him, ouch.
I skipped the first rest stop (rest stops were approximately every 10 miles) due to the crowding, skipped the 2nd one for the same reason, just took a gel and a couple of endurolytes on the roll.
Early on, there was a major accident going up a hill. We were brought to a complete stop and had to walk the bikes up the hill. I didn't look over at the guy, moved over as far as possible when passing by, I try not to be a looky-lou with this stuff. Others were saying that there was blood all over the road and I found out later they closed the road down and had to airlift him out.
Get to moving again for a little bit anyways....we get stopped by a train, lol....this was all in the first 30 miles. When I'm rolling I'm keeping between 19-22 mph, even hitting 25 mph whenever I can catch a draft. It's going great although the previous 2 stops have eaten up time during the cooler & relatively windless part of the day.
I stop at the 3rd rest stop at 0920, gotta pee & get the water bottles topped off. The lines for the porta-potties were endless and the food lines weren't much better. Since this was my 1st Hotter 'n Hell, I had no clue that the rest stop lines were just going to get longer. On the road again and things are peachy-keen although the breeze is starting to pick up (day is warming) right up until mile 35ish and we make a turn right into the wind...still good but no more 20+ mph :-(. It's also thru here that my sinuses which have been dripping steadily since the day before decides to turn into a full blown flow. Ugh. Every time I stop I'm blowing my nose and it's just not slowing. At one point I start to spit out what's dripping into the back of my throat while pedaling and it doesn't quite go where it's supposed to, ewwwwwww.
Next rest stop, ate 1/2 a hotdog, water fill, shoes off, my feet are killing me. Actually the feet were my only body issues...if it wasn't for them I'd have been feeling great despite the increasing winds & heat.
I skipped the rest stop just before Hells Gate, stopped to take a picture of the Hells Gate is open but skipped the actual gate itself too. Made it with 47 minutes to spare despite the earlier delays.
We cycled thru one town where I swear 1/2 the residents were out cheering, kids were giving high fives, and one guy was spraying residents down with water if they wanted. Yes, I wanted that! Awesome, awesome stuff...too bad we turned and headed out into the middle of nowhere with no trees and stuff immediately after.
After this though things start getting rough, heat & wind, blah, blah, blah. Lines at the rest stops are getting longer, everybody's getting slower. Sag wagons are getting FULL. I had a crosswind catch me at one point, knocked me sideways, it didn't hit the guys in front of me nor the guy behind me. Guess I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time to catch it, that's a scary feeling.
Basically, I'm just following a friend's advice about just keep moving, ride my own ride, etc at this point. Thanks, by the way :-))), I think it was the only thing that kept me going when my feet were cramping so much and the hotspots were starting in.
After the rest stop around mile 75, I passed a guy walking his bike up the hill (incline IMO, lol). I paused and asked if he was ok, thinking it might be cramps or something. Turned out it was a low tire, he'd already used his co2 cartridge and we tried to get my system to work but neither of us could figure it out, grrr. Gonna buy something different this week to replace it. Anyway that killed 10 minutes or so there.
At the mile 70ish rest stop, I'd picked up some mud in my cleats and for the remainder of the time had a helluva time getting clipped in & out despite me rinsing them out. I'll lube & clean them when I get back home.
I'm getting some of this slightly out of sequence but to be honest a lot of this was starting to run together thru here. I skipped the mile 90ish rest stop (lines) and stopped at a much less crowded one 3 miles up to get another cold rag & fill up my water bottles..
In the last 15 miles there were another couple of serious accidents with a rider laid out on the shoulder and ambulances being sent out for both.
I had planned on stopping at the free beer rest stop just to say I did but after seeing the accidents I just wanted to get done...after that stop I knew I was close so managed to find an extra burst of energy. I started cruising in at around 17-19mph even hit 20 for a moment or two, well except for the interstate overpass--I dropped down to 13-15 mph coming up it :-(. But I did roll in strong so happy about that.
I lost just under 2 miles on my bike computer (the 100 mile route is actually aprox 103 miles according to everybody who has rode it before. Saddle time was 101.14 miles in 6:45:03. Gun time was 8:30:19, chip time was 8:11:10. Yes I paid the extra $5 for the timing chip.
My thoughts about the Hotter'n Hell....it's not a pr ride unless you manage to get in the very front to avoid the LONG lines at the rest stops. Way too many cyclists won't move over to the right when they're going slow and most won't give room to those who are looking to get out from behind slower cyclists. I guess i'm spoiled to the Arkansas tours where everybody is much more friendly. The rest stop volunteers were FANTASTIC. Pickle juice sport drink rocks big time. Cold wet towels are absolute nirvana. Getting sprayed down with water is up there on the good things list. Way too many cyclists throw their empty gel packs on the road instead of stuffing them back in their jersey pocket to throw away in the trash at next stop. The local goodwill (or whatever charity they choose) is gonna be full of lost water bottles on Monday.
So how do I feel today? My feet hurt, I have to find an alternative pedal I suppose. These aren't working for me on rides longer than 40-50 miles. Legs are sore but just a good workout sore, nothing unusual. My head is stopped up, throat sore, & I'm spitting out some nasty looking stuff :-(. I need to start doing core work more regularly, my shoulders were beginning to ache more than usual towards the end due to the winds.
Next up...the Tupelo 14.2 miler next Sunday and the Big Dam Bridge tour (another century) at the end of September.