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Old 11-18-12, 08:11 PM   #1
bobthib
Legs; OK! Lungs; not!
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Burn, baby, burn (as in legs) Horrible Hundred style!

Today was the 33 annual Florida FreeWheelers Horrible Hundred in Clermont, FL. Most riding in central and south FLA is pretty darn FLAt, but the Clermont/Lake County area is and exception. Besides the highest point in FLA (Sugarloaf Mountain) there are dozens' of other hills of various sizes, lenghts, and grades. While it's nothing compared to real mountain cycling, it's quite a challenge for us FLAtlanders.

http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1023469

The ride started in downtown Clermont at 8 AM. It was overcast, pretty chilly, for us unprepared Floridians, in the upper 50's, and a stiff north wind at 14+. I arrived at 7AM, thanks to Colleen of the Winter Springs Cycling Club. I was able to catch a ride with her from NE Orlando area, which spared my wife getting up at 5 AM.
The rest of my club arrived at 7:30 from local hotels, and the ride started at 8 AM. There was several thousand riders there, and it seemed most started for the 100 mi ride. It was a bit exciting with all those riders until things started to stretch out. I was with our A/B+ group, and we settled in to a 20 - 22 mph pace. At first the 8 of us found many other groups to hang with, pushing the pace up now and again. But as the hills came, the lines stretched out, and Felix and I started to drop off the back as the rest of the groups sped up the hills. We were able to catch them on the descents in most cases, and in all cases we met up with them again at the rest stops.
We skipped stop one, but stopped at 2, 3, and 4. At stop 3 (45 mi) I thought Felix got left behind, so slowed and finally stopped waiting for him. He never showed, so I took off, riding solo for most of the next 20 mi. At about 16 mi a group came by and I jumped in, and rode them to rest 4. There I was able to hook back up with my group, and hung with them almost to the end. My legs really started to burn on the hills of the last 10 mi, and I was afraid to push too hard, fearing cramps. I tried to drink as much as I could, and I never did cramp.
Felix flatted at about 15 mi out, and after the fix, he flatted again at 10 mi out. He was at the back, and we never hear him call flat, so we inadvertently left him behind. His tire was ripped but he did a McGiver and was able to mend it well enough to make it back, finishing about 30 min later.
I was really happy with my performance, esp not cramping. I would like to understand why my legs burn on heavy exertion in the late miles, and how to overcome it. I hope it's just a remnant of the statin drugs I got off of about 3 months ago. If so, perhaps it will subside with time.
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Old 11-18-12, 08:14 PM   #2
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Great ride report Bob, glad you conquered the HH.

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Old 11-18-12, 08:27 PM   #3
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Hey Bob, great job on the ride! I think all centuries are difficult. I did not know there were any hills or mountains in Florida. I checked your times and speed, I'm impressed.

Again, great job!!
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Old 11-18-12, 08:28 PM   #4
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Good ride! I never ride in groups like that but a 17.9 mph average seems really respectable to me. Was it 5000+ feet total climbing? I couldn't tell for sure but that seems like a lot for FL. I assume all the course turns and pacelining helped out a lot with the wind. Would love to see some pics if you have any.

Since my legs burn and hurt on pretty much every ride, I guess I would call that "normal", for me anyway. Especially at the end of a longish ride.
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Old 11-18-12, 08:56 PM   #5
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My legs burn when my HR hits 160+. I do my best to keep it under that. It allows me to go further..
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Old 11-18-12, 09:52 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. It was a fun ride. Getting dropped is never lots of fun, but I was very please with my performance. Don't know if I can expect to resolve the burning legs at my age. I don't think time is on my side. But it was good to hang with the big dogs for a day.

I didn't take any pics. No time for that, and my phone battery crapped out since I started at 5 am to ride to my ride to the ride. So by 10 it was toast. I saved the spare to call my wife when I was done.
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Old 11-18-12, 11:12 PM   #7
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Looks like a fun and challenging ride. 5k of climbing is not a flat century. Good job.
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Old 11-19-12, 06:06 AM   #8
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Old 11-19-12, 06:11 AM   #9
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Nice ride report. This might be an interesting one to think about doing.
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Old 11-20-12, 11:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
Good ride! I never ride in groups like that but a 17.9 mph average seems really respectable to me. Was it 5000+ feet total climbing? I couldn't tell for sure but that seems like a lot for FL. I assume all the course turns and pacelining helped out a lot with the wind. Would love to see some pics if you have any.

Since my legs burn and hurt on pretty much every ride, I guess I would call that "normal", for me anyway. Especially at the end of a longish ride.
Yup, 5,200+ feet of climb. Nothing real long, but it seem there was a new climb after every turn. And for us flatlanders, that's quite a a change. Down here in So Fla, it's so flat you can roll a nickel across the state. I did one century (101.8 mi) with just over 800' of climb. So the HH is almost 7x as much climb.

When we go to upstate NY for the summer I get to ride some pretty good "mountains" so it's not quite so strange for me.

I'll see if I can collect so pics from others. I wanted to complete the ride as close to 5 hrs as I could. No time for photo ops.
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Old 11-20-12, 01:18 PM   #11
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Good report Bob. I did the Horrible Hundred on Sunday. As you said, it was a bit cool and windy. At least it was not cold enough to require tights and gloves.

To give some of the others an idea, Sugarloaf is the biggest hill. It has a short steep section at the bottom of between 12% and 14%, it then "levels off" at a constant 7%. The length of the hill is .5 mile. Oddly enough, the "backside" of Sugarloat is just as high but it is easy. It sort of stair cases up so you can take the hill in sections and recover each time but we did not go that way. We did the front face which is much harder.

The ride has a series of "named" hills that you do: the first one whose name I forget, at mile 8 or so, the Wall at mile 20, American Way at mile 69, the Papa at mile 74, Buckhill at mile 75, Sugarloaf at mile 80 and Hospital Hill at mile 98. Buckhill is the longest steep sustained climb at about 10%.

Oddly enough, it is not the "named" hills that get you on this ride. The hill profile is marked and you can SEE the named hills as you approach so you are ready for them. The problem hills are the ones that "ambush" you. The route of the Horrible Hundred has a tendency of going along on a road that you THINK you are going to stay on until without warning (unless you know the route), you make a turn up a little paved side road that starts immediately at about 7%. Things like that can catch you by surprise and wear you down.

The Florida Freewheelers do an excellent job on this ride. It has good SAG support and well manned and supplied SAG stops. Plus, the area you ride through is nice. It is a ride that is well worth doing if you are down in this neck of the woods. By the way, you don't have to do the 100 mile to get nearly all the fun. They have a 70 mile version that gives you all the good hills. The 100 just runs out south of Mascotte and Groveland into an area I think of as "darkest Florida". That area has very low population density and they wind you around out there to get the extra mileage.

You do get a surprising amount of climbing in the ride with over 5,200'. Many of the hills are short and steep but nothing is really fiendish.

For those of you thinking of a spring time event, the Freewheelers put on a multiday "Bicycle Safari" in April. It is held up in north FL at Live Oak, FL for 3 days and Cherry Lake, FL for 3 days. The road net up there is really nice. Oddly enough, the drivers up there are very tolerant of cyclists. I think so few things happen up there that seeing a group of cyclists is a bit of an "event". Also, the food provided is really great as bicycle events go. Even the lumbertruck drivers don't try to run you down. It is almost a culture shock after riding in Central FL.
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Old 11-20-12, 05:21 PM   #12
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PatW, thanks for the kind words and for the excellent embellishment. You bring in the local perspective. I've only done the ride twice, and visited the area 2 other times to preview the key hills.

Thanks for enhancing my ride report. If anyone has pics they want to share, feel free.

And if you think you have culture shock, try riding down in So Fla.
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Old 11-20-12, 06:04 PM   #13
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I got almost all the fun by doing the 70. The most daunting part of this ride was making a turn and looking at what was in store up the road. A very well run ride. Considering that 2200 riders registered, the Florida Freewheelers moved the mass with great aplomb.
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Old 11-21-12, 11:31 AM   #14
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Vic12ip, you are correct. The ffw indeed did a great job on the ride. The only complaints I had was they had the a/c down too low at the start. Lol. Also at lunch they should have had bike racks in front of the pavollion. It looked like a bike graveyard.
But the lunch was great, and they really moved people throuth the like fast.
I looked for the DAC riders bit didnt see you guys. I had the pleasure of riding with you guys when I was in Dothan in September. Hope you all had a great time.

And yes, the 70 mi Ride is the Executive summery. All the fun in less the time.
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Old 11-23-12, 09:57 AM   #15
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Nice report, bobthib. It brought back memories: I've done that ride twice, but not for several years. The first time I had to walk about half of Sugarloaf, but the next year, I managed it. It's a killer for flatlanders and rears up as you come around a bend. However, coming down the other side at 48 mph was worth it! I did not ride in a group and was mainly alone each time, but managed 15 mph average. Thanks.

Last edited by Artmo; 11-23-12 at 10:00 AM. Reason: Afterthought
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Old 11-23-12, 08:19 PM   #16
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Great ride!
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