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Hotter'N Hell Hundred - Survival Stories here!

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Hotter'N Hell Hundred - Survival Stories here!

Old 08-27-06, 05:11 PM
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Did anyone try the pickle juice?? I started to cramp around mile 40 and made it to the rest stop at 52. I drank 2 bottles of pickle juice and another at 70 and it seemed to work great. Anyone else have thoughts?
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Old 08-27-06, 05:21 PM
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Fast Girls and Slow Guys HH100

I headed out to my first HH100 with my wife and convoy from our riding group, The Fast Girls and Slow Guys. Many of them have done the ride for years. I rode the 100 miles and my wife rode the Metric.
My first stop was mile 30,having ridden the first 30 as solo as you can with 12,000 riders, where I found a bunch of my peeps and picked up three of the group to ride with. We had a diverse bunch so we were on several different plans. Mine was to ride sensibly from the start, eat and drink on plan, finish in 5-6 hours and get off the road! It worked out but it was brutally hot on the road(what Jesse Winchester would call "angry oven heat") and the lack of ice at most rest areas deprived riders of that small respite and may have made the difference for many people riding on the edge. My foursome worked together well with just a few problems. One of us got his Speedplays clogged with grit and mud at a rest area and couldn't clip in, struggled for miles until I finally got the crap blasted out with a water bottle. NOTE TO SELF: SPEEDPLAYS ARE NOT TOLERANT OF MUD, SAND AND COW****. STICK WITH SPD-S'SL). He later had serious cramping at about mile 96, but we rubbed him down, iced him up, got him back on his bike and slowed the pace a bit, and we rolled across the line smiling and in pretty good shape. Time 5:39
Short version of the experience:
Around 12,000 riders, temps around 105, wind
in our face for last 40 miles or so of the 100, early cut-off at Hell's Gate (forcing many riders who planned on riding 100 to cut their ride short)
because organizers couldn't supply the rest stops and I think also due to the heat casualty rate , saw more riders flatted than I could count (one of our folks having to SAG after 3, another walking the last mile in his socks, blistering his feet on the pavement, after his 3rd), ambulances
passing with regularity, no ice or cold water for about 50 miles, many bikes
thrown down and suffering people sprawled on the side of the road or under
trees, SAG wagons rolling by filled to capacity with bikes and spent
riders...... and there were still people out there for hours after we got
in!! I don't think the organizers were really ready for the huge numbers of riders and the heat stretched everybody's capacity to the max.
We did toast a little too soon to "no Fast Girls finishing with an IV",
as one of our guys passed out after his last bite of a late dinner (and a few beers). He got a ride to the hospital and a couple of bags of fluid.
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Old 08-27-06, 05:25 PM
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Al1943 - agree with you on the wind. If I can still do this at 63 I will be amazed. You are an IRON-MAN.
Congrats!
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Old 08-27-06, 05:47 PM
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Sort of like Ragbrai

This sounds alot like 1 day RAGBRAI. Though if they did something like RAGBRAI in Texas, it would need to be a week and a half or 2 weeks long. Or I guess you could just ride across the panhandle in a day.
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Old 08-27-06, 07:03 PM
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dstrong - sounds like ya'll had a good ride. Sorry we weren't able to meet up afterwards for a celebratory round of drinks. Those Titos and Tonics were good, I'm going to have to find me a bottle of that vodka next time I head down towards Austin (perhaps an Autumn BF group ride down there?).

The more I hear about the carnage involved in the 100mi ride, I'm quite happy I opted to go for the 100k. I'll go for a full Century one of these days, and after Saturday's ride I'm confident I could do it on a purely physical endurance aspect (ie: in ideal temps and winds ). However, unless there is another year when the forecasted temps are only in the mid-low 90's, I doubt I'll be pushing myself on the true Hotter'N Hell Hundred in the near future. I tip my helmet to anyone who attempts, let alone survived this weekend, on any length ride, but especially those who accomplished that 100mi (or 110+ for those who were misdirected!)
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Old 08-27-06, 07:34 PM
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There were 11,808 official riders for the HHH, not a record. I believe they have been over 12,000 in the past. This was almost 2,000 more riders than last year. The last couple of HHH's have had cooler than normal temps so with this years high temps the carnage really stood out. There is a fine line when the temps get high that must be followed to exist, sometimes it's just out of your control because there is some genetics involved. In the 100k race I got shelled early as did several others. All racers that I spoke with said that their respective events started out very hot and didn't let up. The overall times were a little slow however, the result I suspect of the nasty wind and oppressive heat. Everyone I know had much slower times and more tales of woe than normal. Congrats to any that finished, it was definitely one of the tougher HHH's in recent memory. BTW, the temps were not a record either however the temp got high much quicker than normal and that's one of the reasons why they closed Hell's Gate so early. It was in the mid 80's at 7:00 and into the ninety's by around 8:30! Although I was shelled early on, I passed many others that obviously hung on the lead pack much too long because when I passed them they were really hurting. Pack fodder doesn't really describe some of the riders I saw. I guess I'm just lucky that my personal thermostat is so sensitive. Pounding several really cold beers after the finish was very therapeutic.

Zagnut

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Old 08-27-06, 07:46 PM
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Who took advantage of the Beer barn at mile 98? The thought of getting there kept me going through a pretty dark point. The locals that put it on are great and have free ice cold beer for the riders.

We always`plan to stop there and let our group form up and take the last four miles in style.
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Old 08-27-06, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by JBar
One of us got his Speedplays clogged with grit and mud at a rest area and couldn't clip in, struggled for miles until I finally got the crap blasted out with a water bottle. NOTE TO SELF: SPEEDPLAYS ARE NOT TOLERANT OF MUD, SAND AND COW****. STICK WITH SPD-S'SL).
Interesting. I saw a guy having big problems with his Speedplays at the 85 mile rest stop. I had walked through the same dirt and mud on my Speedplays with no problems. I started to say something about how he needed cleat covers but decided it was too late for him and from the looks of thing he wasn't in any mood for advice and might have broken my nose.
BTW all of the official rest stops had plenty of ice when I got there, and I was running pretty late. The unofficial rest stop manned by vounteer firemen at mile 88 was out of ice at about 2 PM.

Al
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Old 08-27-06, 07:54 PM
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I wanted to stop at the beer barn just to say I did, but the folks with me were having none of it. When I called for a beer stop, it was "I'll buy you a damn beer. I'm not stopping!" Not the point, but after riding 70 of my 100 miles with them, I was riding in with my buds! Id be interested in knowing how many folks who set out to do 100 miles got it done. The Hell's Gate early closing really sucked for those who were doing OK, but I spoke to several folks who were forced to shorten their ride and were glad of it by the end.
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Old 08-27-06, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bradb044
Al1943 - agree with you on the wind. If I can still do this at 63 I will be amazed. You are an IRON-MAN.
Congrats!
Thanks for the kind words. Pickles saved me, didn't drink the juice but ate several pickles. They were the only food I really felt like eating, and the extra salt helped lots.

Al
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Old 08-27-06, 08:04 PM
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Our 1st HHH was a mess. We of course took off with the lead tandem group knowing full well we couldn't hang...but what the hell. I think they were averaging 24-26 and were were doing a half a55ed pace line with some singles, one of which wouldn't get the hell out the way. Couple that with around 2000+ people who think they need to start before everyone else and force all the faster bikes into the left lane. I could forgive if they wouldn't be weaving across the center line but no...they just make the mass start last for 30+ miles.

So we got dropped by the tandem train at mile 6.5. Very pathetic, but we knew right away we were out of our league. We have the power but we also have a weight issue (both of us) which we'll be working on for next season. I'm hoping that one day, our tandem will be faster than me on my single which is the way it's suppoed to be.

Another tandem dropped into the course about 10 minutes after we got dropped and we rotated with them till the 100m/100k split. They went 100k, we went 100m.

Then the drama...severe pain in the sit bone area. I ignored it as we were holding a decent solo average (for us anyways). It started to feel like someone was hitting me with a hot poker. So we stopped at the ~30 mile rest stop where I ended up on my back for 20 minutes in the first aid area. Another 20 minutes sitting around feeling dejected about ready to sag in. Couldn't figure out what happened. I still feel like I have been hit in the seat with a baseball bat. Some told us it was the nerve in that area. I couldn't walk for a while at it's worst. I've never had this happen before. For right now we're blaming it on a high saddle as we had the bike fit last week, plus I have new performance bibs. Who knows what caused it. Just when I get my cramping figured out this has to happen.

We got back on and basically just had the attitude that we just need to finish this one. Seeing the carnage after hell's gate was amazing. We're lucky we were not one of them. You definitely need to save up for that portion of the course.

We did however set a time to beat for next year - 6:44.
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Old 08-27-06, 08:29 PM
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I did the 100 miles and had no trouble. It was certainly hot, but I've been doing 200K rides in the Dallas heat, so I guess I'm used to it. I would have been awfully upset had I not made it through Hell's Gate before the early closure.
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Old 08-27-06, 09:32 PM
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Here are a few tips I have learned-
1. after you have done it once or twice for the experience, start somewhere along the street after the hill(viaduct) wait for the racers to go by though.
2. DO NOT STOP until at least the thirty mile rest stop, that will give you a huge head start over most of the crowd. the 20 mile rest stop is a zoo.
3. duh- drink drink drink early and often
4. camelback- yea you may think they look dorky but this is the one ride they are allowed
5. pickles
6. sunscreen
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Old 08-27-06, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by oujeep1
Here are a few tips I have learned-
1. after you have done it once or twice for the experience, start somewhere along the street after the hill(viaduct) wait for the racers to go by though.
2. DO NOT STOP until at least the thirty mile rest stop, that will give you a huge head start over most of the crowd. the 20 mile rest stop is a zoo.
3. duh- drink drink drink early and often
4. camelback- yea you may think they look dorky but this is the one ride they are allowed
5. pickles
6. sunscreen
1. May do this next year, too many people decide to do this and it's no longer an advantage really.
2. I stopped at 20mi, mostly because I needed a 'pit stop' not so much for food or liquid replenishment.
3. Yup
4. Had my 70oz. Wouldn't do this ride w/o it.
5. Had a couple at 50mi after my stomach settled a bit, wasn't feeling cramped, and didn't afterwards. In any case - they certainly didn't hurt!
6. As a skin cancer surviver at age 18, I can't agree more. 50 SPF ultra waterproof for me.

Doggus - sorry to hear about your problems on the route. Better luck next year getting through with less pain and faster times. I was quite estatic with my 18.1 rolling avg.

I saw one guy who must have had his saddle a good 3-4 INCHES too high. I've never seen that much hip movement on a cyclist before in my life and just absoultely CRINGED. I hope someone helps that poor guy before he needs a double hip replacement within the year.
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Old 08-27-06, 11:26 PM
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I was pissed that Hell's Gate was closed. I was there at 11:15. It had been closed for a while before that, despite the HHH website saying 11:30.

My 21-year old daughter and I have planned all summer to finish the 100miler. We have ridden in the hottest dad-gum weather Oklahoma has seen in many years. We did a metric 100 on July 4 in 105F with no problems and have ridden weekly in this crap all summer. I am an experienced 55-year old rider and runner and have no unusual problems in the heat. The daughter is a relatively new rider, but is an NCAA lacrosse player and an extrordinarily fit female athlete.

We knew the gate would close early because of the announcements prior to even starting the race. We planned to ensure our safe passage by being there well before 11:30. Surely an hour lee-way would suffice. Thus, we rode conservatively and paced ourselves for the heat, but didn't dally more than necessary to refill our bottles at two of the overcrowded rest stops. The mile 50 stop, which had been so organized on my only previous ride, was a mess. Even getting warm water was a struggle and time consuming. Nontheless, we pedaled our own sensible pace, avoiding the temptation of joining impromtu pace lines for the safety of riding together at exactly our pace. We looked at our watches and got ICE water at the mile 60 stop at 11:00 where we heard rumours that Hell's Gate was already closed!

We got to the Gate at 11:15. We had been on the bikes less than 4 hours (the 7:09 "start" time notwithstanding) and averaged an easy 16.8 over the road average. This will most likely be our only opportunity to ride this event together. We were sorely disappointed.

The result of the organizers playing fast and loose with the cut-off time is ironic. Steady safe riding like we practice will be discouraged for 100 mile riders, and it will become a race to the Hell's Gate to ensure you get to go the whole way. People will be pushing to the front at the start. People will be getting into pace lines way over their heads and seeing average speeds 5-10 mph faster than they should be going. People will by-pass stops and run low on fluids just to get to Hell's Gate at ever earlier times. They will have to advertise that HHH is a hundred miler only for the racers, the elites and the reckless. This is a prescription for disaster.

They need to pick a reasonable cut-off and stick to it. No one at this event could have been surprised that it was hot. The name itself tells a story.

By the way. My daughter and I had a good time anyway. My 1968 Peugeot will be ready if every I return.

Tyson
Cushing, Oklahoma
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Old 08-27-06, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by TysonB
I was pissed that Hell's Gate was closed. I was there at 11:15. It had been closed for a while before that, despite the HHH website saying 11:30.

My 21-year old daughter and I have planned all summer to finish the 100miler. We have ridden in the hottest dad-gum weather Oklahoma has seen in many years. We did a metric 100 on July 4 in 105F with no problems and have ridden weekly in this crap all summer. I am an experienced 55-year old rider and runner and have no unusual problems in the heat. The daughter is a relatively new rider, but is an NCAA lacrosse player and an extrordinarily fit female athlete.

We knew the gate would close early because of the announcements prior to even starting the race. We planned to ensure our safe passage by being there well before 11:30. Surely an hour lee-way would suffice. Thus, we rode conservatively and paced ourselves for the heat, but didn't dally more than necessary to refill our bottles at two of the overcrowded rest stops. The mile 50 stop, which had been so organized on my only previous ride, was a mess. Even getting warm water was a struggle and time consuming. Nontheless, we pedaled our own sensible pace, avoiding the temptation of joining impromtu pace lines for the safety of riding together at exactly our pace. We looked at our watches and got ICE water at the mile 60 stop at 11:00 where we heard rumours that Hell's Gate was already closed!

We got to the Gate at 11:15. We had been on the bikes less than 4 hours (the 7:09 "start" time notwithstanding) and averaged an easy 16.8 over the road average. This will most likely be our only opportunity to ride this event together. We were sorely disappointed.

The result of the organizers playing fast and loose with the cut-off time is ironic. Steady safe riding like we practice will be discouraged for 100 mile riders, and it will become a race to the Hell's Gate to ensure you get to go the whole way. People will be pushing to the front at the start. People will be getting into pace lines way over their heads and seeing average speeds 5-10 mph faster than they should be going. People will by-pass stops and run low on fluids just to get to Hell's Gate at ever earlier times. They will have to advertise that HHH is a hundred miler only for the racers, the elites and the reckless. This is a prescription for disaster.

They need to pick a reasonable cut-off and stick to it. No one at this event could have been surprised that it was hot. The name itself tells a story.

By the way. My daughter and I had a good time anyway. My 1968 Peugeot will be ready if every I return.

Tyson
Cushing, Oklahoma
You wouldn't by chance be planning on putting a Brooks saddle on that Peugeot in the near future would you...a tan one? I'm the guy with the kid and the mtnbike-trail-a-bike setup (green Brooks on the mtnbike) and I think we chit chatted a little waiting for the start. We went 25 miles and the weather was unusually warm, humid, and windy. I had a feeling there were gonna be some heat-related issues. Sorry you and your daughter didn't make it to Hell's Gate in time to ride the 100 miler. There is always next year (you are coming back aren't you...with more water, snacks (so you can forego the early reststops) and a faster pacer so as to get past Hell's Gate). I'm sure your daughter will let you draft . She said "you boys have a nice ride" and we did. See you next year?
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Old 08-28-06, 01:22 AM
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Well this was going to be my first attempt at a century. I had paced myself so that I'd reach hell's gate about 20-30 minutes before it closed. I was quite vexed when they closed it early but after finishing I have to say I was very glad that I didn't have another 25 miles to go.

I loved the rest stops with the fruit, marathon bars etc.. The volunteers were just great!

The wind was a real killer. I sometimes felt like I was riding into a blast furnace.
I emptied my 100oz camelback twice plus I drank several bottles of poweraid.

I was lucky enough to make it over the finish line without a flat too. But apparently while resting after the ride, I parked my bike right in the middle of a goathead patch (doh!) and got a flat while riding back to my car... I'm not going to complain after the number of people I saw on the side of the road during the ride though.

I did pass the Unicycle guy right after the 20 mile rest stop. I was also wondering how far he went if anyone knows.
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Old 08-28-06, 05:52 AM
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Tyson - sorry to hear about your disappointment about the early closing of Hells Gate. It is true that many riders may have been able to get through the 100mi later in the day, however I believe a vast majority probably wouldn't have. I did the 100k, so I didn't have to race for the Gate, but feel that based on the information I've heard from riders, organizers and the hh100 website that they did what they felt best for the cyclists out there on the road. I hope you're able to return for another year's HH100 when the temps aren't quite so severe. What color is that Peugeot of yours? I only saw one vintage Peug out on the course Saturday.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:19 AM
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Last night I found the source of my low tire. A tiny pinhole leak on one of the seams. I inflated the tube and slowly put it through a big bowl of water until I found the bubbles. The little bastard

I forgot to mention my dork move of the ride.

As we were passing the rest stop in Shepard AFB, there were folks standing in the road with cups of cold water. I wanted one to pour down my back. The unfortunate part was I did not slow down enough when grabbing the cup and smacked the crap out of it sending cold water all over myself and the volunteer.

Luckily there was another volunteer ahead. I slowed down much more and gracefully grabbed and poured. AHHHHHH
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Old 08-28-06, 09:12 AM
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Hey Guys,
great ride stories. I thought the volunteers and the locals that had their hoses out spraying the riders were awesome. I only noticed the heat a few times but none-the-less it was hot. I finished strong, had no issues and managed to drink and eat constantly on the bike with limited down time at the stops. I had to add an extra stop to my plan due to my riding buddy cramping but it was an awesome day. Met a guy at Sonic after that got diverted at Hell's gate and it sucks for those that were hindered by it but I'll tell you that the last 30 was a brutal bludgening directly into a hot Saharan wind that caused enough people to sit on the side of the road to make it look like a bike battlefield.

Great job everyone. When's the next one?
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Old 08-28-06, 09:57 AM
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My next big ride will be at the Cotton Patch Classic, got a thread with info started in the Southwest Regional forum. 100k is the longest there, but the scenery is a bit better in my opinion.

And I'll certainly be back in Wichita Falls next year!
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Old 08-28-06, 10:11 AM
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I've got two opportunities for centuries in September here in Austin. I don't think I'll do both as centuries (may do neither as centuries!) but I'm hoping to ride them both. Seems like October is a little sparse down around here but on November 10th is the "Wurst Ride" from Austin to the Wurstfest in New Braunfels...mmmm....62 miles followed by beer, wurst and funnel cakes!
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Old 08-28-06, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by lecterman
Last night I found the source of my low tire. A tiny pinhole leak on one of the seams. I inflated the tube and slowly put it through a big bowl of water until I found the bubbles. The little bastard
Every year the ditches are full of people fixing flats. The reason is that the grass is full of grass burrs and goatheads and the unknowing riders roll their bikes through the grass at the rest stops. You've just got to carry your bike across the grass and then check the tires with your fingers before starting back out. And don't stop at the 70 miles rest stop, it has 10 burrs for every square inch of ground, skip that one next year.

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Old 08-28-06, 10:38 AM
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This was my 15th or 16th HHH. I've never seen registration or the trade show as crowded at 5 to 6 PM Friday when I was there. I've seen posts here and on other boards with all kinds of numbers from 11,500 to almost 13,000. I actually saw #s 11,997 and 11,998 on a tandem and they had registered Friday night, so with the walk-ups Sat. morning it had to be well over 12,000. I think the record is 12, 6??, set in the late 80s.

I had always camped before but decided to try the Y's indoor camping this time. I was more than a little bit nervous about that. The Villiage People song kept going through my head. And I hated disco. However I had a blast. I found a spot in a smallish room with three other people and we all talked for a couple hours Friday night. Then when I got back to my Jeep after the ride two of my roomies were sitting on the back of a mini-van having a beer and I joined them for a cold one.

I started the 100M route planning on deciding at Hell's Gate whether to do the 100 or cut off. I decided to cut off even though it was only 10:30. Something just told me to. Taking the gate makes it a 73 mile ride. Did it in 4:13 riding and 5:02 total. Getting gas on the way home I spotted a crack on my rear tire. Followed it and discovered that the tread has separated from the casing about 3/4 way around the tire. I'm not sure the tire would have made it another 27 miles.

I too noticed way more sag wagon takers than ever before. More crashes too. At least one rider was airlifted away. The chopper landed at the 50 mile stop just as I was leaving. I hated to see that. I also think the previous temperature record was 105 and I saw 111 Saturday.

All in all I can't wait 'til next year!

SB
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Old 08-28-06, 10:40 AM
  #50  
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Bikes: 1 trek, serotta, rih, de Reus, Pogliaghi and finally a Zieleman! and got a DeRosa

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Originally Posted by Al1943
Every year the ditches are full of people fixing flats. The reason is that the grass is full of grass burrs and goatheads and the unknowing riders roll their bikes through the grass at the rest stops. You've just got to carry your bike across the grass and then check the tires with your fingers before starting back out. And don't stop at the 70 miles rest stop, it has 10 burrs for every square inch of ground, skip that one next year.

Al
Learn to wipe tires, that works for me when I see the crap as I roll through it.

I'm in for next year.

marty
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