newbies guide to the HHH

Old 08-23-11, 09:44 PM
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bjtesch
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newbies guide to the HHH

Here are a few offhand thoughts I've had about the event. I put these together after the event last year with the intent of putting them on the forum before the event this year.


THE EVENTS
This is the 30th time for "the Ride", being held Thursday August 25, 2011 through Sunday August 28th.
Besides the endurance ride on Saturday, there is a trail run, a mountain bike race, a road race and criteriums.
See the official website for information and schedule for all events
http://www.hh100.org/

THE TOWN
Wichita Falls is a quiet town with population of about 100,000. The city has a lot of area, it is not
congested and typically does not suffer from traffic problems.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wichita_Falls,_Texas

THE EVENT HEADQUARTERS
The city of Wichita Falls built the MPEC (Multi Purpose Events Center) which has become the home for HHH events.
This facility has parking and exhibit space for event checkin activities and for the consumer show and spaghetti dinner.
http://www.wfmpec.com/index.php

REGISTRATION / CHECK-IN
Registration/check-in is located at the MPEC on Friday afternoon/evening and on Saturday morning. The MPEC facility can be busy
at this time because of all of the event participants. At peak times it will be hard to find parking but the registration process
doesn't take a long time. After registering you would go into the main exhibit area to pick up your tshirt and packet.

THE CONSUMER SHOW / SPAGHETTI DINNER
The exhibit area hosts numerous booths from bicycle shops and other retailers catering to bicyclists. You can buy bicycles, parts, clothing,
sports drinks, anything you might need to get ready for the event. In addition the HHH organization will have HHH clothing and other items
for sale. On the night before the endurance ride there is a spaghetti dinner.

PARKING
Parking is available at the MPEC for most events, and it will handle most parking needs for all events except Saturday morning. The MPEC is relatively close
to downtown Wichita Falls and a lot of parking is available within a mile of the MPEC. This is not a problem for the endurance ride because all participants
are on bicycle and can ride to the starting line easily.
Most participants would be driving into town on highways 281 or 287. Continue southeast past the exit for the MPEC and exit on 8th street or 10th street and
look for street parking or parking lots for churches or businesses that are closed Saturday.

THE START
The start is on W. Scott Ave. in and near downtown Wichita Falls. The starting line is approximately at
2nd street, heading north-northwest. This is approximately 2 blocks east of the MPEC. Riders will line up according to their selected speed and route
at various points behind 2nd street, as far back as perhaps 10th street. To get a reasonable position for the 100 mile route you have to line up a minimum
of 1 hour early, if you want to be close to the front you will have to be there earlier than this. For the shorter routes you can line up closer to the
time for the start. Prior to the start the national anthem will be played and they usually have a fly-over of jets from Shepherd Air Base. The actual start is
signalled by a cannon. It can take a long time for all riders to reach and cross the starting line. Once past the start line the speed picks up a bit but
it will still be somewhat crowded over the first 10 miles, almost all the way to the town of Iowa Park. The 25 mile route splits off from the main routes
prior to reaching Iowa Park. In Iowa Park the 100 mile route will separate from the 50 mile and 100k routes. The 100 mile route will still be a bit congested
for perhaps another 10 miles.

THE ROUTE
All routes will be well marked, with plenty of law enforcement officers for traffic control to get you past Iowa Park and out in the country, and elsewhere on the routes
as needed. The terrain outside of
Wichita Falls is usually flat but there will be a few small hills on the 100 mile route southwest of Iowa Park and there are a few small hills north of Wichita Falls
on the 50 mile and 100k routes. The terrain may be flat but there is usually some wind. The event timing at the end of August puts it just past the hottest time of
the year for Wichita Falls. High temperatures during the event will typically be 90 or better, and can be over 100. The event is staffed with a lot of medical volunteers
to deal with overheating and other temperature-related problems. Riders are encouraged to drink a lot and take advantage of the rest stops.
On the 100 mile route in Burkburnett is the point of no return called "Hell's Gate". The gate closes at a certain time in the afternoon
and any riders that haven't reached the gate by that time will not be allowed to continue with the 100 mile route but instead will be directed to a shortcut back to Wichita Falls
which will shorten their route to about 75 miles total.
There are also lots of sag wagons on the course to help riders with problems that prevent them from continuing.

There are a lot of riders in the endurance ride. As said, the first 10 miles will be very crowded so it is imperative that all riders pay attention to their riding and what is going on
around them. Riders should try to ride in a straight line so that riders passing them can do so safely. Collisions can and do happen at the start but it is much more troublefree than
you might expect considering the amount of riders.
Also you have to watch for objects on the road dropped by riders in front of you.
10 or 20 or 30 miles into the routes, riders will be more stretched out and it will be much less crowded. There will be times when the
nearest riders are a long way from you, but at any time a faster group of riders can come from behind you and pass you.

REST STOPS
The HHH is known for good rest stops, typically located every 10 miles. Near the finish line for the longer routes there will be an additional rest stop
about 5 miles from the finish line. The rest stop sponsors all try to do something special to be interesting to the riders, including special themes,
costumes, water sprinklers, and some have more selection of snacks than the usual. Some rest stops will have assistance available for bicycle problems, and most will have
medical treatment facilities.

THE FINISH LINE / FINISH LINE VILLAGE
The finish line is on Lamar Street leading into the MPEC facility. Unlike smaller events, there will actually be people seated in bleachers watching and cheering at the finish line.
Finishers will receive an HHH pin. There will be plenty of food vendors for food and beverage, live bands, water sprinklers, etc. so you can kick back and relax after the ride.
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Old 08-24-11, 07:33 AM
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Very nice write up.
Got my pre-registration release etc.
bib number 690!

lowest one yet.

Marty
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Old 03-03-12, 08:24 AM
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When preparing for the HHH, what century time should I shoot for? I'm in Lubbock, where its flat but windy. Thanks for the great summary!
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Old 03-03-12, 10:52 PM
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Been planning my psychological revenge after having to ditch at hell's gate last year. It was a mechanical really, but I could tell the last 40 miles would not have been that fun, either. I could have finished and been fine, but I'd like to be stronger. Of course with a baby that's about to be here in probably less than a week, I've barely ridden this past month.

In addition to my occasional group rides and commuting to school, I plan on spending Saturdays starting May riding to a shop about 15 or 20 miles away and doing a group ride there and then riding back. I think they are going to have a 30 or 40 mile ride for the "b" group. Meaning the people not looking to destroy themselves. Anyhow, this should be a good base and then I'll ty to get at least a century a month leading up to August.
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Old 03-03-12, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Moonnerd View Post
When preparing for the HHH, what century time should I shoot for? I'm in Lubbock, where its flat but windy. Thanks for the great summary!

Well, just pay attention to the start time and then plan to make 60 miles from there to about noon. Last year, they closed Hell's gate way early at 11. I think the scheduled closing was 12:30 but if it gets too hot too quick they will shut it down. So worse case scenario, start at 7 and keep it above 15 mph and you should be fine. Even most riders I know who are in good shape say the last 25 miles are usually the worst. It doesn't help that you're usually turning into a southern wind at that point of the ride.

EDIT: Someone feel free to correct me on the start time. I couldn't find a schedule for the 2012 edition, but I remember them offering the extra early start last year. Was it 6 a.m.? I guess it will also depend on how the forecast goes for that weekend.

Last edited by WalksOn2Wheels; 03-03-12 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 03-03-12, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by WalksOn2Wheels View Post
EDIT: Someone feel free to correct me on the start time. I couldn't find a schedule for the 2012 edition, but I remember them offering the extra early start last year. Was it 6 a.m.? I guess it will also depend on how the forecast goes for that weekend.
I don't remember all of the details but because of the overly hot summer that we had last year they offered an early start option to beat the heat. I don't know what it was like but in general it seems to me that it would be too dark this early for a safe start.

As for timing for a century, my first many years ago was an overall time of just under 8 hours. My wife at the time did her first century in 9.5 hours. I would recommend shooting for 8 hours at least, it starts to get a lot hotter after you have been out there for 8 hours and you will become obsessed with wishing it was over. I also recommend that most people successfully finish rides at least 70 miles, maybe 80, prior to attempting a century. Once you know how long it takes you to do 70 miles you can estimate your 100 mile time. I also recommend training in the heat, at least some, but know your body and how you react to heat. Apparently some people can naturally handle it better than others. I have always done this and have never had a problem with the HHH.
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Old 03-04-12, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by lotek View Post
Very nice write up.
Got my pre-registration release etc.
bib number 690!

lowest one yet.

Marty
I like low bib numbers also . Not so much weight as the ones with four numbers on them
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Old 03-04-12, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Moonnerd View Post
When preparing for the HHH, what century time should I shoot for? I'm in Lubbock, where its flat but windy. Thanks for the great summary!
I first rode the HH100 in 2009 and finished the 103.0 miles non-stop in 5:25, my first and only ride ever over one hundred miles.
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