HHH reports?

Old 08-28-11, 03:54 PM
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WalksOn2Wheels
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HHH reports?

A very mixed bag for me and my crew.

For me, it was going to be my first century, but my rear wheel, which had broken a couple of spokes over the last month, just came apart on those chip and seal roads (it should be flat out illegal to make roads like that). I had to park it at mile 29.6 when what I guess was the 4th spoke broke and the tire started rubbing the frame. After waiting a bit, I got a ride from a nice lady who I gathered was running support for her fiance and his friends. There was a mechanic at the rest stop I was like a mile and a half from. Unfortunately, he didn't have a freewheel removal tool and could only true the wheel to a usable point and send me on my way.

I pressed on, but I had lost a LOT of time and by the time I got away from the stop, all the quick people were way ahead and I didn't have any groups to ride with. So I was just pushing 20+ mph on the chip and seal by myself and passing people. Probably from mile 40 on, my right hand was really numb. It didn't stop until after the 5th rest stop when it ran through that small town with beautifully smooth roads. I think I'll give my bars an extra layer of cork next year, not to mention examining my bike fit (I put too much weight forward).

I got to Hell's Gate and they had closed it at 11, ten minutes before I rolled in. My wheel had gotten worse and my hind quarters were sore, so I decided if I wasn't allowed to finish the 100 mile course, I just didn't want to bother. So I sagged it in. Part of me wishes I had just taken the shorter route, but the other part knows I would have just further destroyed the wheel and be stuck on the side of the road at mile 75 or something. But up until that point, I was averaging 17.5 mph, which is decent for me. I felt pretty good aside from the soreness and would have pushed to finish the 100 mile route even with the bad wheel. I MUST take my revenge next year... Maybe I'll actually train next time, too.

My riding buddy originally flatted at mile 6.25 or something silly and his tire was actually toast. I waited for a bit, but it became apparent he was SOL for the time being, so I left. Just as I got the car ride to the 3rd rest stop, he texted me and said he was there. Some guy had given him his spare tire, so he was back in the game. He did great and was at a 20.2 mph moving average at Hell's gate, but he hit a wall at about mile 78 and had to make lots of rest stops and take it easy. All told, he was out for just over 8 hours, but only 5.5 hours of seat time. It was his first full century after doing the metric last year.

Another friend got a ride in my car with me to the event sort of last minute. He hadn't done too many long rides previous, but made Hell's gate (we started at about 6:15, maybe 6:30 across the start/finish) and suffered it out until the end. All told, he was out there almost 10 hours, though. I was glad he pulled it off.

Two of my friends had ridden out there 120 miles the previous day and still did the 100 mile route. One of them caught us at the third rest stop after starting about half an hour later. He's a former racer, so we expected as much. However, he did end up being out there a really long time. Maybe something like 8-9 hours? We chalked it up to the long ride the day before.

The other friend, and you'll all love this one, did the 120 miles there, the 100 mile route the net day (not sure how long it took her) and then did a Tri on Sunday where she finished first in her classification. Hard. Core.


So, how did everybody else do?
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Old 08-28-11, 06:38 PM
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Maybe I'll actually train next time, too.
You didn't say how much training you actually did. I've done the ride a lot of times, and others, and I do a lot of training by myself. This is serious business and I don't recommend that anyone attempt the ride without proper preparation. Proper preparation is a different thing for different people, for me to do a century it means I have worked up to at lest 80 miles in similar conditions previous to the event. There are probably people who do a 40 mile ride and then go to the HHH and do the century, but others that try this don't make it. I had a different outlook when I first started biking, I thought I could just try harder and keep on going. Then one day I tried a 50 mile ride and ended up getting hauled in by my neighbor's pickup. That day I experienced the "bonk", also known as "hitting the wall". I got to the point that I couldn't pedal the bike at any speed so I got off an walked. I was too tired to roll the bike alongside of me so I hid it in the weeds and kept walking. I laid on the grass at an apartment complex for a couple of hours, then made it to a convenience store where I could use the payphone. That day taught me that people do have limitations and you do have to train up to your event.

I also recommend making sure your equipment is in top shape before the event.

I'm not picking on WO2W but this is an example of what can go wrong and how it can affect your outcome. I've trained a lot in the heat and I never worry about riding no matter how hot it is, but there are lots of people that put their health at risk trying the event without proper preparation.

As for 120 miles + 100 miles + whatever- my riding friends decided they would get into ultramarathon cycling. I remember they would do things like ride 200 miles from town, stay in a hotel that night, and ride back the next day. So again it's just a matter of your training.

As for this year's ride, my training was behind because of a serious accident I was in so I stayed home in the air conditioning. I've ridden the ride before when it topped out at 90F, and other times when it topped out at 106F. I suspect that this year was hotter than average.

Oh yeah, another bonk story that I think is humorous-
I had been riding for a long time when one of my co-workers decided to take up cycling. He was young and in good shape. He played basketball and so forth with his buds so he thought cycling would be easy. We went together to a metric century ride that started about 80 miles away. It was a tough day with a lot of wind. After I finished I looked around and didn't find him, after awhile I saw him riding in on the sag wagon. He had seriously bonked and was completely out of energy. We had ridden in his car but he was too tired to drive so I drove back. After about 20 miles we stopped in another little town for a snack. I ate a burger but he couldn't eat. I bought him a big drink and he could barely look at it. He had a big date that night so he had to call and cancel, and he said he spent the rest of the day laying on his couch.
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Old 08-28-11, 06:55 PM
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WO2W, the first year I did the HH100, I also rode quite a few of the other charity rides, and that was a pretty good test of man and machine. There's lots of them going on here, so get out and ride some 100 k's in the spring and early summer, and you'll be more prepared for the HH100.

Chip seal is pretty much par for the course around here. Wheels coming apart is not so much a chipseal problem as a wheel problem.
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Old 08-28-11, 09:12 PM
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I wasn't blaming the chip and seal for the wheel issues. Obviously thousands of other wheels did just fine (though lots of people in line for the mechanic also had broken spokes). Rather, the chip and seal exposed the issues I already knew the wheel had. I actually raced to change tires on my two wheelsets to use my commuter wheels for the ride, but then remembered that my commuter had one of those late 80's uniglide cassete hubs, not a freewheel. I usually forget because it's a 6-speed and I never had a reason to get the cogs off. Part of the disastrous day of just trying to get out of town and to the event. That pretty much set the tone for the next day.

As far as training, I had been putting in some distance rides, but not what I would call enough. I still felt good enough at 60 miles, but I'm sure I could have felt better if I had trained more specifically. Just to get some psychological revenge, I think I'll put in a century with some friends once the temps get back into the 90's. We've been doing night rides lately anywhere from 40 to 60 miles. But night is a heck of a lot easier than in the day. My commute it 7 miles one way and I usually treat it as a sprint. The afternoons have been killer for months, so that's helped with the heat training.

Speaking of which, time to go get my commuter bike back together. Got to get to school somehow in the morning!
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Old 08-29-11, 06:54 AM
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I made one 4 minute stop at mile 76 and finished in 4:57, the first time I've ever finished a 100 mile ride in less than 5 hours. The start in the dark at 6:10 was very different, but there seemed to be fewer slow riders out in front of everyone, so I'm a fan of the early start. I heard it got up to 109 degrees in the afternoon, but if you finish at 11:10 am, the heat isn't that bad.
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Old 08-29-11, 11:08 AM
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The infamous riding buddy speaks out...

Yeah, I was riding my commuter rig (Surly Cross Check, size shorty, sans fenders and rack ) and my rear Ultra Gatorskin gave up the ghost at mile 6.25 (3000+ miles on that tire), but a nice guy, whom I've never seen before or since, let me borrow a tire (Bontrager Race Lite) (I left it hanging in the window of his.. uhm... bus?) to finish. I made very good time, like WO2W said, right up to mile 70 or 78. The heat just started to beat me down, though, and my pace really dropped. I finished in a shade over 8 hours. The first 60 miles took me 4 hours, including the technical problems, the last 42 miles took me 4 hours (My cyclometer says I spent 5h22m pedaling ay 19.0mph )

My "training" (hah!) consisted mostly of 20-25 mile sprints when I could get them, and a couple long rides over the summer (50-63 miles or so). The last distance ride I did was 61 mile mini-tour in upstate NY with my dad. (That was a LOT of fun. Riding with my dad was great! Working on the bikes before leaving made me feel like a 10 year old kid again )

The HHH is the longest ride I've ever done. My previous record was 67 miles at the Denton Turkey Roll. (which I didn't particularly enjoy)

Last edited by JeremyLC; 08-31-11 at 02:57 PM. Reason: forgot a word
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Old 08-29-11, 12:02 PM
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In retrospect, knowing the rear wheel was a weak point, I should have just put the nice tires on my commuter and rode that. They're nearly identical in geometry and gearing...
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Old 08-29-11, 12:25 PM
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...and, just because. Here's a photo from that NY trip with my dad. This is the high point (altitude) between NYC and Cold Spring.

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Old 08-29-11, 02:45 PM
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Due to work getting in the way of any serious milage this year, and riding with my wife and her sister we did the 25 mile
ride. Yah an nice easy toodle around Wichita Falls, Iowa park and the air base.
I was very impressed with the start this year, they didn't start the ride until the previous group
had all passed through the start line (inflatable). There was no bottleneck at the bridge and I saw far fewer
mechanicals and accidents in the first 5 miles. I did see one guy being attended to by EMS, given the amount
of blood looked like he did a face plant, this was just past the United Supermarket on the outskirts of town.
Next year hopefully work won't get in the way and I'll sign up for the full century, or the metric if my
wife is riding and she trains too.
No matter how much I whinge and moan about HHH I always want to go back.

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Old 08-30-11, 07:47 PM
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This was my first HTH and I thought it was a blast, but I'm not sure why. The weather was crazy hot, the scenery was burnt yellow, and the wind reminded me of my wife's blow dryer. The energy from the crowd, the nice people at the rest stops, and the ride through the Air Force base were wonderful. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but I can't wait to do it again next year.
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Old 08-30-11, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by cpblue View Post
The energy from the crowd, the nice people at the rest stops
BINGO! Now you've got it. I've done it year after year and I still want to go back. I can walk out of my front door and take off on my own for routes from 10 miles and up, but the HHH is an epic event and I'm always excited to be in it. The ride through the airbase is just an extra thrill, the Century route doesn't go through there.
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Old 08-31-11, 01:37 PM
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Every year the week before HHH my wife says something like " we've done this enough, lets not do the ride again next year"
and every year on the drive back to DFW area she says "Okay, we can come back next year". never fails.

I'd almost take the cut off at hells gate just to ride through the base it's that much fun.

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