Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ms Vic's Hotter 'n Hell 100

Saturday was Ms Vic's 100 mile bike ride. This is a free, unsupported ride that is put on by Ms Vicki, our past president of the Cabot Cruisers. I did it last year but only did 50 miles. This year I went for the 100. Others do their own mileage, some doing 30, 50, etc. It is a totally flat route that starts at Willow Beach Park on the river in Scott, then goes to England and almost all the way to Pine Bluff before turning around. Annette was planning on just doing 30 since she had a 20 mile run on Sunday. Since I couldn't run, I figured I'd go all out and see how it went.

I made the mistake of starting out with Gary and Curtis. They had their game face on today and they were planning on a 5 hour 100 and holding 23 mph or so. I don't know why I thought I could hang with them for 100 miles but for some reason I had in my head that maybe I could. I lasted about 5 or 6 miles when I looked at my heart rate and saw I was about zone 4.5 or so. Way too high this early in a 100 mile event. I had to slow down some so I dropped off and let them go. Basically this put me riding in about 3rd place for a while. About mile 10 a group passed me. We had already started hitting the wind so I was bummed that I didn't have anyone to draft off off. Later a couple guys passed along with a lady on a high dollar tri bike. It had already started getting hot and I was glad I had added the drinking bottle to my tri bars. This gave me a little over 2 bottles of water and one bottle of acceleraide. I alternated between the two and planned on taking an enduralyte every hour on the hour. I did not stop at the first store in England. It was about 22 miles into the ride. I planned on riding till the Country Store which was at about mile 33. So I rode, fought the wind, the heat. Trying to take a drink about every 15 minutes or less. I ate some pretzels after about an hour or so.

The wind was relentless. It made for a very not so fun ride to say the least. And being out there all alone made it even tougher. I would alternate hand positions to battle the wind. I'd ride my tri-bars for a while until I couldn't stand it then use the drops. Then I would put the palms of my hands on the hoods which got me down a little bit. Sometimes I just had to sit up and ride to relieve my shoulders and legs. For the first two hours of riding I was holding a 17mph pace. During that time I was in and out of the wind. I hit the Country Store at about the 2 hour mark. I was almost out of water and had drank almost half of my acceleraide. So I stopped, bought a bottle of water and a bottle of gatoraide. I filled my tri bottle and put the rest in my water bottle. I ate a bananna while I was there and did a gu probably 7 miles back. The short rest was nice especially getting out of the wind. Then I realized I couldn't put the gatoraide I bought in a bottle because I still had some acceleraide in it. That probably wouldn't taste good so I just stuck the bottle in the back of my jersey. I was beginning to feel like a pack mule. But I knew I had an out and back before there were any places to stop of at least 30 miles. So I was off again. A few riders passed me here since some didn't stop. They may had planned on stopping on the way back but I wanted to be safe rather than sorry.

43 miles out I saw Gary and Curtis flying back. That put them 14 miles ahead of me. Holy crap. They were really flying to do that. There was one rider behind them then a large group. Later I found out that the large group had started at 6am. And Gary and Curtis had already passed them! Those guys are awesome. About another mile or so I saw the girl that passed me on the tri bike. Wasn't many after that. The wind from here on seemed pretty bad. My pace dropped to about a 14mph average and there was nothing I could do. Sometimes when the road turned I would get a little relief but not much. I was planning on eating 1/2 my peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I hit the 50 mile mark so this I was looking forward to. I was going to make a quick stop just to regroup my thoughts and rest my feet. When I made the left turn on Hwy 79, I had the most awesome tailwind ever. It was like the noise of the wind went away too. I looked down and I was doing 23 mph and with not much effort. Man, if I could only get some of this in the 50 miles back! The only downside was, when I hit the turn around point, I had to reverse my route and go right back into a major headwind. Talk about taking the fun out of riding. My speed dropped to 12-14. This sucked. On top of that there was no shade on 79 to stop and eat but I had seen a place on the other road so I couldn't wait to get there. As I was going back on 79 I saw Marianne, Heather, James and Russ. They were probably a mile behind me. I knew I was stopping so I figured they would all pass me when I did. I hit the shady spot, stopped, dug out my PB&J and ate half of it. Getting some good drinking down too. I continued with the one enduralyte per hour plan. Marianne and Heather soon passed me. James should have been nest but it was Russ. He had turned around before the halfway point. I was quickly back on the road and watched behind me for James. After about 5 or 6 miles the balls of my feet started hurting. I would try pulling up sometimes to relieve this but it didn't help much. About the only thing that helped was getting off the bike. I still had plenty of fluids at this point but again, I was battling the wind. How could I have the same wind both ways?? Actually I think it was more of a crosswind but more than half the time it was a headwind. About 3 or 4 miles from the Country Store James caught and passed me. he said he was trying to catch the girls. I caught up to Russ before the store and passed him. He seemed like he was hurting. Later I found out that he had crashed so that was why.

Again i stopped at the store, this time I mainly just needed to get off the bike and stretch my feet. This was around mile 75. My shoulders were starting to get sore too and I was to the point I hated getting down in the bars. I did buy another bottle of water to top off my tri bottle. Man, that thing is nice. With the straw I can drink while I ride. I went ahead and ate the other half of my sandwich here too. The heat was starting to beat me down at this point. It had to be in the low 90's at least now. I also bought a coke and drank about 3/4 of it for the sugar. Marianne, Heather, James and Russ were at the store but the girls and James quickly left and before I was ready. So still no drafting help for me. With the wind it would have been nice to have several people doing my pace to draft with.

After the short break I was off again. Russ was still inside the store. I figured he was taking advantage of the a/c maybe. I pushed on. It got harder and harder. The wind, the heat. About 7 miles outside of England I ran into Bailey, Annette and Joan who had done 30 miles and were now out driving the course and checking on riders. They asked if I wanted to get in. Then I saw James. He had jumped in a little ways back. His knee was starting to hurt. I told them no, but let me refill my bottles. I knew I needed enough to get in from here. I also drank about 1/2 a coke. They commented that I didn't look so good but I wasn't done so I went on. In retrospect I probably should have jumped in. That a/c would have sure been nice!!

The balls of my feet again started hurting as I rode into England. I didn't stop at the store there but saw several bikers sitting on the front of the store looking wore down. I kept going. Then I hit the road outside of England heading back. I had a dead on headwind on this road. On top of that there was no shade anywhere. My speed dropped even more with this wind. I started watching my heart rate more knowing that we were really in a critical heat situation. When my heart rate would get up I would slow down or douse water on my head, back and neck. That seemed to help. I knew that an elevated heart rate at these temps could be a sign of heat exhaustion. The wind on this road was the worst all day. After two or three miles of this I started looking for shade to stop but there was none. I knew If I could make it to Breedlows Corner there would be some nice shady spots. But how far was that? It had to be about 8 miles because the corner was exactly 15 miles to the finish. It really got mentally tough here, along with physically. I started thinking I sucked at biking. I was going to quit, sell my bike, find a new hobby. I sucked at running and now I sucked at biking. Every negative thought possible came into my head. I called Annette on the phone and told them to come get me, I was done. She said it would be a while, they were dropping off their first load of bikers they picked up. Dang, so I kept riding. I couldn't stop because stopping would be hotter than riding with no shade. All I could think about was how much further it was to Breedlows Corner. The heat was almost unbearable. I wondered at that point if what I was feeling in my feet was the heat from the road burning my soles. Finally I made it to the corner. There were three bikers already there. One laid out under the shade. The other two younger guys just taking a break. I parked the bike, got me some food and drink and sat and waited. I laid down on the grass and it was nice. There was a nice breeze here, it was shady and really not bad. I think I ate a gu, some pretzels and whatever else I had. A lady in a car sagged the one guy out. I told her I had someone coming for me. After maybe 10-15 minutes my thinking got clearer and I began feeling pretty good. I knew I was only 15 miles to the finish. Heck, 15 miles wasn't nothing. I could run 15 miles. Why couldn't I finish? Then I got to thinking about all those riders behind me and how they must be feeling. The one guy that was laid out was a big time biker and when I saw him get sagged in I knew i didn't suck anymore. It was the heat and wind and everyone was sucking today. Except maybe Gary and Curtis! So I jumped back on the bike and headed back out. I was almost out of fluids at that point, but i knew the Bailey Rescue Squad was on the way. I figured then that I would just refill and tell them to go check on the others. I'd take one for the team today even though it would be so easy to sag it in. I really didn't want to quit till I made 100 though. It would have been a big let down. A couple miles up the road here they came. They were ready to pick me up and I said no. There are people that need you worse than I do. Give me some refills and I'll make it back.

I pressed on, the wind was not as bad but it was still there. I had no desire to get down in the bars at this point. I just wanted to finish. I stopped under a shade tree at about mile 90 and took a quick rest, just a couple minutes. Ate a peanut butte cracker and I was off again. Then at mile 95 my bike sounded different. I looked at my rear tire and it was going down. Crap. I stopped, called Annette again and told her to come get me. She said it would be a while, they had a whole load of people they were sagging in. I really didn't want to change the flat at mile 95 and for some reason the tire still had some air in it. I thought I'd try adding some air and see if it would hold. I did and it didn't blow out so I told Annette I was going to try to limp it in. A truck passed me with probably 6 or 8 bikes in back of it they were sagging out. Dang, it must be really bad for that many people to drop. I was feeling better all the time for not stopping. I eased back toward Willow Beach, hoping the tire would hold out. I could have changed the flat but I really just didn't have the energy or patience at that point to do it. Some how I made it in. As I rolled into the parking lot there was a group under a tree cheering me on. I felt pretty good that I had finished but I was disappointed in my time. Considering the conditions though I guess it wasn't that bad. After talking to some of the riders that were still there I found out that almost all of them had been sagged in. Marianne and Heather had made it OK but then again, they are Ironmen. Shortly the Bailey crew pulled up with a load of bikers. I was shocked to see Charlie W. pile out who rides 12,000 miles per year on a bike. Wow, just making it to the finish of this thing was a feat today.

Not sure how many of the 100 mile riders actually finished. I know there were a lot that did and a lot that didn't. Over 80 riders started the morning but I think the majority of those just did 30-50 miles. Gary and Curtis finished right around 5:12 which is a great time under these conditions. My final bike time was 6:38 and a 15mph average for 100 miles. Actual start to finish time was 7:22. This was my second ever 100 miler ever. I missed my PR on bike time by 5 minutes. Overall time I did beat that by close to 40 minutes. The legs feel pretty good, not nearly as sore as they would have been doing a marathon. My system is still sort of funky though. With all the loss of fluids and calories I think it will take me a full day to totally recover. Total calories burnt was 5717 with an average heart rate of 163. That's about the same heart rate I would have had if I was running a marathon.

So we had a discussion under the tree post race about if a 100 miler was harder than a marathon. All those there that had done a marathon before said YES. I would concur. Yesterday's ride was harder than any marathon I have done yet. However the recovery is much much faster at least for the legs. I think nutritionally, the bike is harder on the body than a marathon. Never underestimate the distance in either event. As I left the parking lot headed home, there were still people riding in. The temperature at that time was 97 degrees with a 102 heat index. Thus ending what I now call, Ms Vic's Hotter 'n Hell 100.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Hotter 'n Hell indeed! This is a great post, Arland. You are a CHAMPION! That is dang hot. I can't imagine. Way to hang in there!