Saturday, July 3, 2010

2010 Horribly Hill Hundreds: Stage 1

It's different the morning of the HHH than any other ride I do. All other rides I'm up and eating and not nervous at all. It's easier to figure out. Compared to the HHH, all other rides are cake walks. As of yet, I haven't done any other ride that comes even close to the difficulty of this beast. With that in mind, the morning was like all the other times. I got up and proceeded to start forcing food down and guzzling fluids. I ninja sneaked around the room gathering stuff up and went over to the corner by the window and tried to calm myself down. Nerves are at an all time high at this time. At around a quarter to 5 I got too antsy and went to walk around the lobby and tool around outside. Once down at the lobby I met up with a handful of other cyclists taking on this ride. We chatted about what we thought was in store, people marveled that this was my 4th time, we wished each other good luck, and we all went back to our prerace routines. I went outside and immediaetly noticed the lack of humidity. Even though it was way early, all other years the humidity was already noticeable by this point.

A little after 5 I went back to the room. I was now so nervous that I was worried about throwing up. Tacking the number to the back of the jersey is when the nerves reach their peak. It's game time. This is it. For the past 7 weeks everything I've done has brought me to this point right now.

Everyone loads up and we drive to the start line. I don't talk much. Elli and I are like that when it comes to events. We're thinking of what we are about to do and don't want to mingle even with each other. So the ride over is mostly silent. Daven points out the tractors on the ride over like he has on all points of the trip and I look back and give him a smile. Once at the start line I start to relax a little bit. We crack some jokes, load water bottle on the bike and gu in our jersey pockets, strap on helmets and walk to the start line. Seeing as though the HHH is not an official race, there is not mass start. You can hang around for the 7am start time if you want, or you can launch early. We decide this year to launch early, so a little after 6:30am, we bid goodbye to our loved ones, clip in to our pedals, and roll away on the road.

If you read my walk through I did about the ride a few months back, you'll remember that the first 6 miles of this ride are quite easy. It's a good warm up. You spin along doing a few small climbs until you get to Mounds Park Road. This is my litmus test for the ride. If I can make it up this climb without putting a foot down I'm gonna have at least a decent ride. So as the climb starts, everyone goes into suffer mode. Ian rides on ahead and I don't see him again for 12 hours. I put my head down and spin along with everyone else. And surprisingly I'm at the top before I realize it. This is how the first stage went for the most part: when the climbs came, I just churned up them. I was kind of worried about my fitness level for this years ride, so when I pulled into the first rest stop feeling relatively unscathed I relaxed a little more because it seemed that my legs showed up just fine. A little bit of food shoved down and some drink and about 15 minutes later I'm clipped in and back on the course for stage 2. I take note that it doesn't seem to be too hot out but that the wind is picking up.

Bring on stage 2!

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