Monday, July 29, 2013

The (not so) Hot Hundred...

In preparation for Louisville, two main thought processes have been top of mind.  One, I need to ride more.  Check, and double check.  I had five hundred mile rides going into the Hot Hundred and one more this weekend.  All those miles have to help for something...  Right?  Right????  The second thing is to prepare for the heat.  Louisville is notoriously hot.  It isn't a matter of whether you can travel 140.6 miles on race day but more a matter of whether you can do it in hot and humid conditions.  When I signed up I figured heat training would be no big deal - I live in Atlanta.  It is both hot and humid all summer long...  and by summer I mean from at least May through September.  I got this heat thing.  And then the weather got weird.  It is has been raining way more than usual.  It is has been 5 to 15 degrees cooler than usual most days this summer.  There have not been many hot days to be found.  (which admittedly is something I normally would not complain about!)

Enter the HOT HUNDRED!  This ride started in Tuscaloosa, AL at the University of AL.  Ever since I registered, I had been getting updates from the ride organizers letting us know what to expect.  Misters at the finish, icy towels at each stop, one even mentioned shaved ice at one rest area (yes, please!).  All in anticipation of HEAT.

I loaded up the car Friday night and headed to Tuscaloosa.  It is about 3.5 hours from home so a little far to drive over the morning of the ride.  I was actually kind of excited because you gain an hour traveling into the central time zone which meant an hour more of sleep!  (Yes, I love my sleep!).

Ride morning, I gathered my things and checked the weather.  There was a rain shower kind of hanging out to the west of us and then the temps were forecast to be mid-70s for most of the ride.  What the what?  I had brought the cool weather with me....  If we are being honest I wasn't too disappointed as it really was perfect riding weather!

I met up with my friend Keith in the parking lot who is also doing Louisville.

The ride started off at U of A and then headed out into the country.  Lots of farmland and country roads which I love.  (assuming said country roads aren't bumpy in which case I don't love them quite as much).

 Keith I rode together for a lot of the ride but he is a bit faster than me so we would get split up when he went into Tour de France mode.  On one such occasion, I found myself pedaling along by myself (so I thought).  I went to dodge a pothole then glanced back to the right to move back over out of habit and there was a line of 3 people behind me drafting off of me.  Weird (and creepy) how they can tuck right in behind and you have no idea they are there.  The first guy asked me what I was training for, complimented my pace and then got over to the side at which point I hit a bump and launched not just a water bottle but the whole water bottle holder off the back of my bike.  I knew something was wrong by the feel (and the way the others were yelling "mechanical" as they kept going - they were just using me for my pulling skills - no need to stop folks, thanks...  ha).  I pulled over thinking it was the rear tire but was thankful when I realized it was the rear water bottle holder.  The bracket was completely gone so there was no way to reattach.  I left it and moved on.

We were worried it might be a little sacrilege to lean our bikes on the church sign.  At least we didn't lean them on the cross that was at one of the other stops...  That would have been bad form.

I can't pass up many cow photo ops.  Inflatable or otherwise.

Funny story...  Keith and I were discussing what would go in our special needs bags and he mentioned he wanted a little poster of a wet cat hanging on a limb that said "hang in there".  LOL.  Of course, I forced him to pose with this cat inspirational poster at one of the stops. (of course now that I look at the pic, that is actually a raccoon.  Don't tell Keith.)

As for the rest of the ride, it was mostly uneventful....   High marks for the shaved ice!!

I went for lime.  There were about 15 options including some unusual ones like Wedding Cake and Tiger's Blood.  

Keith (304) and I discussing whether we should turn off our watches for the shaved ice break...  We decided to pretend it didn't happen then saw this photo later in the official photos.  LOL

I will say the rest stops had a Christmas in July theme going on which was lost on us until someone explained it.  We showed up at one which was going for Hawaiian Christmas with grass table skirts and Christmas music.  All the rest stops were top notch and well stocked.  The ride was one of the best organized I have seen.  There were plenty of SAG vehicles, the volunteers and the route were great.  If you ever are looking for a long ride in the middle of July I give this one two thumbs up.  :)

First century where I was awarded a medal!


Michael said...

That's pretty cool. I've never seen medals given out for bike tours before! I'm jealous. Shaved ice...awesomeness!!! I always crave a frozen coke after a long, hot workout.

A friend of mine that did Kona would turn off the AC in his house and put some of those little mini heaters around him to replicate the conditions for Kona...just a thought if you can't get enough hot weather in. The weather has been truly odd this year, but I haven't complained.

Mike said...

Sounds and looks like a great event. Your biking must be pretty strong if people were drafting off you and you didn't even know it. Keeping my fingers crossed this cool weather stays around for Louisville. That would be perfect.

ajh said...

My friend who never races but rides a lot would love a medal for a century.

Kate Geisen said...

Sounds like a great ride! The weather is crazy weird (nice!) here too...about 20 degrees cooler most days than this time last year. I'm kind of bummed because I just found out the one road century I had planned this year is the day after another race I want to do...probably not going to happen. YOU, though, you're going to go into Louisville SO ready.

Too bad those pull-ees didnt' want to take a turn. Bad form on their part.

Run with Jess said...

Congrats on a great ride. I'm am just getting into cycling and a Century is on my radar.

Colleen said...

Oh my gosh... you crack me up! Looks like a great ride. You are killing the IMLOU training. Would love to see you before your race to wish you good luck in person - not that you'll need it though! :)

Suz and Allan said...

Great job! The weather has been so off this summer that if it's really hot in August and September I don't know what people are going to do. Congrats on the century!

Matthew Smith said...

What an awesome century ride! I may have to do that one next year! You're going to beast it in Louisville with all those miles in the saddle. And about the heat... I'm just praying that it's weird weather up there on race day and not something we couldn't have prepared for. How do you feel about doing an Ironman in the rain? That could be nice, I guess! :)

lindsay said...

Boo for the rude people but sounds like the rest was a good time! Glad you found a wet cat/raccoon inspirational moment for your friend so he could save some room in his Special Needs bag. Not sacrilegious - you're supposed to lean on God when you feel weary, right? :)