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!|