Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hotter'N Hell Hundred...2009

I was invited by the Executive Director of HHH (through Texas Baptist Men and Lamar Baptist Church) to lead the traditional Saturday morning Sunrise Service at HHH. I gladly and fearfully accepted, trusting in God to lead me through preparations.

Since I was going to be in Wichita Falls anyway, I figured I might as well ride. The Tour riders scare me, so I decided to race the 35+ 4/5 category, based on not being anywhere near ready for 100 miles. Mine was 62 (100k).

Just to complete the picture, I brought along one of our Junior track racers to do his first ever road race in the Jr. 10-14 category (25 miles).

My training was almost nil, since I haven't had a fun ride in over two months. Every training ride has been a chore, and most I didn't event want to do. I was perilously close to mothballing all bikes for the season and getting really fat over the winter.

I got in a few Saturday morning rides, and a few sweaty afternoon 60-90 minute rides in near 100 degrees temps. Nothing even close to 62 miles. 36 - 40 was the longest.

My final two rides before the race were a 1 hour afternoon ride with a friend where I bonked hard, and a Crit where I dropped out after 2 laps. Ugh. And I broke my race wheel, so I had to steal one from our junior program and get it set up.

I picked up Landon about 4:45 and we made it to WF about 8 after a dinner stop at the world's slowest "Was-That-A-Burger" in Decatur. Picked up race packets, filled out required paperwork and headed to the church we were staying in for the night. Because we were leading the service in the morning, the kind folks at LBC-WF found us a room of our own. It also happened to be the room they were serving breakfast in at 5am. So we had to be up and out by 4:45 or so.

No sleep at all...maybe 3 hours, 30 minutes at a time. Not exactly the best prep for a devotional or a race. The service was a confusing jumble, and we never really figured out where we were supposed to be, so we hung out at the stop sign that had street signs for "3rd" and "Lamar". One person joined us. He flew in from North Carolina for the event as he does every year and has looked for this service every year. He was thrilled to find us. We had a great 3 person devotional on the "Armor of God" from Ephesians 6, relating it to the armor of a cyclist.

The race:

We started off at a pretty brisk pace. Brisk is the term I use when I forget to move a magnet to the race wheel and have no clue how fast we were going. At one point, I bounced up to the front of the group (way too sketchy at the back), and got in the rotation. When it was turn for my pull, I had no idea what speed we were going, so I looked like a n00b and dropped the group. Yes, I was leading. They let me get almost 200m up the road before they came to collect me.

After recovering at the back for a bit I moved back into the top 1/3 of the group and saw that there was a solo break up the road (Colavita rider I think). As we were on rolling hills, I decided to have a little fun and make a bridge attempt as soon as we hit the next downhill, using my descending muscle to my advantage. I hit it and got to within 20 meters of the break rider before I exploded. I'm guessing the group decided that 2 was a bigger threat than one, as they blew past me like I was in the junior race. I actually fell off the back as they passed and had to jam it just to get back in the draft.

All of this took place in the first 20 miles or so. As we made a right turn in Burkburnett to head south, I felt like I was riding two flat tires...but they weren't. My rear brake had shifted and started rubbing the rim, and no amount of coaxing was going to fix it...had to dismount. Race over. 40 mile solo TT to finish out.

I knew I wasn't going to last the full 100k, but was feeling pretty good while I was in it. The break and the bridge attempt were fun as well.

Landon lead out his good friend Nick (from a competing team) for the win in the Junior 10-14, and took 5th place only 2 seconds back. Sweet result for a new roadie. I'm very pleased with his effort and his sacrifice of trying to win so that his friend could. Lots of Character in that kid...

Cyclists to pray for: Dudes in the 35+ 4/5 that crashed when passing the Jr. Open race.


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