Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hilly Hundred Ride Recap

Ok so this weekend was the Hilly Hundred.  It's exactly what you think it is.  It's 100 hilly miles through scenic southern Indiana.  I've done this ride once before (BB:  Before Blog) and I remembered it being challenging, but not too bad.  This year I was riding with George, Tim (my brother), and my dad.  

The weather forecast for the ride changed about a million times over the weeks leading up to the ride.  It went from being cold to warm from sunny to rainy and everything in between, and changing hourly leading up to the ride 

We woke up Saturday morning to downpours and 43 degrees.  There was talk about not even going, but we all knew we were going.  We drove the 1.5 hours down in the dark as the rain came pouring down.  I asked myself several times why the hell we were doing this.  Truth is this ride is just for fun and riding in the rain and cold just didn't seem fun.  

As we got to the high school where the ride started the rain had slowed a lot.  We attended the safety meeting, got our bibs, and we were ready to go.  

As with any long ride, I ride rest stop to rest stop. The first rest stop came at mile 12.  So I set out with just 12 miles to ride.  I won't lie, it was cold at first.  I couldn't feel my fingers at all.  It was mainly just drizzling and I had on a windbreaker so the water wasn't penetrating my body, but it still felt cold.  

Nevertheless, we arrived at mile 12 pretty quickly.  I was thankful for the stop because I felt legitimately hungry.  I filled my water bottles (which had been empty up to this point) and fueled on a couple of blueberry muffins and some apple juice.  

I had warmed up on the first 12 miles, but after having stopped for awhile I really got cold again.  When we started off again it was so, so cold.  My face hurt so badly from being pelted by rain and cold.  The cold was so intense on my face it was painful.   I thought to myself that if this continued, I would never make it.

That weather only lasted maybe a few more miles.  THANK GOD!  I started to warm up again and was really looking forward to the lunch stop at mile 28.  The hills to this point had been completely manageable and I was feeling pretty good.  I rode the majority of this stretch chasing my brother with Dad and George (waiting for dad) somewhere behind me.

At about mile 26 I was really ready to be at the lunch stop and unsure if I had remembered correctly about the 28 mile stop.  I asked a fellow rider how much further we had to go.  He motioned to the right a ways off and I could see the lunch tents.  THANK GOD!

Tim was waiting when I got there so we decided to grab lunch.  We were both hungry.  The food was great.  They had fried chicken, several salads, veggies and ranch, chips, cookies, and even ice cream.  I loaded up my plate and ate it on the curb.

As we were eating at the lunch stop it seemed like the clouds decided to part.  We could see some blue skies and even saw a peek of the sun.  THANK GOD!  I was so thankful that the weather changed for the better.  With the weather not a factor, I felt like I could push on.  We pulled out of the lunch stop with just 10 miles until our next rest.  

I realized I didn't eat enough at lunch (I didn't like the salads-- too much dressing) so at the the 38 mile rest stop I had a huge granola bar and a large glass of apple cider.  I felt so much better after that.   THANK GOD!

At this point, however, I found out the end of the ride was at mile 55.7 and not the 53 miles I had thought. I don't know why, but that mentally defeated me.  I wish the rest stops had been broken up a little more evenly.

Right around the 42 mile mark (or so) was the toughest climb of the day.  I was behind both Tim and George heading into the climb.  Just when I thought to myself, "how the hell am I going to do this?" George yelped out in pain and came stood paralyzed over his bike.  His quad was in a full on muscle spasm and he couldn't moved.  An older lady was there trying to help him immediately as I pulled up.

I told George he had to move to stretch the muscle and allow it to unspasm, but he wouldn't (couldn't?) move.  So many people stopped and asked if we needed any help.  Eventually Dad and I got the bike out from under George and he was able to stretch and get back on the bike.

From that point on the ride was absolutely miserable.  I held up and waited for George when I could and he was struggling through the hills and even had to walk some.

I know George loves that I posted this pic!  

I wasn't physically feeling that great myself and I just wanted to be finished.  With 10 miles to go, we were looking at almost an hour more of riding.  I didn't know how George would make it and I really just wished there were one more stop before the end.  Alas there was not and we had to push on.  The last 10 miles were slow, I'm not gonna lie, but we did it.  55.7 miles over.  THANK GOD!

I was completely exhausted and humbled.  What I remembered as "not that bad" had just kicked my butt.  I guess my remembering that it wasn't that bad was the actual bad thing.  I went to CrossFit last week 2 times (both leaving me VERY sore).  Every time I went to activate my quads up the big hills, I felt it.  I really wished I had been kinder to myself before the ride.  Live and learn.

We went back to my brother's house and got showered and headed out to dinner where the talk began.  My brother started trying to talk us out of going back for day 2.  I'm not really sure why he didn't want to go.  It had done great on the hills, it was easier than he anticipated and he felt great at the end, but for whatever reason he wasn't in to going back.  My dad wasn't too fond of going back either.  The hills had kicked his ass and I don't think he really wanted to go.  With the 1.5 hour commute each way to the race, George all the sudden wasn't too keen either (with the 6 hour ride home).  George and I began to sway.  We could go either way.

When Tim promised that we'd still ride on Sunday, we were convinced not to make the trek back to the hilly.  We opted to sleep in a bit and get up for a 9:00 am start.  Tim said we'd do 20 miles.  I went to bed at 9:30 with the plan of donuts, coffee and then 20 miles in the morning.

I got the donuts and coffee, but somehow our 20 mile ride turned into a planned 30.  When we started out, I thought 30 miles would be a breeze, but I quickly realized my body wasn't having any of it.  My stomach hurt (2 donuts??) and I just wasn't feeling it.  By mile 7 or so I started feeling loosened up and I told myself I could do it.  The miles ticked by, but by mile 12 I was ready for a break.  We'd been doing a lot of stop and go through the city and for whatever reason my body wasn't happy with it.

After what seemed to be hours, we reached the 15 mile mark (our planned pit stop at a gas station).  THANK GOD!

I went into the station and got some gatorade energy chews and ate 3.  I was hungry, but my belly didn't feel like eating.  We stood out by the gas station and ate a drank a bit and I snapped some pics for "Hilly Day 2".  Tim threw some leaves around to make it look more believable.

At this point, my lovely brother informed me our ride would probably be closer to 35 miles.  I could have killed him.  At mile 15 I was NOT happy.   We set out to finish our ride and I swear the winds moved in.  We were riding on a nice flat trail on the way back, but at times keeping a 12 mph pace seemed like a chore.  

I think my dad and I were wearing out.  We finally reached downtown, which I estimated meant we had about 8 to 10 miles left.  My dad had mentioned a few miles back that he could use a break (and so could I) so I told George to let Tim know we needed to stop.  Tim pulled into a driveway and I thought I would too.  The only thing was the curb wasn't flush (I hadn't realized it) and by the time I realized and tried to correct to get back on the road, my wheel rubbed right up against the curb and I bit the dust landing hard on my hip.  Nothing was broken.  THANK GOD! 

I was pissed off.  Pissed that I had 8 to 10 miles to go, pissed that I was stupid and had fallen and pissed that this ride was proving to be so difficult for me.  I told myself to suck it up and just do it.  If I had to go slow, I'd go slow, but nothing was going to get me back but my 2 legs.  

It turned out to be about 9 miles from that point back home.  It was slow and I struggled, but I made it.  I don't think I've ever been so happy to be off the bike.  Day 2 of the "Hilly" (34.8 miles) was done.  THANK GOD!  

This weekend might not have gone as originally planned, but I got to spend time laughing and having fun with my husband, brother and dad and for that I, THANK GOD!


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