Monday, May 29, 2006

Horrible Hilly Hundred

Yesterday was the toughest day on the bike yet this year and well, I can't wait to do it again! I suffered and bonked 110% worse than any other time this year, and I have to say that for the first time in my adult life I walked up a hill on a bike because I just couldn't push the pedals anymore. Yesterday I did the course of the Horrible Hilly Hundred with my dad in Blue Mounds and for those of you who aren't familiar with that area it is one of the hilliest in the entire state. I'm talking hills that are up to 2 miles long most of which are your typical steep Wisconsin hills and on top of that the temperature was a steady 95 degress with 20-25 mph winds. There were quite a few riders on the course, we saw no less than 30 riders, all of them probably training to get ready for the official tour of the Horrible Hilly Hundreds coming up on the 17th of June. The first thing I learned after about 5 miles was that my high gear of 39x23 was not going to be good enough for most of these hills and that I was going to suffer throughout the day, which for us began at 8:00a.m. and ended at 4:00p.m.. We rode the course at a decent pace and tried to enjoy it as much as possible, even though I was slowed on some hills to 5-6 miles per hour as I swore at myself for not having a 25 tooth cog on my cassette. As we neared the end of the long day my dad and I were both bonking pretty good and had run out of water and food and were both hoping that we could make it up the long climb to the parking lot at the top of Blue Mounds State Park. Well, I knew as we started the climb that my legs were completely toast and that the gearing I had was not going to get me over the top of the climb. I tried my best but when I hit the steepest part of the climb I almost fell over because I was only going 4 mph so I finally stopped the bike and got off to walk. It was a pretty humbling experience to have to walk for the first time but I knew that a lot of combinations factored in to getting myself in to that situation. One, the temperature was 95 degrees and unfortunately since we were just out riding the course ourselves there were no rest stops that would normally be there during the actual tour. Our single rest stop to re-fill my 3 bottles was at a county park at the 24 mile mark so needless to say we drank as much as we could at the stop and then knew we'd have to conserve water the rest of the way. Two, I read the warning on the official web site which said they recommend having at least a 27 tooth cog, but the largest I have is a 23 and I didn't want to spend over $100 to get a new cassette just for this. Well, I learned my lesson there!! Third, I just haven't ridden anything quite this long and difficult in quite a while, 11 to 12 years at least so I was probably pushing myself beyond what I was ready for after only 6 months of training. My dad has already done a century ride this year and will be doing 2 more in the next 3 weeks, plus he never stopped riding like I did so he has 20 years of non-stop miles in his legs and that all adds up to build up your endurance. I just didn't have it yet. Now, after all that suffering, truthfully I can't wait to get out there and ride it again in the next month or so. I will be buying a cassette with a 25 tooth cog and will be prepared with a little more water next time plus I know what to expect the 2nd time around. If anyone wants to go with me I have to say it is one the most difficult rides you'll ever do but it is also a very beautiful ride and something to be proud of when you finish. I'm going to find an open weekend in June or July and when I am going to head up I will post something on my blog so you can all join me if you wish!!! Alright, well today I'm just taking it easy and since I haven't ridden yet I am just going to ride for about 30 minutes on the rollers tonight after I pop in a DVD. Tomorrow I have quite a bit going on because Xavier has Boy Scouts and Melissa won't be home so I'll have to figure out my schedule with riding. Most likely I'll try to squeeze in a ride before Boy Scouts otherwise I'll have Xavier's grandma bring him to Boy Scouts and that way I can ride until I have to pick him up at 8:30. Either way I'm schedule for 2.25 hours with some Steady State intervals thrown in during the ride. Hopefully my body is recovered from yesterday, we'll see I guess........until next time.......

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