Sunday, August 27, 2006

112 Degrees!

It is taper week and we might as well do the Hotter'n Hell Hundred bike rally, right? Sure! Early in the year, after Bob and I had ridden his 2005 cycling goal of the MS150 he said he'd like to do the HHH. It was only 2 weeks before Ironman Wisconsin but, I thought if I took it easy, it shouldn't be a problem. So, this weekend, Bob drove up from Austin to meet me at Glenn's on Friday. Saturday at 2:45 am we woke up to make a pre-3:30 am departure for Wichita Falls, TX. ....and I thought all these 5-something-am mornings were getting old.

Bob's been training but he admitted that he hadn't done 100 mile rides. He also said he'd finish the Hotter'n Hell. He did. It took 8 hours, but his riding time was 5:45. Spending a lot of time in the support tents got him recharged and rested enough to get a good century ride done. Way to go Bob!

My ride was intended to be easy since I've done 4 rides of close to 100 miles in the last 5 weeks. And its taper time. The HHH started to plan. Bob and I rode together for 30 miles. I was running interference, picking pace lines and getting through the masses of riders. Every time I looked back, Bob was there. It was pretty crowded so I didn't get to communicate with him much and couldn't tell if he was pushing too hard but he stayed on my wheel. At the first set of climbs (if you can call them that) the packs started breaking apart. Bob was still there so I broke away from a couple of pacelines because I knew Bob trained in Austin and could handle the hills. As we approached the largest hill of the set the road got all packed up. There were small groups to the right and 2 different pacelines and one was passing in the oncoming traffic lane of the 2-lane road. For some reason they slowed at the hill and instead of backing off I looked up and knew that I could take this paceline and the whole pack of 50-60 riders before it got too dangerous with possible oncoming traffic. I pulled even farther left, had plenty of room, I was by myself, had lots of speed, got down in the bars and pushing 100 rpm or better I took every rider well before the peak and scooted into a very large gap. It was apparent then that Bob didn't have the same opening and wasn't going to go for the kill. OK, game on.

So, I was on my own after that and had groups of under 10 to work with on occasion. Mostly, I took the chance to stay solo and in the triathlon position (not too welcome by groups) and just go for the ride. Very often, after passing small groups, I could take a glance down and see a wheel riding very closely behind. Sometimes I would take the opportunity to get up on the horns, fall back in the line and rest, have something to eat and drink then work my way back up to the front. Most of the time I could pull away from the group before long or I would see them peel away for a rest stop. I had just pulled away from an AT&T uniformed team when I looked back and witnessed one of them crash. The guy landed well after an amazing leap and 4-5 giant steps off the bike. He likely wasn't hurt but I never saw them again.

The nutrition plan that I received from Roni's friend was put in play for the HHH. The liquid mix turned out to be unpalatable when it heated up but I drank most of what I brought. I also validated Enervite as a great, easily digestible supplement and will use that at IMMOO.

I finished the HHH shortly after noon for a 5:12 ride. On the PA they announced that it was 112 degrees (but its a dry heat). The ride was a lot slower than prior years where it was 90% pack riding but a lot faster than I had planned. But I felt great, racked the bike and went for a run. I wanted to get in at least 20 minutes just to remind myself that this is possible. As I left the site in my running shoes some guy on a bike went by and said "Man, you tri- guys are nuts." Yes! I really wanted to hear that, and I agreed.

Bob made it in about 3pm and by then everything had really heated up. The parking lot was intolerable and even shade was hot. I had found the air-conditioned MPEC lobby to be a fine place to take a nap. We packed up Bob, grabbed a couple of BBQ sandwiches and hit the road. It wasn't long before an ice cream stop, ya-hooooo!

So, today, the Sunday after the HHH, Roni and I had to get a 2 hour run completed. Patti and I joined her, and Jerone, Rob and Scott also joined us and we were all off at 6am for a White Rock loop and more. I did the WR loop in 1:49 (about 20 minutes slower than normal) and called it a day. Scott had also done the HHH Saturday and had asked me in the hot parking lot if I would be at the lake at 6am. I must have shamed him into showing up and it was definitely nice to have a running partner at my slow pace today. As for Roni, holy crap, she is smokin'! She and Rob didn't catch Patty and Jerone, but she did run 13 miles in just a bit longer than 2 hours.

This week (a taper week):
Swim: 11,250m (3800, 3650, 2800)
Bike: 161 miles (28, 33, 100)
Run: 33.3 (18, 5.5, 3.3, 4.5, 2)


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