2011 Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred, or Hell’s Gate before 9:00 am!

Yesterday, I joined friend DJ for my my 5th consecutive trip to the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred bike ride in Wichita Falls. We took DJ’s Scion again this year. It gets great mileage and works very well for hauling our bikes and all our junk.

I had a blast yesterday and today like I always do at HHH. The stay at the Lamar Church worked great as usual. With this year’s heat, they started the 100 mile riders an hour earlier. We got up an hour earlier than usual, and rode to the start 45 minutes earlier than usual. It seemed strange starting in the dark, but there seemed to be fewer slower riders on the course out in front of everyone, so maybe that early start isn’t a bad idea. I did indeed reach Hell’s Gate before 9:00 am. The early start made that possible for the first time. But it wasn’t nearly the only first for me.

I had made the decision to start with an easier pace than ever before. With the ride starting in the dark, plus the fact that I’ve blown up on every high effort longer ride I’ve done this year, I decided a different tack was called for. It had a more dramatic effect on my finishing time than I expected. I made a mental note of my overall average speed every 10 miles, and here’s what it looked like:

Mile 10 20.0 mph Easily the slowest start to HHH I’ve ever made
Mile 20 20.4 mph
Mile 30 20.3 mph
Mile 40 20.8 mph
Mile 50 21.0 mph
Mile 60 21.3 mph
Mile 70 21.2 mph
Mile 80 21.2 mph
Mile 90 21.0 mph I’d never carried a 21 mph average to mile 90 of any ride before, ever

I blew up at mile 90, and the turn at that point puts you on a mostly uphill stretch riding directly against today’s southwest wind, and my average started dropping quickly. As I made the turn at the beer stop at mile 98, DJ was waiting, and waved and yelled at me, but by then I knew I had a chance at an under 5 hour ride, so I never slowed down. DJ jumped on his bike, easily caught me, and rode the rest of the way in with me. He had forgotten his cycling shoes, so rode a shorter route at an easier than usual pace for him, and then rode his way over to the beer stop.

According to my Garmin 305, I finished today’s Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred in 4:57, a personal best and the first time I’ve ever done a century in under 5 hours. I thought that time was 5:02, looking at the 11:12 time on my watch when I finished, but we must have got started later than the scheduled 6:10 start, because my Garmin tells a different story: 101.8 miles, 20.5 mph on the bike average, overall time of 4:57. I made one 4 minute stop at mile 76.

Those stats are all unofficial. HHH gave timing chips to everyone this year, but I couldn’t find any posted results yet. Did I mention that when you finish HHH at 11:12, it’s really not all that hot, even during this brutal summer? It was great seeing everyone at HHH. Thanks for letting me ride along with you, DJ.

I always love this trip!

8/31/11 UPDATE: Oops, I spoke too soon. I forgot that the Edge 305 pauses everything when you stop, even overall time. So what the Garmin calls overall time is actually on the bike time. If you add my 4 minute stop to the 4:57 time the Garmin recorded, you get my real overall time, per timing chip, 5:01.

HHH is 101.8 miles. So I can still say I’ve done 100 miles in less than 5 hours, but I can’t say I’ve completed HHH in less than 5 hours. You can find your timer chip time here.

I counted 5,342 timer results. There were over 12,000 riders at HHH, so lots of folks either didn’t put on the chip or didn’t start at the start. Here are some photos of the ride from Paul Brown.

Paul and I Friday evening.

The gym where we camped out.

Recumbents ready to start in the dark.

Sunrise at mile 20.

Paul at Hell’s Gate.

Cool off at the finish.

HHH medal

HHH 100 mile route

Peachy Keene 200K permanent

I joined Mark and Diane, who were on their tandem, and rode my Peachy Keene 200K permanent this morning. We started out at 5:00 am so we wouldn’t be riding too many hours after it reached 100 degrees this afternoon.

My legs really had nothing early, a result of riding to work all five days this week, I guess. But I got stronger as the day went, and didn’t need my granny chainring for Orphan Hill at mile 70. That only happens on days when I’m feeling pretty good.

We ended up finishing just before 2:30 this afternoon. I ended up with 124.5 miles. Total time was 9:28. It had gotten seriously hot by the time we finished, but the early start kept us from getting cooked too many hours, and Mark and Diane were great company as always, so it was a good ride.

This will be my last long ride before Hotter ‘N Hell next Saturday.

Peachy Keene 200K route

Weekly Work Commute

I rode to work all five days this week. It was well over 100 degrees every afternoon (107 today). I’m definitely ready for a break in the heat.

I enjoy tracking my mileage, but managed to forget a couple of milestones that I reached this summer. I mentioned in my March Guest Blog at the Lungevity Foundation site that, sometime this summer, I expected to reach 24,900 miles (the circumference of the earth) ridden since my lung cancer diagnosis. I then forgot to watch for it, but I now have 26,570 miles since the beginning of 2008, so I have indeed ridden around the world since being diagnosed with lung cancer.

I also didn’t notice it when I passed the 10,000 mile mark on my Stratus XP. I now have 12,057 miles on it. That’s still less than I have on the Corsa, but it’s gaining fast, with all my commuting miles being on it.

2011 days ridden to work: 140
2011 commuting mileage: 3418.3

Work commute route

Ride from home

I took off from home on the Corsa around 6:20 this morning and rode 93.4 miles. A good bit of that was my Crowley Cricket Crunch permanent route. One thing I wanted to do was check CR 405 to see if Johnson County had finally paved it again. It had been gravel for long enough that I had finally re-routed Crowley Cricket Crunch around it. But, it’s paved now, so I can change it back.

There were a few showers around, but I never got rained on. I did see a nice rainbow just south of Burleson. The clouds lasted until 11:00 am, and it was getting pretty hot by the time I got home just before 1:00 pm. Winds stayed light for the entire ride.

Today’s route.

Work commute

I didn’t ride to work Monday and I’m taking a day of vacation tomorrow, so I only rode to work 3 days this week. On the way home Tuesday, I rode a couple of miles off my usual route to stop by Performance Bike to pick up an order, and ended up with 29.6 miles.

I thought today was just going to be another standard 105 degree ride home, but I was mistaken. When I went to leave work, I noticed my front tire was low. I pumped it up and headed for home. As soon as I walked out of the shop, I noticed the dark clouds in the north. I didn’t think too much about it. Most of our storms come from the west, so I figured this would stay north of me.

Just over halfway home, I could tell that front tire was getting low again, so I stopped to pump it up. It was obvious by then that this storm wasn’t moving east, it was coming south and gaining on me. I hadn’t quite finished pumping the tire up when the 50 mph north wind and dust storm hit.

The south ride down Crowley Road was nice. I would have averaged over 30 mph if I hadn’t hit every traffic light red. But when I turned west on FM 1187, I was dealing with a 50 mph crosswind, not that much fun on a faired bike. The storm faded before it reached me and all we got at home was wind and dust. It looks like the cooler air reached DFW Airport early enough to end our streak of 100+ degree days at 40, two short of the record.

2011 days ridden to work: 135
2011 commuting mileage: 3295.8

Tuesday commute with side trip to Performance Bike

Work commute

I rode to work all 5 days this week. It was 105 to 109 degrees for the afternoon rides home, pretty toasty to say the least.

Starting Monday, I won’t be getting up at my usual 3:55 am. I’ll be getting up at 2:55 am. With the record electricity usage around here, the power company is threatening industrial users with rolling blackouts, so my employer is starting the day shift an hour earlier, starting the 2nd shift 4 hours later, and shutting down during the hottest part of the afternoon. They’re letting me off at 2:00 pm. It should be much cooler for the ride home at 2:00 pm, probably only a couple of degrees over 100. It has now been 100+ degrees 34 days in a row here.

2011 days ridden to work: 132
2011 commuting mileage: 3217.2

Work commute route.

Work commute

It reached 100 degrees here before 11:00 am yesterday. It stayed over 100 degrees until after 8:00pm. In the middle of my ride home at 4:00 pm, it was 109 degrees (officially at NOAA; my bike computer was reading 118). My sandals got so hot they were burning my toes. Whenever I grabbed the bike’s brake levers, they burned my fingers. I can’t say that it was as much fun as my ride home usually is. So did I ride to work today? Of course. This afternoon’s forecast? 110 degrees. I can hardly wait.

My Next Job?

They’d have to switch to a recumbent pedicab first, though. From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

FORT WORTH — Last year, Robin Glaysher found herself laid off from her job in corporate marketing, unsure of her next step.

“I started thinking about things that I actually love to do,” Glaysher said. “I love cycling … I love my neighborhood.”

That reassessment led Glaysher to months of research and planning, culminating this week in the launch of a business already drawing interest around Fort Worth’s rapidly revitalizing near south side.

After working through regulatory hurdles and zoning issues at City Hall, Glaysher says she’s ready to kick-start Fairmount Bike Taxi, a pedicab service focusing on serving downtown and south-side neighborhoods including Fairmount and Ryan Place.

Pedicabs — three-wheeled, human-powered vehicles — have been operating in Fort Worth since at least 2005, mostly around downtown.

The growth of businesses in the near south side, most notably along Magnolia Avenue, gave Glaysher the sense that pedicabs could work in a larger portion of the city.

When Glaysher first began planning her business, she learned that only downtown and the Stockyards were zoned for nonmotorized vehicles. In May, city officials agreed to allow the pedicabs on the south side, according to Gerald Taylor with the Ground Transportation Office.

The pedicabs will have to avoid major streets like Rosedale and Eighth avenues, Taylor said.

Glaysher plans to be her business’s first pedicab driver, along with another cyclist. She’s heard from others interested in joining her enterprise.

Drivers will operate as independent contractors while renting their pedicab from Glaysher’s company, she said. She also plans to sell space on the pedicabs to local advertisers.

Fairmount Bike Taxi will officially debut Friday at First Friday on the Green, a monthly concert series at Magnolia Green Park.

Glaysher said she plans to have her pedicab drivers work for tips during special events and when operating downtown. Otherwise, she expects passengers will be charged flat fees such as $5 for one person to be transported down Magnolia Avenue.

She hopes the business will eventually gain popularity among out-of-towners staying downtown while attending events at the Fort Worth Convention Center.

“We’ll be able to tell them about places they normally wouldn’t know beyond Sundance Square,” Glaysher said.