2016 Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred

Yesterday, I rode the 100 mile route at the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred for the tenth consecutive year. Like last year, I stayed at the First Christian Church the night before, sleeping on an air mattress in the gym. I joined a bunch of other recumbent riders for dinner Friday evening. (Thanks, Gary!) It was definitely an enjoyable trip this year.

The forecast had been for a cooler day this year, but it was humid, not many clouds, and as I started my drive home at 1:00 in the afternoon, it was already 93 degrees. So it wasn’t that cool at all. That said, it wasn’t nearly as hot as it has been in some years past. As I was driving home, I did notice that some storms had popped up at Wichita Falls, so some of those who were still on the course late likely got rained on.

The HHH people at the start let the recumbents and tandems start about ten minutes before seven. I stayed behind moderate speed tandems those first few miles, and managed to stay with one group or another for all but a couple of the first 30 miles. At that point, there were no groups to be found, and I was out in the wind by myself for the next 8 miles. On the stretch from Electra to Burkburnett, I only seemed to encounter faster groups on inclines where I really couldn’t keep up with them, so rode alone more in that stretch than I usually do.

I passed Hell’s Gate well before 10:00 am, but was feeling pretty tired at that point. I did a better job of staying with one group or another for quite a few miles after Hell’s gate, and seemed to get my second wind. It felt like I put out more effort this year than last year though, and there were several times where I was trying to hang with a group on an incline and watching my heart rate approach 170 before I had the sense to back off. But I think my fitness was a little better than last year, and I finished a bit faster, and never had anything approaching cramps, in spite of my effort.

According to my Garmin, I finished the ride in 5:19, a good time for me, about 10 minutes faster than last year. For only the second time in my 10 HHH rides, I rode the entire 100.7 miles without stopping at all. My bladder gets me up all the time at night, yet I can occasionally ride more than five hours without stopping. One of life’s great mysteries, I guess. It appears that my timing chip didn’t work this year. There was no official result for me on the timing website.

The start. That’s me, just to the left of the velomobile.

And we’re off.

Hell’s Gate at mile 60.

The medal waiting at the finish.

This morning’s reward at Denny’s.

My Garmin data.