Monday, June 18, 2007


Well that was interesting. I did this little ride Saturday called the Horribly Hilly Hundreds. A 200K ride in Wisconsin with over 12,000 feet of climbing. For a boy from the corn fields of Illinois that is a lot of hills.

Enough of the small talk. The stats: 131.36 miles, 8:45:28 ride time, 12,298 feet of climbing, and at no point did any steep arse slope cause me to stop or walk.

I rode smart, but hard. I used the early 2.5 mile climb as a test for how my day would go. The climb was brutal. Around half way up it starts to mess with you by presenting false flats and plateaus only to jerk you upwards again at 15%. I rode the hill strong, but my heart was pounding and the sweat was streaming. All this at mile 8! Sixty-two miles over this hilly terrain would be an accomplishment.

I traveled to and rode with some BFNIC buddies, Cylowe & Psimet. I think all three of us had a different agenda for the ride. At one point or the other we all stated we wanted the 200k route belt notch, but as the miles and hills mount things change.

That tough little roller mentioned above splintered us. The other two descend like madmen and I waited for both to fly by. Only Cylowe did and this surprised me. All three of us were united at the first rest stop (25mi). I will not forget the pain, the sweat, and the anger on Psimet's face when he approached and demanded my car keys. He was opting for the 100K route.

The 200K (124mi) route was broken down into five stages. There were four rest stops and after each was a new stage or loop. Miles 25 to 45 were stage two and I rode with Cylowe. There were so many steep hills I am having a hard time remembering all the details. It was stage three, near the end of it that Cylowe and I split up. We met up at the rest stop (66mi) and I could see he was in a Spot of Bother (thank you Phil). At this point neither one us mentioned 200K. Cylowe is a master navigator. He knows this area, how to read a map, and how to cut the route short if needed. We trudged on.

Shortly, we split. We still had half the ride and numerous hills ahead. At mile 86 I was stopped at an intermediate water stop when he rode up. Left or Right. Cylowe went left and I went right. I would basically ride the next 50 miles solo. These were the toughest miles. Mentally and physically. The suffering was at an all time high. Mile 100 brought the end of a lonely stage four and the last rest stop. I was there for a while as I ate, stretched, and contemplated what the hell I was doing. From this stop the route immediately went straight up in a long fashion. I had to snake my way up this hill. This was the toughest hill for me. I have no idea how I made it.

After a quick water refill at 116 and a tinkle at 125 I was ready for what I knew loomed ahead. The last 3 miles was uphill. It included that same evil ascent we tackled at mile 6 and the steep rise to Blue Mounds State Park, the highest point in Wisconsin. The part of the Midwest the glaciers missed. I met up with 2 or 3 riders near the bottom, but we quickly went our separate ways. Only one darted off in front of me. The rest fell behind. At the halfway point a gentleman was cheering riders on and playing music from his van. I thought his choice of motivational music was odd, but do not recall what tune it was. He yelled, "Keep it up, your almost to the top!" Liar. I knew this was only the midpoint.

At this point I am going 5 to 7 mph, barely moving the pedals. I found the need to stand more, but that hurt sooo much. The last quarter mile had some spectators who offered motivation and cheers. That was fun and helpful. I was standing, turning the cranks, and suffering like a dog. I crossed the finish line to see my two BFNIC buddies, Cy and Psi. That last climb went like this; 3.45 miles, 24.54 time, and 900 feet of climbing. It hurt.

My normal rides and training are done on flat country roads surrounded by corn fields. As far as I know I have never tackled more then 5000 feet of climbing in any one ride. Of course, I know I was not ascending mountains, but these hills were steep, it was 130 miles, and it was 12,298 feet. A cycling achievement for me, for sure. The body does not always cooperate. Heck, the mind does not always cooporate either. This day all things lined up.

The Garmin Stats.


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