Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hairy Hundred 2015

The Hairy Hundred is neatly placed two weeks before the Dirty Kanza.  It is the final chance for me to see where I am at training and nutrition wise.  Having only two races under my belt before DK makes me a little nervous, but it's the same amount I had last year so.... Not actually 100 miles but 93 dam miles with about 6,000 ft of elevation. The course is nothing crazy until you add the weather. Hey, it's Missouri, anything can happen and usually does.

I met Hunter in the dark parking lot at 5:15am.  Sheeit, that is early, especially after getting about 4 hours sleep.  Within minutes our chariot pulled up, complete with driver. Steve seemed to be in good spirits and Derek said he feared he was still drunk.  The drive started innocent enough, we are chatting away and then the weather comes.  Rain!  What the heck?  I squirmed in my seat.  I became uncomfortable immediately and wished that I had a tarp to cover my Warbird.  He's gettin' wet!

I will apologize now for the lack of pictures.  My phone stopped ringing two weeks ago and didn't like me taking photos a few days after. As of now, the camera issue has been solved however it still does not notify/ring  when I receive a text or phone call.  Go figure.

We arrive in plenty of time to check in and get in uniform. I put on my Extreme Electrical kit and butt'r up.  It was still drizzling on and off,  I pulled out my rain jacket, put it on and then decided I didn't want to wear it.  If it rains then I will get wet, don't care.  There were about 70 of us lined up.  I look to my right and told Steve "if you guys get done before me and need to leave just toss my stuff in Nathan's truck".  The rain stops completely while Michelle says a few words about the course.  She was given major props for this event since she put a lot of time and effort into it.  Thanks Michelle, we appreciate it! Shortly after  I hear, "It's a little after 8, so GO" so we went. The mass of cyclists picks up speed and has me start out faster than normal.  My plan is simple.... ride with the group as long as I can and then ball it out on my own.  

It was just a few miles in on the Katy Trail and a downed tree put me off the back end of the group. Damn, hadn't planned on being on my own so quickly.  Suck it up!  The wind has made it's presence known, it's going to be a long day. I survived last year, I will survive this year. Hope I find someone to ride with. By 'with' I mean next to, to talk to and keep me company. I have several things to figure out during this ride.  Such as:  Am I happy with my tires?  Is my mental game on?  Is my fuel going to work? 

I try not to think about riding the wet gravel.  I can feel it coating my legs, hitting my elbows, spraying straight up onto my butt, inbetween the seat and smashing it firmly into my shammy.  Mmmmm, gravel goodness. I hear the pings of the rocks as they ting off my new bike.  Sorry buddy.  These are just battle scars, you will get used to it.  There were a couple places that had flooded, not too much though as we were able to pedal through it.  My feet were soaked early on but my shoes dry relatively quick.

A couple hours in you could really notice the temperature change.  Yay, it's starting to heat up and add just a twinge of humidity.  Nice!  And wouldn't you know it, that wind hasn't let up, not one bit. Super!  Around mile 25 or so I spot Steve and make it a goal to stay with him, insuring my ride home.  My plan was just to keep him in sight.  I roll up next to him and after a few words realize that he did a 100 mile road ride the day before and he is on a singlespeed.  My good feeling about my riding quickly deflates as I realize that this is the only way I can keep up with him, but I will take it.  The bike is good, I feel good, fuel is good, wind still sucks.

Steve and I ride side by side for hours. Those of you who know Steve know he can be inappropriate, cantankerous, and sometimes highly offending.  We chat about our spouses, bikes, jobs, etc..  He spots a lone chica ahead of us and he mentions I should step up the pace and catch her.  Steve is very entertaining and must have been on his best behavior.  I think he said the word 'dick' about 7 times but that was it. We each said our share of F words so those don't count. 

The wind was unrelenting, we got a 1 1/2 minute break when we turned a corner into town, that was it. Steve's company kept me talking and pedaling, he laughed when I screamed at the wind to STOP.  It didn't work but it was worth trying.  Within the last ten miles we spot the Walt's girl, she has been back and forth with us several times.   She pushes her bell as she passes us, kind of salt in the wound if you ask me, LOL.  She makes a wrong turn before she hits the Katy back, we have no idea where she is going.  Sooner than later, with about 5 miles to go I hear that f*cking bell again.  She passes us seemingly effortlessly.  I figure I have about 20 years on her, oh to be young again.  
Steve says "grab my wheel, I think I can close the gap".  I pedal and start to really 'get on it' and then back off.  I tell him "nah, if I catch her I want it to be by my own power.  I won't let you drag me to her".  My goals in this race have been met, I did this on my own, under my own power. I try my best to catch her, it's not happening.  I watch her fade off into the distance.  (Way to push Annette!)  

As we pull through the tunnel I see Steve hit his brakes and track stand.  We had a deal to finish together and here he goes pulling this kind of sh!t.  He bumps me over the line.  Whatadick!
We finished in just over 7 hours and I 'm pleased with that.  What is exceptionally cool is the fact that I still had a lot of fight left in me.  Wind be damned, I could have gone another 100.  Having been one of the 1/3 of the riders to finish DK in 2013 (only 331 out of  1000 finished)  I know what it takes to get through the wind.  Strong mental game and a good sense of humor.

Next up... THE DIRTY KANZA!!!

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