Sunday, April 22, 2012

2012 ORC HTFU 100 -- Rain Delay

After postponing the race due to another event being postponed due to rain, we rode 100 miles in the rain.  What a day!
Mine started at ~4 a.m., there was thunder and lightning visible from the crack in the drapes, and it was raining, hard.  My wife wakes me up to tell me (in a serious, somewhat angry tone) that she wants me to reconsider riding this morning.  I look up at the clock and say, “You woke me up at 4 in the morning to tell me this?”  She went on using words like ridiculous, crazy, right mind…but I had already started trying to get back to sleep )really, we have been married for almost 10 years, does she even know me?).  At ~4:30 I am woken up again by her talking.  I turn to her and ask what she said. “Nothing.”  “Were you talking in your sleep?” “No”, “Were you talking to me?” “Yes.” “Well, what did you say?” “Never mind.” “Really? Are we going to play this game?” “Fine, I said you have more machismo than brains!” “Oh, thank you.” And I went back to sleep again, in-spite of the loud noises made by her eyes rolling.  When I do wake up, it is still raining, hard.  I go to the computer to see who all has cancelled (a few), I get ready, grab my usual banana and chocolate milk breakfast (along with a half eaten power bar) and off I go.

Fast Forward to 7ish.  When I pull up to park on ORC Jeff, Steve and Matt are already there.  The rain is coming down pretty steadily, but this is an HTFU ride, so we get ready and by 7:05 we are off.  We are all surprised Mark is not here, but think we may run into him.  Just after crossing hwy 40 we see someone coming up behind us.  It is not Mark but Geoff, and then before we even get to the gate, Mark shows up.  So six of us set off for the ride.
Single-track was not really an option. Our route consisted of a bizarre Umstead loop (1.5 loops really) and then the decision that we should try to link Greenway to the ATT.  We did, eventually, but Matt first led us on a couple of mini loops around the streets of Cary.  We were kinda going the right way, just with a couple loops or out and backs thrown in (the longest being 7 miles)…no one seemed to mind because after all, the goal was 100 miles, in the rain; how we got those miles was inconsequential at this point.
I should mention that because Geoff rode ~200 road miles Saturday, he rode with us for ~40 miles before heading home.  Kudos to him for showing up in this weather.
I probably should not share this next event, so I will be coy and you will need to infer the facts.  The last stretch of greenway was brought to a halt due to some MASSIVE construction of a new…uh, road.  Once we navigated past this ‘road’, and onto the last stretch of greenway, it was only a few miles to the ATT.  We rode ~5 miles down to the New Hill entrance (see pic) and then headed back the way we came.  At this point we were 50-60 miles in and were hungry! 
Next Stop, Jimmy Johns.

Matt was true to his word and flipped the bill for the five lunches.  Interestingly, I saw three #10’s and one #14 (can’t remember what Matt had), but they are delicious.  The best part of JJ’s sandwiches is the bread.  It is soft and delicious, but also light in that it does not take over the sandwich the way a large chain competitors does (if you could not crack that code, I am talking about Subway).
Alright, lunch is over, we are all feeling better and we hit the Black Creek Greenway back to Umstead. Steve had to bail due to a time constraint ( I think he was only going to ride as far as he needed to get the Jimmy John’s sandwich, so I am glad we ate later rather than sooner so he had to man up and ride for ~72 miles).  Now we are down to four.  We decide on an Umstead lap, and a trip out the Reedy Creek Greenway toward Ben & Jerry’s.  Due to the weather, we decided not to stop for ice cream (shocking!) and just keep pedaling as we realized that whenever we stopped, the odometer stops also (very frustrating).  At this point (~mile 80) I hit the wall.  I had some energy, but absolutely no power.  I did not walk, but I was crawling up inclines.  Everybody was leaving me behind, and I did not care.  If you have done long rides, you get to that point where you don’t care about anything other than finishing.  Luckily Matt was not feeling great also (though better than me) and he stuck with me for most of the remaining miles while Jeff and Mark rode far in front of us.  When Matt and I finally made it back to the cars, we still needed  over ½ a mile, so we coasted down the hill and across the ORC bridge before the water treatment facility and then a short (~.15)  out and back on the greenway to get our final tally.  FWIW, yes, it rained the entire time.  The heaviest was the first few hours before dropping to a drizzle.  But at that point, it did not matter.  We were all soaked and we were going to finish.  Glad I did the ride, glad I had good company, glad it is over!
At ATT New Hill Area.
 100 miles baby!
Finally Done.

Some of the highlights from the ride:

Matt literally running into the wall going through a greenway tunnel.  From behind it literally looked like he fell asleep while riding and just leaned into the wall.  Because it was a tunnel, the sound of his shoulder and bar end scraping against the concrete was pretty loud.  Still, he held on and rode on out.  Talk about ‘hitting the wall’.

Mark showed us a new route through Umstead at ~mile 77.  It helped add a bit of single track to the ride and was a fun little section.  Unfortunately, I am sure it may be “frowned upon” so I doubt it will become part of my regular laps.

Decided to wear glasses (yellow lenses) the first ~30 miles (good decision).  Took them off before hitting the greenway (bad decision).  the rest of the ride invovled constant blinking to flush the grit out of one or both eyes.  There was no wiping eyes due to the grit all over your hands and the rest of your face. Good times.

I carried a soda from ~mile 30 to mile 70 in my back shirt pocked just to drink with my sandwich.  It exploded when I naively twisted the cap off.  Luckily I was already wet, so it did not bother me too much.  Being wet, sticky and cold was not great (much more fun being wet, sticky and warm).

Matt almost lost his left testicle on a spill that had him, uh, falling on the tip of his seat.  He was in pain, but he hardened up (poor choice of words?) and rode it off.

Matt had messed up his pinky and so was riding with a pinky brace and no gloves.  He was telling me how the doctor said he needed to wear the brace for 6-8 weeks to give it a chance to straighten. Just after he finishes telling me this, his brace falls off while going down hill, so just says ‘screw it’ and rode on with a bent pinky tip.  Maybe when he gets home he will pull a Ronnie Lot and just cut the little sucker off.
I am sure I am leaving things out because it is late and I am tired.

Good Times!

1 comment:

  1. Mark has the broken pinky dude. You must still be tired from the ride :)

    I swear that tunnel did some trickery on the eyes. All of a sudden it was FAR too black on all sides and I lost all bearings with the walls. I didn't want to lean into another rider so I went towards the wall. I felt it coming and put out a hand to brace for it. Not sure how I rode it out but I think the big wheels helped with their gyroscopic properties! Next time, SINGLE FILE through tunnels ;)