The 36th annual Horrible Hundred was held yesterday, and I had a great time suffering in the hills with my friends.
After the hottest start to November ever (I mean that quite literally), some cooler temperatures arrived just in time for the weekend. It was a very pleasant 63° when we rolled out shortly after 7:30 AM, and the highs peaked at about 80°. The timing for a respite from the heat could not have been better. Unfortunately the wind was strong and challenging, but I’ll take wind over heat any day.
The plan was to meet up with my friends Hector, Jose, Al and Tony at 7:30. A lot of the strongest riders were leaving around then, and we figured the lead group would form from those riders.
The crowd was large (I believe somewhere around 2,000 cyclists were in attendance), but I found the guys and we rolled right on schedule at 7:36.
The opening 7 miles around Lake Minneola was not as congested or dangerous as it was last year, but I saw a few pretty close calls.
Jc, owner of Jc’s Bike Shop, and his crew of monster racers were in attendance. While we rode I spent some time catching up with Jc, who I’d not really had a chance to talk with since the 2014 Seminole Cyclefest (we did see each other earlier this year at a Lakemont ride, but didn’t get to talk much). I’ve always been impressed with Jc’s riding (and that of his team), but yesterday he was on a rampage! Some super impressive riding was on display, which included a solo breakway for the KOM on Buckhill road–no easy feat.
At one point Jc and I were riding side-by-side, when a rider from South Florida (I won’t mention his team’s name), cut to his left and hit me. We both wobbled, but kept it together. I was expecting an apology, but instead he screamed, “You almost put me down, assshole!”
I was in disbelief. Regrettably, I lost my cool. I yelled, “What?! I was holding my line, you drifted into me, you dumbfuck!” I just shook my head and kept rolling at my pace, leaving him and his entire team behind. Jc, who saw the whole thing, remained behind and got into a big argument with those guys. A bit later Jc caught up to me and told me that he almost got into a fight with the whole team, lol. Thanks for having my back, dude.
The problem with massive rides like the Horrible Hundred is that all kinds of people show up, and some of them have very little group ride experience and/or terrible bike handling skills. The early part of the ride, in particular, is when you’ve really got to keep your head on a swivel.
Anyway, that little episode was the only negative of the whole day. Moving on…
Once we started hitting the hills, the lead group became well-defined. We were keeping a strong pace–in fact, it was pretty much identical to last year’s front group pace.
At mile 70 the front group was still churning along, and our average speed was 22 MPH. I had been doing a lot of work up front to this point, and I realized that I needed to chill out a bit and conserve for the final 25 miles, which are quite hilly.
Around this time Hector and I ran into a group of teammates/friends, and we started chatting it up with them. After a few miles, Hector said to me, “Dude, the lead group got away.” I hadn’t even noticed. Sure enough, there was the lead group about 1/2 mile in front of us. Damn it.
Catching them seemed unlikely, and we had a nice little group going anyway. We decided to not spend the energy trying to chase back on.
Before the ride I made the choice to do the entire thing without stopping or SAGing. I only had two water bottles, and I was really conserving my fluid intake. I’ve done 3 or 4 non-stop centuries on two water bottles, but all the hills in the Horrible Hundred make this ride a little tougher to do on just 50 ounces–even in fairly cool weather.
At the top of Sugarloaf I should have made a 20 second stop and topped off my water. I didn’t, and I paid for it.
About 85 miles into the ride I was still feeling great, but suddenly my left hamstring locked up–hard. I didn’t stop, but I shifted to the small ring and started spinning trying to work the cramp out. I took a Salt Stick capsule, but I only had a few swallows of Gatorade left. I wound up using about half of my remaining fluid just to get the pill down. During all of this, I lost my group.
Eventually the cramp let up, but I was fighting a mean headwind (solo), and there were plenty of hills to come. Oh well, there were only 10 miles left. I just gritted my teeth and got them done.
It was a good ride and, apart from the hamstring cramp, I felt excellent the entire way. I even set a new 4.5 hour power personal record, so that was cool.
Here are a few pictures (click to enlarge, see captions):
Here are my final ride stats:
Distance: 99.4 miles
Elevation: 6,063 feet
Average Speed: 21.0 mi/h
Maximum Speed: 40.0 mi/h
Average Cadence: 89 RPM
Maximum Cadence: 126 RPM
Weighted Average Power: 222 watts
Maximum Power: 934 watts
Average Heart Rate: 161 BPM
Maximum Heart Rate: 189BPM
Suffer Score: 257 (“Epic”)
You can check out the entire ride with all data on Strava, if you like.