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Held in Wichita Falls in late August, this ride is known for its searing temps and hot, dry winds. But not this year :D. A cool front moved through north Texas early Saturday morning, and at 7 am it was 68 and cloudy. It stayed cloudy most of the morning, with a very light breeze out of the north.

I have been seriously training for this ride since June, and my main concern was making the 60 mile marker by 12:30 (ride started at 7:15). If you are not at "Hell's Gate" by 12:30, they close the 100 mile option and you only get 80 miles for the day.

There were 8,000 riders at the start. This was my first mass start and it was a bit spooky, but by 5 miles or so it began to thin out. The first 10 miles I just took it easy, and when it did thin out I was a bit surprised to find I was clipping along at 18 mph with little effort. The entire course is pancacke flat, and Austin is quite hilly..so I really didn't know what I could maintain on a flat road. I thought I might do ok to hold 15 mph.

I passed the first stop at 10 miles, and shifted into my big chain ring. I was continued to be amazed at the pace I was holding. A quick refill of the water bottles and a bannana and I was off again.

The morning continued to be cool and cloudy, so I didn't stop at the 30 mile rest stop and kept moving to 40 miles. I made it to 40 miles at around 9:30 or so. This time I stopped and spent about 10 mins at the rest stop. Course support at this ride is wonderful. They had tons of chairs under huge covered tents with people offering you ice cold towels, water and powerade. I chowed down on some oranges and bannanas, refilled the bottles and sat for a few mins.

About the time I pushed out from the 40 miles stop the clouds began to break up and the sun came out. Well, so much for the cool temp as it began to warm up nicely. I joined a pace line and we chugged on down the road to the 50 mile rest stop. Our pace line was so long that over about 8 miles I only had to pull twice.

I just cruised down to 50 miles, and at the stop I realized if I decided to walk my bike to Hell's Gate I could clear it by 12:30. So I push out again. At 55 miles or so I suddenly was caught in the middle of huge group of riders as neared the town of Burkburnett. I was crusing along at about 16 mph or so, and suddenly I was in the middle of this crowd of around 30 riders going about 21 mph. We were shoulder to shoulder and wheel to wheel, and I was amazed at how easy it was to maintain that speed, but it took quite a bit of concertration. We went down the main street of Burkburnett like a freight train, or so it felt. It was the most fun I had ever had on a bike--it was fast, scary and almost effortless. No turns, just a long, flat stretch of road and as a group we just tore up the road. Finally we hit the turn for Hell's Gate and the group slowed and broke up.

So I cleared Hell's Gate--61 miles--at 11:15. Again, stop, reload the bottles and eat a power bar and some fruit. By now it was starting to warm up and my pace slowed. I hit a bad stretch close to 70 miles and I became concerned maybe I was at the end of my endurance. I had two 70 mile training rides under my belt--my longest--and my feet hurt, my butt hurt and I was tired. But at the 70 mile stop I ate some pickles (they encourage you to eat pickles and drink little cups of pickle juice at the rest stops) and just lounged awhile and felt better. The stretch between 70 and 80 miles was pretty weird. By now the field was stretched out and I rode alone. It was a little over 90 and I was starting to feel the heat. I was wondering if it had been a typical 100-at-noon day if I could have actually made it this far--no shade, no pace line, just a long line of people working alone. I had to shift back to my small chain ring and just keep a decent cadance, but I was still managing 14 mph.

By the time I got to the 90 mile stop I was pretty tired, hot and wishing I was off my bike. But only 12 miles to go, as the actual mileage for this ride is 102 miles. I turned a corner at around 97 miles and almost crashed. There, in the middle of the road, was a woman yelling "Free beer. Free beer!" A machine shop had set up their own "rest stop" where they had kegs of beer and were grilling sausage for anyone who wanted to start celebrating early. The only problem was I think they had started in on the beer pretty early. But since I had to come to a full stop to avoid hitting the "free beer" lady, and most everyone else was stopping for a beer--well--who was I not to be a party pooper?

So one beer later I get back on the bike and start the final stretch. I rolled across the finish line at 2:30, about 7 hours after I had started. While I was ready to get off my bike, I was a little sad that it had ended. I had about as much fun on the bike as I think they will let you have. While I had no problems, I think I saw about every type of misery people can have on a bike. If I saw one, I bet I saw at least 100 people fixing flats--including one poor soul at 101 miles. I saw two crashes, and one guy whose chain broke and it must have gone into his rear cassette because his back wheel just locked up and he went off his bike and into the road.

It was a great day, and more fun than I ever thought I would have on the bike. The weather cooperated, the people and volunteers were extra wonderful, and my bike didn't let me down. I made my hotel reservation for next year. In fact, I think I will keep training and ride the Lance Armstrong Foundation's "Ride for the Roses" century in October.

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Nice job! Great report! :cheers:
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Alan! :coach:
Great report :thumbsup: I've long said a century ride is tougher than running a marathon. You are one tough hombre.
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Congrats on your first century ride
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Congratulations! Fantastic Report! :thumbsup:



Way to not be a party pooper.
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Sah-weeeet!!! So that's where you've been for the past couple months, training like a madman! Obviously it paid off. Good job! :banana:
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I was thinking the same thing. I was also thinking oh the irony ...
That sounds like a fun race. So glad for you the heat wasn't there!
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Very impressive Alan!
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Hey...your name sounds familiar :D

Awesome ride, awesome race report! Remind me never to ride with you you are way faster than me!

You actually make that sound like a decent ride!!! I still don't have ANY interest! Glad you had favorable conditions for most of the ride and w00t! on that big chain ring! :banana:

Do they give you something like a belt buckle to commemorate your survival of such an occasion? Are you convinced now that you must do the MS 150???
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:coach:

Sounds like your ready for an Ironman. 8)
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Excellent report Alan! :thumbsup:
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Sounds devilishly fun!
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Sure...you bet. As I was hobbling towards the truck to load my bike I was thinking a 26.2 mile run might be a good cool down.
Know what I really thought? :bowdown: :bowdown: :bowdown: to the real Ironmen.
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amazing ride alan!!

congratulations on 100 miles. i can't begin to imagine.
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Awe-some! great job

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