After the conclusion of the Wichita Falls Hotter-n-Hell Hundred Ultra Race, I looked back at some of the issues I faced that effected my race. Hopefully, in future events, I will do better in some areas.
Dehydration was a definite issue although it never felt overly warm or dry during the race. Texas is in the midst of a tremendous heat wave. They have had daily high temperatures above 100 degrees for well over a month now. Race day was no different. Although we started in the cool morning at 6:45am, and would finish by 10:30am, it’s still a dry area and the finish line temps would be in the mid-90′s. After I finished, my left hamstring seized in a cramp as I tried to lift my leg off the bike (through clenched teeth, I quickly got it under control). In spite of 8-9 bottles of fluid, I wasn’t adequately hydrated during the race and, in fact, didn’t properly rehydrate until the following day.
Early in the race, I had decided my shoes weren’t tight enough. So I tightened both my ratcheting and Velcro straps. This would prove to be a mistake. After the finish, I found I couldn’t walk on my left foot. The bottom, outer edge of my foot, where the strap crosses, was sore to the point of pain. I hobbled to the first aid tent, thinking it was a cramp. Today, two days later, I am more of the opinion it’s a simple case of bruising as both feet have the same symptoms, the right just less intense.
On a positive note, I usually have an intensely cramped lower back after long hard efforts such as this and find it difficult to even stand up at the finish. Fortunately, not here at HHH. In fact, aside from the feet, shoulder (pre-existing condition), and brief problem with my hamstring, I have recovered nicely, feeling good within hours of the finish.
The event itself was incredible as should be expected from a 10,000+ participant ride. There was a festival atmosphere at the finish with lots of food vendors and samples from several cycling specific food companies. Huge amounts of ice water & cold Gatorade were freely and easily available for riders. The First Aid tent was huge, with lots of training EMT’s to help out riders. There was even a church providing free showers for the riders, complete with shampoo, soap & towels. This was awesome as now the Mrs. didn’t have to suffer through a smelly 3-hr car ride home.
The best part of the race was the rolling road enclosure. A policeman was in front of the pack, while volunteer motorcyclists followed alongside & behind. Within this “bubble”, riders were permitted the use of the full road–no yellow line rule. The police a motorcyclists would force oncoming traffic onto the shoulder while we passed. This allowed us to pick our own line around rough pavement or near trees, sheltered from the wind. Very nice.
There were three feed zones in the race: 35-, 65-, and 75-miles into the race. I had my wife stationed at #1 & #3 but could have also used her at #2. She found it difficult to get good position (she was late getting to #1), but did excellent other than that. I had her hand up a musette bag with 1 bottle of water and 2 Gatorades, thinking I would need the electrolytes more. And I’m sure they helped immensely. But warm Gatorade isn’t too good.
I relied on PowerBar Gels exclusively for food, as the packages were the easiest to open while riding in a pack. But I’m sick of them now & they’re sticky everywhere. Ice cold water was the best.
My last moment of learning came after the finish. After icing my foot in the first aid tent for 20-minutes, I went to look for the Mrs. I had forgotten to pick a specific meeting spot. I tried calling her, but only got voicemail.
While waiting to find her, I went to pick up my spare wheels. Last mistake of the day: they weren’t there. These were my $800 PowerTap wheel and a front Mavic Ksyrium ($200?). I suppose now, I shouldn’t have put such a valuable wheel in the support vehicle. I began a slight panic/slight agitation. I spent another 20-minutes finding people to harass at having lost my $1,000 worth of wheels. I went back to the wheel dropoff location, and waited in the off-chance somebody had used my wheels during the race and would be returning them later.
While waiting, I gave the Mrs. another call to let her know where I was. During the conversation, she let me know she had already picked up my wheels and had them at the car. (:eek:)
So, it is best to plan every last little detail out. Where to meet after the finish. Who gets spare wheels? And, perhaps it’s best to not use $800 power wheels as backup.