At the end of August I’m going to be riding 100 miles…in one day. Yeah, crazy, I know.
In Wichita Falls, Texas, my hometown, there is a bike ride called the Hotter’N Hell 100 bike race. A hundred-mile bike ride in a hundred degree (or more) weather. Yes, crazy, I know.
I grew up with this race. I knew it went on every year. I even volunteered once at the race, but I never imagined that I would participate in it. Because riding 100 miles in one day in 100 degree weather is crazy, I know.
See, my parents have been riding in it the race for the past three years. My father finished the 100-mile ride last year (there are 20, 50, 75-mile rides as options, too). My mom would have completed the 100-mile ride but her bike got ran over at the 80-mile rest stop by one of the workers (she wasn’t on the bike). So this year will be my mom’s first time to complete the 100-mile bike ride and hopefully mine as well.
I started practicing last month in June. Let me give you a sense of my road biking knowledge: ZERO. I don’t know the difference between bikes, good or bad strategies, or anything about riding a bike besides what I learned as a kid, hop on and go.
So of course, practicing for this race didn’t start off well. I had to use my dad’s bike since I didn’t have one yet and since he’s a guy (bikes are made differently for men and women) and taller, I probably wasn’t doing my body good when it came to riding. I also hate, hate, did I say, HATE, road bike seats. They are so tiny and the most uncomfortable thing ever! I couldn’t sit for like a week after my first few rides and it was torture making myself get back on a bike each time, even with wearing the padded bike shorts. I will say that I am pretty much used to it now, although, I’m determined to create an ergonomic seat that is comfortable! (I seriously don’t know how guys ride bikes…)
I remember that first day riding the road bike. I felt so awkward! I don’t think I had ridden a bike in over ten years—no joke. As we were riding to the Wichita bike trails, I was freaking out and praying that I wouldn’t fall over or get hit by a car. The entire ride I couldn’t stop thinking of all the horrible things that could happen to a person on a bike. I never had this many fears with riding when I was kid! I never even thought about it. Funny how you notice danger when you grow up.
As for practicing, it has consisted of riding 10 to 22 miles at least two to three times a week. And most of the time, it’s in 90+ degree weather because I have to wait for my parents to get off before we can hit the road. So…yes, I’m ready for the heat that will come on the day of the ride. Am I ready for 100 miles? I hope!
Some days I struggle when it comes to riding. Today, I couldn’t breathe during the ride. Other days, my legs are super tight. Worse yet, is having to fight against wind and hills. From what I heard, I’ll probably endure ALL of this plus more on the day of the ride. Not to mention that I won’t have a proper meal until the evening when the bike ride is over. Apparently the Hotter’N Hell 100 volunteers will have snacks like fruit, snack bars, and maybe mini sandwiches at the rest stop, so at least I won’t be super starving.
It looks like the ride will take around eight hours. Eight hours on a bike. At least four of those hours, I’ll probably be riding in 100 or more degrees. Eight hours…sounds crazy. Probably because it is.
Well, I got a new bike recently which was exciting. I still need a helmet, gloves, and riding clothes, but I think I’ll be ready on race day. For the most part, I feel good when I ride. I’m still trying to figure ways to keep my shoulders and elbows from hurting, but at least my legs don’t seem to ever give out on me and that’s probably most important when it comes to the ride.
I’m nervous but not too much…yet. I know that many people don’t finish the 100-mile ride, but I’m determined to do well and complete the race. There will be times during the race where I won’t be able to breathe, where I’ll be tired and exhausted. There might be times where I want to quit, go home, and drink a cold one. But I’m pretty sure I will be able to overcome those brief moments in time.
To complete a 100 mile bike race in 100 degree weather will be one of the most ultimate physical feats that I may ever master in my life. How amazing will it be to share that story? And you know I’m going to share the story!
I need to do this 100-mile bike ride. I need to know that I can do amazing and wondrous things. As an adult, you don’t get many opportunities to do something as crazy and insanely awesome as this and I’m not going to let it slip by. I’m going to pedal my way through the heat and sweat, over the bumps of the asphalt, sail past my hard breathing and doubts, and make a memory that I can forever be proud of.