Hotter than Hell 2010 - Part 1 The Journey to Hell
Posted Aug 30 2010 12:00am
If H G Wells was in Wichita Falls at 7am on Saturday morning he may have been smiling.
He once stated 'Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the human race'
As a science fiction writer he often looked to the future seemingly with a degree of disillusionment as was illustrated in his most famous novel 'The War of the worlds'.
In his novel the earth is over run by Martians with superior intelligence and technology who try to destroy man.
Just before they succeed they are struck down by a simple cold virus reminding us about both the fragility and simplicity of life.
Even back in 1898 Wells was concerned with the pace of Human evolution. He believed that there an ever increasing trend to rely on intelligence and technology to the detriment of our physical being and natural senses.
With obesity levels soaring globally, often running parallel with a sedentary lifestyle; Mr Wells may have used one of his own time machines to take a peek into the 21st Century.
His concerns were well founded
He seemingly saw the bicycle as a technological advancement that could embrace both the spiritual and physical aspects of human life.
I am not sure how many of the 13,000 + people assembled for the Hotter than Hell have read any H.G. Wells, but I am sure that most would please him if he were alive now.
With the cannon sounding and the sun up wheels steadily rolled over the start line in a multi- coloured sea of Lycra. The morning temperature was a pleasant 70f and aided by a favourable tail wind The Mules soon found a comfortable rhythm maintaining a speed of 20mph.
Jason 'The Kiwi Sherpa' led the pace line with such efficiency that there were no shortage of riders looking to add themselves to our ever growing tail.
Because of the requirement to keep hydrated, everybody was drinking at regular intervals, which is easy to do for the experienced rider. For some, this was seemingly not the case, as our main hazard to riding was the water bottle slalom course that had been laid out in front of us.
I must have counted at least 100!!! They were posh bottles too, the ones that keep the contents cool for a greater duration.
Of course once dropped you might as well say goodbye to such a vessel unless you want to wait around the roadside for hours.
One guy close to me dropped his keys right in the middle of the road, imagine it!
You might have spent months training, new bike, new clothes and a fortune spent in the exhibition centre and you drop your keys. By the time you are able to retrieve them, that's considering you actually find them; Hells Gate would surely be closed and the inflatable monster as deflated as you might feel.
As the sun got higher so did the temperature and of course the amount of stray bottles. We all had three bottles each with an intention to get to Hells gate as soon as possible. This is a strategic point on the ride at 53 miles where the Century riders have to reach in a given time.
This is usually by 12.30 pm which gives you plenty of time, but that time can be brought forward during the ride if the weather gets too hot. This is purely done in the interests of rider safety. For sustenance we had our pockets stuffed with Mule Fuel 'MuleBars' . We gave these out to other riders joining our pace line who were greedy for more!!!!! Unfortunately they were not in a position to write down the website whilst cycling at 20 mph so here is a quick reminder.
For the record we are not sponsored by Mulebar we just think their products are great!!!!! try them out.
We got to Hells Gate in good time where we stopped to fill up our bottles. As we were doing so we were approached by a spectator who had read the blog posts and was looking out for us. It was a great feeling.
The second part of the ride became more testing. The sun was now directly overhead and the temperature was soaring. The wind was now in our faces and increasing by the hour gusting up to 20mph. The feeling of a pleasant ride dwindled into a challenge as the heat sucked at your energy reserves. I was now taking a drink every ten minutes to replace the rivers of sweat running off me. We decided to reduce the pace slightly something that appeared to be mirrored on the course as our momentum remained the same.
With just under 6 hours riding time on the clock we crossed the line all together and all smiling.
Paddy 'Le Patron' provided champagne to start off the re-hydration which was followed by some Boddingtons Beer (and a bit of water to be sensible)
All in all it was a great ride.
Shortly I will be leaving the USA, back to England where I take part in The Manchester 100 mile ride next Sunday with some more Anglo Mules.
Paddy and the US contingent will be doing Tour de Cure and Tour de Pink.