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25th Annual Horrible Hundred, Clermont, FL - 21 November 2004

 

Facts:

Distance: 101.2 Miles 162.9 km
Elevation (climbing): 3,700 ft 1,128 m
Riding time: 7:34 h  
Total time: 9:33 h  
Average speed: 13.3 mph 21.4 km/h

 

Elevation Profile:

horriblehundred_2004_profile.jpg (80492 bytes)

 

Event report:

We arrived at the Waterfront Park at 5:45 AM and already found some of the other volunteers working. The same ones, that prepared this event since days. But soon, trucks got unloaded, tables and signs setup. The SAG stop crews loaded everything they needed.

At 6:15 we had the first people coming in for the day of event registration. It still was quiet and the volunteers preparing for the big storm. The masses came between 7:15 and 8:00 AM. Everybody was very busy and tried to serve the many riders that came in at the same time and avoid long waiting times. For the most part this worked very well. Due to the good weather forecast for a while a line was building up at the day of event registration. While they were waiting they could grab some food and thankfully most guests were patient. At the end of the registration at 8:30 AM we had almost a 1,000 people coming through.

At 8:30 AM the ride got started and the masses headed out. As the sweep I started at 8:50 AM with my Mountain bike. Barb volunteered to accompany me. I had my MP3 Player and a speaker attached to the bike and we were planning for a good ride.

At Citrus tower we caught up with the first riders. While some of them were walking, you could see that they enjoyed the challenge. Shortly after that, we already saw the Mechanic working and helping. During the day we basically didn't see him again. He was constantly busy helping others. If people where on the side we stopped, offered help, a short chat and made sure they had everything they need. Going slow, stopping, going fast to catch up. Finding the last riders for the century. This was the challenge of the sweep.

We arrived at the Oasis and still had many people here. We met Annie and Tom. Her bike had a mechanical failure. She couldn't shift the front chain rings. We found the last riders riding the century. The adjusted the cable to keep the chain on the middle chain ring and she decided to give it a try. Tom was riding with her and as we went uphill they passed us, since she couldn't ride slow. In sympathy and sharing the pain, Tom decided to also use only his middle chain ring. They successfully finished the century.

At the top of Jalarmy we came into the second SAG stop as the last riders for the century. This SAG stop was there for the first time and we felt it was a very good addition at this point and heard that most others felt the same way. Dear organizers, hopefully we can keep this stop for the future.

Towards the end of Cherry Lake road we caught up with a couple that mentioned that they are riding the century. We rode with them for a while. They were riding consistent, but not fast. The average speed and the remaining distance calculated a estimated time of arrival at 7:00 PM. I recommended at the split between the 102 and 74 to consider the 74 Mile option, since they would get into darkness and we couldn't support riding in dark. But they did want to continue. They were dedicated and motivated and wouldn't let anybody talk them out of their adventure. They had lights and told me that they are aware of getting in at dark and this wouldn't be supported and that's why they had their own SAG vehicle that they were meeting every once a while.

At the next SAG stop we saw Tom and Annie again and also two Tandems, who pulled out as we came in. This was the SAG stop of the Wizard of Oz. Not just that they did a great job as all other volunteers to support the riders, they also in my view had this years DSC04127.JPG (217284 bytes)best costumes. What an amazing job! They were dressed up in mid 80's for hours working to provide food and drinks to the riders.

As we left, the dedicated couple came in and we saw their SAG vehicle waiting.

We headed out and picked up the speed. After 10 Miles we met the two tandems that just took a break and enjoyed the nice weather. Until the next SAG stop we cycled with them. They were riding quite strong. Actually after all the slow, stop, taking pictures, fast, stop, slow and fast to catch up riding, I felt my legs quite well and had to work hard on the Mountain bike to keep up with them.

As we reached the top of American Way we were welcomed cheering at the next SAG stop. The way they were dressed it seemed that we were in Jamaica. Most of our friends were here and working, while I was cycling :-) Jutta, my wife was there volunteering, too. They did a fine job at their SAG stop. They even had a elevation profile of the ride posted (it looked like the Rocky Mountains). They stuffed us and our bike bags with more food.

We were told that for the last 30 miles it will be 15 miles of downhill. Off we went to enjoy the first down on American Way.

As we went up Buckhill at the middle of the steepest part we found a rider on the side working on the bike. We stopped and the tandems provided him the needed pump to pump up his tire, since he already had used his cartridges. But it seemed not to work. The tandems continued and impressed me that they were able to start cycling straight up Buckhill. I called the SAG mechanic. He still was busy, but told me he would be there in 15 min. to give this rider a hop back.

On Sugarloaf I caught up once more with the last riders. We were going up very slowly. Finally we were on top of Sugarloaf and heading down on the other side towards the last SAG stop. It was shortly after 5:00 PM and since officially the last SAG closes at 4:00 PM we expected this SAG to be closed. But to our surprise they were still waiting for us. Once more a great job from the volunteers, who had to open their SAG stop first and closed it last. We were happy to see them and thankfully took food and water.

Now we were on the last stretch to the finish. At the Montverde store we found a rider that took a break and ate a ice. We waited for him, to accompany him on the final stretch in. We offered the SAG, since this was getting into dark and couldn't be supported. But people insisted to finish on the bike. We had to stop in between since riders were cramping. We went slow and consistently on the way back. We were getting into dark. But Barb and myself had front and rear lights. So as a group we were able to go.

The official supported time of 5:30 PM was long gone by and finally we came to Clermont. But there was this huge hill between us and the finish. Once more slowly, but surely we mastered this last challenge. We reached the finish at 6:20 PM. As we came in people were cheering and waiting for us. I saw known faces. The ride was over and I was once more the last rider in.

After we loaded the bikes, changed clothes and as we were ready to head out, shortly before 7 PM, the couple with their own SAG vehicle came in. Once more some cheering and we were glad to see, that now really everybody was in. I have to give them credit for their dedication to finish this ride, even knowing it will take a long time and will be dark when they come in. But at the end: They did it, the finished the Horrible Hundred. Congratulations!

 

This all was possible because of the amazing work of many many volunteers. I want to thank all volunteers e.g. those at the start/finish, SAG stops, Mechanic, Medic and SAG vehicles for their tremendous amount of work and contribution to one of the best organized centuries around and supporting the last riders. You all did a great job. Thank you.

 

Event pictures:

 


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top Last updated by Ridehard -     10 Dec 2004