Today’s guest columnist -The Boss
I’m really tired. It’s amazing how 108 miles of treacherous hills can sap your physical and mental energy. Halfway through I really didn’t think we were going to make it, but laugh all you want three middle aged women finished the Hugel 11.5 hours after we started. The Prize – the coveted finisher’s T-Shirt.
The sun was just coming up as we arrived at the Mopac pedestrian bridge. Debi, Michelle and I had outfitted our mountain bikes with skinny slicks and locked out suspensions in anticipation of the hills to come. You may think “Why mountain bikes? ; Doesnt that make it harder?” You try climbing Smokey Valley at 2 mph with road bike gearing and see where that gets you!
The first surprise of the day: Here comes Emily on her road bike to join for the first half of the ride. So off we went on our odyssey; three 20+ lb skinny tire mountain bikes, one road bike and enough provisions, tools, parts and smiles to last the day.
30 Miles done. The Girl Scout rest stop at St. Michael's
The four of us enjoyed an uneventful first loop. Although it was a challenge, we had tackled all this before. We managed to stay on schedule and get Emily back to the parking lot by 11 am.
The second loop, however, was a completely different story. There were times when I wanted to toss my bike into the trees, curl up into a fetal position and cry. I learned something profound as we struggled through this second half of the 2009 Hugel. It’s entirely possible to ride at 2 MPH, stay upright and pass other riders on some of these climbs.
Pickle Juice at the River Place Rest Stop
Highlights of the second half included:
- There were 65 bottles of beer remaining on the wall at the top of Beauford; 50 something at the top of Courtyard.
- You descend River Place Blvd.faster than you ascend it. Go figure!
- Pickle Juice really works.
- The volunteers are THE ABSOLUTE best!
- Big View is really scenic, but I really didn’t notice much since I was staring at the hill in front of me. If you want scenic, take a ride on Scenic Drive – it’s spectacular and flat.
- I really dislike climbing Smokey Valley, Courtyard and River Place Blvd.
The day got shorter, the hills got harder and will to finish increased with every pedal stroke. Surprise number two awaited us at the top of Jester. Keith was there with cold Coca Cola and lights. That was all we needed to get back to the parking lot and the finish of the 2009 Tour Das Hugel.
Travis, Michelle, Debi and Jennifer at the 2009 Hugel Finish