A few memories from riding the Hilly Hundred this weekend.

A thought on climbing the Three Sisters (beginning with Sister number one, the Twisted Sister):

I might walk this.

For the record, I didn’t. I didn’t walk any of it. I rode it all. Even Mt. Tabor.

On climbing the third Sister, the Sisty Ugler:

I might throw up.

Didn’t do that either. Thank goodness.

On flying down any of the great sweeping downhills through the woods:

If I spill now, I’m going straight to the ER a bloody mess.

Fortunately, this was yet another thing I didn’t do. My bike computer registered my maximum downhill speed at 35 mph, achieved on that amazing downhill right before Turkey Track Hill on the second day. One might think that speeds like this would yield a high average speed overall, but you have to balance them out with the 2mph uphills of Mt. Tabor and Water Tower Hill and the Sisters…and all the other named and unnamed hills of the two days.

A thought about thirty miles into Day One:

I might never be able to have sex again.

THAT particular thought led to this purchase at the end of the first day of riding, which singlehandedly allowed there to even BE a second day of riding:

Girlfriends, hear me now. If you ride a bike, go QUICKLY (I won’t say run, ’cause you might not be able to) to your nearest bike parts dealer and get yourself and your soft parts a seat WITH A HOLE IN IT. Preserve your marriage! Preserve your future childbearing potential! Preserve your God-given ability to pee!! Love yourself, love your partner, love your holey bike seat. Anatomically protective bike technology is your best friend on a long day’s ride.

‘Nuf said ’bout that.

I did also get myself both the souvenir Hilly Hundred 2008 T-shirt, and the souvenir socks. I think if one rides such a massive bragging rights ride as this, one is entitled to a certain amount of swag. I passed by the Pink Floyd bike jersey…reluctantly.

One of the entertaining aspects of the big organized rides like this, is the things you overhear as folks ride past you. I’ll share a few favorite quotes…

Me (to the two guys riding slightly behind me): HOLE.

Guy #1 (to his buddy): HOLE!

Guy #2: SH*T! (*bang*)

The singing peloton, climbing a fairly steep hill past me, to the tune of “I’m All Out of Love”: “I’m all out of gears/My cadence is TOO slow/My knees are now shot…”

And the woman who had just begun to believe she had crested the top of the climb, upon seeing that it turned a corner, increased significantly in incline, and was in fact the dreaded Cemetary Hill: “Oh Crap.”

And finally, a few words of advice for future Hilly riders.

Don’t miss breakfast. (Although you may have the luck of encountering coffee and doughnuts on the route.)

Get up with the stars and frost. (See: Don’t miss breakfast, above.) It helps to go to bed about 8:30 the night before. It was, in fact, surprisingly easy to go to bed at 8:30 after riding fifty miles of hills.

The shower trucks are, again surprisingly, nicer than the in-school showers and not to be scoffed at. Once again we experienced that pure joy which is a hot shower at the end of a long tiring day.

Wool (see? it’s a knitting post; I said “wool”) is a fabulous fabric for cycling. I had the fortune of picking up a long-sleeved wool bike jersey on clearance a couple of weeks ago, and it was perfect for the combination of sweaty climbing plus high-speed windy downhills. It breathes, it was never clammy or clingy, it wick’d and dried out quickly, and it was just the right layer for variable warmth. Plus, it let me give a heartfelt greeting to the sheep we passed…and it allowed me to still feel like a knitter even when I was so tired I could barely hold needles.

Which still holds today, in fact. I moaned and whimpered my way through yoga class, and then came home and crashed on the couch with my sleeping bag pulled over me. My knitting was by my side but I just couldn’t gather myself enough to pull it out. Maybe 8:30 isn’t too early for bed even tonight. My legs barely want to stand…but the hills are still swooping past me in my mind.

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