Sunday, August 24, 2008

At the HHH100 2008

I'm back from Wichita Falls after an exciting weekend. The WAACOs hit the road for the annual pilgrimage to the Hotter N Hell 100. We took over the downstairs of one wing of a motel and had a festive cookout in the parking lot the night before, and a nice breakfast early the morning of the ride.

Apparently this year there were about 12,000 riders in the endurance ride. I don't know how many participated in the criterion or the off road event. Sharon Jean and Joyce bagged their first century. Diane B also completed the 100 miles. Nez and Helen each rode their personal longest distance, in spite of Helen's unhappy knee and Nez's painful sunburn. Susi rode her planned 25 miles, and everyone else had signed up to do the 100K, which they were able to complete. What a good thing it was that Susi was back at the hotel early because it turned out I needed a ride back from the finish line rather early in the day.

After a fun visit to the wild west themed second rest stop which included a photo opportunity with a live longhorn, Shana and I proceeded down the road. We were going downhill at a little over 20 mph when disaster struck (insert ominous music here). I was close to Shana's wheel and breaking a bit to get a little distance off of her when either I lost my mind or my chain locked up. The next thing I knew I was bouncing along the road on my head. Once I skidded to a stop, to the sounds of "rider down" I took a quick tally of body parts and decided I had (probably) not broken anything, and could risk getting up and getting off the middle of the road. Shock and adrenaline made me feel like I might be sick so I sat down off the verge of the road in the grass, until another rider passing be suggested I watch out for chiggers. I quickly moved onto the road surface. We had a phone with us and were able to get help fairly quickly. Every rider who passed asked if I was OK. Diane W and Melissa stopped to see if they could help (thank you so much), and the County Sheriff picked me up and took me to the next intersection to meet up with the First Responders. This year since I did not plan to ride 100 mile I was disappointed to think I'd miss the Electra stop - but that is where I first went to get medical care! They started in cleaning up my leg injuries, but my elbow wound looked like it might need stitches, so it was off to Main Medical in Wichita Falls for me. The laundry list of injuries includes acres of road rash of various intensities from the middle of my left calf up to my left shoulder, a steri-stripped elbow wound which will likely scar (my days as an elbow model are over), big old bruises on all of my fingers, my inside right thigh and my left hip, a sore neck and left shoulder, and a painful and probably sprained thumb with a gash across it and a nail that might end up falling off. I have bruises on my jaw from my helmet straps & some slightly skinned knuckles. In short, I am dinged up in a big way, but I have no serious injuries and no broken bones. My helmet is bashed up and ruined, and what a good thing I was wearing it, because I would not have ended up with the minor injuries I did had I not been wearing it (and well secured to my head, too). It never slipped around at all even though my head I hit the road several times. The funny thing is, although I have ugly bloody scrapes all the way up to my hip on the left side, my shorts did not tear. I didn't tear my brand new jersey or my camelback either, although my carbon handlebars will probably be a total loss. Shana did make me throw away my bandanna, just because it was all bloody from being used as a washrag and cold compress. Turns out the bandanna is a very useful part of my riding kit. The care I got from the volunteers was excellent, including taking Shana and her bike in with me rather than leave her out on the course wondering what happened to me. Once back at WAACO Central (formerly known as Motel 6) I had the full benefit of traveling with nurses. Susi travels with a very good first aid kit, and Sharon B bandaged me up Sunday morning. They all had lots of useful advice and I felt very well taken care of. Shana was calm and helpful, even when I asked her to take pictures of me on the side of the road in my sorry condition. I was able to enjoy our second cookout of the trip from my brand new chaise lounge (thank you Shana) while being waited on hand and foot.
We already have our reservations for the same rooms next year!

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