Parking will be an issue here, even when you arrive early. I arrived before 7:00 a.m. for the Horrible Hundred bike ride. I was here yesterday and knew what to avoid and where to go.
It was cold. Just 48 degrees at start but I refused to wear my 3/4 bib tights. I did wear knee warmers. And arm warmers. And long finger gloves. And a vest.
I met my friend, John Dockins, at start and we were off and rolling. We rode at our own pace for a mile or two and then were passed by a group of guys from Team New Tampa Velo Club. We jumped in a rode for a few miles, well, ultimately to the first aid station. But group riding sketchy. I got boxed in by them on one climb and there was severe yo-yo-ing in their paceline. One rider came dangerously close to touching wheels and crashing. Once we reached the aid station we let them go.
Horrible Hundred? Hills in Florida? Yes. In this area there are hills. No mountains but most of the day was spent on rollers. Not much flat, just lots of ascending and descending.
The ride was well supported. The intersections were all manned by police and I never had to stop for traffic. The course is probably the weirdest course of cross overs and pipe stems.
Riding with John, I was more interested in talking and enjoying the ride. I didn’t want to burn too many matches in the interest of shaving off some time time. I didn’t attack any hills but chuckled when I heard riders worry about “Sugarloaf” or “The Wall.” Still, there was probably 6,000′ of climb over 100 miles.
Before Sugarloaf, I stopped at the bottom and removed all my cold weather gear. The temperature reached the mid-60s and it was comfortable.
As far as riding, this was the sketchiest I have been in a group ride. On one right hand turn I was side by side with a rider. I was on the outside and he was on the inside. He went wide and just missed pushing me off the road.
It was strange. It was the most uncomfortable I was all year in a massive group ride or any ride. Many riders were just hard to read.
Two other times while descending at more than 40 mph I went to pass slower riders who inexplicably moved into my passing lane forcing me to go over the yellow line.
Perhaps it was a small and bad sample but today’s riding was the sketchiest of any ride I had done. I had to constantly be vigilant of all riders around me. This was in contrast to our group yesterday where 40 people stayed together in a tight pack with no issues.
At the finish was a full meal: BBQ, Chicken, or Vegetarian. For desert: ice cream.
But at the end of the day I had a good ride with a good friend. It was windy and hilly but it wasn’t horrible.