The Road to the Hotter'N Hell Hundred

As my old Uncle Bob used to say, “There’s more than one way to get to 4”. When it comes to the HHH, there’s more than one way to get ready. This year, we’ve developed a training plan that you can use as you prepare for the 50, 62 or 100 mile route. It sticks with the basics and provides lots of room for taking a weekend off. Check it out and join me on the Road to the HHH.


Let’s Start With Saturday Rides


Most people have a full schedule of work, chores and family during the week. Let’s face it. It’s hard to find time during the week to get out and ride a lot. So, let’s build up some regular riding by using the organized bike rides in our area. They do the work of planning the route and putting support in place. All you do is show up and ride. Each Saturday, you’ll have a route distance to ride to achieve your target distance at the H’NH. These distances start small and build up over time without wearing you out. The idea is to build your fitness over time without depleting your fitness along the way.

We’ll add some other components to the plan, but first look over the organized rides listed. Check off the ones you plan to ride and circle the planned distance.


Designated Rides                                          Target Distances

Date Ride  City 100 62 50
March 17 Beauty & The Beast Bullard 46 34 24
April 7 ArkLaTex Challenge Texarkana 46 35 22
April 7 Smokin' Spokes Salado 57 27 27
April 14 Country Ride Lancaster 42 24 24
April 21 Tour de Cypress Mt. Vernon 45 30 30
April 28 Muenster Metric Muenster 40 40 22
May 5 Shiner GASP Austin 50 50 25
May 12 Mineola Metric Mineola 51 41 26
May 19 Head for the Hills Cedar Hill 60 40 20
May 26 Honey Tour Burleson 67 46 30
June 2 Magnolia Tour Durant, OK 60 40 22
June 2 Possum Pedal Graham 51 37 20
June 9 McKinney Metric McKinney 62 45 20
June 16 Tour de Italia Italy 63 50 40
June 16 Collin Classic Plano 64 47 30
June 23 Tour of the Wichitas Lawton, OK 66 52 30
June 30 Rodeo Ride Mesquite 65 42 20
July 7 Peach Pedal Weatherford 61 39 39
July 14 TBD        
July 21 Tour de Paris Paris 66 57 35
July 28 The Goatneck Cleburne 70 41 41
August 4 Blazin' Saddle 75 Granbury 62 or 75 40 40
August 11 Red River Rally Sherman 80 42 42
August 25 HHH Wichita Falls 100 62 50


Suggestion: use the spring rides to build up to about 2/3 of your target distance. Stay steady with that distance as the heat of the summer builds up. This will help you acclimate to the heat. Then, just a few weeks before the HHH, add in one or two rides between the 2/3 and full distance to “ramp up” for the big day.


Weekday Saddle Time

When getting ready for a long distance bike ride, once a week may help you survive, but you won’t have as much fun as you will when you are better prepared. This is where weekday saddle time comes in. It doesn’t have to be much. One or two rides each week of 1 to 2 hours in length will make a big difference. For best results, these rides should not be all out race pace nor should they be casual and easy. One ride should be a moderate pace (you can talk, whistle or sing) as you breathe through your nose. The other ride should be a little quicker (you can speak in sentences, not paragraphs) as you are breathing harder through your mouth. This mix of pace also helps you get used to working harder in the heat.


Heat? Why Ride In The Heat?

Please don’t avoid the heat as you prepare for this ride. Yes, we got lucky last year, but more often than not this is one HOT ride. We spend most of our time in controlled environments at 72 degrees. Home, car, work, restaurants, shops, school – you get the idea. So, if we are on the bike 10 hours each week, that leaves 158 hours when we were in a cooler environment. For best results, make sure that all your training is in daylight hours and as much as possible you are getting out in the heat.

With athletic activities in the heat, it is also a good idea to stay hydrated, fueled, properly clothed and using sun screen.


So You Want To Get Faster?

We’ve talked about Step 1 – longer, graduated distance rides as you get ready for the HHH. Then we talked about adding one or two rides during the week to improve your chances of success and increase the opportunity to enjoy the ride. Next up, we talked about how any effort to prepare for the HHH should include some training activities in the heat.  Now, we’ll look at the desire many riders share – to get faster.

In order to get faster, you have to get stronger. Getting stronger takes focused effort. It doesn’t just happen. If you are time challenged, the easiest way to work on this goal is to add some high intensity intervals. Hill repeats and/or  wind sprints (outdoors) and/or training on an indoor trainer (the new smart trainers provide lots of options). These efforts should challenge your breathing AND your heart rate, as well as your legs. You can find lots of interval training ideas online and in a variety of books, including Train Smart.


Another way to work on speed is to take one of those weekday, one hour rides and turn it into a time trial type pace. Once you get warmed up, work up to the highest pace that you can sustain for one hour. Stay as steady as possible at that pace. If you are outside on the road, you’ll need to stop for traffic, stop signs and traffic lights. NO POBLEM. Use that traffic stop as an opportunity for a sprint style takeoff (start in a low gear, as you accelerate your leg speed to 100rpm, add another gear in back, repeat until you reach your desired gear/speed). This is a great technique that is both legal and effective.


Train Smart

Use these easy steps to build an intelligent training plan. Start with the base of graduated distance rides. Add on some weekly saddle time. Sprinkle in a few high intensity efforts along the way. Finally, make sure you are getting in regular training time in the heat. It really does get very hot in Wichita Falls in August.


Let’s Ride

If you still want more ideas on how to prepare for the HHH, look for me out on the road. I’ll be attending many of these rides as I prepare for the 62 mile distance. I’ll be pulling “The Blaster” and sharing some energetic music with the other riders on the road. I’d be happy to share some ideas and tips with you, or simply share some miles on the road. It’s my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning.