Hilly Hundreds: The Hausers Complete 70 Mile Course
& 7,000 Feet of Climbing!
They were more than just horribly
hilly – They
The slogan of the Horribly Hilly Hundreds bike ride
hardest one day cycling event in the midwest.” Well,
it lived up to its reputation, that’s for sure. They
offer a 200K version (124 miles) or a 100K version (62 miles).
Their website is www.horriblyhilly.com/home.html
for those who so dare.
For years we have been making the trek from Oak Park to
Black Earth, Wisconsin, because our good friend Kurt invites
us to stay at his place in Black Earth. The more time we
spend up there, the more we love it. Black Earth is about
15 miles west of Madison. The cycling between Mount Horeb
and Black Earth is tremendous. The roads have very little
car traffic and almost every road has a steep climb. On the
weekends during the summer you see more cyclists on the roads
than cars. For every 10 miles of cycling there is 900 to
1200 feet of climbing. It is awesome. Though it is very scenic
farm country, the cycling is also very difficult.
From Marion: In 2006, we attempted
a 100K, 62 mile ride near Black Earth called The Wright
Ride but stopped midway
because the climbs were getting to me (Marion.) I was under
a tremendous stress at the time as my mother was dying. We
had spent the good part of a year, helping dad take care
of her. She passed away January 9th of this year.
was in a different frame of mind this time, as I had trained
well and had a new Scott road bike. The frame is made of carbon,
so it was lighter than my other bike. I have also been doing
a lot of weight lifting. We both felt that I was ready, though
I (Marion) wasn’t as
sure as he (Ross) was.
|From Ross: We picked up our
registration information Friday night and the ride
would start at 7 a.m., Saturday 6/15/07. My (Ross’s)
job was to be her “Sherpa” and get her
through the ride. The goal was to finish. This would
mean picking and choosing our battles. Some hills would
take up too much energy to cycle up so we would walk
those. I (Ross) got us off to a rocky start by doing
what I do best, not following the rules. We were on
our bikes at around 6:30 a.m. and I led us onto the
course without looking at the course map. After a couple
of miles of climbing with no one else on the course,
I realized we were not heading in the right direction.
So we actually had to turn around. This accounts for
our extra distance. So Marion actually did more than
the 100K of cycling— she did 113K (70 miles!)
Once on the course, we were quickly caught by our friend Chris.
He road with us for a little while. He is training for Ironman
Wisconsin (his first) and is in great shape. He completed the
200K in 9 hours and 30 minutes. This gives you an idea just how
hard the cycling is.
|From Marion: We went at a comfortable
pace, but by the time we made it to the Blue Mound store
at mile 14, I (Marion) was in need of cooling off. This
in my mind, was one of the most important factors as to
whether I would finish or not. Could I keep cool enough?
You see I have alkaline blood and am very heat intolerant.
To curb this issue, I ate a mostly vegetarian diet the
week before the HHH. I also received some I.V. vitamin
C to help lower my blood pH. Ross, on the other hand, tends
to have acid blood and is much more tolerant of the heat.
From Ross: After the
store, we came to a steep hill that I wanted to
walk up but Marion cycled like a champ through
it. After another 8 miles we hit Blue Mound Road
and a massive steep hill. We walked up some of
it and as people passed us you could just hear
them grasping for breath —we were too! The
temperature was now in the upper 80’s. After
almost three hours of cycling we hit the first
aid station at mile 28. Yes, we were averaging
just over 10 mph, but between the heat and the
climbs, this is the pace we needed to maintain.
|From Marion: They
had a water pump at this Aid station, where
I (Marion) drenched my head with cold water.
Throughout the ride Ross also carried a camel
back which had ice in it at the beginning
and as it melted we would pour some of it
on my head, as well as drink it. The water
stayed cold throughout the whole ride. It
really helped me keep my temperature down.
We were both kind of disappointed at this
Aid station as they didn’t have much
to eat or drink. So we both ended up mainly
eating stuff we had packed on our bikes,
which consisted of potato chips, pretzels,
and Sport Beans. Ross also ate part of a
chocolate/peanut bar. I was completely out
of Gatorade at this point, and we had a long
way to go! We’re not sure what happened
with this Aid station, but we tried not to
From Ross: The
next section was extremely difficult. The
weather became hotter and hotter. The climbs
seemed to be steeper and steeper. Some
were up to one mile in length and we ended
up having to walk some of them. Fortunately
at about mile 38, the clouds rolled in
and short sprinkle occurred. The rain was
very cold which was what we needed. It
helped cool us off enough to encourage
us. We eventually reached the second aid
station at mile 46. This was much more
stocked with food, drinks, and wet rags
to wipe your head/face. They had bagels
and sandwiches. It is amazing how great
a peanut butter sandwich can taste. Marion
was pretty tired, but honestly she was
doing awesome. I (Ross) did my best to
encourage her. She was climbing most of
the hills. She was now on the home stretch.
She looked great.
|From Marion: The
last part of the HHH is actually
the worst. That is why anyone who
has completed it, deserves a lot
of respect. The hills are relentless.
We were grateful that for much of
the last part, the sun kept behind
the hills. At mile 55, we had been
out on the course for some 5.5 hours.
We were both doing well, hydration-wise
and eating enough. We both were taking
4-6 salt tablets per hour. You needed
them with all the sweat loss. We
would stop about every half hour
to rest for about 30 seconds and
to keep me (Marion) cool. Finally
at mile 63 we hit some flat ground.
It felt so nice just to ride on a
flat surface. We both knew we were
near the end, but realized once we
hit Blue Mound Road that finishing
this was not going to be easy. The
hardest climb of the day was upon
|From Ross: Marion
did a great job cycling up
part of it and walking part
of it. As we entered Blue Mound
State Park the climb becomes
even more fierce. The last
climb is a total of 1000 feet.
Marion handled the first part
of it and then walked part
of it, but as she neared the
finish, like the true champ
that she is, she got back on
her bike and hammered it home.
Though she may not like it
that it took her nearly seven
hours to finish the Horribly
Hilly Hundred, she did something
I am sure she thought was impossible
for her. She is in tremendous
shape. I was grateful that
I was there to witness it.
She did her longest ride of
her life to date (70 miles).
Her most amount of climbing
(7000 feet) and she did her
longest event ever (7 hours).
So she set multiple personal
records (PRs). For that is
she is to be congratulated!
|From Marion: I
have “sherpa’d” many
of Ross’s events
numerous times over.
It sure was nice to have
someone “sherpa” me
this time! Thanks to
Ross for getting me through
this event! I wouldn’t
have made it without
his cold water and encouraging
Until next time…
Marion and Ross