We have our second T-Shirt winner!!! It’s Susie Cameron Lane and the following story was written by Kari Lynn Collins of the Iowa Park Leader Newspaper.
Kari Lynn Collins
Susie Cameron Lane is my new hero, and I¹m gonna tell you why.
I spent the better part of Saturday fulfilling my annual fitness goal, which is laying on the couch while thousands of cyclists pedaled their way through the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred in record breaking heat.
It was tough, but it suited me nicely.
Susie spent Saturday in spandex and a helmet, riding a bicycle, while I checked her progress through friends on Facebook.
I should have felt like a lazy ogre, but that didn¹t come until much later in the day.
I had a few friends riding in the race this year: Debi Walters, former IPHS choir director; Amber Inglish, IPHS graduate and senior at Midwestern State Univ.; and Susie, a good friend and classmate from the IPHS Class of 1983, along with her husband, Patrick, and brother, John Cameron.
Susie and Patrick live near Atlanta, Ga., and drove all the way to Texas to participate in their first HHH race, with their sights set on the 100-miles course.
Susie has always been an incredibly beautiful person, inside and out. She has the fortunate combination of the toughness of a Texas girl mixed with the sweetness of a Georgia Peach.
In addition, she is in amazing physical (and I’m certain, mental) health, which is why she was able to even conceive riding a bike for several hours in 100+ degree heat.
Following the race, Susie and Patrick had invited me and a few others to her Dad’s house to visit and celebrate. Which was good, because after resting all day I was in a celebratory mood.
When I arrived, Susie had bandages randomly covering places on her left leg, hip and arm. And where there were no bandages, there were bruises.
Then she told me a story that has motivated me to begin thinking about how I¹m going to get in shape.
I couldn’t ride my little bike a block to the mailbox without having a heat stroke on the way back.
The fact that any man or woman would consider, then follow through, on riding 100 miles on a bicycle in scalding heat elevates them to ‘He-Man’ and ‘She-Ra’ status in my book.
But what really impressed me was what happened at mile 92 — and beyond — of the race.
Apparently, cyclists have a unique ability to ride together in large groups, and in doing so sometimes bump into another bicycle. This is what happened to Susie with just eight miles left until she reached the finish line
When Susie was bumped she fell hard on the asphalt, and another rider behind her ran over her leg. Then another, and another.
Yes, she was run over by three bicycles after receiving the mother of all road rash, which is what I call an ultimate case of adding insult to injury. Then, she said, as she lay on the ground bruised and bleeding, a couple of cyclists coming up behind them yelled at her to get her bike off the road.
Did I mention she had been run over? She had.
Her husband and brother helped Susie up, and got her to the medical tent, and en route, Patrick began getting sick from heat exhaustion.
They stayed in the tent for several minutes while Patrick laid down to cool off and Susie had her wounds cleaned up.
At some point, it was announced that anyone not on the road, specifically riding a bicycle, would not be allowed to finish and a sag wagon would have to take them back.
Apparently in the bicycling world ‘sag wagon’ is a dirty word, much like ‘exercise’ is a dirty word to me.
Susie and Patrick managed to get back on their bikes to finish the race.
Two miles later, Susie and her brother, John, both got flat tires on what I’m now calling their “vehicles of certain injury.”
But she didn¹t give up. She got her tire changed and got back on to finish up six of the longest miles in the history of the HHH.
She emerged victorious. Bloody and bruised, but victorious.
The first thing she said she did after crossing the finish line was look for a shade tree so she could collapse.
She found one and she did. While laying there, she started crying and a couple of men near her patted her and said, ‘I know, it¹s emotional. ‘
I don¹t know Susie¹s exact words, but she somehow explained to them that it wasn¹t so much emotional as painful, as she rolled over to show them her war wounds.
Another man in the tent had just gotten himself a 32 oz. beer to celebrate his finish, when he saw Susie laying on the ground crying. “Here,” he said, giving her the beer, “Drink it all, you need it more than I do.”
Susie is back home in Georgia now, braving Epsom Salt baths and hospital grade numbing spray in a brave attempt to move normally.
To everyone who even attempted to ride in the Hotter ‘N Hell, my hat is off to you.
To Susie Cameron Lane, “You go, She-Ra!”