The Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred is Saturday in Wichita Falls, Texas. It’s a ride I’ve been wanting to do ever since I took up road biking five years ago. Not because it’s a fantastic, must-do route — it’s mostly flat and featureless — but because it’s one of those happenings where the event is the thing.
Wichita Falls is on the north edge of Texas, near the Oklahoma border, so the first consideration is getting there. Then, with thousands of cyclists converging on this city of just over 100,000, finding a place to stay can be tricky. Most hotel rooms in a 50-mile radius are booked up soon after the previous year’s ride.
I got lucky. Two friends from my club, Debra and Russ, rented a large RV for the trip. So that’s two birds with one stone. We can get there and we have a place to stay. RV parking can be found close to the center of activity near the ride start, and we will be able to easily get to the packet pickup, the bike expo, the pasta dinner the night before and the breakfast the day of.
We left Austin Thursday to make the six-hour drive. I did all my prep work earlier this week, and while I might not have the fastest bike in the field, I’m sure I have the cleanest. Weather looks like it will be a non-issue this year. Instead of hotter ‘n hell August temperatures, the forecast calls for a high in the mid 90s (35C) and a 30 percent chance of rain. Even if there is no rain, perhaps an overcast sky will keep things semi-cool.
After hemming and hawing over the last month or so, I decided to go ahead and do to 100-mile ride after all. I’m concerned that I haven’t done enough long rides leading up to it, but when I compare my mileage stats this year with what I did prior to my previous centuries, I’m right in the ball park. My only concern is that I’ll be trashed in the last quarter of the ride, which will make things miserable — but we’ll see. I’ll have a post on the outcome Sunday night.