Mad dogs, Englishmen, Texans, visitors, and the midday sun

Today sees the annual Hotter ‘n Hell 100 bicycle race in and around Wichita Falls, Texas.  It’s so named because the temperatures usually hover at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit at this time of year, and the full-length race covers 100 miles (with shorter distances for less ambitious competitors).

As I write these words, the competitors are pouring out of the city and onto regional roads, heading out on the opening leg of the race.  It’s relatively cool this year, thanks to some unseasonal rain showers, which are very welcome to those of us who live here, but resented by many riders (“Hey, what happened to the hundred degrees we were promised?”).  A mammoth support effort is being mounted by volunteers, and local police and fire departments along the route.  The county Sheriff’s Department is fully committed to traffic control, and other organizations are helping in any way they can.

I must admit, I’m amazed by the level of enthusiasm shown by riders who stream into the area from all over the country.  It’s too soon for this year’s start to have been uploaded to YouTube, but here’s last year’s start, to give you some idea of the numbers.

For the rest of us, this is a morning to avoid downtown at all costs, and sit back and relax in the comfort of our own homes.  That’ll be more than hot enough for us!



  1. Why, oh why, oh why does it seem they must always add irritating and distracting 'music' to these sorts of videos? I would find it more interesting. and more 'authentic', to have ambient audible on this thing. Imagine the shouts, cheers, and rumble of @ 1,000 bikers (not to say 'cyclists') rolling out at the start of the event.

  2. Go west of WF…Electra….had an aunt and uncle who lived there….spent quite a few days every so often visiting them….in fact, he almost convinced me to go to work with him, taking care of a very large oil lease (first time I ever saw green oil, hot and bubbling)….

  3. As an aside, IIRC, the guy who invented the Camelback hydration systems invented it for that race.
    He was an EMT. A saline bag, some rubber tubing, a clothes-pin, and voila…a multi-million dollar company was born.
    I own several in different iterations. Love them.

  4. When I lived in Phoenix I helped provide ham radio communications for the "The Best Dam Bike Ride" from Phoenix to Parker Dam (a two day affair). The organizers were smart enough to have it in November rather than summer. We still had a number of riders that needed assistance although most assistance calls were for were mechanical issues rather than medical. I will say that in my opinion, long distance bicycle riders are a breed apart, and a bit crazy.

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