This past weekend was the annual Hotter 'n Hell event ride in Wichita Falls, Texas. I participated in my first event ride with two other Dallas riders, Jim and Jonah (Moron and jonahhill on the forums, respectively.)
We were the only three unicyclists (to our knowledge) out of ~15,000 bicyclists. There were several route options, including 10K, 25 mile, 50 mile, 100K, and 100 mile. Jim and I rode the 50 mile route, and Jonah did 100K (~63 miles). Though we rode different routes, we were able to ride the first 10 miles together, as well as the last few miles before the finish.
Most of the routes go through Shepard Air Force base, and we got to see F-16s, F-14s, A-10 Warthogs, C-130 transport planes, and several others. Young servicemen and women lined the street to cheer cyclists through, and went crazy when three unicyclists showed up, really making us feel like celebrities. We were also loudly cheered into the finish line by event participants. It was a great way to end a long, tiring ride.
This was my first event ride, as well as the longest I’ve ever ridden. I was unsure if I was up to it at first, but now plan to push myself to do 100K next year. It was great to get a lot of time in the saddle riding the 36", as I usually ride light muni on my 29".
We completed our rides in about 7 hours, including rest stops. Temps started in the 80s when we mounted around 7:20am, and topped around 106 deg F (though heat index was about 111 deg F). It was brutally sunny all day.
I think we have stirred some interest locally in Dallas for next year, but would also love it if unicyclists from other areas would join us. It’s a well-supported event, and there wasn’t even a parking problem! I certainly plan on riding again next year.
You can check out the event here.
Below is a pic at the finish, myself on the left, Jim center, and Jonah on the right. Perhaps they will chime in with their thoughts. Also, a pic of cyclists lining up at the start.