By Heather Pilkington, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register
Wichita Falls —
Mayor Jim Goldsworthy, along with other Gainesville and Cooke County residents, participated in Saturday’s 30th annual “Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred” cycle race in Wichita Falls.
The race only comes out once a year and, in the past, has featured up to 14,000 participants at once.
Goldsworthy said Gainesville and Cooke County offer a fairly good representation of cyclists who were seen early each Saturday morning in practice, taking off from the North Central Texas College front entrance. Area participants in the race included Marcello Gomes, Steven Zwinggi, Philip Neelley, Tony Strickland, Jim Howard, Eddie Chenault, Mickey Francis and Dr. Glenn Sears, Shane Lee and Lee Tatum.
The race kicked off at 6:15 a.m. for the 102-mile race.
According to the Hotter ’N Hell website, the race is one of the oldest and largest cycling events in the nation. Fitness-oriented riders and bicycle racers come to Wichita Falls from virtually every state and several foreign countries to participate.
“It is a great equalizer because cycling is easier on the joints,” Goldsworthy said. “Cycling is a way to stay healthy — something our country could be doing a lot more of.”
The race featured 17 rest stops. At each rest stop, riders were able to stop in the shade, rehydrate and seek medical attention if needed.
“This year is the third I have participated in the event,” Goldsworthy said, adding that rest stops were definitely in order. “The temperature made the race difficult to finish for a large number of people.”
Goldsworthy said he finished the race after about four hours and 40 minutes on the bike. He said his motivation came from the fact that he knew at the end of the race there would be an open fire hydrant spewing water.
“It’s exhilarating,” he said, then comparing this 100-mile bike ride to a runner’s marathon. “It was an exhilarating exhaustion when I finished the race.”
The mayor said the race offers a huge, positive economic impact for the City of Wichita Falls.
“Similar to the one we hope to bring with the cycle race during Depot Days,” he said.
On Oct. 8, the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce will host its first annual Disco Bike Rally. The rally will feature three different races offering something for riders on every skill level. The first race will span 100 kilometers, which is just over 62 miles. The other two races span 31 and 10 miles, the latter for beginners.
Goldworthy, who said he had much fun with Hotter N’ Hell, encouraged locals to participate in the October rally.
“There is no telling what it could turn into in a couple of years,” he said.
For more information on Gainesville’s upcoming cycle race or to sign up, visit www.dallasathletesracing.com.