Four weeks on Saturday heralds the start of the 'Hotter than Hell' Sportive in Witchita Falls (North Texas)
The Hotter’N Hell Hundred is an annual bicycle ride held each year on the 4th or 5th Saturday in August (always 9 days before Labor Day) and includes professional as well as amateur riders. The professional racers ride a 100-mile road race, as well as time trials and criterium. For the amateur riders, there are road routes of 100 miles, 100K, 50 miles, 25 miles, and 10K. The race was first held in 1982 as part of the Wichita Falls Centennial Celebration. The name is thus a rare example of a triple entendre: one hundred miles (i.e., century) in one hundred degree Fahrenheit weather (the race is held in August, usually the hottest month of the year in Wichita Falls), initially conducted to celebrate the city's 100th anniversary.
Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 riders participate each year, making the Hotter'N Hell Hundred the largest sanctioned century bicycle ride in the US. 2009's Hotter N Hell had over 14,000 riders.
After completing in it last year I was impressed with how well the event is organised, the camaraderie, entertainment and facilities laid on for the riders. Last year was also the first year that the Mules rode together in an organised event so its a special ride for us. With dozens of riders joining onto our pace lines at various stages of the ride I am sure that many will recognise the distinctive Mule Logo this year. Last year was also interesting in that a cold front appeared on race day making the expected 100 + degrees tumble to a pleasant 80 degrees. This changed the ride from a significant challenge to a standard century ride. I'm hoping that this year the name of the ride will live up to its billing.
Below are the mules so far committed to the Team.
La Patron - The rider who has earned the respect of the peloton. He need only express his displeasure to enforce the unwritten rules of the race (e.g. Merckx, Hinault, Armstrong). Although struggling with fitness problems he always provides a great performance on the day.
Phil the domestique/rouler
Undomestique - support rider especially for the patron, when given a free reign can double up as 'Rouler' - rider who is strong on flat and undulating roads. Expect nothing flashy, he will be taking long turns at the front and protecting the welfare of the Team.
Jason " la danseuse" Flocton-- (French: Like a dancer.) Has an ability to dance on the pedals like Rodolf Nureyev. When he is sitting down he is also an accomplished 'rouleur' a totally smooth and steady rider who would be a choice pick in any team.
Expect Jason up front when we need some additional pace or in strong headwinds. Perfect 'lead out' man like Mark Renshaw and an Aussie too.
Kenny the Cannibal -- Inhumane rider. Eats domestiques for lunch
Prixdecombativité - The honour of wearing a red race number as the leader in the "Most Aggressive Rider" competition.
Kenny is fearless, aggressive and uncompromising. He is also very fast!!!!
Glad hes on our team!!!!!
Sean 'The Vet' Lloyd.
Sean has a great affinity with animals who are magnetically drawn to him. This also includes when he is cycling. After a recent encounter he was left with a broken bike and broken body (Dog was fine) He is now regaining his former impressive fitness.
Sean has recently taken up 'pooch polo' -- This is the time-honored tradition of using a frame pump to dissuade the pursuing dog from having your leg for lunch.
If we encounter any canine creatures Sean will naturally come to the front to protect the Team.
Adam 'the Diesel' Miller is the engine of the team and a rouler. He can churn along at a steady pace and pull for an age. He can also entertain with his quick wit and comical powers of observation.
If Paddy is our Patron then Taylor is our own spiritual figurehead, in the same way as the other great Texan Lance Armstrong.
Having fought serious illness - just to see another day would have been a blessing for some.
Taylor now lives a full an active sporty life and is an inspiration to us all.
Not only can she ride, but she kicks butt and if your not at the top of your game you are usually sucking her back wheel.
When she is not on the road or at work you might find her increasing heart rates of others, in the gym. She is also an enthusiastic qualified spin instructor.
Taylor is the 'Benjamin du tour' - The youngest rider in our team.
She is a natural rouleur with an easy rhythmical style.
By the time we roll out in Wichita Falls we may have some more but this nucleus of riders is a great start