Congrats to Dick Nowell, who will receive one of our Wheelbrother T-Shirts, for submitting this write up about his first Hotter ‘n Hell Experience back in 1994!
A Rookie Bicyclist Attempting the Hotter ‘n Hell 100 in 1994
By Dick Nowell
In the spring of 1994 I decided that I would attempt the 100mi. ride at the HH100. I had been a runner for quite a few years but my left knee had taken a beating and it was time to stop the pounding. I had read some stories about a 100mi. bike ride in Wichita Falls. Sounded like a challenge to me so I bought a used Trek from one of my friends younger brother ($350). I’ve forgotten the model # but it was a good frame and shifters but it was old, still shifted on the down tube.
I didn’t really know much, if anything, about long distance riding but I was going to give it a go anyway. It would have been a lot easier if I had asked someone for a little advice, but you know how we can be sometimes. I was 43 at this time and still in fairly good shape from running all those years so it was time to start riding.
I bought some cycling shoes and some clipless pedals and took off. I live outside of town so I’ve got plenty of places to ride where the traffic is not so bad. I did some short rides 15 to 30 mi. without too much problems, but I wasn’t going very fast either. My first long ride was 50mi. I was riding out and back to the house 25mi each way. I made it out to the 25mi. turn around spot started to stop and promptly fell over still trying to get my feet unclipped. I don’t think anyone saw me, if they did they got a good laugh. I guess everyone has done that.
As the summer moved along I continued to ride further and further, I would not recommend doing this alone as I did, it would have been much more pleasant if I had been riding with someone and safer too. I didn’t ride any other tours or organized rides that summer, just riding by myself. I made several 75 to 80mi. rides just to convince myself that I would be able to make a 100mi.
Now it’s time to ride at the HH100. Lots of people and I’m not used to riding around anyone at all. This made me pretty nervous but I was very careful. Everything goes OK; I stopped at the 20mi rest stop and probably most of the rest of them too. I was riding too fast for the first half of the ride and I paid for it the last 15 or 20mi. If the riders that were following me at times had known how little I knew what I was doing I’m sure they wouldn’t have been drafting me or let me draft them, but it all worked like I knew what I was doing.
Finished the ride, but was pretty well beat, I had parked in the downtown area and almost had to walk the bike up the hill (small hill) to get back to my truck. Sat in the shade of a building for about 1hr and half before I had the energy to load up and drive home.
This was a great experience and a feeling of accomplishment.
I rode the 100mi. a few more times with some friends over the next few years. They all made the ride OK but I haven’t been able to get them back since.
I’ve ridden different distances since the last 100mi. in 97. Turned 60 this year and rode the 100K and had a great time but it was hotter than hell…ha-ha.