For riders who like it hot, the Hotter’N Hell Hundred doesn’t disappoint!
It sounds like one of the most uninviting challenges in the cycling calendar, but it seems cyclists can’t get enough punishment – this event is the biggest century ride in the U.S.!
The 2019 event drew close to that many for 3 days of fun and events, including 6 road ride distances (100 Mile; 75 Mile; 100K; 50 Mile; 25 Mile & 10K), mountain biking, gravel grinding, trail running, pro races, a big consumer show/expo and a dinner and breakfast.
Of course, the demanding conditions are a big part of the draw. From mid-May to mid-September, when high temps regularly exceed 100 degrees, shade is in painfully short supply. The course record of 109 degrees was set in 2011.
Those temperatures and limited opportunities for refilling water bottles inspired a creative hydration solution that turned into an entire outdoor category.
In 1989, bicycle enthusiast Michael Eidson, was competing in the “Hotter’N Hell 100.” Eidson, an emergency medical technician by trade, decided to fill an IV bag with water and slip it into a white tube sock. Then he stuffed the contraption into the back of his bike jersey, threw a thin hose over his shoulder and clamped it on with a clothespin. Hands-free hydration was born. Of course, Eidson was able to drink as he pedaled…hands free! Other riders laughed at the idea, but three decades on the Camelbak founder clearly earned the last laugh.
Fast forward to 2019 and approximately 8,900 riders rode in the 38th Annual Hotter’N Hell Hundred, for once enjoying cooler-than-average temperatures. The early racers were finishing the 75-mile event before temps even reached the 80s.
The Athens Bike Club meets every Saturday at 8 a.m. in the parking lot of Syler Vet Clinic. Riders of all levels are welcome. For more information, contact Suellen Van der Colff at 903-675-5401 or e-mail her at Dr.V@embarq.com.