Riders coming to town for the 31st Hotter 'N Hell Hundred can expect to see some big changes to this year's routes.
Hotter 'N Hell Media Coordinator Jessie Greenwood said, "With all the endurance rides the route is new this year."
The biggest change is for the 100 mile riders. After heading out of Wichita Falls on Old Iowa Park Road, they'll turn South and West. For the first time in the history of the race, the new heading will take them all the way into Wilbarger County.
Just south of Lake Electra the riders will turn North, back into Wichita County, and head East toward Burkburnett.
The final leg of the 100 mile ride will again be through new territory as the riders will now get the opportunity to ride through Sheppard Air Force Base.
Greenwood said getting the 100 mile riders into the base was a major goal for this year. She said, "That was kind of a request from the hundred mile route last year and years before. Other routes got to go through Shepard Air Force Base except for the 100 milers. So it's going to be really exciting." She added working with Sheppard has been very easy, "They have exceeded my expectations and I know everybody else's expectations in Hotter 'N Hell. They're just amazing people to work with."
Every ride except for the 10k will go through the base, serving as that last push to finish the often grueling race. Greenwood said, "It's just, it's going to be a sight. It's kind of when you're just tired and think you can't make it you go through there and you're like 'I can do this, I can do this!"
Making sure you can do it is especially important this year as the Hell's Gate cutoff will not be in place. In pervious years Hell's Gate served as a cutoff for the 100 mile race if it just got too hot or racers weren't keeping up. Greenwood said it was too difficult to work Hell's Gate into the new course. She said not having the gate will make many riders happy, but she stressed how important it now is to really know your limits.
Cyclists in town for the competitive races will also find their routes wide open this year as they'll be on a different course than the riders. Greenwood said the decision to separate the racers from the riders was for safety reasons.