HHH Offers More than Traditional Bike Ride

    Every year thousands of bike riders come to Wichita Falls for the Hotter 'n Hell Hundred.
    But some participants choose to get their kicks on a different route.
    Sherry Potts, a mountain biker, says, "It's something I enjoy doing.  It's a part of Wichita Falls that's exciting for me."
    Potts is one just of 200 athletes to take part in this year's mountain bike ride.
    For the first time in 30 years, organizers are able to offer a river crossing as part of the event.
    Sandy Monson, the executive director of Wichita Falls Streams and Valleys, says, "The river is finally low enough for us to have a river crossing.  I know it seems strange since we can't water our yards now but the river's low enough this year to have the crossing."
    Getting ready for this year's river crossing started almost as soon as last year's Hotter 'n Hell was over.
    Pat Foster, the trail boss, says, "It's absolutely beautiful, and it's a challenge, it's a big challenge. We got major hills, major drops, we got tight corners, we got water crossing."
    As most who choose to go off the beaten path already know, mountain biking is a different beast altogether.
    More obstacles means more training, but you don't need two wheels to play in the water.
    This year's marathoners will also get their chance to make a splash in the competition.
    For some, the thrill of competing in every aspect of the Hotter 'n Hell was just too much to pass up.
    Called triple-threaters, these health-crazed dare-devils will ride mountain bikes Friday, street bikes Saturday, and run a half marathon on Sunday, which puts a whole new spin on their training.
    Diana Dearmond, a triple-threater, says, "Basically you work out five days a week, often times six, just alternating what it is you're practicing whether it's the mountain biking, road biking, or the run so you can simulate what it is you're going to be doing out here Friday, Saturday, and Sunday."
    For many involved in the off-road events, it's fitting the 30th year of the Hotter 'n Hell will feature the first river crossing.
    "In fact, the athletes will be going across the top of what used to be the original Wichita Falls," Monson says.
    Not only does the sight of the river crossing hold some historical significance, it's the light at the end of the tunnel. Just down the path about four-tenths of a mile is the end of the race, and for those competing in the triple threat, their weekend of hell, is over.
    And even if they don't win, for these highly-trained, highly-motivated few, the real prize is in the journey.
    "It's not necessarily about winning the race, it's about competing in it and finishing in it and having the pride that you did that," Dearmond says.
    If you'd like to try your luck crossing the river in the half-marathon or 10K trail runs, there are still spots available.
    You can sign up at the MPEC this weekend.
    The trail runs start Sunday morning at 7 a.m.

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