Special Olympians gear up for Hotter'N Hell Hundred

WICHITA FALLS - As cyclists from around the globe gear up for tomorrow, a group of special athletes are too. Members from the Area 9 Special Olympics will be joining them.
 
For the past three years, Ronnie Baker volunteered for the largest sanctioned century bike ride in the nation, but this year he gets the chance to be on the other side of the event. 
 
Baker told us, "My teammates encourage me to ride with them this year. I've been with the Special Olympics now for a little over a year and we got great coaches and athletes and they just wanted me to join in with them and I'm able to do it, might as well do it."
 
Region 9 Special Olympics Area Director, Mike Strickland said, "It's just an amazing experience for them to be part of such a historic event, you know our town is known for this event so just allow them to be able to take part is an amazing opportunity for them." 
 
Baker will be amongst 7 other Special Olympians riding in the Hotter 'N Hell Hundred.
 
He added, "I'm pumped up, I'm nervous because it's going to be elbow to elbow with people and I haven't ridden in a pack like that before so we're just trying to worry about our safety and go out there and have fun and enjoy the ride." 
 
Strickland said that Special Olympians like Baker started participating in the ride 3 years ago.
 
He added, "We started with the 10k and then last year we actually had about six of our athletes ride in the 25. About four of those said no more, they're going to go back to the 10k." 
 
Baker is one of the Olympians riding the 25k tomorrow and although he's never ridden in anything like this before, he says he's ready.  
 
"We've been training. Every week we've been riding 10 to 12 miles every week with the team, we've been training for like the last month for all this so," Baker.
 
Aside from being amongst the thousands along that route, there's another very important thing Baker is really looking forward to.
 
Baker finished by saying, "We actually get to go through the base and come off the base we're going to have all the military lined up and cheering us on so that's going to be emotional and exciting for that." 
 
Bright and early in the morning, Ronnie Baker will be taking part the longest ride of his life and making a memory he won't soon forget. 
 

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