Katie Crosbie wanted to find out what it's like inside the campground.
Doug, a lot of people we met said they camp year after year and see the same people ... And it's a fun kind of "family reunion" atmosphere ... With everybody bound by a shared love of cycling.
Who needs a campfire when you've got fiery temperatures ... A burning passion for cycling ... And friends around a smokin' guitar? Welcome to the campgrounds, the day before the Hotter 'N Hell Hundred.
From New Orleans
"It grows into maybe a family-type situation, where you make friends during the two or three days you're here, & you actually look forward to seeing em the next year."
From Arlington, TX
"We're right in the middle of everything. We're two blocks from the MPEC center, we walk over to the expo, we can walk over & watch the races."
From Jonesboro, AR
"It's just great to be in that atmosphere, where you've got so many people who love riding their bikes."
For a lot of us, just walking around in these triple digit temperatures feels brutal enough. But many who come back year after year say Hotter 'N Hell is no big deal - it's just like, well, riding a bike.
"It's amazingly easy in that the course is flat, it's fast, you've got a lot of people to ride with, so the pace is great, & the people are great, the rest stops are great - it's a lot of fun."
"You know what? It actually feels hotter in New Oreleans with the humidity than it does here. I'm sitting here, I don't even have sweat -- but in New Orleans, I'd have a puddle underneath me right now." "So you're saying people in Wichita Falls need to toughen up a little?" "That's right, quit being a wuss!"
"I agree with you, it's hot - it doesn't matter whether you've ridden 100 miles or you walk across the street, it is hot out here. And the wind doesn't help much, cause it's just like a furnace blowing up in your face!"
Nevertheless, they come here for the ride. And the victory celebrations spill over into the campsite:
"Everyone's sitting in their chairs, tellin' their war stories."
"Yeah, drinkin' beer & stuff, just coolin' down (laugh)
"We all come back, get together, cook fajitas, drink a little beer & chit chat."
From Jonesboro, AR
"We always say life is a participation sport, & good things happen when you show up."
A lot of the people we talked to say they enjoy camping for the camaraderie -- but they say it's also a good option since most hotels & motels around here fill up a year in advance.
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