Rest stops provide break for cyclists

Claudette Ngum, nursing senior, passes a wet towel to a cyclist at the Hotter N’ Hell 100 rest stop 16 in Iowa Park on Aug. 26. Photo by Justin Marquart.

There were 21 rest stops available for the cyclists racing in Hotter ‘N Hell 100 on Aug. 25-27, aided by more than 2,000 volunteers.

Dail Neely, rest stop coordinator, said the goal of the rest stops is to keep the cyclists hydrated and safe.

“One [goal] is to make sure they are hydrated and have the nutrition they need,” Neely said. “The second is to provide medical assistance to those that need it. The third is just to entertain and make them feel welcomed.”

As a former cyclist, Neely appreciated being the coordinator in memory of the times he stopped at the rest stops during his cycling days.

“I’ve been on that side of it,” Neely said. “I appreciate people that helped me when I was a cyclist. I’ve done the 100 mile race 10 times.”

Some volunteers included the Student Nurses Association and Chi Omega sorority. Both groups distributed water and healthy snacks for the cyclists.

“I also have friends that are participating in Hotter ‘N Hell,” James Huynh, nursing senior, said. “I want to say about 15 students are volunteering, but I lost track after a lot of cyclists showed up.”

The nursing department’s goal for the rest stops is to ensure that the cyclists are hydrated and safe.

“We think the Hotter ‘N Hell race is important and we want to to make sure that everyone is safe and healthy,” Hayley Jaremczuk, nursing senior, said. “We’re just out here to help and make sure that everyone stays safe.”

The snacks Chi Omega sorority offered were fruits, pickles, protein bars, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and small cookies.

“Bananas and oranges are the best to eat because they have citric acid which prevents cramps,” Megan Ashlock, nursing junior and vice president of Chi Omega, said. “Pickle juice also helps you with that. So it’s important that the racers not get cramps. Eat something light and healthy.”

According to Ashlock, Chi Omega annually volunteers for the Hotter ‘N Hell rest stops and members of the sorority are required to do six hours of community service.

“Community service is one of our six purposes, so we really put an emphasis on that. We wanted to give back, whether it’s at MSU or in the community, and Hotter ‘N Hell is a great way to do that,” Ashlock said. “It’s also a great way to meet people and get our name out there. We really do love to serve our community.”

The nursing students also informed cyclists on the procedures needed in order to stay healthy while racing. Jaremczuk said that the most important procedure for cyclists is to be hydrated.

“Water is really important, but also drinking Gatorade is important,” Jaremczuk said. “We tell the cyclists to know their limits and know when to stop. We tell them to be careful while on the road and be mindful of other riders, as well as stay safe on the path.”

Kaitlyn Bosco, nursing senior, explained the precautions that cyclists must take in order to prepare for their race.

Gabi Woelffer, respiratory therapy junior, fills a cyclists water bottle at the Hotter ‘N Hell 100 rest stop 5 in Burkburnett on Aug. 26. Photo by Justin Marquart.

“You want to make sure that you are physically fit, as well as also wearing the basics of a helmet and all the safety equipment you need,” Bosco said, “It’s a good thing that they have these rest stops because, even though it’s overcast, usually it’s a lot hotter and heat stroke can be a really serious issue. We are here to help the riders stay safe.”

The nursing students also passed out wet towels to the cyclists in order keep them from getting hyperthermia.

“It keeps the cyclists from getting too hot because they do a lot of sweating when they’re riding,” Carol McCutchen, nursing senior, said. “They put them on their necks, they wipe their faces with it and it kind of cools them down.”

According to Bosco, having students volunteer for Hotter ‘N Hell not only shines MSU in positive light, but also shows students the importance of helping others.

“It’s important because, not only does it get MSU out there, but we’re out in the community,” Bosco said. “We’re helping, we’re keeping people safe. It’s just fun and it’s for a good cause.”

The most memorable and enjoyable experience at the rest stop is meeting the different cyclists, according to Huynh.

“My favorite experience is usually just seeing people,” Huynh said. “They’re so happy to be biking after like 10 to 15 miles, and they’re still excited to be biking regardless of how the weather is. Luckily the weather is not too bad.”