Behind the scenes at Hotter ‘N Hell

Sarah Graves

Keith Williamson (Health Tent Coordinator), talks to reporter at the medical tent at Hotter N’ Hell 100 on August 25. Photo by Jessica Wollenberger

The annual Hotter ‘N Hell 100 is a three day event with bike races and a trade show that attracts people to the city over Aug. 25-27. With over 10,000 riders participating in the event, planning and coordinating the event is no menial task. There are more than 100 committee members that put on the event.

Without the dedication and hard work of these individuals, the race could not happen.

Charlie Zamastil, cycling team coach, has been the Hotter ‘N Hell race director for the last five years.

“I put on the criterium, the road race on Saturday and the set of criteriums on Sunday,” Zamastil said. “I am in charge to make sure this happens. I hire the announcers, making sure we have teams to set up the barriers and handle registration.”

Though planning and preparing for the event is stressful and chaotic, Zamastil said seeing it all come together makes it worth it.

“Everything is very stressful leading up to the event. But during the event, if I’ve planned it all correctly and it goes smoothly, I get to watch some incredible bike racing. MSU riders are doing well. I’m working with a lot of people that are really enthusiastic about bike racing and cycling,” Zamastil said.

Dail Neely, student conduct director in Clark Student Center, starts preparations for the race in January each year by confirming the sponsors for each of the 21 rest stops for his position as rest stop coordinator.

In addition to coordinating the sponsors before the race and making sure each rest stop has all the essentials, Neely follows behind the last racers to close the rest stops on race day.

Neely said he and three other people meet at 5:30 a.m. before the races start on Saturday.

“We sweep the route, so we follow the last people across the start line. We have one person that follows the 25 mile, one person that follows the 50 mile, one person that follows the 100K and I follow the 100 mile. We follow the last rider though each rest stop and close each rest stop down,” Neely said. “In the meantime, we let each rest stop know how many riders are on course so they know how much are left and can start closing some stuff down. Also if someone is running out of ice or Powerade, we hotshot everything. We go rob from one rest stop and take it to another to make sure everyone is fully supplied. Then we will follow the last rider in around 6 or 6:30 tomorrow night. It’s a long day.”

Dr. Keith Williamson, Vinson Health Center medical director, has been the medical director for the race since 2001.

“My job is to do protocols about how the medicine is supposed to work for the Hotter ‘N Hell and recruit physicians and other NPPs, Non physician providers, like nurse practitioners and PAs, to disperse them to all the rest stops and to cover the race on the opposite side of the county. Once I get those in place, they recruit nurses and other personnel to support each tent. The questions are fed through me, so before an ambulance dispatch or helicopter dispatch they clear it through me. If someone needs to go directly to the hospital, they clear it through me.”

Before holding this position, Williamson rode in the races for a decade. He said the former director knew he was a cyclist and offered him the job in 2001.

Williamson said contributing and giving back to the community is a big reason why he enjoys working the event.

“I like cycling, it’s interesting intellectually and it’s just a way for me to give back to the community.”