Alumni return to race through Hotter ‘N Hell

Tyler Manning

Ricky Randall, MSU alumni, rounds the corner in the men’s crit race in the Hotter’N Hell 100. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Four hours, extreme heat and an open road. That is what a day cycling in Hotter’N Hell entails for those who choose to ride in the 100 mile race. This race is also an opportunity for many in the Wichita Falls community to come together and race including MSU students and faculty. This year three MSU alumni participated in the race: Tony Baca, Ricky Randall and Ashley Weaver.

Baca graduated with a degree in finance December 2014. Since graduating, he is a cycling coach in

“I’m a coach and I do full time cycling. Bolder is the best for training in altitude,” Baca said. “It is just a great place overall.”

According to Baca, he has been cycling for the majority of his life.

“I starting riding my bicycle when I was five,” Baca said. “My dad got me a bike when I was a kid and I loved it. I won my first race when I was five.”

Racing alongside Baca, alumnus Randall has been racing for six years and was on the Midwestern State’s very own cycling team. He now resides and owns his own coaching business called Evolved Performance Training in Oklahoma City.

“I did a mountain bike race here [Wichita Falls] in high school. I didn’t really know anything; I didn’t have a real bike yet,” Randall said. “I just did the mountain bike race then a trail race which was about half a marathon and that was it.”

Pablo Cruz, exercise physiology, rides in the final men’s crit race during the Hotter’N Hell 100 Aug. 27. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Along with their extensive background in cycling, this year marked Randall’s sixth time competing and Baca’s seventh year in Hotter’N Hell.

“For me it [the event] wasn’t that good,” Randall said. “I’m coming back from injury.”

On one training night, an unknown driver proceeded to run a red light hitting Randall and later fleeing the scene. The accident left him with a broken jaw, elbow and knee. According to Randall; unfortunately, they were unable to catch the suspect. The accident left Randall for almost two months unable to “get off the couch” in recovery.

However, this was not enough to keep Ricky from cycling again. After those two months he went back to riding, only giving him one month to train just after his serious injuries.

“I think we were only a couple of minutes off of the course record today,” Randall said. “We finished at three hours and 40 minutes.”

According to Randall getting to meet new people and going new places are some of the positive things he has learned after cycling for six years.

“I am still learning,” Randall said. “Get out of your comfort zone. Just looking around today, I have met a bunch of people who said that this was their longest race.”