The Norman Transcript


September 2, 2012

Airmen’s presence uplifting for fatigued cyclists

WICHITA FALLS, Texas — The nearly 12,000 cyclists making their way to the finish line in this past week’s Hotter ‘N Hell 100 mile ride enjoyed temperatures in the mid 90s. But the relatively mild day didn’t matter when we turned south for the final 16 miles and were met with a 13 to 24 mile per hour wind, gusting to 32 miles per hour.

Many took to pushing their bicycles up the interstate access inclines. Others took advantage of trucks and farm trailers for a ride to the finish line. One motorcyclist with a trailer was ferrying riders the last few miles. There was no shame in accepting a lift. For veteran cyclists, heat trumps wind any day.

For those that chose to stay the course, the best was yet to come. About five miles from the finish line in downtown Wichita Falls, the course took them on a two mile roll through the heart of Sheppard Air Force Base.

Whatever fatigue we were experiencing evaporated as riders turned the corner and were greeted by hundreds of young airmen lining both sides of the route to cheer us to the finish.

The route was changed this year to allow all cyclists — not just those choosing shorter distances — to go through the base. Good idea.

n n n

Every airmen encountered had a cheerful smile and kind words at their base rest stop and along the route. No matter that this was Saturday and the ride began well before daylight.

The young men and women held our bicycles, poured water and ice in our bottles, retrieved cold towels and offered encouragement. It couldn’t have been any more uplifting. It made me feel good about the Air Force and my country.

The HTH ride is the believed to be the largest, single-day 100 mile ride in the nation. Hotels are booked as far away as Duncan, OK. Modern hotels that wouldn’t think of taking in pets or smokers gladly welcome bicycles inside their rooms. (Suggest more ceiling hooks next year). Spandex, bike shorts and cleats are accepted attire everywhere, even in church.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014