(ROCKWALL, TX—Aug. 15, 2016) Hot Rocks Bike Ride returned this year for its 30th anniversary with new routes, improved rest stops, and fun for riders of all ages.
Presented annually by the Rockwall Noon Rotary Club, the bike ride entails a wide variety of routes, attracting cyclists of all ages and skill levels—from beginners or recreational riders to aggressive competitors. This year riders could choose from a 100k race, 42, 20, and 12 mile routes, or a 5k family fun route.
The top three male and female winners of the 100k race were:
Mat Stevens – 1st
Paul Dentel – 2nd
Evan Bausbacher – 3rd
Ginny King – 1st
Peyton Maness – 2nd
Maddie Wooley – 3rd
All six riders were awarded cash prizes. King, who has won first place for several consecutive years, said she was pleased with her race time and impressed with the ride’s improved safety features and new routes.
“The course was a little bit different, but it was good,” King said. “It seemed to be safe, which was the goal. As the females we kind of play off the men and make sure we stay safe, but we still have to get up there and hold our position. In the roll out we were reaching speeds of 40-42 (mph).”
Cyclist Mark Bigham agreed, noting that car traffic was blocked or redirected by local law enforcement throughout the course of the ride to maximize safety.
“It was a great ride,” Bigham said. “Lots of really good rest stops—they were very fully stocked with lots of food. They even had people holding your bikes for you while you stopped, which is rare. They also had police keeping riders safe by blocking intersections. Some rides don’t have that, and it’s very scary.”
Darren Kaymeye, who biked the 42-mile route both last year and this year, said the revisions were noticeable.
“I saw big improvements over last year’s route,” Kaymeyer said. “They did a great job designing it. There were fewer roads with traffic, they cut out Royse City, and there were nice country roads to bike on. The intersections were flawless, with excellent police protection.”
Each Hot Rocks participant received a free t-shirt and a free lunch provided by Applebee’s and Luby’s. At 8-10 mile intervals along each route, riders were greeted by friendly staff members with snacks and ice-cold water.
Kay Poklednik, who biked the 12-mile route with her great niece Joel Demarsh and their friend Madysen Stewart, said she was impressed with the food selection at the rest stops. Joel was especially excited to snack on some donuts before continuing the course.
“It was terrific—the people were very kind and helpful,” Poklednik said.
Although the trio had very little cycling experience prior to the ride, they said the thoroughly enjoyed it.
“We didn’t train for it, we just did it for fun,” Stewart said.
Hot Rocks raises funds for local scholarships awarded to deserving high school seniors. Scholarships will be awarded to Rockwall High School and Rockwall-Heath High School seniors at an annual awards ceremony near the end of this school year.
Story by Julie Anne White, Blue Ribbon News reporter. Photos by Richard Redig, Austin Wells, Blake Macaluso and Julie Anne White, Blue Ribbon News.