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Devil Cats fly, bike during annual 100-mile ride

100 miles, 100 degrees

Three aircraft from a four-ship team head for Wichita Falls, Texas in the early morning hours in preparation to kick off the annual 'Hotter 'N Hell 100' bike ride held in Wichita Falls, Texas, Aug. 24. Two of those aircraft were flown by Reserve instructor pilots Lt. Col. Jeremy Downs and Lt. Col. Dan Scheuermann. (Courtesy photo)

100 miles, 100 degrees

340th Flying Training Group Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze (left) and his oldest son, Justin, pose for a post-ride photo following the annual 'Hotter 'N Hell 100' bike ride through Wichita Falls, Texas, Aug. 24. For the chief, formerly assigned to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita, this was his fifth ride, but it won't be his last, he said. (Courtesy photo)

100 miles, 100 degrees

As more than 14,000 cyclists pedaled across the landscape below, Air Force Reserve 97th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilots joined active duty Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas instructor pilots in a flyover kicking off the annual 'Hotter 'N Hell 100' bike ride through Wichita Falls, Texas, Aug. 24. (Courtesy photo)

100 miles, 100 degrees

97th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot Lt. Col. Cary Herndon poses with his kids for a post-ride photo following the annual 'Hotter 'N Hell 100' bike ride through Wichita Falls, Texas, Aug. 24. This was Herndon's seventh year participating in the 100-mile ride in the 100-degree heat, and he plans to keep doing it every year. (Courtesy photo)

100 miles, 100 degrees

340th Flying Training Group Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze (left) and his oldest son, Justin, pedal toward the starting line, joining 14,000 other bicyclists for the annual 'Hotter 'N Hell 100' bike ride through Wichita Falls, Texas, Aug. 24. For the chief, formerly assigned to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita, this was his fifth ride, but it won't be his last, he said. (Courtesy photo)

100 miles, 100 degrees

Approximately 14,000 bicyclists filled the streets of Wichita Falls, Texas, in preparation for the 2019 'Hotter 'N Hell 100' bike ride held Aug. 24, including Lt. Col. Cary Herndon (who shot this photo), a handful of his fellow 97th Flying Training Squadron members, and two squadron aviators who participated in a four-ship flyover that kicked off the weekend. The annual ride, during which participants bike 100 miles in the 100-degree or hotter Texas heat, included (Courtesy photo)

100 miles, 100 degrees

Three of the four aircraft involved in the Aug. 24 flyover of the 2019 Wichita Falls, Texas 'Hotter 'N Hell 100' bicycle race approach the city to kick off the annual event. Two 97th Flying Training Squadron Reserve instructor pilots - Lt. Col. Jeremy Downs and Lt. Col. Dan Scheuermann - participated in the four-ship flyover. (Courtesy photo)

100 miles, 100 degrees

Approximately 14,000 bicyclists filled the streets of Wichita Falls, Texas, in preparation for the 2019 'Hotter 'N Hell 100' bike ride held Aug. 24. The annual ride, during which participants bike 100 miles in the 100-degree (or hotter) Texas heat, included several 97th Flying Training Squadron riders, and two squadron members also participated in the four-ship flyover that kicked off the weekend. (Courtesy photo)

JOINT-BASE SAN ANTONIO-Randolph, Texas – Riding a bicycle for a hundred miles through the inferno that is summer in Texas sounds like fun, right? For some people at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, it's a great way to spend a weekend (at least once a year).

Included among the 14,000 people who gathered from every corner of the country to ride in the 2019 Hotter 'N Hell 100 (HH100 for cyclists in the know) bike ride Aug. 22-25 were a handful of 97th Flying Training Squadron "Devil Cats," as well as 340th Flying Training Group Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze, formerly assigned to Sheppard AFB.

This year, in the sky above the cycle horde, two Devil Cats (Lt. Col. Jeremy Downs and Lt. Col. Dan Scheuermann) joined their Regular Air Force teammates in a Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training four ship flyover that featured two T-6 Texans and two T-38 Talons.

The annual ride is one of the oldest and largest cycling events in the nation and includes a variety of activities, including the 100-mile endurance ride, various races and more.

Though it may seem a bit crazy, it's actually an opportunity to strengthen comradery, and a personal test of endurance.

According to Goetze, whose oldest son joined him for this year's ride, it's a physical challenge he looks forward to with great anticipation.  The chief finished his fifth HH100 ride this year, and offered guidance for those who may be interested in future years.

"It takes a year of conditioning to prepare for it, so start your preparation early enough to ensure you're ready," he said.

Not all participants ride the 100 mile event, though. There are other options, like the 10-kilometer ride, 25 miles, and more. A handful of Devil Cats opted for a shorter ride with their kids.

Devil Cat Lt. Col. Cary Herndon opted for the 100 miles – his seventh 100-mile ride. He does it for the challenge.

"The [race] draws people from all over the world," Herndon said. "What began as a one-off checkmark for me years ago has become something that is part of every summer; an annual rite of passage. None of us knows how long we will be able to do something like an endurance event on the scale of this ride but once the opportunity passes it isn’t going to come back. Seeing life in that light, how can I let that challenge go untaken?"