Meet the CSB Cycling Team Tackling this 100-Mile Race
Bob Kingman is a Fruitcake. If you ask him, he’ll proudly tell you himself and he’s not the only one. In fact, there’s a whole group of self-proclaimed Fruitcakes rolling around Corsicana. You see, Bob is a founding member of a local Corsicana cycling club cheekily nicknamed The Fruitcakes. If you ask why they chose that name, the answer is simple. They love Corsicana and they love Collin Street Bakery! So, of course, they chose a name that celebrated both.
In August of 2019, Bob and his fellow Fruitcakes participated in the Hotter N’ Hell Hundred, one of the nation’s oldest and largest cycling events. With over 13,000 riders from across the globe converging in Wichita Falls, Texas for four days of intense riding, we knew Bob would have some stories to tell.
Collin Street Bakery (CSB): Thanks for joining us, Bob. To start, can you share a little about your full-time work?
Bob Kingman (BK): Absolutely. I'm a general surgeon operating here in Corsicana, Texas. I went to medical school at Southwestern, trained at Parkland Memorial Hospital, and then moved down here to Corsicana just after completing my residency. I joined a practice with a guy who started a big clinic here in the community.
CSB: That’s great! By the way, thank you for the work you have done in our community over the years. So you have your work as a surgeon, but clearly, cycling has become something of a great passion. How did you get your start in the sport?
BK: Well, shortly after I moved to town, I picked up riding. Then I took a little time off and just recently started up again. I ride now with a group of guys who kinda just came together by word of mouth. We’re an odd assortment of people from around the Corsicana community. We definitely have a lot of fun.
CSB: Not only do you guys have fun . . . you named your cycling team after Collin Street: The Fruitcakes! How did that come to be?
BK: Well, I’ve been riding bikes with the same group of guys for about fifteen years or so. When we sort of got big enough, we decided to get jerseys made. So, I actually approached Bob and Hayden – long-time friends and employees at Collin Street – and asked if the Bakery would like to sponsor us; they agreed! There's a company that makes jerseys if you send them a logo. So someone sketched up a picture of a fruitcake riding a bike and we asked for the Collin Street logo and jerseys were made!!
CSB: Wow! Love that. Bob and Hayden are great guys. We’re glad they took your quirky request and made it a reality.
BK: We are big fans of those two, and many other friends we’ve made at the bakery.
CSB: And every year, you and the Fruitcakes participate in this wild 100-mile ride?!
BK: Yes. We always ride in the Hotter’N Hell - a 100-mile bike race that takes place in the dead heat of summer. Last year I think thirteen individuals from Corsicana participated and we all wore our Collin Street logoed jerseys. You know, it's amazing how many cyclers we pass who comment on those jerseys and on the Bakery.
CSB: Love that! It totally proves how sponsorship works. Marketing 101. Okay, so tell us a little more about the race.
BK: Of course! So, the Hotter N’ Hell is a 100-mile race that takes place in Wichita Falls, Texas every year. It's been going on for about forty years, but the guys and I have only been participating for about ten. You don’t have to ride the whole hundred miles. You can sign up for shorter distances like twenty-five, fifty, or seventy-five miles. In fact, not all of us Fruitcakes ride the full hundred. You basically just ride at your own pace and break when needed at strategically spaced rest stops about every ten miles or so. There, they have a place you can stop and get ice, and get cooled off. There are MASH stations, too that treat everything from bee stings to dehydration.
CSB: Any specific reason the race takes place in Wichita Falls?
BK: The event grew out of efforts to find a special way Wichita Falls could celebrate its centennial. There was a local bicycle club that proposed the bike ride. The idea being the hundredth year of the city’s founding could be celebrated by traveling a hundred miles in hundred-degree weather. Get it? Hotter N’ Hell Hundred!
Also, did you know, Midwestern State, a university in Wichita Falls, actually has produced a world-renowned cycling team because of the attention the race produced? The coach of the cycling team is also the race director for Hotter'N Hell. So, the whole thing has turned into a huge, very well-organized production!
To ride, all you have to do is go to their website and sign up!
CSB: Thank you for that info, Bob. So beginners can sign up as well?
BK: Yep! The event is structured for anyone to participate, but I honestly wouldn’t attempt the actual race portion unless you’ve been on a bike for at least a few years.
CSB: Noted. How do riders stay energized while on that long ride?
BK: Well, some people eat those energy bars. I think that stuff is pretty nasty. There are only a few I kind of like. But a lot of them, you know, I have to choke down.
CSB: Have you ever used, or thought about using fruitcake on a ride?
BK: You know I haven’t personally tried that, but I think that’s a really great idea. My son and I have taken Collin Street Bakery fruitcake on long hikes before. But I think the tin cans could get pretty cumbersome out on the bikes.
CSB: Well we have something that might solve that problem. Have you tried our Collin Street Bakery Fruitcake Petites?
BK: I have not. But you know, I have heard a lot of people talk about them.
CSB: So, they are basically like fruitcake bites. Single servings of fruitcake that come in different flavors like apricot, pineapple, strawberry. You would love them. Petites could fit easily in your pockets or small packs as you ride. They don’t need refrigeration. They don’t crumble and fall apart.
BK: Yeah! I need to try some. Great idea on the packaging. You guys should consider selling them at the big Hotter'N Hell expo. They have one each year where lots of vendors show off new products and whatnot. Riders might love them as an alternative to protein bars and energy goo. That stuff gets old pretty fast.
CSB: Well, the biggest difference between protein bars or energy goo and our fruitcake is that our fruitcake is actually food. You can actually tell what ingredients are inside instead of it looking like some mystery mash.
CSB: While riding, do you get to interact with other riders at Hotter'N Hell, or do you mostly do the event, and then leave town?
BK: The night before, the event hosts a really nice dinner. There's a big expo the day before, too where all these vendors sell their goods. You can find anything and everything associated with bikes—from new equipment to food to athletic wear. That's where people try to peddle their gels and juices. That’s where you guys need to get set up.
CSB: Ha! Hey, we said we’ll work on it!
BK: You’ve got to go cause I’m sure all the riders would love it. You joked about fruitcake actually containing real food, but it’s true. Fruitcake tastes great. One thing I've found while trying different kinds of bars during the race is that some of them are so dry, you almost have to spit them out – you can't get them down. Fruitcakes aren't like that because they're so moist. I wouldn't see the dryness being a factor.
CSB: Thanks for the endorsement, Bob. You make some valid points. What about if anyone wants additional info on the event?
BK: They should visit their website. There’s information for registration as well as details on lodging, scheduled events, food, and much, much more.
CSB: We’ll be sure to check it out and share it with our readers. Thank you so much for sharing more about this yearly tradition you have with your friends and thank you for supporting Collin Street in the process!
BK: Of course. It’s really something we look forward to every summer. Hope Collin Street makes an appearance in the years to come! That is to say, more than just on our awesome biking jerseys.
CSB: We’ll do our best, Bob. If there’s any way we can support our greater Texas community and their quest to go the distance, we’re more than happy to help.
BK: Let’s start with more fruitcakes.
**This interview was abbreviated for length. To learn more about the HH100, visit their website or Facebook page. We’ll do our best to make it next year, and hope you do the same!