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Hot-electron bolometer devices, used successfully in low noise heterodyne mixing at frequencies up to 2.5 THz, have been analyzed. A distributed temperature numerical model of the NbN bridge, based on a local electron and a phonon temperature, is used to model pumped IV curves and understand the physical conditions during the mixing process. We argue that the mixing is predominantly due to the strongly temperature dependent local resistivity of the NbN. Experimentally we identify the origins of different transition temperatures in a real HEB device, suggesting the importance of the intrinsic resistive transition of the superconducting bridge in the modeling.