Friday, August 5, 2016
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Planning is well underway for the 2016 edition of the Blue Ridge Breakaway. In fact, planning started the day after the 2015 edition. This is my second go-round as Ride Director and I'm currently enjoying the planning process and greatly looking forward to the actual event.
I'm excited that we are adding King and Queen of the Mountain this year. The Waynesville Rotary Club is the sponsor of the KOM and Ken Wilson Ford of Canton is the sponsor for QOM. We will be recognizing best times for Masters category (40+ years old) in both KOM and QOM and best times for those under 40 years of age also in both categories. The measured segment will be somewhere along the Lake Logan Road climb to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We are still working out the final details of the starting location. The KOM/QOM will be open to those riders on the Hawk and Trout routes. I anticipate that the segment will be around 8 to 10 miles in length.
Members of the Haywood County Amateur Radio Club have been hard at work locating spots for our communications needs. One of our goals and significant challenges is to have real time results of the KOM/QOM communicated back to the Finish line at Lake Junaluska. Cellular service in this section of the event is non-existent and most GPS trackers lose their signal in multiple locations on the climb. We are working to relay HAM radio signals containing data packets via repeaters and digipeaters back to the command center. While some folks may see this as frivolous, an important outgrowth of this type of exercise is to improve through practice our communications network in case of natural disaster or necessary rescue efforts for lost and/or injured hikers. We learn a lot from these efforts that have benefits long after the event itself.
This year's jersey is almost ready for unveiling. The base design is finished and I believe participants will be pleased when they see it. Bar none ( a hint there!) this jersey departs from what we've done in the past. Check out the Blue Ridge Breakaway website to see images of the jersey once it is revealed.
I continue to be puzzled/amazed/concerned at the folks who each year disregard our reminders to pack a rain jacket for the Parkway. Again last year we had a storm cell run across a section of the Parkway soaking the riders. Believe me when I say you get cold quickly at 5500+ feet elevation in low 60 degree weather in pouring down rain. You cannot ride fast enough to keep your body heat up in those conditions. We had more than a couple of folks that resembled Smurfs last year as they turned blue. Hypothermia is a real danger!
Our emergency preparedness paid off in being able to get those riders into safer conditions quickly. At our command center at Lake Junaluska, we were in constant contact with the National Weather Service personnel as they tracked the weather cell for us. The first radio alert of rain from our HAM operators on the Parkway was within two minutes of our having been advised by NWS staff it was starting to rain. We were able to dispatch vehicles to the Parkway rapidly to assist wet riders. We also had the opportunity to watch the weather conditions on a big screen TV donated by Best Buy and, at the same time, see our motosag riders real time positions on yet another big screen map thanks to GPS transmitters we attach to the motorcycles. Technology places a bigger role in this event than most people realize.
Early registration is now open for the Breakaway. Please visit the website Blue Ridge Breakaway and come join us in beautiful Haywood County and the Blue Ridge Parkway for the weekend of August 19th, 20th, and 21st! We have wonderful accomodations and great restaurants for you to enjoy! Oh yeah, we'll have those famous Haywood County tomato sandwiches for you again!
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
Friday, April 17, 2015
A couple of ride notes...
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Spring 2015 must be near. Along with the typical signs of spring associated with Yellowbells, Daffodils, and amorous squirrels, I’m seeing big increases in the numbers of folks outdoors pursuing various recreational and fitness activities.
More people, who ride bikes, are also out and about. I’ve noted an increase in the numbers of individuals getting their exercise pedaling steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber machines all over Haywood County. I’ve spotted people riding bikes on Newfound, downtown Canton, Lake Junaluska grounds, NC 209, and through the Towns of Waynesville and Clyde. No doubt there are many other areas being ridden as well.
Haywood County will be blessed with two bicycle specific events this year. The annual running of the Blue Ridge Breakaway will occur on August 15th and bring about 500 cyclists plus associated family members to town. CycleNC selected Waynesville as the host town this year for the beginning of the cross-state ride. CycleNC caps their ridership at 1100 registrants. Being the host town means that cyclists and their family members will arrive early for the beginning of the event on Sunday, September 26th. In addition to these two events, the Lake Logan Multi-sport Festival will fill two days in August (8th and 9th) with cycling, running, and swimming. All of these events will bring substantial revenues into the county.
According to the recently completed “Bikes in Beds” study of the impact of cycling on tourism in Haywood County and Western North Carolina, approximately 2% of total tourism trips to Haywood is accounted for by bicyclists having a $3 million dollar impact on the local economy. With the ongoing success of the Breakaway and Lake Logan events and the hosting of CycleNC this year, the future impacts of tourism related to people who ride bikes will only increase.
Putting on these events takes many people working together over many hours. Planning is already well underway for the Breakaway and the first organizational meeting for CycleNC was held on Monday, April 6th. There will be many opportunities for local citizens to demonstrate our famed Haywood County Hospitality this year. Whether it is as simple as a friendly smile and wave to a person riding a bike along your neighborhood road or taking on a volunteer job at one of the events, it will take all of us working together in order to make these events resounding successes. So, get your smile on Haywood!
Registration is now open for both events! For some outstanding Smoky Mountain riding, come to Haywood County, NC! For more information on the local area, contact the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce, the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, or post me back at Gr8SmokesZeke@gmail.com!
Past readers of this blog may be wondering just where I've been since my last post was a long, long time ago. Well, my priorities shifted and my time has been devoted to these two new members of our family.
(l) Cordelia - commonly called "Dilly" (r) Beauregard - commonly called "Beau"
It has been the “Beau and Dilly show” 24/7 at our home in Beautiful Buzzard’s Roost for a little over a year now. Beau and Dilly were born 4 days apart and, by happenstance or fate, they ended up living with me and the Navigator. Dilly is a Giant Schnauzer born near Lake Erie in Ohio and comes to us from Ramahills Kennels. Beau is a mix of Border Collie and something darned big and joined us from Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Waynesville.
Monday, July 28, 2014
YES! It is that time of the year! Blue Ridge Breakaway in 19 days!
The twin joys of raising a garden and puppies has certainly detracted from my riding time this year. It seems like every time I go to throw a leg over the saddle of my Salsa Fargo, I end up throwing a leg over a hoe or a dog leash. Be that as it may, I haven’t given up on observing those good folk out riding on two wheels. In fact this past weekend, the Navigator and I had a chance to do a lot of observing during our…
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
The Navigator and I are currently encamped in the north Georgia woods at Fort Mountain State Park for the Memorial Day Weekend. This is our first trip in close to two years. There are a number of firsts on this trip.
One of the more notable firsts is that we are on our first camping trip without …
Thursday, April 3, 2014
The winter rust was quite evident yesterday as I worked on meeting my goal of 30 in 30 during April. I rediscovered what happens when all forward motion ceases to exist and you are clipped into your pedals on a 15 percent or so grade…
Monday, March 3, 2014
It’s been a while since I posted. Several squeaky wheels have had my attention and, unfortunately, cycling wasn’t one of the louder ones. We’ve finally experienced winter again here in Western North Carolina after several years of only hearing about snow.
(The storm beginning as I was enjoying an echo stress test at WNC Cardiology)
This year we had a return to the snow of old. You know, the ones where we walked to school every day in knee deep snow just like our forefathers did. Of course, we’ve had nothing like the mid-west and north east have endured and I don’t count Atlanta’s little ice skating party as anything other than poor planning. I’m ready for spring to finally get sprung or whatever spring does. Yesterday’s 60 degree weather was a cruel joke leading up to today’s return to freezing temps with possible snow flurries.