Monday, August 22, 2011

WHEW! WHAT A DAY–WHAT A RIDE!

Well, the Second Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway is now history and the reviews are starting to roll in. (Note: see links later in post.) My day started early, much earlier than I expected as I awakened at 3:00 a.m. I finally gave up any effort to get back to sleep at 4:00 a.m. and pushed myself out of bed so as to keep from disturbing the Navigator’s last 2 hours of sleep. Through bleary eyes, I managed to get a pot of coffee brewing and prepared myself to enter the darkness of pre-dawn. With a cup of freshly brewed Organic Guatemalan in hand, I headed out the door at 4:45 a.m. to begin placing my portion of the road signage on the various courses of the ride…

My route began at Hyder Mountain Road and Richland Creek Road where the routes made their final separations for the day. Century and Metric Century riders would go east to Clyde and 40 miler and 25 milers would go south returning to Lake Junaluska.

I arrived at Lake Junaluska to put up the final signage for parking/start/finish just as the light of day was beginning to make itself known. I was surprised at how many walkers were already out at the Lake getting in their exercise and walking their dogs. The first participants were also beginning to arrive as well and the parking areas quickly started to fill.

The night before I was tasked with providing the start/finish line music and told to pick something EVERYONE would like. No small task, I’m thinking… So, this year’s BRB participants got an earful of Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews, Sugarland, and to build up the energy to the start – Santana! I’m pleased to report there were no “music sucks” reports!

Nantahala Outdoor Center Rider applies timing tag...

Nantahala Outdoor Center rider applies timing tag…

Timing Tag Pickup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early morning fog greeted the participants

as they picked up their timing tags..

The ride was off and running following a brief welcome from Waynesville’s Mayor Gavin Brown and Lake Junaluska Director Jack Ewing. A short safety speech by Nancy Lux led up to the riders being called to action. 407 participants were registered for the event. Three recumbent bikes were noted this year as was at least one family riding tandem.

Riders To Your Mark!

Riders gathering for the start!

While riders were making their way through the starting chute at Lake Junaluska Assembly, preparations were going on at the various aid stations across the four courses. Volunteers are what make or break an event and this effort is no exception. The BRB organizers were very blessed to have a massive cadre of excited and enthusiastic volunteers to (wo)man the various stops. The 4th stop of the day for Century and Metric Century riders occurred at the Mountain View Church of God on NC 110.

Seen below is the team of volunteers that greeted and assisted riders as they passed through on the way to Burnette Siding where the Metric Century riders reversed course and the Century riders began the 10 mile climb to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Team Mountain View!

Team Mountain View led by Team Leader “The Navigator” (far right)

These folks represent the many volunteers including the Haywood County Amateur Radio Club, who provided invaluable assistance at each site, in SAG cars, and on MotoSags. This year we were able to track the groups using enhanced technologies that will also be used in the event of natural disasters or other emergencies affecting our area. This ride provided a real time test of manpower and equipment and will lead to a safer overall community. (More on this technology in a later post…) 

REVIEWS ARE COMING IN!

I was a worker bee this year as opposed to being a participant as I was last year. I’m going to step aside and let some folks, who were participants in this year’s ride express their experiences for themselves. Here are two of the reviews we’ve received thus far. I was glad to meet in person Aaron, who posts at SteepClimbs.com. Enjoy the following links…

From Steep Climbs

From 789CyclingJerseys

and a local newspaper The Mountaineer’s write-up…

It’s o.k.! Go ahead and mark YOUR calendar for the 3rd Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway to be held on August 18th, 2012! Same place, same great volunteers, same incredible riding!

Until later,

-Zeke

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