RAIN OR SHINE!

Rain or shine or both… that is the question for this Saturday’s (August 17th) 4th Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway. As most everyone in America knows, the southeast has been pummeled with rain this summer resulting in record setting amounts of rainfall. These rainfalls have quite frequently been heavy with resultant flash floods such as the one that hit the Martin’s Creek area of Fines Creek earlier this week. All of this has resulted in damage to roads and deposits of debris on the travel surfaces. Thanks to Division 14 DOT employees, we are…

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(Ray’s Weather Center forecast for downtown Waynesville this weekend)

hard at work cleaning and prepping the roads for Saturday. Why? Because the show goes on. This is a rain or shine event!

Breakaway coordinators are closely monitoring multiple weather service forecasts and finding the only consistent thing to be everyone agrees there will be some rain. As of noon today (Wednesday, August 14th) no one is calling for a washout of the weekend. The most consistent reports indicate passing showers throughout the day with definitely below average temperatures. We will continue to monitor the weather conditions throughout the ride event.

Thanks to the Haywood County Amateur Radio organization we have multiple mobile and site based ham radio operators that keep our entire network in touch and communicating. From our command center at Lake Junaluska, we’ll be able to fully monitor incoming weather on the local radars and make informed decisions, which can then be transmitted to the various sites around the four routes of the Breakaway. We’ll also be watching real time activities of our moto-sags as each motorcycle is outfitted with a GPS responder that sends up location signal that is broadcast back to us at the command center where we see it in real time on a modified Google map of the region. So, in a nutshell, we’re on top of it! We have a full emergency and evacuation plan should it be needed as was the case on Breakaway #1 when a rogue storm popped up on the Blue Ridge Parkway resulting in the BRP officials closing the course.

Riders need to do their part! Because all of the routes climb to some higher elevation, we STRONGLY ENCOURAGE all riders to be prepared for inclement weather throughout the day. Bring a jacket! Have sufficient Hi-Viz clothing on in case rain or fog settles on you while riding. Stay HYDRATED even if it is cooler! We will have fuel and water for your bodies at regular intervals. Don’t get carried away thinking you’re in a race and fail to eat or drink. Remember that you must have a headlamp if going on the Parkway. For our Century participants in particular, stay aware that you might well be riding in 50 degree temperatures while on the Parkway. Hypothermia does not respect bravado! Dress warmly or have warm clothing available.

So, having said all of that, let’s hope for the best and prepare for the rest!

See you Saturday!

– Zeke