A year’s worth of planning and implementation came to an end Saturday evening around 6:30 p.m. The last rider on the Century route of the 4th Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway made it home after some 10 hours and 20 minutes in the saddle. With that finish, the books began closing on another successful…
event hosted by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce and sponsored principally by Mission Hospitals in Asheville, NC. The ride, featuring four routes (the Hawk, Trout, Panther, and Rabbit) was down in actual numbers thanks to dire weather forecasts of a “washout weekend” but not down in spirit or in accomplishments met. There were smiles, grins, grimaces, and projectile… well, you get it: a range of physical and emotional reactions. Yes, there were also stories made to be told as time passes.
“My husband and I participated in the Blue Ridge Breakaway this past weekend, and had an incredible time! What an awesome and beautiful ride! This was our second time riding in it, and I think we will make this a tradition every year. We are encouraging our friends to ride with us next year!”
-Lynda Ward, Alpharetta, Georgia
The best outcome of the event was a total of some 31,560 aggregate miles ridden with zero significant injuries. In fact, at the command center, there were no injuries of any kind called in by participants or our moto-sag team. There were the usual mechanicals including numerous flat tires, a bent derailleur, and some broken spokes but nothing out of the ordinary.
A Really Classy Person!
We were pleased when we heard that Lauren Tamayo, Olympic Silver Medalist, would be joining us thanks to Home Trust Bank for whom she is a roving Ambassador. I had the opportunity to speak with Lauren prior to the event and to watch her interact with staff and participants. What a nice opportunity that was! I would love to know how many pictures were taken of her. She posed for each and every request and had a great smile throughout. She led all the riders out of the starting shoot and completed the Panther (40 miler) route.
Hey, the Dude’s an Ironman!
(Aaron atop the Blue Ridge Parkway on the Hawk route)
Throughout the run-up to the event, I had been looking forward to seeing my friend and fellow blogger, Aaron West (Steep Climbs) . We missed him last year but were excited to hear he was returning this year along with some compadres from Columbia, SC. As I’ve mentioned, weather forecasters had give us up some 10 days ago and were just killing our pre-registration numbers as they continually had us at 70% chances of heavy rain throughout the weekend. Aaron’s buds cancelled their hotel reservations and decided that caution was the better part of valor this particular weekend and Aaron let me know he would not be coming on Friday evening. He was telling me of the heavy rains he was experiencing and I was still enjoying the after glow of a great day in the mountains with a nice sunset in the western sky. Still, the forecast was for heavy rains all day Saturday.
As I went to bed in Haywood and Aaron hit the sack in Columbia, we both were sure he wouldn’t make it. Thankfully, he woke up coughing at 2:00 a.m., remembered my personal forecast, checked his radar, and was on the road by 2:15 a.m. headed for Lake Junaluska. Some 3.5 hours later, he was greeting me at the registration desk. After picking up my jaw from the floor where I’m sure it fell upon seeing him, we got him registered and on his bike and he simply went out and completed the Century route. Following a brief refueling after the ride and some quick chat time, he loaded up and was home in Columbia, SC near 8:30 p.m. What a day! We corresponded on Sunday and my assessment was he was still in better condition than I was! Thanks Aaron for the effort!
Volunteers, Volunteers, Volunteers!
In real estate, it is location, location, location that matters. With the Breakaway and similar events it is volunteers that matter. We were blessed yet again with great volunteers. Year in and year out, the volunteers that staff the rest stops or (wo)man the intersections and registration tables, get the highest accolades from the event participants. This year was certainly no different. Some 250+ local citizens came together to pull this off.
(Students from Haywood Christian Academy swept the Fines Creek area roads)
There’s always an Ass in the Crowd!
Yes, there’s always at least one. This time it was a black Ford Ranger running along side the cyclists on NC 209 and harassing them. We made the report to the Haywood County Sheriff and they responded with two cruisers to try and catch the jack-asses, err perps. We had a minimal amount of information to provide so I’m imagining that they didn’t catch them. Still, the silver lining was the great support from the Sheriff.
There are many, many stories out there even though we’re not the “naked city.” (O.K., truthfully, how many of you get that reference?). We’ll be gathering them and share them later. So, I’ll close with two thoughts today…
1) Mark your calendars now for August 16th, 2014 – the 5th Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway!
2) Never, ever listen to 10 day weather forecasts that promises you a washout…