Took a drive one hour south of Boone to Morganton, NC for the Burke Hospice Metric Century. The event's promotional piece stated:
"Proceeds from the ride will benefit Burke Hospice & Palliative Care. Burke Hospice cares for over 100 patients per day who suffer from serious illnesses like cancer, heart failure, and Alzheimer's. No one is ever turned away for an inability to pay. Fundraisers like the Metric Century are vital to Burke Hospice's patients; since 2008, the organization has provided over $2 million in care without any type of reimbursement. "
That point was driven home when the tour's official starter stated he used to love cycling, but now has terminal cancer. He asked us to be thankful for the great day before he sent us on our way. This event is held in a picturesque area that encompassed James Lake, which was a great view to our left for several miles. The rest stops were excellent and everyone was into the spirit of the cause.
The tour was chip-timed, which means it's a race. Many tri-types were on hand and I learned later that the local triathlon was canceled the day before due to vicious weather in the area. At today's spin, two pelotons broke off the front and were long gone. The winning time was 3 hours for the 62 miles and change.
I rode cat-and-mouse with my new buddy Eddy, a 71 years young rider who stayed on the crank hard all day long. Eddy told me he was the guy who got run over by a truck at the 1999 Blood, Sweat and Gears. He almost checked out from the crash due to a punctured lung, crushed pelvis and broken femur. Part of the insurance settlement was a new bike and he was back about 10 weeks later. On another occasion, Eddy told me he hit some slick stuff and cracked his head on the pavement...lights out.
But the story continued and Eddy pushed forward, running and biking at every event possible. What I found interesting is that this ultimate master competitor was truly peeved that I beat him to the line. Never mind that I'm 54 and he's 71. To Eddy, I'm just another guy to pass. Guess that's how I feel about the two draft packs ahead of me. I don't care who they are or what age, just that they're fast and I'm not.
Here's a tip of the master man helmet to Eddy. He's a great example of staying hungry and keeping the fire inside alive.