I had a exemplary time today with some of the Boone mountain contingent, riding the Burnsville (NC) metric century. It was a big event with hundreds of riders; Burnsville has a roundabout in the town center and riders were twirling around it waiting for the starting gun to pop. This is an excellent civic event that serves the community, participants and local businesses in the area. A shout out to the event promoters for adding a special event spiff... embroidered wool cycling socks rather than the time-tested t-shirt.
What concerned me was the attitude of some riders. The ride out of town was a bit sketchy with cyclists shifting from left to right, accelerating/decelerating with reckless abandon, and throwing in a bit of wheel-overlap to boot. That's not my scene and my crew tried to find a sweet spot where we could spin without risk. My buddy Jamie and I jumped on pace with some older guy on a orange Seven bike. This gent didn't shift much, just locked into a high gear and drilled down on the crank for an impressive 20-23 mph pace.
A few miles up the road we came upon carnage. Bloody limbs, bike parts on the road and a woman limping for the shoulder with her riding glasses cocked sideways on her face. We slowed and asked if she was OK; she said "no trouble here just a little crash and burn!"
There's high danger riding with cyclists you don't know. There's no sound judgment in riding a fast pace when the jokers in front, back, or next to you may make a grave error.
The course was overall scenic and fast. We did come to some minor climbs in the final third. A guy came up next to us on a new Focus brand bike, which I learned was German origin machine. He said he'd better let up and pull back because "my wife is back there and she's not going to like this." Guess it's important to share the entire story with a spouse or partner...in this case hill climbing had been excluded.
I had a good day. Since losing a big chunk of weight my engine hasn't been running too well, but on this occasion I felt the bonk coming and ate my face off at the 40 mile aid station. With gas in the tank I was able to do some serious work the last 12 miles. We had to come back in to town on a rough stretch of Highway 19 that was under heavy construction, but made it back AOK.
This well-managed event has a great twist at the finish. The Yancey County Latino community does a fundraiser and serves some of the best fresh tamales I have ever tasted. Ride hard, eat well...great package deal.
I once again had an overwhelming need to thank the Lord for my privilege of riding, with friends in a great place, with enough health to get 'er done. God is good.