High Country Association of REALTORS News

Things to do on a weekend - Pedal a bike for 100 miles

Blood Sweat & GearsThirteen years ago the Watauga County chapter of the American Red Cross decided to organize a bike race for a fundraiser. Dubbed Blood, Sweat and Gears, it would offer cyclists the challenge of a 100-mile course featuring cameos by Grandfather Mountain, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Valle Crucis and the ever-demanding Snake Mountain.

The event quickly became a must attend. Registration was capped. A second 50-mile course added. Still the riders came. Sure it's a tough course only the insane would attempt, but it's just so gosh darn pretty few can resist! Just keep it quiet, okay?

On to the Blood Sweat & Gears. Beautiful day!!!! I think that needs a few more exclamation points, but you get the idea. If you have never been in the Blue Ridge mountains in the summer time, you don’t know what you are missing. But then again, I really don’t want to encourage any more visitors, so strike that. Generally speaking this event has an auspicious start. In the mountains the temperature gets down in the 50′s and low 60′s at night even the 40′s at times, so there is often quite a chill in the morning air. Not this year, I was fine in nothing but a sleeveless jersey.

Just how popular has the event become? It sells out faster than zip down Snake Mountain.

"We filled all 750 spaces on the 100-mile ride and 500 spaces on the 50-mile ride in 20 hours after we posted the applications online," said Scott Nelson, member of the Blood Sweat and Gears riding committee.

"According to our latest rider survey, more than 75 percent of them are repeat riders in the event. We're gaining in popularity, so we must be doing a lot of things right."

Along with more than a 1,000 riders, the race also attracts dozens of local groups and volunteers who man aide stations along the route.