Getting the New Year in gear January 1st
BMCC riders burn up the backroads of the Brushies New Year's Day
Some BMCC members and friends started the new year off right January 1st, 2006 with a 38-mile road ride.
Eight riders turned out for a fun ride on a sunny, 60-degree New Year's Day. Riders passed families strolling on the Yadkin River Greenway during the warm-up phase of the ride, but things quickly heated up as the group headed into the hills south of town. The route through the Little Brushies on the RAW 40-mile route had about 2,700 feet of climbing.
Dwight Stewart of Catawba County joined local riders Lori Andrews, Nick Cheek, Dwight Levi, Tim Murphy, Randy Perdue, Bill Sebastian and Mike Smithey.
Photos from Resolution Ride '06
Riding is easy along the flat
Yadkin River Greenway
Randy Perdue and Bill Sebastian head for the hills
Lori Andrews and Mike Smithey
grind toward Windy Gap
Dwight Stewart packs a squirt gun to ward off crazed canines
Nick Cheek nears the top of the Windy Gap climb
Dwight Levi horsin' around
Fearless Ellen Adams soars off a jump during a 2004 downhill competition.
14-year-old is youngest to finish the 102-mile route
Bridgette McLean breaks the Blood Sweat and Gears age barrier
Photos by Richard Fink
Fourteen-year-old Bridgette McLean made Blood Sweat & Gears history June 25th, 2005, becoming the youngest rider to finish the grueling 102-mile event.
Bridgette cruised to the finish line in 8:25, a great time for such a tough course. The Watauga High rising freshman could have finished even sooner; she waited for about 25 minutes for her step-mom, Lou McLean, at Cove Creek. The pair have trained the entire cycling season for this event and rode together for most of the ride.
"Woohoo!! Words cannot express the relief and joy that Bridgette and I both feel after Saturday's huge success. I still keep thinking that I'm going to wake up and realize that it's still yet to come!" Lou said.
Lou worried before the ride that she and Bridgette would be unable to finish the event. (Riders who don't arrive at the Cove Creek rest stop within a certain time span are not allowed to complete the full course.) Turns out she had nothing to worry about. "I wish I had a dollar for everytime someone asked me how old Bridgette was. Or everytime I overheard some grown man mumble under his breath that he couldn't believe he let that little girl kick his butt up the last hill," Lou said.
Bridgette had the ride of her life and Lou was pleased with her own experience, as well. "I just can't believe how perfect everything was!" she said. " I really didn't think I had it in me."
BMCC's Scott Nelson has coached Bridgette and Lou throughout their training. Bridgette and Lou have ridden in several BMCC events, including the RAW and the Rollin' Round the River Ride.
"We want to thank Scott from the bottom of our hearts for all of his advice, encouragement, moral support, riding with us, reading our reports, holding us accountable, and more than anything, for believing in us," Lou said. All the paceline practice on Railroad Grade Road paid off, as Bridgette, Lou and Vilas rider Joyce Creed teamed up to form a tight paceline on the course's flat stretches.
Betsy Patrick, the BS&G's fastest female in 2005, was also an inspiration.
"Betsy waited around to personally congratulate Bridgette and have pictures made together. Betsy even drove back out on the course to find us at about mile 93 and cheer us on from the side of the road. Betsy has been Bridgette's hero and inspiration, as well as friend and confidante," Lou said.
Now that the BS&G is in the record books, Team McLean has turned its sights on the Roan Moan July 30th and BMCC's Hurt Pain & Agony Metric Century August 6th. Bridgette also plans to ride the Blood Sweat & Gears again next year and is already planning how she'll beat her personal record.
Bridgette and Lou at the BS&G finish line
Betsy Patrick (left), the fastest female in the 2005 Blood Sweat & Gears, poses with Bridgette McLean, the youngest ever finisher, and her step-mom, Lou McLean
BMCC's Rob Morgan takes in the Tour de France
BMCC made an appearance at Le Tour! Here’s a picture of member Rob Morgan from Mt. Holly, N.C. showing his BMCC pride.
Cyclocross Crazies: BMCCers hit the CX circuit
BMCC's Richard Fink sent these photos of club members in action during winter 2005 races.
BMCC president Brian Pierce launches an amphibious assault during a cross race in Boone.
BMCC's Brandon Eller is out front at Hendersonville.
"Brandon in full BMCC kit at the Morganton cross race. How ironic the race was at Broughton Hospital! Yeah, we're crazy," Richard writes.
Richard Fink hoists his bike (and himself!) during a race in Boone.
It's all down here from here!
Ann Elmore sent this beautiful photograph taken during a winter 2005 bike ride:
This is one of the most beautiful views we have come across on our cross rides. Lori and I are sitting at the top of Benge-Ashe taking it in before we start the descent. We had to stop several times to let our hands rest because it is really steep...with gravel....so it makes for an interesting experience! Bill, Lori and I had a fantastic ride as the weather was warm and the sun was shining. We couldn't have asked for a better day to ride. We got in 3,556 feet of climbing.
Getting the New Year in gear January 1st
BMCC "Resolution Ride" a great 'warm-up' for 2005
Some BMCC members started the new year off right January 1st, 2005 with a 38-mile ride along a portion of the club's Rides Around Wilkes route.
Nine riders turned out for a fun ride on a downright balmy New Year's Day. More than one rider stripped down to short sleeve jersey and shorts on this atypically warm winter day. The hilly route helped heat things up, too; the route through the Little Brushies had more than 2,600 feet of climbing.
Nick Cheek was back in the saddle, bouncing back strong from a fall back in July 2004. Young speedster Charlie Pendry sat in with the group for part of the ride and showed admirable restraint. ("I have clothes in my closet older than him!" Lonny Bumgarner said.)
Photos from Resolution Ride '05
Skip Erb, Kay Hall, Dwight Levi, Lonny Bumgarner and Lori Walton regroup midway.
Lonny and Dwight
near the top of the climb
to Windy Gap.
The paceline passes a pasture.
Lori hits the top of the
Windy Gap climb.
Kay and Skip
Wilkes has a lot of peaceful backroads like Rance Staley Road.
Rolling Hill Romp 2004 rambled through Yadkin County
Dawg Dodgers team rolls out
the red carpet on a fast road ride
An estimated 65 to75 cyclists, including ten BMCCers, joined the Dawg Dodgers cycling team Saturday, March 27th, 2004 for the Rolling Hill Romp, a free joint road ride. The Romp rolled through rural piedmont terrain in eastern Yadkin County.
BMCC members Jim Haley, Dwight Levi and John Slate rode the 22-mile route, while Nick Cheek, Skip Erb, Kay Hall, Jeff McNeal, Tim Murphy, Mike Smithey and Lori Walton took on a 48-mile route.
"There appeared to have been no accidents, breakdowns or other problems other than a bit of sunburn!" ride leader Jeff McNeal reports.
Route rolled through rural eastern Yadkin County
The Rolling Hill Romp roamed the rolling hills of eastern Yadkin County, offering a pleasant change of terrain from the Blue Ridge foothills.
True "gear it way down" hills were few and far between. Most of the hills were more aptly called rises. The fast paceline at the front of the pack was clearing these low obstacles with little change in speed.
Summarize this ride in one word? Fast! Without long hills to fragment the group, the front paceline was large and hung together for about 35 miles. This rolling swarm of cyclists cruised along averaging 20 m.p.h. or so, a brisk pace for a not-so-flat course.
Signs of spring were everywhere on the ride...blooming daffodils and pear trees, freshly turned garden plots, even the farmer spraying black, sewagey gunk on his field!
Dawg Dodgers roll out the red carpet for the Rolling Hill Romp
The Rolling Hill Romp was an informal, free club ride, but the Dawg Dodgers rolled out the red carpet to make riders feel welcome.
The club offered cold bottled water, Gatorade and fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts at the start/finish site, a small park on the banks of the Yadkin River. Dawg Dodgers captain Jim Grubbs drove a SAG vehicle to help clear the course and assist any cyclists who'd had enough. Jeff McNeal, a BMCC member who is active with the Dawg Dodgers, led the ride and helped keep the group intact and on track.
Funds for the refreshments were provided by Paceline Bicycles. "Paceline has been very willing to support local cycling, cycling clubs and cycling events in our area (such as the Tour To Tanglewood) and their efforts have been a big help," McNeal said.
The Rolling Hill Romp was the second joint ride between the Dawg Dodgers and BMCC.
In November 2003, about 30 riders turned out for the Moonshine and Wine ride through the Little Brushy Mountains of eastern Wilkes County.
"I want to thank BMCC for coming down from Wilkes County to be a part of the ride," McNeal said. "The Dawg Dodgers did a great ride with your club in Wilkes County last fall and had a great time. You are a great group of folks and I look forwards to doing a lot more events with BMCC in the future."
What's a Dawg Dodger?
The Dawg Dodgers cycling club of Winston-Salem began 11 years ago as a team in the annual Tour to Tanglewood MS benefit ride. Led by captain Jim Grubbs, the team has tripled in size over the last year. In the 2003 Tour to Tanglewood, nearly 60 riders sported a Dawg Dodgers jersey. Three of the Dawg Dodgers were honored as VIBEs (Very Important Biking Entrepreneurs) in recognition of their outstanding fund raising efforts to fight MS.
The Dawg Dodgers participate in other rides and recreational functions throughout the year and have been big supporters of BMCC’s Rides Around Wilkes and Rollin’ Round the River Ride events.
For more information on the ride and the Dawg Dodgers cycling club, visit the Dawg Dodgers website at www.dawgdodgers.com.
Photos from March 2004's Rolling Hill Romp
Nick Cheek, Kay Hall and Skip Erb chill before the start
Jeff McNeal, Mike Smithey and the lead group take a break
Paceline powers past a pear tree
near East Bend
Jim Haley sports the original BMCC jersey design
Eastern Yadkin is "suburbanizing" at the edges, but still has plenty of peaceful spots
Mike Smithey (at right) held his own
in a fast lead group
BMCCers rock & roll at Poplar Tent MTB Park
BMCC members Matt and Ellen Adams and Dwight Levi trekked to Concord, N.C. Saturday, January 3rd, 2004 to take on the trails at Poplar Tent MTB Park. Matt promised "a slow to moderate pace" but Mr. Levi's photos clearly show folks flying off the side of some rather tall jumps! "Poplar Tent offers a little bit of everything, steeps, flats, tons of single track, jumps, drops, north shore and even a gravity cavity! All obstacles have optional ways around so they can be riden or bypassed," Matt says.
Mountain bike maniac Matt Adams (top) flies off a jump during a BMCC ride at Poplar Tent MTB Park. Wife Ellen (in blue below) shows she's no fraidy cat either! The mountain bike facility is located near Concord, N.C.
(Photos by Dwight Levi)
Ice can be nice: Biking in a winter wonderland
BMCC's Jim Hutchens rides by a sparkling sheer wall of ice on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This north-facing cliff near the Alligator Back Overlook is often icy in winter even when the roadway is clear and dry. Ice can be nice when it's not on the road!
Two teams tackled the "Moonshine and Wine" route in Nov. 2003
BMCC, Dawg Dodgers blitz through the Brushies
About 30 area road cyclists rolled through the mountains and foothills of eastern Wilkes County Saturday, November 22nd, 2003 as the Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club hosted the Dawg Dodgers cycling club of Winston-Salem.
The two teams tackled the "Moonshine and Wine" route, a 27-mile loop that skirts Windy Gap vineyards and passes through an area that was once a hotbed of illegal liquor making.
Riders ranged from hard-core road bikers to novice cyclists. One rider completed the route on a dare and said it was the longest bike ride of her life.
The ride went off largely without a hitch. Two cyclists strayed from the course, but got a ride back to the start site at Redding's Country Kitchen restaurant.
The ride drew about a half dozen members of the Dawg Dodgers cycling club, a large contingent of BMCCers and several out-of-town riders not affiliated with either club. The ride was open to the public and was promoted in the local newspaper and on the internet.
The Dawg Dodgers cycling club of Winston-Salem began 11 years ago as a team in the annual Tour to Tanglewood MS benefit ride. Led by captain Jim Grubbs, the team has tripled in size over the last year. In the 2003 Tour to Tanglewood, nearly 60 riders sported a Dawg Dodgers jersey. Three of the Dawg Dodgers were honored as VIBEs (Very Important Biking Entrepreneurs) in recognition of their outstanding fund raising efforts to fight MS. The Dawg Dodgers participate in other rides and recreational functions throughout the year and were big supporters of BMCC’s Rollin’ Round the River Ride in September.
Photos from the 2003 "Moonshine and Wine" ride
Bikes took over the lot at Redding's Country Kitchen Nov. 22nd, 2003.
A sweet sight...the top of the Windy Gap climb and the self-serve "rest stop".
Quiet country roads, sunny skies and temps near 70...what a great way to spend a Saturday!
BMCC president Dwight Levi leads the last rider back to the start. She completed the ride on her hybrid bike.
BMCCers Mike Smithey, Lori Walton rode in fifth annual cross state ride
Cycle North Carolina 2003 rolls toward the sea
BMCC’s Mike Smithey and Lori Walton were among more than 1,200 cyclists who crossed the Tarheel state during the fifth annual Cycle North Carolina ride.
Mike has participated in Cycle North Carolina each year since the event went to a one week format in 2000. This is Lori’s first spin in the cross state ride.
The CNC riders took off from Boone Sunday, October 5th, 2003 and arrived at Oak Island, on the Atlantic coast near Southport, on Saturday, October 11th. Along the way, the riders meandered through North Carolina for about 400 miles along quiet back roads.
Cycle North Carolina is a road cycling event, but it doesn’t have much in common with your typical century.
There’s no mass start each morning. Folks pull up stakes, literally, at sunrise. They pack up their tents, pitch their gear onto trucks, grab a bite and roll out gradually. Riders are spread out for miles.
The riders are astride a bizarre variety of bikes: racing rigs, hybrids, mountain bikes, recumbents, tandems, recumbent tandems and more. If it’s weird and you can pedal it, you’ll see it somewhere in the throng. Mike Smithey, BMCC’s resident bike builder, was fascinated by the variety of contraptions rolling across the state. He spotted several promising designs for his next recumbent project.
The riders themselves are also a sight. No need to feel self conscious about your appearance in spandex when the riders next to you are decked out in Mardi Gras attire. My favorite was the dude in the skin-tight "Racing Frames" jersey; the taut top covered a beer gut the size of Halloween pumpkin.
You can ride fast if you wish, but the first folks into camp have to unload the gear trucks, with their 48,000 lbs. of bags. Most riders understandably take it easy, lingering in the rest stops and chatting with other riders en route.
Each night, the tent city erupts. The host towns roll out the welcome mat, offering as much excitement as a burg like Lenoir, Troutman, Albemarle or Lumberton can muster. Concerts and street dances give the riders a chance to kick up their heels. The riders are a laid-back bunch who get closer and friendlier as the ride rolls toward the sea.
Bikes in the 'hood: Cycle N.C. '03 visits Northwest N.C.
BMCCers at Cycle North Carolina 2003
L-R: Dwight Levi, Lori Walton,
Mike Smithey and Tim Murphy
Mike's buddy from Maryland:
Smithey's made a lot of friends over the years at Cycle North Carolina.
Flashing sign alerts motorists before the 11-mile descent from the Blue Ridge into the foothills.
Two Raleigh bikers talked mountain biking with us at the Jonas Ridge
Lawnchair cyclists Pete and Denise Petersen came all the way from Texarkana, Texas.
The population of Lenoir swelled as 1,200 rambling riders set up camp in Mulberry Park.
"Next time I'm driving!"
47 m.p.h. on a tandem recumbent stresses this couple from Des Moines, Iowa.
Meanwhile, this couple is happy!
Beth Levi got up very early Sunday to wish Dwight good luck on his ride.
BMCCers tackle mountainous metric century route
For many reasons, the Roan Moan is a ride to remember
A half-dozen BMCCers took on a tough metric century July 26th, 2003 as they rode in Mitchell County's annual Roan Moan road cycling event.
Brandon Eller, Jim Horton, Dwight Levi, Tim Murphy, Mike Smithey and Gary Wyatt tackled the tough terrain on this grueling and majestic 69-mile ride through the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.
Here's what makes the Roan Moan a ride to remember:
The showcase climb in the Roan Moan is the seven-mile slog to Carver's Gap, the notch that separates beautiful Jane Bald from Roan Mountain. If the trip to the top seems arduous, it should---it's the biological equivalent of a 1,000 mile drive north to Ontario. Fir trees more common in Canada hold sway atop this cloudy peak. Elevations on the ride range from 2,000 feet creekside in Tennessee to 5,512 atop Carver's Gap.
The Roan Moan route rolls along the Toe and Doe Rivers and several creeks through a pastoral, sparsely populated corner of the Appalachian mountains. Big views, rushing creeks and a profusion of summer wildflowers all engage riders along the route.
The Roan Moan route has two wide-open descents, including a long plunge from Carver's Gap back into North Carolina. Dwight and Tim passed a car on this raging downhill!
The Tweetsie Trail
Part of the Roan Moan route runs along the old railbed for the ET & WNC line, known by most everyone as Tweetsie. The route glides through a shady hardwood forest above the surging Doe River on a smooth paved country lane. Riders squeeze through slits blasted out of solid rock. It's a unique road cycling experience.
The Bicycle Inn
The ride begins and ends at the Bicycle Inn, a bicycle-themed bed-and-breakfast tucked away in the hills outside Bakersville. Innkeepers Michael and Paulette Davis display an eclectic collection of cycling memorabilia. The inn's wide, shady front porch was the perfect place to enjoy the post-ride cookout. All the details on the ride were taken care of, all the way down to the "frowny faces" painted on the roadbed marking the remaining mileage on the major climbs.
Some photos from our 2002 High Country road rides
Lonny Bumgarner climbs Shull's Mill Road. Bailey Koch is all smiles on Bulldog Road.
Christie Scott atop Mast Gap. Jim Hutchens rides up Cove Creek.
Dwight Levi on the Old RR Grade Rd. Rollin' through Ashe County
(That's BMCC's Dwight Levi on the cover, riding north on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grandfather Mountain.)
BMCC members enjoy a day of classic mountain biking
DuPont Forest is a mountain biking site worth the drive
Brandon Eller and Jim Horton of the Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club visited DuPont State Forest in Transylvania County for a weekend of classic mountain biking. Brandon was laid low by a stomach bug and had to cut the trip short, but our boys still got in about 20 miles of riding on Saturday, August 24th, 2002.
And what riding it was!
"The trails are unbelievable, and are a good example of what we are trying to accomplish at Rendezvous Mountain," Brandon says. The slickrock at DuPont is unique and easy to climb on, Brandon adds.
Scenic, challenging trails beckon at DuPont State Forest
Waterfalls, 90 miles of interlocking trails and plenty of exposed granite are the attractions at this 10,000 acre state forest near Brevard. The scenery at DuPont was showcased in the feature film "The Last of the Mohicans". It's no surprise the International Mountain Biking Association included DuPont as one of its "Epic Rides".
"The trails at DuPont throw a little bit of everything at mountain bikers...tight twisties in the trees, short power climbs and tricky descents over aggressively rolling terrain," IMBA's website says. "Don't expect to find much flat ground here."
DuPont is about 30 minutes south of Asheville.
Ride and learn: DuPont Forest considered a model for trail development
Seeing what's been accomplished at DuPont will encourage riders to get behind efforts to develop trails locally, Brandon says.
"DuPont represents a victory for outdoor groups, as mountain bikers, equestrians, hikers and fishermen banded together to save the forest from development. Trails at DuPont are maintained by a community of user groups and there is a stong sense of fellowship among visitors," IMBA notes.
That's the type of cooperation the Friends of Rendezvous Mountain group hopes to bring to trail development efforts at our state forest. All 3,000 acres at Rendezvous is potentially open to mountain biking, with a potential of 40 to 50 miles of trails, the Friends group says. A number of BMCCers were involved in trail building efforts at Rendezvous July 27th, and it's just the beginning.
Visit these sites to get psyched
Six riders tackle the toughest road climb in Eastern America July 5th, 2002
BMCC members master Mt. Mitchell
Six Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club members survived the club's 2002 summer Challenge Ride, a 56-mile road ride to Mount Mitchell. Brandon Eller, Dwight Levi, Tim Murphy, Mike Smithey, Bruce Watts and Gary Wyatt participated in the ride Friday, July 5th.
The ride followed the toughest part of the Assault on Mount Mitchell ride, held annually in May. Unlike the Assault, the club members started in Marion, NC, not Spartanburg, SC. And, unlike the Assault, our stalwarts got to ride back down.
The ride followed NC 80, NC 128 and the Blue Ridge Parkway. It began in the foothills at an elevation of 1280 feet above sea level at Marion. The climbing ended 28 miles later near the top of Mt. Mitchell at elevation 6630. The computer calculates over 11,000 feet of climbing for the round trip. That's more climbing than in most of the hilly century rides in our area.
Gary Wyatt led the group. He's finished the grueling Assault on Mount Mitchell event eight times, bringing much-needed knowledge and experience to the BMCC ride.
It was tough. The road from the Parkway to the top of Mount Mitchell was the last straw for several of our riders.
"Whose idea was this anyway!?" groused a fatigued Brandon Eller at the top. (The ride actually was BMCC road rides coordinator Nick Cheek's brainchild. Nick was unfortunately not able to be with us; he's recovering from injuries inflicted by a hit-and-run driver in North Myrtle Beach.)
Dwight Levi showed good form until the very end, when he fell over on his bike in the summit parking lot, looking a lot like that old guy on "Laugh In".
"Sometime between my description of the full assault on Mt. Mitchell (from Spartanburg) and my story of lying helplessly on my back in a ditch with leg cramps, my loving family started referring to our ride as the Ass on Mt. Mitchell. They can be so clever," Dwight adds.
It was beautiful. Lush stands of rosebay rhodendron were in bloom all along the Parkway. Wildflowers bloomed everywhere. NC 80 took riders alongside a rushing creek through a shady hardwood forest. The conifers atop Mt. Mitchell are still an inspiring sight, but far too many of them are dead, victims of acid rain and an insect parasite.
It was cool. The temperature gauge at the top of Mt. Mitchell read 71 degrees. Gary got a large park map and stuffed it in the front of his jersey for insulation on the descent.
It was hot. Heat rises, they say, but our riders found shimmering waves of 90+ heat as they descended along Buck Creek into Marion. What a difference 5300 feet of elevation makes!
It was fun. Our riders scientifically determined that riding downhill is more fun than riding uphill, and that downhills that are five miles long are the most fun of all. Every hard fought foot of the climb was enjoyed at speeds four to five times as fast on the descent.
The BMCCers weren't alone on the climb. Several touring cyclists, a duo from Winston-Salem on a tandem, and a strong group of French Canadian riders were seen on the Parkway and the approach road to the summit. Mount Mitchell truly is a road biker's mecca.
Photos from the club's Mount Mitchell challenge ride
L-R: Mike Smithey, Bruce Watts, Dwight Levi, Brandon Eller, Tim Murphy and Gary Wyatt at the summit.
BMCC members enjoy a classic summer road ride
with climb up infamously steep Snake Mountain
Several BMCC members took on one of the toughest climbs in the area June 9th, 2002 as they tackled the climb from Meat Camp to Pottertown Gap at the foot of Snake Mountain. The climb is part of the annual Blood, Sweat and Gears ride.
Richard Fink, Jim Hutchens, Sam Hutchens, Dwight Levi, Tim Murphy and Gary Wyatt completed the 45 mile loop through Ashe and Watauga Counties. It featured about 6,000 feet of climbing (and some nice descents).
The riders saw deer, guineas, several 'mountain mean' mongrels and, yes, a snake on their ride.
The ride was put together through use of the club's e-mail list. If you aren't receiving e-mail about special club rides, e-mail Tim and ask to join the list. Everyone agreed we'll have to do this one again, and there will be several other rides up in the mountains this summer.
Now that the 2002 Blood, Sweat and Gears is history, results and pictures are posted on the web. Several BMCCers were among a record 570 riders in the BS&G.
Down in the Valley
The mountains loomed large over the BMCC crew (left) during their ride June 9th, 2002 in Watauga and Ashe Counties. The ride featured three extended climbs and lots of little hills. There were some nice flats, too, including the Railroad Grade Road along the South Fork of the New River near Todd (below).