RAW draws a crowd May 5th
Part of the peloton on the day's first big climb.
The soggy weather forecast for May 5th didn't dampen the enthusiasm of 150 cyclists from across N.C., S.C. and Ga. who turned out for the 14th annual Rides Around Wilkes.
"Despite the rainy and cool forecast, 150 riders decided that riding in the RAW was a better alternative to 'riding the couch' or the indoor trainer. The mist to light showers at the start the day ended up being mostly cloudy, with warming temperatures, and dry roads," event director Scott Nelson said.
About 85% of the riders opted to tackle the toughest RAW route, a mountainous 75 mile course through the Brushy Mountains in Wilkes, Iredell and Alexander Counties. A strong lead pack finished together in 3:34. The last riders to finish the 75 miler took over six hours.
The event drew a wide range of participants. Jim Martin, 76, of Wilkesboro was the RAW's oldest rider. While the other riders took on the hills on bikes with up to 30 speeds, Jim's bike was broken, and he made do with just two. He finished the 25-mile course in two hours flat.
Fifteen year old Bridgette McLean of Deep Gap was the RAW's youngest rider. Bridgette runs cross country at Watauga High School and competes in many mountain road cycling events. She finished the 75 mile route in 3:56, paced by BMCC riding buddy Bill Sebastian, who finished a few seconds behind.
BMCC and community volunteers staffed four rest stops and provided on-the-road support. The event began and ended at the WRMC Wellness Center in West Park.
Proceeds from the ride benefitted the Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club and other community groups.
"We appreciate the riders' continued support, the graciousness of Wellness Center, and all volunteers who make the RAW happen," event director Scott Nelson said.