By Sherrie Norris
Just a few more spots remain for those wishing to participate in the 4th Annual Cowbelle Classic, happening this Saturday, August 24.
Now recognized as one of the area’s premiere events specifically for women, this unique cycling event has gathered a lot of attention and has received overwhelming response since its start in 2016.
According to event organizers, four routes have been created to meet the needs of all riders this year, with each route beginning and ending at Old Cove Creek School. Participants may choose the 15, 20, 35 or 64-mile route, allowing beginning through advanced riders to decide on their level of ability and skill.
Start times will be staggered for each route to avoid having too many cyclists on the road all at once:
- 64 milers 8 am: follow pink signs
- 35 milers 8:15 am: follow yellow signs
- 20 milers 8:30 am: follow orange signs
- 15 milers 8:30 am: follow green signs
For safety reasons, no early starts, please.
Pre-ride Social to Benefit Family of Elayne Bishop
The packet pickup/pre-ride social will be held on Friday, August 23 from 5-7 p.m. at The Beacon, located at 125 Graduate Lane in Boone. There will be a cash bar inside and food for sale from Betty’s Biscuits Truck.
A raffle and live auction will also be held at the social. One raffle ticket will be included in the rider’s packet with additional tickets available for purchase. You do not need to be present to win the raffle prizes.
The live auction will begin at 5:30. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the family of Elayne Bishop, a local teacher/wife/mother/cyclist who passed away from cancer earlier this year.
Auction items include: cycling clothing and gear from Shebeest, DeFeet, Magic Cycles, Boone Bike, Terry Bicycles, and more.
Packets can also be picked up beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturday, but it is strongly encouraged that packets be picked up at the social on Friday evening.
More information for the bikers (and those traveling in the area on Saturday):
Bibs should be attached to the back of shirts to identify CowBelle Classic participants during the ride. Maps and cue sheets will be included in rider packets. Bib color matches the signage for chosen route. Everyone is required to sign a release of liability on site or at the social on Friday night if not done earlier.
If a rider decides to change from one route to another, please inform event officials by Friday to insure appropriate colored bib, which is part of the safety plan.
Routes will be clearly marked and color coded. Riders may choose to carry the cue sheet if not familiar with the routes. Please pay attention to the signs. There will be course marshals along the route to help at some of the trickier turns.
Parking on Ride Day
Parking spaces are always at a premium. Carpooling is suggested for riders and those cheering on the riders. Overflow parking is nearly a mile away from where the ride begins. As many riders as can be will be parked at the Skyline/Skybest lot and the Western Watauga Senior Center and Library. Volunteers will be available to help with parking.
There will be a bike mechanic on site before and during the ride for minor mechanical issues and floor pumps will be available.
Support, Assistance, And Gear (SAG)
Vehicles will be on the routes to assist riders with mechanical issues or to give a ride, if necessary. Flag them down if needed. The vehicles will be identified by SAG magnets on the side. There are also three phone numbers on your bib if assistance is needed, however, cell reception in the mountains is spotty.
There will be aid stations for all routes. There are a total five aid stations. Sports drink, water, and energy food will be available at all aid stations.
Bathrooms will be available at all aid stations. Please use caution while entering and exiting the road at aid stations.
Course marshals will be placed throughout the routes for safety and directions. Colored signs for each route will mark all turns. There will also be signs to alert motorists to watch for cyclists, and warnings of steep descents and curves. Use extra caution on the tight curves and steep descents on longer routes and watch for debris on the roads. If you must stop, do not stand on the pavement. Look for a driveway or wide shoulder to pull off onto. Signal with your hand or call out your intentions (“stopping”, “slowing”, “car up” or “car back”). Extend your arm in the direction you intend to turn.
Please obey all traffic laws. You will be sharing the road with other vehicles (cars) so stopping and yielding the right of way are imperative. Be sure to stay in your lane! Helmets are required! Blinking rear and front lights are recommended.
All routes will finish by turning from George’s Gap road onto Dale Adams Road. This is the opposite end from the start line. Please do not enter the Old Cove Creek School area from old 421.
Lunch will be served beginning at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. under the picnic shelter at the park. Riders who finish before lunch begins are invited to socialize, relax, and/or take advantage of a cash donation-based massage, available on a first come, first served basis.
The Old Cove Creek School is located at Dale Adams Rd. in Sugar Grove.
For more information, visit cowbelleclassicride.com or find the event on Facebook.