If you spent any time on the road on Saturday, particularly in the morning hours, you likely encountered some of the fearless cyclists who tackled the 18th annual Blood Sweat and Gears charity ride.
More than 1,400 riders hit the streets bright and early for this one-of-a-kind tour of the High Country.
Roadwork near the Blue Ridge Parkway led the BSG organizers to change up this year’s route, which started and ended at Valle Crucis Elementary School on Broadstone Road.
“In the past we’ve sent riders up through Blowing Rock, so it was a little different this year,” said BSG Ride Director Scott Nelson. “We sent riders out into the western part of the county, taking them up to Trade, Tennessee and then over into Ashe County. They still got to climb Snake Mountain, and that’s what we call the signature climb of the ride.”
On their way back to the valley, cyclists toured the rural communities of Bethel, Sugar Grove and Cove Creek.
Hundreds of volunteers were posted along the 90- and 50-mile routes to provide rest stops and assistance to participating cyclists.
Each rider contributed a registration fee ($80 for the 90-mile route and $70 for the 50-mile route), proceeds from which will be used to support various local charities across the High Country.
This year, BSG hosted 30 military veterans through the Ride 2 Recovery organization, which “saves lives by restoring hope and purpose” through cycling based programs and serves more than 10,000 veterans each year.
“It helps veterans heal both psychologically and physically from their exposure to the line of duty. This is the third year that we have done this,” Nelson said. “There is a sense of responsibility that we have with this event and it gives relief for those veterans, at least for a weekend, from some of the issues they deal with on a day-to-day basis.
“It is very humbling that we can do this and it seems so inadequate for what they’ve done for us.”
The event concluded with the traditional post-ride celebration at Appalachian Mountain Brewery and an impressive fireworks show over Boone.
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