By Jesse Wood
This coming Saturday, 1,200 riders are expected to be on the road for the 17th annual Blood Sweat and Gears charity ride, which features a 100-mile loop and 50-mile loop that begins and ends in Valle Crucis.
The 100-mile ride starts at 7:30 a.m. while the 50-mile begins 15 minutes later.
At 6 p.m. on Friday, the day before the ride, a meet-and-greet with riders of Ride 2 Recovery, a rehabilitative program that supports wounded veterans; Watauga County Sheriff’s Deputies Aaron Billings and Tyson Seitz, who participated in the 230-mile Police Unity Tour to raise awareness for officers who have died in the line of duty; and George Hincapie, who is one of the most recognizable riders in the world and will also participate in Blood Sweat and Gears, will take place.
On Saturday, riders and the community can celebrate all of the good that comes from the event that benefits numerous nonprofits and supports Ride2Recovery members during the post-ride celebration that takes place at Appalachian Mountain Brewery.
At 6:30 p.m., Ride2Recovery riders will be toasted, and at 7 p.m. Blood Sweat and Gears will announce the recipients of the Sonny Sweet and Jim Harmon honorary grants.
Ride Director Scott Nelson said that $58,500 of grants will be given to numerous nonprofits and that an additional $25,000 will be awarded at some point from proceeds that this year’s ride will generate.
The festivities will be capped off with a fireworks show that can be viewed from numerous areas in town, including the Boone Mall and Appalachian Mountain Brewery. The Boone Mall is allowing people to park in its parking lot to view the show. Vehicles are asked to be moved by 11 p.m. or be subject to towing.
In light of the inconvenience that locals and visitors driving in the High Country might experience with more than 1,200 cyclists on the roads, Nelson said that he hopes the community can enjoy the fireworks show, too.
For the second year in a row, Appalachian Mountain Brewery has crafted a special beer specifically for Blood Sweat and Gears called First Revolution, which is a play off of BSG’s motto, “helping the community one revolution at a time.”
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