Sept. 18, 2012. “The Bridge – 100 Miles of Pure Hill” Bike Ride brought 283 riders from 16 states on a 100.6-mile journey from Lenoir, N.C. to Grandfather Mountain on Sunday, September 16. This marks the 24th year for the ride. The cyclists, ranging from ages 14-74, departed downtown Lenoir at 8 a.m. following a course that wound through three counties and rose over 4,000 feet in elevation.
The riders met thick fog once they climbed to the High Country. The Blue Ridge Parkway section was closed during the event due to the low visibility and riders were taken on a US 221 detour. Those cyclists that made it to the top of Grandfather Mountain were greeted with cheers and ringing bells as they zigzagged their way up the final switch-backs.
Bruce Humphries from Gaffney, S.C. was the first male finisher, with a time of 4:53:47. This was the fourth time Humphries has competed and the third time he’s won. He trains for the climb in Greenville, S.C. and Asheville, N.C.
Humphries thought the last stretch was the most difficult, but also the most rewarding since this is the only opportunity cyclists have to bike to the top of the Mountain.
The second male to cross the finish line, Charlie Brown, a 46-year-old judge from Salisbury, N.C. has participated in the bike ride several times. He finished with a time of 4:54:47.
“The weather had everyone being appropriately cautious,” said Brown. “After all, we all have to go back to go back to work on Monday.”
Third place finisher Ryan Jenkins, 39, from Salisbury, N.C. completed the ride in 4:54:49. Jenkins is a commercial insurance professional out of Salisbury and is the teammate of Charlie Brown.
Amie Krasnozon, 31, was the first female finisher and 71st overall. This was the first Bridge for Krasnozon, originally from Canada, who finished with a time of 6:01:31. She is sponsored by Par Cycles and Hammer Nutrition.
“The last part was the toughest,” said Krasnozon. “But the first 50 miles of open road were awesome!”
The second place female was Aryn Schloemer, last year’s 3rd place female. Schloemer, 34, finished with a time of 6:09:49. She crashed in the first five miles, but loved the race besides that.
Kelli McDowell rounded out the female top three with a 96th overall finish, despite the cold weather making her muscles tighten. Her time was 6:14:09. Like most of the participants, McDowell thoroughly enjoyed the first 50 miles and struggled up the final set of switchbacks at the top of the Mountain.
For more information on the Bridge Bike Ride visit www.caldwellcochamber.org.
The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation established to preserve Grandfather Mountain, operate the nature park sustainably in the public interest, provide an exceptional experience for guests, and inspire them to be good stewards of the earth’s resources. For more information, visit www.grandfather.com or call 800-468-7325.