By Jesse Wood
Jan. 30, 2013. Online registration for the 15th annual Blood Sweat and Gears begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 1., and organizers are expecting the charity ride to sell out even faster than last year.
In 2012, the 100-mile ride sold out in six hours, while the 50-mile ride sold out in 10 hours – and that’s even after the server broke down.
BSG Events Board President Scott Nelson said the server has been “beefed up” to hopefully prevent any registration problems for 2013.
“We’re pretty excited,” Nelson said.
Both rides will be held on Saturday, June 22, and the fee is $75 for the 100-mile ride, $65 for the 50-mile ride. Training rides on Saturday, May 18, and Saturday, June 1, will take place and cost $20. Also, a recovery ride is scheduled for Sunday, June 23, a day after the race, and is free to participate.
After each annual event, organizers send out an email blast to supporters and riders detailing how the money raised is spent. After the 2012 ride, BSG announced that $50,000 was given to the American Red Cross and an additional $7,500 was donated to area volunteer fire departments that support BSG.
In its latest update, organizers also announced that it has since donated $1,000 to Watauga County Pathways for a trail project in Valle Crucis and another $1,000 to the Law Enforcement Memorial Run in honor of Deputy William Mast, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Deputy who was killed last summer in the line of duty.
“We have a 100 percent transparency policy,” Nelson said. “We are pretty proud of that fact.”
Nelson mentioned that Blood Sweat Gears incorporated into an official nonprofit 18 months ago.
“So while Red Cross remains the main beneficiary and the reason why the ride was started in the first place, it allows us some flexibility to donate money to other causes,” Nelson said, adding that a bike safety advocacy group was another beneficiary of raised funds. “Before we were just strictly a Red Cross fundraiser.”
The event has come a long way in 15 years. Professors at ASU performed a economic study that figured that the event brings in $1 million each year, Nelson said.
“I can remember days we were wondering how we were going to pay the bills. We would just look around at each other like someone was going to lay $500 bucks on the table. Fortunately, never had to do that, but there were days we were concerned.” Nelson said. “Now we don’t have that issue.”
The ride is capped at 1250 cyclists to preserve the quality of the event, Nelson said.
With that many riders on the road, the event is a bit of inconvenience for riders, Nelson acknowledges. But he wants those on four wheels to look at the bigger picture.
“Yeah, we can become somewhat inconvenient in terms of blocking the road,” Nelson said. “If you look at the good that comes out of it, the inconvenience is well worth it.”
In its 15 years, the ride has moved from merely a ride to an experience, where folks end up with personal war stories after challenging themselves for 50 or 100 miles.
“It’s amazing, always amazing to me how many people, for whatever reason, whether they lost a loved one, endure a broken relationship, overcome an illness or disease, whatever the hardship is they decide to redefine themselves by challenging themselves mentally and physically,” Nelson said. “And they choose Blood Sweat and Gears to do it. Why they choose us, I don’t know, but I am glad they do.”
For more information or to register, click to http://www.bloodsweatandgears.org.