A week later and we’re back to reality, but the memories of the Blue Ridge Parkway camp still linger. One thing I failed to mention in the post about my own experience was what a fantastic time I had. Given the injury, it could have been a bummer to watch a dozen or so people have the time of their lives cycling. It was quite the opposite. I loved every minute, and cannot wait to get back there.
Our chef and “Most Interesting Man in the Room,” Brian Boyd put together this video that does a great job at recapping the experience. Not only does he capture the beauty of the Parkway and the efforts of the cyclists, but he also captures the zaniness of the week. For such a grueling 6-days, we had a lot of laughs. Brian was our storyteller, and kept us entertained every evening.
See if you can figure out which random images Brian tossed in there that were NOT from our week.
Here are the posts from the week:
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 1
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 1 Photos
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 2
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 2 Photos
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 3
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 3 Photos
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 4
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 4 Photos
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 5
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 5 Photos
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 6
Blue Ridge Parkway, Day 6 Photos
My Parkway Experience
We had one encounter that I purposely did not mention in the blog posts because it could have blown up in our faces. On day four, due to staggered starts, all of the riding groups congregated at the same area. The first group was about to roll out when a park ranger pulled in.
I had been warned ahead of time of Park Ranger behavior during the government shutdown. There were rumors that they were ordered to make life difficult for people. I had heard about another event, the Challenge to Conquer Cancer, also having an encounter with a Park Ranger and coming close to being thrown off the Parkway.
This Ranger came out on the attack. He asked us questions, then didn’t let us answer. We had three or four people squared up talking to him, growing more frustrated every time he cut us off. He claimed we did not have a permit for an organized ride, but ours was very loosely organized. The riders were following the rules of the Parkway by riding single file and not impeding traffic. His issue was that he saw the 5-Hour Energy van, a dozen riders, and assumed this was a sponsored event. We tried to explain to him that Bobby was a pro for the 5-Hour team, and this was not a commercial endeavor.
As the situation became more heated, I was worried that we would be thrown off the Parkway. That would have been a disaster, as we still had three days to go with all hotels booked.
Fortunately Steve Sperry took the initiative to pull the Ranger away from the angry crowd. He smooth-talked the Ranger and pushed for a solution. He was able to deflate the situation, and cooler heads prevailed. The Ranger called his supervisor, who said to let us go with a warning. He took all of our information and would settle the issue when the government re-opened. Someone could end up getting a fine out of this.
We left frustrated and angry. It was already somewhat difficult with all Parkway facilities closed. This just added insult to injury. We managed to get beyond it, and this was the only major negative of the entire trip.
Thanks to Bobby and Kinetic Potential Coaching, Christian, Steve, Brian, and all the riders for making this such a memorable experience.
Here are some photos taken by others throughout the week:
October 20th, 2013 at 3:51 pm
I don’t understand our government at all. Politicians had a serious debate and they force the shutdown of the entire government. Then, instead of trying to help people in this country, they send out a secret mandate to make life a living hell for all citizens, presumably we can all feel the pain.
That’s how we had stories of WWII vets, who are dying off daily, being banned from a memorial. And cyclists being told they can’t ride on a road. How ridiculous and petty can we get? Keep the damn politics in Washington and let us live our lives.
Okay, getting off the soap box. I’m glad that cooler heads prevailed and you guys got to complete the rides. I don’t think I would be a cool head in that situation. Good thing you had one.
Great pictures and posts. Sounds like a great time, riding and spectating.
October 20th, 2013 at 4:38 pm
Nice work! Wow, what a ride! Glad you had someone to smooth over the park ranger who was probably even more pissed off at the gummint than anyone else . . . Awesome fotos!
October 21st, 2013 at 8:46 pm
Ah the government… When we do ‘to get out way, we take it out on the little guy. Oh I can’t wait for government healthcare! Woohoo!
October 21st, 2013 at 8:48 pm
Wow, auto-correct is stellar this evening… When we don’t get our way we take it out on the little guy. Sheesh.