It has been two years since the last time I participated in Blood, Sweat & Gears, and I’ve been looking for the opportunity to go back ever since. This year it was not in the cards for me to ride, but I got the chance to get involved in a different way. This time it was part of an article I was riding for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, more of which I can talk about later.
Instead of riding, I spent most of my time spectating. I was able to capture this video of the beginning, as nearly 1,000 riders rolled by to begin their 100 mile trek through the hills of the High Country. It’s amazing that it takes a full three minutes for everyone to get through.
Afterwards I spoke with Ride Director Scott Nelson about Blood Sweat & Gears, the recent Beech Mountain Metric, and the upcoming Blowing Rock Fall Classic.
From there I headed over to Snake Mountain to capture pictures of the riders as they complete one of the toughest climbs in the area. There were plenty of others nearby. They made a lot of noise, which the riders seemed to appreciate. A lot of people had been writing interesting and humorous things with chalk on the road, and they would cheer as riders made their way to the top of the climb. You can see the first to reach the top making it look easy in the video below.
I stayed up there and took pictures of riders as they finished the climb. Jeff from Weekly Rides has done that a few times, and one time he took one of my favorite pictures on the bike. That said, I didn’t see how it would be exciting to stand on a mountain and take pictures for a couple hours. To my surprise, it was a blast. My primary camera is not the greatest at taking action shots, but a good many of them came out well. After it ran out of batteries, I relied on my iPhone to take the remaining shots. There are far too many pictures to post here, so I put together a large album on Facebook that you can see here.
You can also see the photos with nice thumbnails on WeeklyRides.com. Feel free to contact me with the image name if you’d like a hi res version.
After a couple dozen riders had passed, all of a sudden a guy starts offering corn dogs as people reached the very top. Just the thought of offering corn dogs is hilarious, but the guy’s enthusiastic spirit kept me rolling the entire time. I have no idea what his job his, but the guy should seriously consider working in sales. A few of the riders made jokes that they would puke the corn dogs right back up after the climb. Most just smiled or laughed as they rolled past, politically declining. To my surprise, a few took the bait. He started with around eight or so corn dogs, and slowly but surely, his stock dwindled. By the time he was down to one, there were fewer takers. Maybe they didn’t believe it was a real corn dog. Eventually history was made as a rider took the last one. A cheer erupted as the last rider claimed his prize.
After around noon, I decided to call it a day. If my legs had been in better shape, I could have stayed for the last rider, but I didn’t want to overwork myself. Next year I plan to return. The “Hat Trick” that Scott is putting together seems like a worthy goal for the year.
June 29th, 2014 at 6:32 pm
Aaron great pictures
July 1st, 2014 at 5:49 pm
Thanks, Vince. Good job out there.
June 29th, 2014 at 8:27 pm
Great post brother.
June 29th, 2014 at 8:30 pm
Welcome to the world of journalism!
July 1st, 2014 at 5:50 pm
Thanks. Not exactly my first rodeo, but I enjoyed this one a lot more than the others.
July 1st, 2014 at 2:42 pm
The Corn Dog Hand ups were courtesy of Oak City Cycling Project Race Team, Raleigh. We were up there in support of the team & all of the riders, playing ice cream truck music and photographing / videotaping them. I love random hand ups and that guy was terrific – I shot plenty of video and stills of them and the riders that I should post up. Thanks for sharing – I had a great time!
July 1st, 2014 at 5:51 pm
Yes, we spoke a little while before the riders started arriving. Remember I asked you where Jeff usually set up? You moved away at some point and I couldn’t find you later. The corn dogs were a fantastic idea. The guy who was selling them was hilarious, and actually that helped the photos because a lot of people were smiling, laughing at home.