Over 300 bikers ride in Blue Ridge Brutal
by Nathan Ham, Sports Writer
Bike riders from all walks of life began arriving at the Ashe County Civic Center early Saturday morning ready to embark on a grueling bike ride through the mountainside.
Three different course options were available depending on how far each biker wanted to push their endurance and strength. The Brutal 100, 70, and 40-mile events each saw plenty of riders venturing out through all parts of the county.
The first 30 miles of each ride follow the same course, which gave the more than 300 riders a chance to ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway and through Glendale Springs.
After that, riders on the 40-mile course headed back to town while everybody else turned onto highway 88 towards the eastern end of Ashe County.
Thanks to months of preparation by event coordinator Scott Cronk, the BRB event went very smoothly with lots of help from volunteers, as well as all of the emergency services in the county, including fire departments, rescue squads, and the sheriffs department. Also, the Ashe County Amateur Radio Club played a crucial role in the event, allowing for easier communication to all SAG (Support and Gear) wagons that drive around the bike routes to check up on the riders, help repair mechanical problems with the bikes, and picking people up along the route who might be dealing with minor health problems.
According to Cronk, close to 200 volunteers helped make this event possible, including not only those at the Ashe Civic Center, but also those that were positioned at the various rest stops along the route to provide drinks and refreshments for the numerous riders.
Just one second separated the fastest two riders in the completion of the 100-mile course. Christopher Zieman of Chapel Hill won the race with a time of 4 hours, 20 minutes and 56 seconds, just a second ahead of Paul Kammerer of South Carolina.
Locally, Matt Brown of Todd was the highest finisher residing in Ashe County. Brown finished 20th overall with a time of 4:44:36.
Evan Tucker of High Point won the race up Mount Jefferson, conquering the steep slopes in just under 26 minutes, a full minute faster than anybody else.
Other riders from inside the county also faired well in the 70 and 40-mile events. Trevor Critcher of Fleetwood finished 16th in the 70-mile race. Roy Miller of West Jefferson finished 8th in the 40-mile race while Ray Podd, Fowler Bush, and Linda Stanley finished 20th through 22nd in the 40. Leslie Colvard of West Jefferson finished 33rd, Lisa Curtin of Todd finished 41st and David Turlington of Todd brought home 42nd in the 40-mile event.
Reach at or 336-846-7164.
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