Rocking the Blue Ridge
Bicycling enthusiast Lora Elder has competed in enough races to know that sometimes the race obscures the ride. That's one of the reasons she organized last week's Rock the Blue Ridge Bike Ride, a 75-mile ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway meant to help celebrate the parkway's 75th anniversary.
The ride attracted hundreds of serious and not-so-serious bike riders for both the 75-mile journey, and a shorter 35-mile ride. The rides started and ended at Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock on Sunday, Aug. 28.
Fortunately for all concerned, Sunday turned out to be one of the most beautiful days of the entire summer.
When the bikers returned to Appalachian Ski Mountain, they were treated to a barbecue lunch and mountain-style entertainment with bluegrass music and cloggers.
Although the Rock the Blue Ridge event was held in conjunction with the parkway's current 75th anniversary, Elder has plans to make the ride an annual event.
"Our area has the best weather in the Southeast, and some of the most gorgeous roads, the Blue Ridge Parkway included," said Elder, who calls both Watauga and Avery counties home. "Single day destination rides in other tourism areas with which I have worked generated upwards of $5 million in annual economic impact for the hosting areas. It takes a few years to build such events, but this is what we want to do with this ride."
In addition to the scenic 75-mile and 35-mile rides, Rock the Blue Ridge featured a reception for cyclists and their families at Sweetgrass, and a youth bike rodeo in Banner Elk hosted by the nine-time National Collegiate Championship Cycling Team of Lees-McRae College.
For more information on the event, visit http://www.rocktheblueridge.com.