Home > Day Tripping > The 3rd. Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway

The 3rd. Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway

Spectacularly beautiful Lake Junaluska marked the start and finish of this awesome ride.  I chose the shortest ride option, the Rabbit Route, and I was impressed with how well my recently reconstructed knee performed.  The Rabbit Route is only 25.8 miles but with 1200 feet of elevation gain, 7% and 12% up and down grades, it’s a challenging ride.  But not so challenging that a fit beginner with some experience in the mountains couldn’t handle.  The rest stops along the way were very well staffed and stocked.  This is one of the best laid-out and organized rides I’ve done and it passes through some beautiful countryside.

For me, what made this ride great was connecting with old friends and making new ones.  Kent, owner of Motion Makers Bicycle (located in Sylva and Asheville, NC) was wrenching at the start and the first rest stop.  Kent built both my road bikes and if you do any organized ride in the area, it’s not uncommon to see him repairing injured and maladjusted bikes.

I also ran into Russ and Laura the Path Less Pedaled people.  This inspiring couple spent some time with my wife and I on their last trip through our area.  Those of you who have been around awhile will remember Russ as The Epicurean Cyclist. Although not much has been posted there lately, it’s still up and makes for some great reading.  And be sure to check out The Path Less Pedaled if you’re not already following.  I’d guess about 99% of the cycling world must follow their blog, so Dude, don’t be a 1 percenter.

The starting queue is as usual broken into blocks of riders according to how fast they think they ride. The 40-50 mile-per-hour, zero percent body fat, determined glare in their eyes guys up front and the 0-5 mile-per-hour, cotton t-shirt wearing, picture-taking happy-go-lucky gleam in their eyes folks in back.  I’m in back. You meet interesting people in back and since there’s no rush to set a personal best, you have time to chat.  I met bicycle adventurers and authors of The Practical Guide to Bicycle Touring, Ben Owens and Jason Sickle.  I knew immediately they were bicycle adventurers because out of the 400 or so riders, they were the only ones with panniers; a bold statement to make in a sea of carbon racing bikes.

I had promised Zeke, of  Zeke’s Great Smoky Mountain 2 Wheeled Adventure, to look him up before the ride, and I looked, but no Zeke.  I finally spotted him yonder-end of the mass of riders as we were rolling out.  “Hey Zeke!” followed by a “Hey Jack!” and that was about it.  Zeke is one of the organizers and volunteers of this event as well as a newspaper journalist and a fellow bike blogger.  He reports on the bike-beat in the beautiful mountains of Haywood County. He is also a co-worker and a legend in the field of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. So he’s a good guy to know if you become addicted to something.

The Blue Ridge Breakaway would make a great addition to a Smoky Mountain Vacation.  So mark your calendar for the 4th  Annual BRB and hopefully I’ll see you there.  Jack

Categories: Day Tripping
  1. August 18, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Hey Jack, I enjoyed riding with you today. Thanks for posting these pictures. Look forward to following your blog!

    • The Velo Hobo
      August 19, 2012 at 3:30 am

      Same here. Good luck with the Book!

  2. August 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks for the kind words Jack! I’m glad you had a good time. We’re incredibly lucky to have the 200+ volunteers it takes to pull this event off! We were tickled to have 497 registered riders (hey, where were the other 3 of you?)! I’m glad your knee held up so well. I apologize for not getting to chat and visit some. Russ and Laura have been phenomenal! We received absolutely rave reviews about both of their presentations! Last night was very, very entertaining and we were able to enjoy some of Russ’s incredbile photography during the presentation. Their enthusiasm for bike travel is palpable. In fact, one rider was so pumped after hearing their talk, he upgraded from the Panther (40 miler) to the Metric Century and finished it!

    My best to you and your ongoing rehab!

  3. The Velo Hobo
    August 19, 2012 at 3:37 am

    Wow, almost 500 riders! This is becoming a major event in the area. I was disheartened when the Tour de Tuck went away. I’m glad to see this one is doing so well. Thank you and all the other volunteers. The Moto-SAG & SAG guys were doing a great job looking over us and the registration and rest stop people were very welcoming.

    Excellent Ride!

  4. August 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Glad you had a great time. Even the Rabbit route if formidable. I can speak from experience that the century (Hawk) is magnificent. I’ll be there next year. Hopefully I’ll also get a chance to see some old friends, and meet new ones like yourself.

  5. The Velo Hobo
    August 19, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Me too Aaron, I’ll make a point to be back next year.

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