First Posted: 5/30/2009
PILOT MOUNTAIN If the town of Pilot Mountain wants to increase tourism, it should hold the 3 Mountain Madness cycling event every weekend.
Out of the 500-plus cyclists that entered Saturdays race, a record number of racers hailed from out of state. Some traveled from nearby South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Others made the trip from as far off as California, although presumably not on a bicycle. Jaye Wilson, one of the events organizers, said the number of out-of-staters was at least 16 and could be higher. She said more than 100 cyclists registered the morning of the event and all the information had yet to be calculated.
Lisa Rodman, 43, of Boiling Springs, S.C., drove two and a half hours Friday to spend the night at a friends house nearby so she could compete in yesterdays event, which used to be known as the 3 Mountain Metric until three years ago when a 90-mile loop was added, making the race about 30 miles longer than a metric. Rodman also brought a friend to ride the longest loop with her. She said the main reason they came was the tumultuous mountain climbs.
I like pain, Rodman said with a laugh. I like to challenge myself.
Another rider, 32-year-old Sasha Timkovich, said he moved to Charlotte a few months ago after living the majority of his life in Connecticut. He said he rides around Charlotte on the Catawba River trails, but the mountains reminded him of the northeast, where he would travel to Vermont to climb mountains.
Timkovich said the attendance, effort given by cyclists and challenging course was not what he was expecting from a charity course. Proceeds from the race benefit the Armfield Civic Center and other local charities.
Timkovich traveled about 95 miles (he made a wrong turn at a tricky junction) and said it was the longest race he ever participated in. His method did not include an overall goal, but steady challenges throughout. He finished in just over five hours.
Because this is my first time and not a race, I didnt have a goal, he said afterwards, as he waited for the sweat to evaporate form his body so he could eat the lunch prepared by volunteers. I had intermediate challenges. I tried to stay with the leaders, though.
Both Timkovich and Rodman, as well as numerous other riders, praised the system of roughly 60 volunteers that set up rest points and waited at the finish line to dole out towels soaked in ice water and drinking water. The route was also planned well, according to cyclists, with the exception being a turn where the signal was washed away recently by the rainfall.
It was good, Rodman said of her experience. I would definitely come back.
Participants had the choice of three loops, consisting of 45, 75 and 91 miles, officially. The 75- and 91-mile treks included climbs at Hanging Rock, Sauratown and Pilot Mountain. The shortest loop skipped the mountains.
The finish line featured a station to cool down, as well as a hearty meal consisting of sandwiches, beans, fruit, salad and dessert items. Shower facilities were made available for riders, as was licensed massage therapist Diane Blakemore.
Fastest times for the 45, 75 and 91 courses were 2 hours, 13.22 seconds, 3:52.32 and 4:39.33, respectively. Final results and finishers were not available as of press time.
Contact Ed Phillipps at [email protected] or 719-1921.