For the past five years, Chuck and Diane Flynt of Dugspur, pictured above, have raised a bunch of money for the Jessie Peterman Memorial Library in Floyd with a birthday ride down the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is the 6th year, and the goal is to ride a mile for each of Chuck's birthdays -- 75 miles this year. Some of the dozens of riders opt for other goals -- 20 miles, or 40, or 50, or whatever seems right. The Flints contribute a dollar for each mile biked to the library. It all adds up.
Last year, for example, the birthday ride brought a contribution of nearly $1,200, and the folks at the library were thrilled. As I reported last year, branch manager Cathy Whitten said, "We are so grateful to all of you who ride and donate. It’s just the most delightful thing to us that you all would do this!"
This year's event was a huge success, raising $1,589, reports Chuck Flynt. "Thirty-one riders participated in this glorious event. We all had a great time and are a little tired and sore from the experience.
Paul Lacoste finished with me as he has for all the six previous rides. Craig Rogers from Patrick Springs, a biking newbie of only 4.5 months, completed the 75 mile course ahead of his coach and inspiration, me. I won't let him start early next year!"
It looks like pretty much fun for the riders who gather early on a Sunday morning to head up the Parkway for the Big Dogs ride up to Rakes Millpond. The wind was howling and it was just over 52 degrees this morning when they left for the first 25-mile leg. They rolled back in at mid-morning to get a quick snack and then join the Puppy Dogs riders for the second segment down to Fancy Gap and back.
|Dan Sweeney gnarfs a banana-and-peanut concoction before heading out with the Big Dogs|
But at least this morning it wasn't sleeting, as it was for part of the ride four years ago. Today's gusty, strong winds were enough to battle. Craig Roger of Border Springs Farm in Patrick Springs, fairly new to serious bike riding, said he fought not only strong winds but also some startled turkeys in the road as he biked up and down some of those steep hills.
|Craig Rogers and Chuck Flynt, shortly before Craig was first out of the blocks toward Rakes Mill Pond|
|Craig, heading north, first leg|
|Heading back down toward Mabry Mill|
|Newlywed Dan and Beth Sweeney|
|Floyd builder Ed Erwin, about to start on the second leg|