Thanks again for joining us at the inaugural Belgian Waffle Ride N. Carolina, the Hell of the North! And thank you for flooding our inboxes (is that the right word?) with your graciousness, gratitude and great comments. What a wonderful group of people y'all are...
Here we go...
I like words. Any kinda words. I eat them voraciously and spit them back out like a thresher. I am a student of words and yet this past week I was at a loss for the right word to describe the great Asheville experience at the inaugural BWR NC. I've been searching the tributaries of my brain for just the right word to describe the people of N. Carolina, the place itself and collective atmosphere we all got to experience in and around the Kanuga Resort with the hospitality of our Sierra Nevada friends.
I came up with words like gracious, clement (isn’t that a good one), beneficent, permissive, forbearing, and even decorous. But not one of these adequately summed up the collectiveness of the experience, though all of them apply. And then, out of nowhere, as these things tend to happen, it came to me..
1: willing to allow excessive leniency, generosity, or consideration
: indulging or characterized by indulgence
// indulgent grandparents
2: done or enjoyed as a special treat or pleasure
// indulgent desserts or gravel grinding
Sure, it is easy to call anyone ‘indulgent’ who would ride their bike for hours on end over hill and dale through mud, dirt, gravel, water and wet grass. But that’s called self-indulgent.
The ‘indulgent’ we experienced combines both this self-indulgence but with the added charm of a people who are bending, accommodating, generous, lenient and considerate.
If the course had to be shortened because of flooding or a need to ensure this first event didn’t go overboard with its ‘challenge,’ y’all understood. If the bad weather meant we had to move the expo, y’all understood. If we didn’t get your time correct in the results, y’all understood. If we created a course that made y’all have to push your bikes at times, y’all understood. If it poured rain on you the last two hours, y’all didn’t quit, complain, criticize or curse us… y’all were INDULGENT.
Your caring, courtesy and charm were so welcomed in our exhaustion from the previous month’s BWR, which had over 4,000 registered riders. We've been burning the candle from both ends and came to the Carolinas wondering if we could pull off another big event to our standards. Alas, it was your indulgence that restored our batteries and inspired us in bringing our brand of bike racing to other regions hungry for something different (“This is not a gravel race”); in wanting to put in the work to make something special for a legion of people who took a chance with us in their region, in their town, in their community.
Y’all are indulgent in all the best ways. Thank you so much.
There is just one but...
Now, we want to share the fact that there was one person who lives in nearby Zirconia who wasn’t indulgent. You may have heard about this guy named Mark Wesley Garren, who drives a big white pick-up truck and owns a landscaping company called Gap Creek Landscape Construction. Mark is accused of many wrong things, including vehicular assault on myriad riders in the race, disturbing a public event and road rage.
Mr. Garren spent hours terrorizing our riders, staff and volunteers. He was seen repeatedly removing direction arrows and event signs, intimidating riders by driving them into ditches, using his Ford truck to block the road, and otherwise disrupting our peaceful and permitted event because he doesn't like cyclists. We spent an equal amount of hours dealing with his criminal acts, which meant some of our staff had to stop the safety efforts they were commissioned to do in order to address the missing signs and menacing behavior. We know many of you ended up taking wrong turns because of Mr. Garren’s assault on our event, and we are deeply sorry for this.
The local authorities know about his criminal activity and we have many people willing to come forward and act as witnesses, but we aren’t certain justice will be served, so we are going to enlist Kanuga and local businesses to ensure Mr. Garren never terrorizes anyone again. This is particularly important because in 10 months time we plan to be back with y’all, but we can’t if this criminal is roaming the streets free to hurt any of us.
Normally, this is the part where we would provide you the men’s race recap, but fortunately for you we will get a view from the front of the race from both Brennan Wertz and Kasper Logan in the next email.
Needless to say, the guys at the front of the race showed an incredible amount of indulgence with each other virtually throughout the entire race; looking out for each other, sharing water, pointing things out, easing up for natural breaks. The only time this demeanor came into question was in the fleeting moments toward the end of the race when the favorite to win, Ian Boswell, had his chain drop and he lost a lot of time on the final descent. The group didn’t equivocate much and put the pedal down, yet much to the dismay of everyone, Ian was able to chase back on, join the group before the final climb, and then destroy anyone's dream of winning the race with his one lone attack for the day up The Jumpinjeterberg.
It was phenomenal display of World Tour power up a steep and unrelenting climb and we are sure you will hear more about it soon in the recaps to follow.
For now, thank you so much for being so ‘indulgent.’ We cant wait to come back and party with y’all and do so with all the direction arrows in tact, the roads and trails unfettered and the spirit as light and positive as it was this first time around.
You guys rock like a hurricane (and party well after one, too!).