I want to thank all the racers, sponsors, and race staff for making the race a success.
First, I want to thank the 130 folks who signed up for the race, and gutted out a tough day on a brutal course, tolerated my missteps, and who raised over $1,000 for local charites.
My thanks to the officers from the Avery and Watauga County Sheriffs’ Departments, the Banner Elk and Beech Mountain Police Departments, and the members of the Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department for working hard to make you safe and keep you on track.
I want to thank mechanics Reid Beloni and Garret Thompson of Magic Cycles, and my friend Steve White for spending a long day driving SAG and fixing bikes.
Big thanks to Dan and Christina Scagnelli from the Town of Beech Mountain, Fred’s General Mercantile, Hammer Nutrition or staffing and supplying our aid stations. Additional thanks to Tarry Crockett at the Headwaters at Banner Elk for loaning their four-wheeler to patrol the Back 500.
There were 16 course marshals who spent the day pointing you in the right direction: Emily Morris, Kelly Perkins, Erin Propst, and Kathy Schroeder from App State, all around good guy Brad Hardie, and especially Doug Owens and the 10 members of the Lees-McRae Cycling Team for working tirelessly to manage the course, run an aid station, and help me clean up.
Lee Timing once again did a great job getting accurate results posted quickly.
My buddy Joe Wiswell spent hours helping me clear and mark trail when all he wanted to do was to ride fast and make me cry, and Patience Perry, who rescued us after Joe got five flats.
My awesome new intern, Vanesss Papa, who has an uncanny ability to remain upbeat and positive in stressful situations and demonstrates a level of professionalism and maturity rarely witnessed in a person her age.
My beleaguered and infinitely patient wife Rosie spent all day Saturday getting car sick while marking the course and ran packet pickup that night despite having a real job that allows me to put on races despite how much it stresses her out and undermines our financial well being.
The Beech Mountain Tourism Development Agency helped make it possible for Thom Parsons from CyclingDirt.org to cover the race and generously covered the cost of the Beech Mountain police officers directing traffic.
Global Go-To-Guy Jeff Zell is my most loyal sponsor, supplying Panaracer Tires for my events for six years.
Gary Vasconi at Capo Cycling Apparel has been an incredible sponsor, supplying Pirate Race Productions with the finest made and best looking kits and winners jerseys I’ve ever seen.
Judging from the rapidity with which you cleaned them out, it’s clear how much we all appreciate the continued generosity of Blowing Rock Ale.
Finally, Michelle, Valerie and their staff at the Banner Elk Winery and Villa are generous and gracious hosts at arguably the most gorgeous venue in all of cycling.
I sincerely hope I did not leave anyone out.
Again, thank you.