Scores of colorfully attired cyclists will be returning to the Armfield Civic and Recreation Center later this month as the center serves as host for the Flow BMW Mountain Madness Ride.
The ride will be a return for cycling to Pilot Mountain after multiple years away due to the discontinuation of the popular Three Mountain Madness ride. The Flow BMW Mountain Madness Ride will take place in conjunction with the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic and will serve as its Gran Fondo (charity ride) event.
The event came about after organizers approached local resident and cycling enthusiast Harry Wilson. Wilson, who had been a motivating force behind the long-running Three Mountain Madness ride, worked with the cycling classic organization to bring the ride to Pilot Mountain with proceeds to benefit the Armfield Center and the National Cycling Center in Winston-Salem.
“We really appreciate Flow BMW’s role as our title sponsor,” Wilson said. “They are a huge supporter of pro and amateur cycling as well as pro tennis in this area. Without their help, we couldn’t put this event on.”
The loop ride will be held on May 28 beginning at 8 a.m. with riders to choose from a trio of routes of varying difficulty. After the ride, participants will enjoy meals and prizes along with live music in the Armfield amphitheater.
Routes will include a 69-mile ride with 5,900 feet of elevation gain and a climb to the top of Sauratown Mountain. Those wanting a little less of a challenge will choose between a 42-mile route with 2,800 feet of elevation gain and a 24-mile route with 1,700 feet of elevation gain.
An event feature will be the participation of five former professional riders and the opportunity to meet and mingle with the pros after the ride. Participating will be George Hincapie, Bob Roll, Robbie Ventura, Bobby Julich and three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong.
“Our goal,” Wilson said, “is to provide a nice, safe, challenging and enjoyable ride that showcases the beauty of our area while we raise some funds for these non-profit charities. This is not a race but we will have three short segments that will be timed and we’ll be giving away some prizes based on that.”
“It’s really cool that people will be able to meet and ride with these former professional riders,” he continued. “People know them and it’s unusual to get to be around them in this relaxed setting.”
Online registration for the event can be found at www.winstonsalemcycling.com/granfondo/. Additional event details may also be found at the site. Online registration will close on May 25. Late registration and packet pickup will be available at the Armfield Center from 7-8 on the morning of the event. Early packet pickup at the Armfield Center may be arranged by emailing Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All registrants will receive an event t-shirt, a finisher medal, post-race food, entry to the Barenaked Ladies concert as part of the Gears and Guitars weekend celebration in Winston-Salem’s Bailey Park, entry for raffle prizes and a chance to win a weekend at Hotel Domestique with the use of a BMW convertible. Also featured will be the “Robbie Venture Challenge,” with the top finisher to beat Ventura’s timed segment up Sauratown Mountain to invited to join Ventura and Bob Roll for a dinner.
“We probably won’t have as many riders as we had at the peak of the Three Mountain events,” Wilson said, “but we’re still hoping for 2-300 participants. We’re looking forward to a good ride and a good day.”