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Sacred Summits 2004   |   Sacred Summits 2005
Sacred Summits 2004

More than 50 cyclists tamed the tough terrain of the Blue Ridge September 11th and 12th, 2004 on the inaugural Sacred Summits Cycling Tour.  Neither aching knees nor fallen trees deterred these riders as they pedalled their way through the flood ravaged mountains of western North Carolina.

The route was a tough one:

86 miles with 5,944 feet of climbing Saturday
62 miles with 7, 111 feet of climbing Sunday

The climb to Mount Pisgah at the end of day two was particularly grueling.  Like Moses, a lot of us riders weren't sure if we were going to make it to the promised land.  As it turned out, everyone finished the ride successfully with no injuries beyond a skinned knee or two.

Support was on the ride was superb.  High points included Bishop Johnson's send-off at Valle Crucis, Janie's fantastic oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, the gourmet lunch at Little Switzerland, the "Chariots of Fire" trumpet fanfare at the French Broad River and the ecstatic cheering for every rider at the finish line at Mount Pisgah.  (It was so uplifting, I rode through the parking lot and recrossed the line just to hear it again!)

The scene at Camp Grier, the ride's overnight stop, was relaxing, with great food and music.  Everyone seemed to crash early, though, trying to rest up for a challenging ride on Sunday.  Bishop-elect Porter Taylor's remarks at morning prayer were well received; I'm sorry I was still half asleep and missed them!

The photos below aren't an official chronicle of the ride.  You won't notice any photos of Will Sagar or any of the other fast riders.  I started at the back of the pack both days with "my people", and you will see them pictured numerous times.  I offer a special tip of the helmet to Bill Alford, Deb Stuart and Eric Sutton,  my newfound riding buddies from Charlotte who helped pull me through.

I appreciate the accomplishments of all the riders, but the most daring feats were accomplished by the folks behind the scenes who managed to extract order  from the chaos left by Frances.  That we riders were so well cared for just a few days after a widespread natural disaster was truly impressive.  Ride director Judy Teele, volunteer coordinator Beth Turner, logistics expert Kelly Russell, amateur radio coordinator David Houser, medical director Alice Salthouse, event registar Mary Ann Ransom, the "Holy Hogs" motorcycle team and the enthusiastic volunteers drawn from 30 parishes from across western North Carolina all contributed their time and talents to make this a ride to remember.  Thank you all!

Tim Murphy

Photos from the 2004 Sacred Summits Cycling Tour

Bishop Robert H. Johnson sends riders off from Valle Crucis on a pedal and a prayer.
(Click here to read his blessing.)

Frampton Simons is all smiles
on the climb up Shull's Mill Road,
the first of many long ascents

A misty mountain morning

The rockin' crew at Rest Stop Two
from St. Mary's of the Hills, Blowing Rock

Riders pass some debris from Frances.  The tropical storm passed through the mountains Sept. 7th and 8th.

Water, water everywhere!
A rider approaches the headwaters of Wilson Creek.

Deb and Bill at the Grandfather Overlook.
Some riders got to see the summit, some didn't, as the clouds rolled in and out.

Italian stonemasons built these
 beautiful bridges on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Janie, your oatmeal chocolate chip cookies were as sweet as your smile!

Got it made in the shade!
The weather was great both days.

"Rest stop...
we don't need no stinkin' rest stop!"
Riders take an impromptu break near the Altapass orchard.

Riders re-enter the Parkway after a detour.  The original two-day Sacred Summits route was closed in six spots
by storm damage.

Riders rally with a gourmet lunch
at the Little Switzerland rest stop at Resurrection Episcopal Church.

The merry youth from Marion's
St. John's Episcopal Church
kept us cool on a hot afternoon.

Camp Grier was a quiet place to kick back after a long day in the saddle.

Annette Brinkley cruisin' through the foothills at the start of day two

Deb, Eric and the rest of the
 "last to leave" bunch heads for the hills.

Eric pedals past
an old farm near Old Fort.

A paceline passes a church on N.C. 9.

A pastoral spot in Buncombe County

Smilin' faces and beautiful places:
the crew from St. Luke's, Chunns Cove
on Sunday morning

The church sign behind Bill says:
"Enjoy the day...compliments of God"

Riders arrived to fanfare
 at the French Broad rest stop.

Mount Pisgah:
our destination on day two

Riders roll to the finish,
Mt. Pisgah in the background.

The strife is o'er!

Ride director Judy Teele, communications coordinator David Houser and volunteer coordinator Beth Turner enjoy the successful conclusion of the ride.

Jim and Margie Haage arrive to cheers. What an impressive feat to complete the climb to Pisgah on a tandem bike
and still be on speaking terms!

 The blessing delivered by Rt. Rev. Robert H. Johnson
at the start of the 2004 Sacred Summits Cycling Tour:

 - Michael Hudson

May the blessing of God be with you today: may you sense it in the road under your wheels, the wind in your faces, the air in your lungs, the strength in your legs, and the joy in your hearts.

May your bicycles be a blessing to you: tire and tube, chain and gear, pedal and brake.

May you discover as you ride or rest the blessing in those who travel with you, beside, behind, or ahead; and the blessing of those who give thought for your safety, your thirst, your hunger and shelter.

May blessing come to you through the beauty of these mountains: crag and peak, bald and hollow, creek, leaf, sun and cloud.

May these blessings rebound through you to all the people you meet and all the things you see.

And may we all unite in our prayers, blessings, and efforts, so that this particular part of creation might thrive, not just so we and our children can continue to enjoy it, but so that everything that lives, moves, and has its being in these sacred summits might forever be and grow in the joy and pleasure of God.