Over 300 Riders Converge On Highland County For 2011 Mountain Mama Road Bike Challenge
Monterey, VA – Cloudy skies and cool temperatures greeted over 300 riders who left the school in Monterey at 8 AM to start the 10th Mountain Mama Road Bike Challenge. Recreation Director Kenny Hiner talks about this year’s event.
“We had 320 actual riders, we had 342 that actually signed up; that’s down about 40 from last year that actually did the ride” says Hiner. “You know with the way the economy is, we’re glad to have that many. The weather held out for the most part until the last of the 100 milers were coming through Big Run and across Rt 250; I think a lot of them got pretty wet and pretty cold, but they made the ride.”
Kenny has already heard from several riders.
“I’ve had nothing but good feedback from the riders” he says. “I’ve got a bunch of emails the last couple of weeks about how great the ride is, how friendly the community is, how we put on one of the best rides and their favorite ride of the year, so that make us feel better.”
The Mountain Mama is one of the biggest economic events in the county each year.
“I know the Inn and the motel were full; I think we had something like 50 campers at the high school” says Hiner. “And I know there were some staying at Bed and Breakfasts around town. I know a lot of them are staying in Bath, and some are coming from Staunton.”
“From what I understood I had a couple of guys email me a week before the race that said everything is booked up in Highland, so they would have to stay in Augusta County.”
The Highland Historical Society served many spaghetti dinners to county residents and riders at the Fire House on Friday evening raising several hundred dollars. Then on Saturday, the Mill Gap Ruritan Club provided over 200 dinners at their annual Earth Roast event at the high school. This year relatively few riders needed medical attention the day of the ride.
“We had one person who actually ran into a deer, or the deer ran into him up on Sandy Ridge” says Hiner. “He got cut up pretty bad, a lot of road rash; got an email from him the other day and he said he was just fine. We also had a lady that got sick [that] we had to go pick up in Moyers, WV. They took her to Bath Community Hospital, she was dehydrated.”
“She sent me an email; she stated that the ride isn’t what made her sick, that she was actually sick when she went on the ride, but she’s so die-hard that she wanted to make the ride.”
The riders love coming to Highland County. Here’s one who has ridden the Mountain Mama many times.
“My name’s Jenny and I’m from Chesapeake, Virginia” she says. “It’s been a while since I’ve been up here but I’ve done it seven years prior to that. It’s a great ride; great organizers, the area’s wonderful, it’s challenging, great support, the rest stops are great, community’s wonderful so that’s why I keep coming back. We’re flatlanders, so for us when we come out here it’s a challenge for us.”
Kenny Hiner hopes to bring 400 riders to Highland County next summer.