The 2011 Longleaf Trace Birthday Challenge Ride was outstanding! Ten years ago, this event began with a few folks deciding that the fellowship of a group start was the best way to celebrate this wonderful event on the best Rails-to-Trails project in the country. We have had good weather, bad weather, support from many nice folks, ceremony, fun and even exhaustion through the years! We have had bike suppliers show up with tents and new models to test ride, and we have even given away some very nice bikes and prizes over the years! The common denominator for all the rides has been a vow from all participants to return and do a little bit better the next year! This year, we saw many folks doing just that, and many riders experiencing the fabulous LongLeaf Trace for the very first time.
The early morning weather was cool and invigorating, prompting many riders who arrived early to launch before the official start time and get their heaters working. We are sorry those folks missed out on the ceremony of the Color Guard, the prayer, the announcements, the photo, and the great feeling of being a part of such a large group event like a mass start! A special thank you to the wonderful folks on the Birthday Challenge Committee for making our participation in their event memorable! The fruit, snacks and fluids all along the trail were well received and appreciated by all! Thank you to the volunteers at the registration desk and at all the rest stops! There was even a big party in Sumrall, with a mule driven syrup mill, crafts, burgers and drinks! Lots of nostalgia, with photos of old time sawmill action, were also interesting at the Sumrall Gateway. The presentations were displayed and narrated by the town mayor even!
By midday, the weather dictated shorts and short sleeves. A perfect, sunny Mississippi fall day! It was great seeing so many of you out on the trail, working to improve your fitness and having fun in the bargain! We hope you were able to meet your challenge this year and will keep riding, so next year will be even easier for you. We would like to believe you would be here even without the great prizes given away, but the drawing was fun and profitable for the folks who hung around. Congratulations to Don Gould for winning the Electra bike giveaway! Sometime today we will post some photos on our website. If you have pics of the event, please send them to us!
Thanks for your support of our events and our shop. We enjoy organizing these events because it helps us to see how much the products we provide are being used. We think it helps you to meet new folks, too. Please stay tuned for other events coming very soon . . . events that will continue to show that Ride South is The Way to Ride!