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Signature Ride 2012 Ride Report

Sponsoring an event requires two very important elements, good people and good weather. First of all, the GREAT team of Lane, Louis, Beth, Johnny and Liz were the best SAG team ever! They were always there, at every turn it seemed, to provide for the riders’ needs with snacks, liquids, transportation, lunch, shuttle service, and motivation! Lane picked up the chicken minis and other items from the store, and Louis was indispensable with providing assistance at the launch, lunch, and reception. Louis also picked up the Chick-Fill-A sandwiches, fruit and brownies that were a big hit. Many thanks to Louis, Chad, Lane and others that provided shuttle service for folks and bikes!

The weather was picture perfect the whole weekend! A recent storm had cleared much of the spring pollen and the temperatures were ideal for shorts. At the RideSouth shop, we made the effort to leave right at 7:00 AM. The fantastic HP motor patrol escort was truly awesome in blocking traffic for us at every intersection and providing a safe event for everyone all the way to Prentiss! Thank you Captain Johnny for organizing, and thank you officers for superior support!! We visited the familiar places on the way down, including the Texaco, Shell and Harrisville Baptist Church. Thank you Pastor David for opening the church for us! This year we added a new stop at Pinola Baptist Church. Thank you Pastor John, Johnny and Beth for organizing another first-rate rest stop before climbing the Pinola hills!

By the time folks got to Sullivan’s Grocery in New Hebron, the group began to separate a bit, but all made it to Prentiss in time for lunch. Thank you to Dudley, the Hattiesburg ride leader for collecting the necessary paperwork and launching a large group of riders on the HB end of the Longleaf Trace! We got over the initial dismay of not having another mass start in Prentiss with the realization that the Signature Ride has evolved. In planning for a possible future event, we are considering organizing the ride a bit differently. If we have an organized start in Hattiesburg, we will move the start time back to the original 10:00 AM. We could just eliminate the mass start in Hattiesburg and have folks leave on their own. We will not plan for a launch in Prentiss. Prentiss will be a lunch stop only with no organized shuttle service. That way, all riders can leave when they are ready and waivers would be required only for the RS launch. The ride fee will increase to help cover costs and we will have some cool new tee shirts.

The reception in HB was a big hit, as usual! Lane and Louis did a great job in refueling the riders with the necessary fluids, cheese, sausages and sandwiches. Everyone enjoyed meeting John Schlitter and Jacquie Hafner while relaxing after an entertaining day of riding! John and Jacquie had been gracious enough to offer some long distance riding tips at the well attended clinic on Thursday. Thank you guys for helping and participating in our event, and thank you Bacchetta Bikes! These guys had no trouble showing off your products and their prowess on them!!

Sunday was another near-perfect weather day! The north wind helped to keep us cool on the climbs and the routes were lightly trafficked. We stopped at Bryant’s Grocery, the Piggly Wiggly, Shell (Magee), and Texaco, with the Johnny & Beth paparacci at every turn! We are sure there will be a full length movie from all the photos and videos taken! Of course Johnny had ridden the full 117 miles on Saturday so he was doing double duty driving the well used SAG vehicle loaded with fluids, bars and extra sunscreen. Way to go Johnny and all those who bettered themselves on Saturday and Sunday! And of course the biggest thanks goes to all you riders who pushed their envelope, even a little bit! We appreciate your support this year and hope you are planning to do even better next year! So now everyone has a jump start on their cycling year and we expect to see more folks figuring out the Way to Ride . . . is RideSouth!

Note: See pics on our photo gallery!

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