What’s a little fog and constant rain compared to the chance to race a skateboard down Mount Jefferson?
The first-ever, two-day event this weekend had 65 riders racing down the mountain at 50-plus miles an hour on long boards, specialized skateboards for downhill racing. Ashe County Rescue was on scene, but due to the skill of the professional riders, the only medical assistance involved a Band Aid for a nine-year-old spectator.
Saturday involved practice runs throughout the day as riders familiarized themselves with the course. Over 200 spectators came to watch in beautiful spring weather. Race day was a completely different picture. Constant rain and heavy fog had riders donning any rain gear they could find, installing specialized wheels to run in the water, and some removing their visors to they could see the course. Another 150 spectators battled the elements as well as the riders from across the country and Canada.
Downhill reigning world champion Kevin Reimer of British Columbia took first place. Ed Keifer and Louis Pilloni were second and third respectively, and Madison Crum was North Carolina’s top rider finishing seventh.
Local race organizers Bailey Winecoff, Madison Crum and the Human Powered Transportation Club of Appalachian State University brought in the Ian Tilmann Foundation and Ohio Down Hill Skate to coordinate the event. Their hard work and organization made it a successful event. Look for the 2nd Annual North Carolina Down Hill at Mount Jefferson State Natural Area in 2016.