SILVER ANNIVERSARY FOR EVENT AND CYCLIST

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN, NC – On Sunday, September 15 the top parking lot of Grandfather Mountain located at the base of the Mile High Swinging Bridge was once again filled with cheering fans, cowbells and an overall exciting atmosphere as cyclists crossed the finish line at the 101.2-mile mark of “The Bridge Incredible Challenge Bike Ride.” This year marked the 25th anniversary of The Bridge, and for one extraordinary cyclist cresting the last hill and crossing the finish line meant completing his 25th year as a participant.
Stan Brooks, 59, from Monroe, N.C. has been riding in The Bridge since its inaugural ride in 1988. This year he was honored with a special race number of 25 to commemorate both his and the Bridge’s anniversary.
“They’re all special races for me – dedicated in some way,” said Brooks. This year the ride was dedicated to his sister who is currently battling cancer.
Over a dozen friends and family members adorned with signs and banners cheered for Brooks as he made his way up the switchbacks to the top parking lot. Among the group was one of Brooks’s close friends who rode alongside him in his very first bicycle race, the first Bridge Incredible Challenge, referred to as the “Bridge to Bridge” from 1988-2012.
Brooks knew that his old cycling partner would be at the finish but had no idea the rest of the group would be there to congratulate him.
“I was totally surprised when I saw them. The crowd made me feel incredible.”
This year finishing the 101.2-mile ride with a time of 7:43:54, Brooks noted that as the years go by the racing gets harder and that this was the hardest of his races to date.
“I started a little too fast which ate up a lot of my energy. I spent most of the morning recovering from that.”
As to whether or not there will be a 26th ride for Stan Brooks it is still undecided.
“I’ll let that be a mystery for now,” he said.
The Bridge Incredible Challenge Bike Ride is a 101.2-mile bike race hosted by the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce. Climbing over 4,000 feet in elevation, the race begins in Lenoir, N.C. and finishes at the top of Grandfather Mountain in Linville, N.C. For more information on the Bridge Incredible Challenge visit www.caldwellcochamber.org or www.bridgeride.com.
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