A frosty feeling couldn’t stop the ‘Polar’ riders
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON – The thermometer hovered just below freezing as riders piled up at the start blocks in front of Ingersoll Rand.
Some packed hand warmers and jackets while others took a more inventive approach, sporting a bear suit, socks for mittens and – as one man did – black panty hose beneath his bike shorts.
The Rocky River Road Club’s annual Lake Norman Polar Bear Metric Century bicycle ride has become as much as a rite of passage for many as much as it is an endurance ride.
More than 400 pedaled their hardest Saturday, Jan. 14, for the 60 or 30 mile courses at the 14th annual Polar Bear ride. The fastest of which completed the long course in just under three hours.
The event drew riders from as far as Texas and Illinois. Rider Brad Messenger drove down from Winston-Salem to take part.
“It’s a good hard ride,” Messenger said. “It’s also a good way to maintain fitness in winter.”
The temperature stood at a frosty 28 degrees when the ride began and tested the limits of how warm Spandex cycling tights could keep a human body. For rider Crystal Cline of Princeton, W. Va., the chilly Davidson morning was no big deal.
“It’s a lot warmer here than at home,” Cline said. “It’s snowing there right now.”
Rocky River Road Club President Jim Mead said riders endured snow flurries during last year’s event.
“Some of them were pretty cold by the time they got back to the finish line,” he said.
The ride raised around $10,000 for charities like the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson, The Spokes Group, Wind River Cancer Retreat in Polk County and Lake Norman area churches.
“This is not just a joy ride,” said Wind River founder Shannon Carney. “The Rocky River Road Club is very civic minded and gives back to those who can’t ride.”
According to organizers, this year’s large turnout was typical of years past.
“Riders love this kind of event,” Mead said. “The money goes to a good cause, and they get to enjoy some great camaraderie.”
Those who couldn’t stand the cold could find shelter from the winter weather. Organizers had break stations at Knox Chapel Methodist Church in Cleveland, Corriher Grange community Center near Mt. Ulla and Coddle Creek Presbyterian Church in Mooresville.
More than a dozen Lake Norman-area companies sponsored the ride with logistical support, food and hot drinks served by Rocky River Road Club members and other volunteers.
Want to learn more?
Find information about the Rocky River Road Club at www.rockyriverroadclub.org.