It was with that in mind that I planned my trip to the 5th Annual Ronnie Thomson Appreciation Day, a one-day mountain bike festival combining factory tours, a short endurance race, and party.
Usually held in honor of Ronnieâ€™s birthday, this year would be different. Ronnie passed away just a few days before the event. May he rest in peace.
Ronnie must be in a better place. I think he went to heaven and got a position in the weather department, turning the knobs that open the clouds. That Saturday was some of the rainiest, shittiest weather Iâ€™ve had the displeasure of standing around in. Here I thought heading south from Pittsburgh in January would bring me warmth, but no.
Many of the fun events were cancelled, the rain fly had blown off my tent, and my schwag was wet. All shaping up to be a real dismal time.
But no. What is it about mountain bikers getting together thatâ€™s so life giving? Good friends, good food and good drink, thatâ€™s the stuff that matters, and this was all reinforced by the situation at hand. In the morning we all stood with Ronnieâ€™s family for a moment of silence, followed by much talk about his legacy. But thatâ€™s another story. There was a race to be run.
The 4:20 race sponsored by Sweetwater Beer. Yep, wet as it was we advocates turned our heads and let â€˜em run. 29 people started in the rain, and while the race was supposed to last four hours and 20 minutes, it became a test of who could stay out the longestâ€”20 of the riders only finished one lap.
One rider who went the whole distance was Kari Lindner (Sorella Cycling). She won the womenâ€™s event with six laps. Rachel Neidert coming after four laps for 2nd, and Nanrita Oâ€™Dea (Vassago and 559 Performance) coming in after three. Didnâ€™t pay much attention to the menâ€™s event.
With the race out of the way it was time to celebrate around the space heater. And that we did. Many fine libations were to be had, including fine Bourbon, 18 year-old rum, Hot Damn! Cinnamon schnapps and moonshine to top it all off.
Hereâ€™s to Ronnie Thomson, and all my new friends in Georgia. â€”Maurice