Cyclists make annual dash across Caldwell

May. 11, 2014 @ 07:55 AM

The cyclists lined up at Harper Avenue and Main Street on Saturday morning for the the Cycle to Serve Challenge can look intimidating in their sleek, form-fitting bike shirts and shorts.

But among them were plenty of people who were new to this race.

Or, like Lillian Goudas of Lenoir, to bike races. Goudas said she has run triathlons before, which include a cycling segment, but she only recently took up bicycle riding as a regular thing.

“I run, and I think running will get hard on my body,” she said. She was planning to do the 25-mile route of Cycle to Serve, rather than the 40- or 62-mile routes. “One of my goals is to do a 40- or 50-miler, but I thought I’d start small.”

Steve Warren moved to Lenoir last year from Savannah, Ga., and was glad to learn of how much cycling people in this area do.

“In Savannah bikes are huge. I was glad to find a big bike community here,” he said.

Cycle to Serve is an annual event that helps raise money for the Lenoir Rotary Club’s charitable projects, including a Christmas party for disadvantaged children, tutoring for students, providing lunch for the Special Olympics, and providing more than $7,000 a year in scholarships.

The forecast on Friday looked troublesome for the race, but by Saturday morning’s 8:30 a.m. start conditions looked close to ideal for the kind of ride that brought Cissy Fish of Hickory back for her second Cycle to Serve.

Besides the scenic countryside of Caldwell County, Fish complimented the community support and volunteers, but especially the traffic control, which included a Lenoir Police Department officer, two Highway Patrol troopers and a couple of large pickup trucks, which all help the bikes as they navigate roads that remain open to traffic.

“You don’t get that at every race,” Fish said.