Year Two of the Fletcher Flyer
By Charlie Clogston
The month before the second Fletcher Flyer began with a tragic event. Greg Wilcox, who originated the route concept, was found in a deep ditch, fatally injured in a bike crash. There was no evidence of any involvement of a car so the cause remains a mystery to this day. We dedicated the Flyer that year to the memory of Greg and all he had done for the BRBC with the Flyer and as webmaster. After the first Flyer, Greg had told his mother, Ruth Wilcox, how exciting the start was so we invited her to be at the start in this second year. We had a minute of silence before the start of the ride. Standing next to Ruth at the start was probably the most poignant moment in my 5 years as a ride director. I am very pleased that this history gives us a chance to once again reflect on Greg’s memory.
However, the show must go on and further refinements were made to the Flyer. We did a survey that showed that most riders preferred socks over caps or T-shirts, so we formed a relationship with DeFeet International that has lasted to this day.
In response to riders climbing the two 10% hills just before the finish and screaming that this is not a flat ride, Ralph changed the route to eliminate them and reduced the climbing of the century to 4,000 feet. The new route extended out to Brevard and eliminated two of the three U-turns. We were able to add a 50 mile route to the metric and century options, which several potential riders requested. But we now had two rest stops that most riders visited more than once, which added to the confusion for riders that do not look at their cue sheet (which is 99%). We got great feedback on the new route and comments on the terrific scenery.
Two of the rest stops had no water supplies, so we purchased 50 gallon water tanks and use a truck to haul an extra 50 gallon tank to refill.
Pat Clogston revised the registration data base and converted it to Access software from Excel.
WNC Alliance brought bubble makers and squirt guns to the after ride meal, which was fun. It became apparent that riders really want to sit and talk with others who rode the ride in about the same time. This after ride fellowship is an important part of the ride.
Feedback on the hot dogs was not very good and the “Not Dogs” were pretty much indigestible. Even those who bought the premium wrap wanted some snacks on the table, larger drinks, and sweets.
We had about 350 riders that year, which indicated that Greg’s concept had a lot of appeal and we were working well on rider satisfaction. This was still half the size of the Hilly, but the Hilly had be years.