By Cecil "Zeke" Yount | Jul 25, 2012

We’re getting down to the wire with only 23 planning days until the 3rd Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway. Last year’s event garnered kudos on many fronts and was selected as The Best Ride of the Year by SteepRoads.com.
This year’s event promises to be as good or better. We’re running some 35 percent ahead of last year’s registration at a comparable time and virtually all of the new Blue Ridge Breakaway jerseys are sold. To enhance the event, activities have been planned for Friday, Aug. 17, the day before the ride.
Waynesville Rotary Club, along with BicycleHaywoodNC, a chapter of Blue Ridge Bicycle Club, will be bringing to town Russ Roca and Laura Crawford for two presentations and to participate in the ride on Saturday.
Roca and Crawford are best known as “The Path Less Pedaled.” In 2009, they sold or stored virtually all of their belongings and took to the road on bicycles to see America. Two tours later they have developed a fund of knowledge about what makes a community and a business bicycle-friendly. They will share that information first with local business leaders and elected officials at Laurel Ridge Country Club on Friday, Aug. 17, in a session targeted toward making the community and businesses more attractive from an economic development standpoint by attracting more cyclotourists to our area.
The cycling duo most recently completed a three-month tour of New Zealand on folding bikes. This helped them in further developing their expertise in how small communities can revitalize themselves through being bicycle friendly.  
On Friday evening, in a presentation open to the public, Roca and Crawford will discuss their trips around the United States and New Zealand with more emphasis on the people they’ve met and the experiences they enjoyed and/or endured through their travels.
Roca is a talented photographer and will make ample use of multimedia that he and Crawford have developed during their tours. The evening event will be held at the Lake Junaluska open air gym on the western side of the lake nearest Dellwood Road.
A meal, for a nominal charge, will be offered and interested persons are encouraged to register for the event at the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce website on the “Events” page.
So, come on out, Haywood County, and hear what promises to be a couple of fascinating presentations, and ride along with us on the Third Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway. Early registration discounts are available until Aug. 1.
Please let me be the first, but not the last, to say a massive thank you to all of our volunteers because you are what makes this event great.
To register for the Business Leaders/Elected Officials session, send email to gr8smokieszeke@gmail.com.
To register for the Friday evening presentation at Lake Junaluska, register at: http://web.haywood-nc.com/events/eventdetail.aspx?EventID=469.
For more information, visit http://gr8smokieszeke.blogspot.com and www.bicyclehaywoodnc.org.
You can also link to Zeke’s Great Smoky Mountain 2 Wheeled Adventures under Opinion on the Mountaineer’s website.