Day two of our unexpected adventures weekend also began with a hike in the woods. The morning air was still crisp and inviting and today we would go to another favorite hiking spot, Boyd Pond Park. The park is less than 10 minutes from the Village entrance to Woodside and also provides a natural and beautiful place to hike.
We noticed on the way down Silver Bluff a sign about a bike race and police officers were there directing traffic. We turned on Boyd Pond Road and continued on our way to the park. We both wondered what the race was all about and which way it would go. About half way through our first trek around the lake we noticed a few bikers riding on Boyd Pond Road. We had seen a sign on the way to the park that said Mile 35 so we knew then that they would be coming this way. The bikers we saw were few and far between and we thought we were probably seeing the tail end of the race… not even close.
We were soon to realize that these bikers weren’t the tail end but, in fact, way ahead of the pack. We were finishing lap two of the 1.7-mile track when the rest of the group started to speed by. There were hundreds of them… almost 3500 according to the Augusta Chronicle.
From the Augusta Chronicle
“The swimming, biking and running event started with cloudy skies, but the world’s largest Half Ironman, with almost 3,500 participants, began issue-free at 7:30 a.m. Sunday with the swimming portion. The pro men were the first to hit the water; the pro women followed three minutes later.
After the first triathletes finished the 1.2-mile swim and began the biking leg before 8 a.m., a heavier wave of competitors started streaming through the transition area by 8:30 a.m.
The bike ride lasts 56 miles and is followed by the 13.1-mile run. The triathlon ends at Broad Street in front of the Augusta Common, where there will be an awards ceremony at 4 p.m.”
It was amazing to watch and there were bikers of every stripe. They were women and men, young and not so young, fit and not so fit… it was quite the spectacle. Al and I were the only spectators on this leg of the race. We found an opportunity to sprint (yeah right) across the road to get a better view of them coming down the big hill toward the lake. It was really something to see and many of the bikers showed their appreciation for our support and presence with a big whoop, a hearty “good morning” or a “thank you” as they flew by. We watched for a very long time until the pack began to thin again. We finished our hike, returned to the car and headed for home. When we reached the corner of Silver Bluff and Boyd Pond Road again, the police were still there directing traffic and ensuring the safety of the remaining bikers. We had to wait a few minutes for a break in the pack and then the officer waved us through with instructions to “hit it” when she told us to go.
All in all it was a weekend of fun and unexpected adventures. That seems to be the way life is here in Aiken. We love it here and look forward to many more adventures in the years ahead.