With 2008 kicking off one week ago it was time for another running of the annual Lake Loop. I started exploring this loop back in 1999. Taking my first group out in May 1999, back in my Outspokin days with the local crew of roadies. Three years later I found myself hanging with the Harrells Crew. Sparking interest with Paul back in 2001 to call together a group of friends and venture out for a New Years Day Lake Loop.
The loop in its original form was 80 miles around Lake Murray. Mostly starting at the Ballentine DMV heading in a clockwise fashion through Lexington. Heading West traversing the farmlands of Lexington county (my homeplace), making our way to the 391 crossing at Black's Bridge. The loop would head North then East towards the Dreher Island area then into the Town of Chapin. Traverse through Chapin back to the DMV.
Waiting till the last moment I decided to run this year’s route counter clockwise. Having put this ride together some many times in so many ways, I needed something in the 65 miler range. A real task giving the shortest possible route is something like 60 miles. Unfortanley this adds many miles of busy highways and not enough country roads for my taste. So the challenge began to spice this thing up and really put the Toby stamp of approval on it. For those of you who don’t know me or have never ridden with me. The possibility of a dirt section is highly possible. This makes for an interesting approach to a road ride. Always expect the unexpected.
What started in 2001 with 6 friends grew to some 20 riders in 2004. The following years were much the same. Until the 2007 ride when cold rain came into the area that postponed the ride till 2008. This 2008 ride was unexpected, with 10 folks verbally committing to the ride. Then at 9:50 a.m. a head count of 63 riders were ready to head out onto the roads of Richland, Newberry, Saluda and Lexington Counties.
Around 63% of the riders were friends of mine from the past 15 years of cycling in the Columbia area. The remaining 37% were friends of friends. It seems as if this ride has really made a foot hold into the local cycling community. Not sure if it’s by word of mouth or just a lack of group rides in new places. This ride has really got people talking.