Tour de Floyd - A Mettle-Testing Mountain Ride
Great vistas, meandering streams, pastures dotted with white-crystal rocks—Floyd County has as much scenic eye candy as anywhere.
A good way to explore Floyd is by the seat of your pants—bicycling it.
The May 21 Tour de Floyd is a fully supported, gorgeous metric century (62 miles) ride through Floyd County’s high meadows and ridges. This rural county with only one stoplight is tailor-made for cycling. The annual Saturday bike ride’s route, which follows the Blue Ridge Parkway for almost 30 miles, gains 6,700 feet, so triple chain ring bikes are recommended. Popular rest stops include Nancy’s Candy in Meadows of Dan, where legendary fudge shores up depleted carbs.
Best of all, Tour de Floyd benefits a worthy cause—the Floyd County Rescue Squad, which is crucially important in a county with no hospital.
The ride is limited to 250, so participants are urged to register early. (tourdefloyd.org) Registration fees are $49 per person March 1- May 15 and $59 day of ride. This is a rain or shine event. —Su Clauson-Wicker
Right Turn Clyde Brewery Opens Near the A.T.
Upper Falls Amber, Mill Creek Brown, Best Man in the Woods English Bitter—the names of ales served in a brand-new craft brewery in the Giles County village of Narrows reflect its proximity to a scenic spur of the Appalachian Trail. Hikers can access the A.T., four miles away, by following a town park trail beside cascading Mill Creek and ascending Pearis Mountain near Angel’s Rest.
Right Turn Clyde Brewery—the name is from an old Clint Eastwood comedy in which “right turn, Clyde” is the command for an orangutan to throw a punch—was started in November by Narrows High School buddies Jon Kidd and Corey Thompson, who have created award-winning beers in recent years.
They operate out of a former bank building on Main Street, serving their brews from cashiers’ windows, offering vault seating, and tucking a small library into a cubicle. The pair created a fun place to hang out, with TV, weekend musicians, games, cards, food truck visits, and special events like a pirate night. New brews, including some featuring local redbud blossoms, are offered every few weeks.
The owners hope to attract people from the A.T. and the new Great Eastern Trail, which runs through town. Brewery hours are 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 3 to 9 p.m. on Saturday. rtcbrewing.com.
— Su Clauson-Wicker
Like AIDS in the ‘80s? More questions than answers on Lyme Disease
The tick-borne disease can be devastating and even life-threatening if left untreated. It’s time to be careful out there.
There are now more than 300,000 reported cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year.
Outdoor people need to be especially vigilant because of the nature of its method of infection: the bite of a tiny deer tick—at any time of the year— that looks like a spider and can be airborne in a breeze.
Lyme disease can cause the following: neurological issues; joint pain; flu symptoms; rashes; swollen lymph nodes; eye inflammation; fatigue; heart palpitations, hepatitis and Bell’s Palsy (loss of facial muscle).
Reggie Bennett, owner of Mountain Shepherd Wilderness Survival School in Craig County says Lyme disease is “an inflammatory disease characterized at first by a rash—usually a bull’s eye pattern around bite site—headache, fever, and chills, and later by possible arthritis and neurological and cardiac disorders.”
Dr. Renee Beirne, an internist at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, calls Lyme disease “fairly common [in this region]. If caught early it is very treatable with antibiotics. It can cause severe neurologic, joint and cardiac issues if it progresses.
“After the initial phase there are some [who] believe that Lyme effects can be chronic and cause fatigue, joint pain, mental slowing, etc. This appears to be hard to diagnose and to effectively treat. Treatment of chronic Lyme disease is hotly debated because there aren’t good diagnosis criteria.”
Roanoke teenager Sarabeth Hammond “has been wheelchair bound since August [of 2015 because of Lyme disease], has distorted vision and can no longer read to herself, is in pain, nauseated, and is sick with the discomfort from the huge cocktail of medicines she must take to get well,” according to her grandmother, Elise Roberts. Cost for treatment “is exorbitant and [most] is not all covered by insurance.”
It is vital that ticks be removed immediately—using tweezers. There are sprays for clothing that discourage ticks from landing on the individual (DEET, for example). Bennett says, “One of the best tick defenses is light colored hiking shoes, socks, pants, shirt and hat (for easy tick detection). Check for ticks before getting back into the car after the hike. Tuck your pants legs into your socks before the hike. Shower once home and check everywhere.” Remove ticks with tweezers, if possible, but do not pull the body. Remove from the head.
Lyme disease’s symptoms can last a lifetime, but the Centers for Disease Control has not recognized Lyme as a chronic disease. That gives insurance companies an out in paying for treatment and medications. It has been compared to AIDs in the 1980s, when AIDs was a mystery disease. —Dan Smith