For the drive down, I’ll just give you a few visual impressions: Manhattan backlit against a sparkling Hudson river; crossing over the Appalachian mountains in a snow squall; a prominent confederate flag flying on Tennessee hillside; also in Tennessee, a sign on a building: JESUS IS LORD. WE BUY GUNS. (I hope they don’t vote.) And the respite of Asheville.
The race venue at the Biltmore estate seems to be, so far, impeccable. No traffic jams, we all have parking, signage everywhere so you know where you’re going and how to get there. Our hotel, the Marriot Residence Inn is beyond friendly. They have put out extra hand towels in the lobby for the racers to use on their bikes, along with a nice sign wishing us good luck in the races.
The pits are huge, well laid out, and, the piece de resistance: we have two port-a-potties! We pit people dream of having our own port-a-potties. Oh, the bar is set high, folks.
The watchword for today is friendly. And to underscore that: I was waiting in the line at the catering tent—yes a catering tent—to get a cup of coffee and the person behind me, one Jonathan Ruiz (don’t know if I’ve spelled that right; sorry if I didn’t) recognized Buddy from the Internet, and bought me my coffee. How sweet is that.