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Originally published: 2014-06-28 17:07:15
Last modified: 2014-06-28 17:08:43

Fredd Matute wins Blood, Sweat and Gears

by Gerrit Van Genderen

VALLE CRUCIS -- On a course that usually bodes well for local cyclists, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. resident Fredd Matute won the 100-mile ride of the Blood, Sweat and Gears Saturday.

Matute, who crossed the finish line with a time of 4:57.53, pulled away slightly toward the finish.
He edged Lang Reynolds of Seattle, Wash., who finished second with a time of 4:58:32.

Matute and Reynolds were two of three Top 5 finishers that were from out-of-state. Martin Sedluk of New Albany, United Kingdom, finished fifth with a time of 5:00:30.

Joseph Carpisassi of Winston-Salem and Seth Ray of Raleigh finished third and fourth, respectively, with times of 4:58:38 and 5:00:25.

Nina Laughlin of Boone was the fastest woman on the 100-mile ride, finishing 29th with a time of 5:07:46.

Matute, who participated in the 100-mile ride three years ago, said one of the reasons why he enjoys riding in the High Country area is because of how challenging it is.

"The climbs here are really tough," Matute said. "Everything is pretty flat in Florida, but coming up here is something I really love."

Matute, 29, said that the ride up the gap of Snake Mountain was where a lot of the field separated. Snake Mountain is generally considered the halfway point of the ride. Matute said he, Reynolds and Carpisassi were able to pull away soundly at the mile 80 marker.

"I felt pretty good on the climb but in order to save my energy I tried to stay with the guys for a bit," Matute said.

Even though the event is considered to be just a ride, Matute said that it is always fun when the front-runners maintain competition throughout.

Laughlin, a recent Appalachian State graduate, participated in the 100-mile ride for the third consecutive year. Laughlin was also a member of the Appalachian State Club Cycling team.

Laughlin, 23, said that the section of the ride going up Shull's Mill Road is always a very difficult aspect, but that she and the cyclists around her were able to push through it and catch up to the lead group at the time.

"I was able to roll with the lead group along the parkway and up until Snake Mountain, which is where a lot of the crowd breaks up," Laughlin said. "Once we got toward George Hayes Road, I started to just ride it out the rest of the way."

Winston-Salem resident Patrick Beeson won the 50-mile ride, crossing the finish line at 2:21:48.2. He finished nearly a minute and half ahead of second place finisher Keith Mrochek of Charlotte, who finished with a time of 2:23:09.3. John Behme of Huntersville finished third with a time of 2:23:19.03.

This was Beeson's first time riding the 50-mile event after participating in the 100-mile five times previously. Beeson's first two times participating in BSG was as an Appalachian student.

"I did the 50 mile this year because I planned to do it with my wife," Beeson said. "Turns out she did not get on the bike as much as she needed to, so she decided not to ride."

Beeson said that since the baby was born, he has not had the time to get out and ride as much as he likes.

But he added that it was a great feeling to ride in BSG again.

"As far as century rides and big bike challenges in the state go, I think it is the best event in terms of support," Beeson said. "It has always been super smooth - turns are well-marked, the courses are great, so I think it is the best one out there."

Beeson said that at the mile 8 mark he was able to pull away during one of the first climbs.  
A record total of 1,120 riders participated in BSG, equaling roughly 90 percent of those who registered for the event.